It’s important to know who would appreciate a tip on a safari, as there are many people working to make your travel a success. Consider:
An exciting and successful safari depends mainly on your guide. For this reason, many lodges suggest tipping him/her separately, to ensure that they get a fair tip.
Tipping the ‘team’ of staff.
A lot of people work behind the scenes to ensure that your trip is a success, including the chefs, the kitchen team, the maids and the housekeeping staff. To include all of these ‘back of house’ people, many camps have a ‘general staff tip box’, with the proceeds divided equally between the staff.
Do I tip the managers?
Some travelers ask if they should tip the camps managers. They are important, of course, but would you tip the owner of a restaurant? Generally, we don’t think so, and similarly, we wouldn’t usually recommend that you tip the manager. That said, there are exceptions to this rule, perhaps if you want to appreciate outstanding or extraordinary service.
To summarize, normally in Tanzania you tip your guide separately, as you’ll spend most of the time with him or her, and the rest of the staff together. It is unusual to tip the camp manager.
When to tip
Another frequently asked question is the best time to give tips.
There are three options:
- After each activity
- At the end of each day
- At the end of your stay
The best practice is always to tip just once, and always at the end of your stay at each safari lodge or camp.
Your guides won’t expect you to tip after each activity, and doing so could put pressure on them to ‘perform’ for the guest who is tipping – while probably distorting the relationship between him/her and the guests as a whole. It would certainly put your fellow guests in a very difficult position if you were offering tips this frequently, and they were not.
How to tip
The most common way how to tip in Tanzania is to use the ‘tip box’ that most camps offer. However, sometimes the box will be for all the staff, and sometimes for the staff excluding the guides; each camp has its own policy.
Some camps explain their policy in writing and leave it in their rooms. If not, ask the manager if there’s a tip box and, if so, who shares the proceeds. Then it’s up to you whether to put everything into the box or to tip some team members individually. In most Tanzanian camps, guides, trackers, and butlers are usually tipped direct, while other staff benefits from the ‘general staff tip box. But this varies, so do ask!
It’s most common to tip in cash, ideally Tanzanian shillings or US dollars. Although some camps offer the option to tip by credit card, this depends on their accounting practices and their ability to process cards. Tipping by card isn’t the norm in Tanzania, and it can make it difficult to direct your tips to specific members of staff.
For travelers willing to think ahead, it can work well to bring a small supply of envelopes, perhaps with a card inside on which a ‘thank you’ could be written. Then towards the end of your stay, you can address the envelopes for the individuals or groups of staff whom you wish to tip, put the appropriate amount into each, and either hand them out or put them into the general tip box.
How much to tip
The amounts we suggest here are just guidelines based on our experience of safaris in Tanzania. Tipping is a matter of personal opinion and individual satisfaction – moderated by some understanding of the issues mentioned above.
Given that, we’d recommend that for good service, our travelers tip around:
US$8–10 per guest per day for a group guide
US$8–10 per guest per day for a private guide
US$8–10 per guest per day for the hotel or safari camp, which is then distributed amongst camp staff (excluding safari guides)
US$3–5 per city transfer