In many countries, tipping is a normal part of any dining experience. When the check arrives, everyone knows adding a tip is the right thing to do. After all, your waiter contributes to a positive experience during a night out.

You wouldn’t leave your waiter without a tip, and the same should be true to the friendly staff who make your adventure in Africa enchanting.

Your safari guide plays a huge role in having a once in a lifetime experience in the bush. Whether they’re zipping along dirt roads to find your favorite wild animal or parking alongside river beds so that you can spy upon bathing elephants.

Waiters, spotters, and trackers also play a role in making your safari experience a magical one. When you’re on your next great adventure, consider tipping your local guide with these guidelines in mind.

Tour Guide Gratuities: Yup, It’s a Thing!

Open safari jeep surrounded by Cape buffalo

Safaris allow you to sleep under a bed of twinkling stars, and the chance to spy cheetahs and their cuddly cubs. Marching elephants and roaring lion sightings are all made possible with a safari.

Safari guides lead you through the plains of Africa to search for animals you’ve only dreamed of seeing. They’re highly trained and knowledgeable so that your safari experience isn’t just magical, it’s educational too.

Game rangers and guides can answer all your questions and wonderings about wildlife. Perhaps you’ve always wondered how fast a hyena can run? Or what the largest snake in Africa is? They’re incredibly up-to-date with wildlife facts that’ll make your safari experience even more memorable.

While safari tours can end up costing quite a bit, you’re paying for the privilege of untouched wilderness and the luxury of your neighbors being a herd of grazing impala.

Although tipping isn’t compulsory on a safari, it’s always appreciated. After all, guides take care of all of your needs while you’re embarking on game drives from 5 am to 9 pm. And back at the camp, chefs, drivers, and waiters are doing just as much to ensure you can kick back and soak up all the beauty of the bush.

Tipping on a Safari: General Guidelines

Tipping your safari guide and camp staff contributes to them earning decent living wages. It’s not included in your prepaid safari, meaning the tipping is completely up to you.

Before heading to your safari destination, it’s a good idea to exchange your currency for the local currency. Tour guides generally accept cash over EFTs, so it’s worth your while to carry an amount of cash for tipping.

Being in a new country can bring about some confusion as to how much enough really is. The best way to think about tipping is to give as much as you can; when have you ever regretted tipping someone too generously?

Here are some rough guidelines for how much gratuity is appropriate in the iconic safari destinations in Africa. The recommended tips are based on group tours, private guides, and the welcoming staff at your lodge or camp.

Tipping in Tanzania

Safari guide and tourist on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater

Tipping in Tanzania can have a significant impact on the economy and the livelihoods of your guides. The currency is the Tanzanian Shilling, although US dollars are also accepted.

  • Group game drive or walking tour per day: US$8-10
  • Private game drives and guide per day: US$15-20
  • General staff per day, per person: US$1-5

Tipping in Kenya

As a popular destination for safaris, camps and lodges in Kenya are exceptional, so tipping is a common way of showing your appreciation. Tipping in the local currency, Kenyan Shillings is always preferred.

  • Group game drive or walking tour per day: US$10-15
  • Private game drives and guide per day: US$12-15
  • General staff per day, per person: US$1-5

Tipping in South Africa

Elephant and tracker in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

Tipping your guide in South Africa based on the knowledge and expertise they displayed is a good start. For the general staff at camps and lodges, shared tips work well.

You can tip staff in the South African Rand.

  • Group game drive or walking tour per day: US$9-15
  • Private game drives and guide per day: US$10-17
  • General staff per day, per person: US$1-5

Tipping in Botswana

Botswana Pula is the local currency in Botswana and the preferred currency. The average GNI (Gross National Income) in Botswana is around US$17.84 per day, which is about an eighth of the US GNI. So your tip can go a long way in this country.

  • Group game drive or walking tour per day: US$10
  • Private game drives and guide per day: US$10-15
  • General staff per day, per person: US$1-3

Holiday Tipping Guideline

Tipping in many African countries is a way for those in the service industry to receive an extra source of income. Here are some extra tips about tipping.

Wondering when to tip?

Safari guide with blue Shuka, scanning the area for wildlife across the Masai Mara plains

The best practice for tipping is to save the tip for the end of your safari. Receiving a tip at the end of each excursion can put a lot of pressure on your guide to perform. It can also leave other guests in a precarious position and might disrupt the balance of the tour.

Show your gratitude by tipping the person directly

Depending on your camp, there may be a gratuity box. This generally goes to all staff, but there may be cases where you wish to tip a particular person. Tipping your guide directly is a great way to show your appreciation for their hard work.

If you’re in doubt, stick to 10%

Local cook making pancakes for guests, in the Serengeti National Park

If you’re unsure about how much to tip, you can always refer back to the general 10% rule. Tip your guide a 10% amount of the actual tour, and there will be smiles all around.

African Safari Guide to Tipping

Travelers are often left with the question of how, when, who, and how much to tip for a vacation at a safari lodge or camp. Tip staff as you would in any other industry service – based on how great they made your overall escape in the wild.

Has the idea of a safari stolen your heart? Be sure to check out these safari deals and specials before heading on your next African adventure!