Tips can form a significant part of the income of those working in the service industry, and visitors are encouraged to show their appreciation of good service by tipping appropriately. However, in Tanzania, tipping always remains at the discretion of the customer and dependent upon quality of service. If in doubt about the appropriate level of tipping for different services, do not hesitate to ask Moses for his advice.
When to tip:
‘Best practice’ is to tip once, at the end of your stay at each safari lodge or camp. Guiding and service workers affiliated with each camp will not expect a tip after each activity, meal or service provided.
How to tip:
The easiest way to tip is to use the “tip box” provided by most camps. If a camp’s tipping policy is not clearly indicated (often in writing in guests’ rooms), ask the camp manager who shares the proceeds of the tip box. Often the “tip box” is shared amongst general staff (waiters, cleaners, etc.) while guides, trackers and butlers are usually tipped individually. However, practices vary from camp to camp. To be sure, please ask!
It is best to tip in Tanzanian Shillings or US dollars. Tipping by credit card is not always possible, particularly in more remote camps; tipping by credit card also makes it difficult for guests to direct their tips to specific members of staff. It is helpful and effective to bring a number of small envelopes with you on safari; you can then address the envelopes to specific individuals or service groups to ensure the right people receive your cash tips. The use of envelopes also allows you to include a personal message, if you wish.
Tipping on safari
The amounts suggested below are simply guidelines. How much to tip is a personal decision in response to quality of service and degree of individual satisfaction. For good service, we recommend the following:
- US$8-10 per guest per day for a group guide
- US$15-20 per guest per day for a private guide
- US$5-10 per guest per day for a safari chef
- US$1-2 per guest per day for the general staff
Tipping on Kilimanjaro treks
It is helpful to plan ahead and budget for the tips you will want to give to porters, cooks and guides before you start your Kilimanjaro trek. Again, tipping remains your personal choice and reflects your appreciation of good service.
Assuming your group has received good service, an appropriate tip for a porter on a 7-day climb is around US$40; for a cook, around US$80; and for a head guide, US$100 or more. These amounts represent totals shared between the number of guests in your group. (The average Tanzanian makes US$40 per month, so a US$40 tip for difficult work over many days constitutes a good wage and an important contribution to the local economy.)
Helpful points to remember when tipping Kilimanjaro porters:
- Tip porters directly but not the guides
- Bring a packet of envelopes to distribute your cash tips
- Determine, as a group, a tip for each of the following : porters, cooks, assistant guides, and the head guide
- Distribute tips on the final morning of the descent, preferably at Mweka Camp or the Park Gate
- Tip in either Tanzanian Shillings or US dollars
- An example of appropriate tipping practice for good service:
- Porters: $5 per day per porter
- Cooks: $8-10 per day per cook
- Assistant guides: $8-10 per day per guide
- Kilimanjaro guides: $20 per day per guide
- Safari guides: $20+ per day per guide
- So, if a group has 4 porters, 2 assistant guides and 1 lead guide, the total tip would be US$420. (4 porters x $40 = $160; 2 assistant guides x $80 = $160; 1 lead guide x $100 = $100)
Please note: Tip totals cited above for both Kilimanjaro treks and safaris are per group, not per individual traveller. If 4 guests on safari wish to tip their driver US$20 per day, each would contribute US$5 per day.