We always give our guests written guidelines on how to handle gratuities, so please check the ‘tipping guidelines’ in the travel documentation provided by your consultant. Gratuities are not included in your trip cost. You are under no obligation to tip. Subject to the service received, this is entirely discretionary and please feel free to adjust the amounts to suit your budget.

Tipping is not compulsory but widely ‘expected’

Here are some guidelines    

City Touring  

Restaurants and bars: 10 -15%, depending on the service received

Porterage: $5 per bag portered

Transfer driver: $5 per couple transfer. Consider increasing if you had extensive help with your luggage.

Private Tour Guide: $20 – 25 per couple per day

Scheduled Tour Guide: $12 per couple per day

Spa Treatment Therapist:  At your discretion


On Safari  

Ranger/ Field Guide: $20 – 25 per couple per day

Tracker: $15 per couple per day

Specialist Activity Guides (Bushmen experience, Mokoro poler, bird guide etc.): $8 -10 per guest, per activity

Butler: $15 per couple per day

General safari lodge staff: $15 per couple per day. Can generally be put in gratuity box at reception. Most camps/lodges allow tipping by credit card.

Note: Some camps will have a central gratuity box for the general staff, while others do not. Envelopes are also available.


Going Gorilla Trekking  

Porters at parks – $20-25 per person per day

Head Ranger/Guide (when gorilla tracking) – ±$10 per person per day

Trackers – ±$10 per person per day

Security personnel – ±$10 per person per day

The tip for the team of three above should add up to roughly $25 – $30 per day of tracking, per traveller

Driver-Guides – $5 – $10 per person per day

Park Staff/Forest Walks – $5 per person per walk



Luxury Train Travel (Rovos Rail & Blue Train) 

Cabin Attendant: $30 per couple per journey

Waiter on Dining Car: $24 per couple per journey
Train Staff: $20 – $40 per couple per night (for longer journeys)


Good to know 

Note:   When in South Africa it is preferable to do so South African Rands.  For the rest of the countries in Southern and East Africa, US Dollars is best.  However in remote rural areas (where banks are scarce to change currencies) local currency is preferred.

Note :  While it is not encouraged to carry quantities of cash, be aware that facilities for exchanging or drawing cash are restricted to cities, towns and villages; there are NO ATMs in the wilderness areas. As mentioned most lodges/ camps allow tipping by credit card.

Note:   Very old US dollar notes are NOT accepted.

Note:   It is recommended that you tip only once at the end of your stay or tour.


Based on feedback over the years, ‘how much to tip’ and ‘who to tip’ causes consternation and confusion as guests are preparing to leave their safari lodge or guesthouse where the staff have (99% of the time) been so wonderful that is is hard to leave without hugging and sometimes a few tears! 

As mentioned at the start, tipping is NOT compulsory, but not having enough on hand can get awkward. 

So our recommendation is to come prepared to want to show your thanks for the lovely service you’ll receive on your African Safari!

Got questions on tipping and gratuities? 

Send an email to info@southerndestinations.com