Jump to content




See all Safaritalk Special Offers

Message to Guests.

Welcome to Safaritalk where we have been talking Safaris and wildlife conservation since 2006. As a guest you're welcome to read through certain areas of the forum, but to access all the facilities and to contribute your experience, ask questions and get involved, you'll need to be a member - so register here: it's quick, free and easy and I look forward to having you as a Safaritalker soon. Matt.


Photo

On tipping


  • Please log in to reply
96 replies to this topic

#41 Anita

Anita

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,707 posts
  • Local time: 08:26 PM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hong Kong
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:45 PM

yup but things are changing very fast in China re the tipping culture. And where it is not, it is also a bit two-leveled at times- for instance its illegal to tip taxi drivers but in places like Beijing, where taxis are difficult to just step onto a curb and hail one, the drivers will ask you to give a fixed rate much more than the meter taxi. All the tour guides and big hotels, its very usual to tip. The guides there have the same kind of understanding with tourist shops on commissions. 

 

And with due respect, there is absolutely no comparison to the service level in Africa and China. I have been to only 20-25 odd countries in the world, but I have never seen this standard of service outside the countries in Africa- even the cook who uses all kinds of basic stuff to put together a splendid meal in a mobile safari. Another thing I have seen in Africa- if something fell really short of your expectations and you give the feedback there and then, most often the crew tries to juggle up something really wonderful to compensate. Try giving feedback in China, HK and even in some European countries, and its not taken well at all.  

 

There is no reason from a cultural point of view and no reason at all except that cost of living in Africa is much lower than in the US, that warrants a bigger tip in the US. It just seems counter-intuitive to me given also the huge disparity in service and standard of life. 

 

I know the link at the start is a quite unacceptable to say USD 100 a night in expensive lodges and at the very least they should have added what you are comfortable paying but just for argument's sake, how is it really different than saying 15-20% tip in the US? 8 years back when I was in NY the first time, 10% wasnt so bad, but in 8 years it cannot be a culture thing if the target is now 15-20%.


  • AKR1 likes this

#42 Atravelynn

Atravelynn

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 9,847 posts
  • Local time: 06:26 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:USA
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 21 May 2013 - 10:32 PM

well it happens for some a rep of a major african tour wholesaler in australia told me that clients tip their guides at mombo camp at USD 400

that is each gest tios USD 400 for a stay

With those guidelines, I am a small tipper.

 

When I travel on safari alone, I tip as if there were 2 in the vehicle so as not to penalize the guide for taking a solo.  But I'm still way under $400/day.

 

I've never tipped based on the cost of the lodging.


When you think of a rhino, think of a tree (African proverb)

#43 urologysteve

urologysteve

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 85 posts
  • Local time: 07:26 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Columbia, TN
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:53 AM

You are correct, there are certainly different levels of service.  But, I have seen very slow service in Africa, as well as excellent service in Asia.  I, of course, have seen all types of service here in North America and South America.

 

I have certainly seen amazing service in many countries when staying at upper end lodges and do not think Africa has that level of service all to themselves.  The issue in China is there is pride in a job well done that is being adequately (hopefully) reimbursed as a salary, so no tip is needed for doing a good job.  It is expected.  

 

I think the concern here is how tipping affects companies/lodges/hotels in their pay of the staff.  Expectations are certainly changing in all parts of the world.  Unfortunately, tipping will soon be the norm in all countries.  To a certain extent, tourists are to blame.  And, to a certain extent, local customs do matter.

 

 I also see the side that says I paid $5,000 for a vacation so I should be willing to tip a few hundred to a large group of people that may not know what it is like to have running water or indoor plumbing.  But, advertised cost and expectations should be clearly stated.  Hidden fees described as "tipping" is an issue.



#44 Anita

Anita

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,707 posts
  • Local time: 08:26 PM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hong Kong
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 22 May 2013 - 02:11 AM

Hidden fees described as "tipping" is an issue.

 

 Absolutely. And expectations of a tip at a better or more expensive lodge has no cause and effect relationship. And anyone can only tip what they are comfortable with. Beyond that I just feel personally, the only guidelines to tipping that matter are your own. I do try to find out from before when am on unsure grounds if not tipping or tipping is worse in a particular case ( and its happened even in Africa once or twice that I have been unsure). Tipping because it is required has never made any sense to me which is why I prefer to tip less in the US/EU and more in Africa and India.


Edited by Anita, 22 May 2013 - 02:24 AM.


#45 madaboutcheetah

madaboutcheetah

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 10,011 posts
  • Local time: 12:26 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Coimbatore, India
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 22 May 2013 - 03:12 AM

yup but things are changing very fast in China re the tipping culture. And where it is not, it is also a bit two-leveled at times- for instance its illegal to tip taxi drivers but in places like Beijing, where taxis are difficult to just step onto a curb and hail one, the drivers will ask you to give a fixed rate much more than the meter taxi. All the tour guides and big hotels, its very usual to tip. The guides there have the same kind of understanding with tourist shops on commissions. 

 

And with due respect, there is absolutely no comparison to the service level in Africa and China. I have been to only 20-25 odd countries in the world, but I have never seen this standard of service outside the countries in Africa- even the cook who uses all kinds of basic stuff to put together a splendid meal in a mobile safari. Another thing I have seen in Africa- if something fell really short of your expectations and you give the feedback there and then, most often the crew tries to juggle up something really wonderful to compensate. Try giving feedback in China, HK and even in some European countries, and its not taken well at all.  

 

There is no reason from a cultural point of view and no reason at all except that cost of living in Africa is much lower than in the US, that warrants a bigger tip in the US. It just seems counter-intuitive to me given also the huge disparity in service and standard of life. 

 

I know the link at the start is a quite unacceptable to say USD 100 a night in expensive lodges and at the very least they should have added what you are comfortable paying but just for argument's sake, how is it really different than saying 15-20% tip in the US? 8 years back when I was in NY the first time, 10% wasnt so bad, but in 8 years it cannot be a culture thing if the target is now 15-20%.

 

Okay - First of all, I have been doing some pre-China reading on this ST thread ...... good to know.

 

I agree with @Anita that the level of service in Africa is on a far superior platform.  I think it comes from the heart and the warmth of the people there........  A huge difference.  Yes, in India we get some good service too (yet it's a bit too inconsistent across the board).


www.facebook.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......


#46 madaboutcheetah

madaboutcheetah

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 10,011 posts
  • Local time: 12:26 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Coimbatore, India
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 22 May 2013 - 03:14 AM

I think tipping culture on safari is already set in stone.  For example., I think staff would automatically equate some nationalities to be better tippers.....


www.facebook.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......


#47 Sangeeta

Sangeeta

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,710 posts
  • Local time: 07:26 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Washington DC metro area
  • Category 1:Tour Operator
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:53 PM

I think tipping culture on safari is already set in stone.  For example., I think staff would automatically equate some nationalities to be better tippers.....


Very true.

Some big TOs like Micato are now telling their clients not to tip at all because of the feedback they were receiving from their clients. I suppose they're adding it to their prices up front. Not sure what to think of that approach.

Zindagi na milegi dobara... Chalo Africa
You only live once...Go To Africa

www.chaloafrica.com


#48 Sangeeta

Sangeeta

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,710 posts
  • Local time: 07:26 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Washington DC metro area
  • Category 1:Tour Operator
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:56 PM

We have lots of young (and not so young) people interested in budget camping safaris. Hard enough for them to pull together the funds for the safari, so it is very difficult to advise them on tipping. You want them to go, but at the same time you don't want the staff in Africa to feel short-changed. It's a toughie.

Zindagi na milegi dobara... Chalo Africa
You only live once...Go To Africa

www.chaloafrica.com


#49 ZaminOz

ZaminOz

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,973 posts
  • Local time: 08:26 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth, West Australia
  • Category 1:Born in Africa
  • Category 2:Conservationist/Naturalist

Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:24 AM

I think tipping culture on safari is already set in stone.  For example., I think staff would automatically equate some nationalities to be better tippers.....


They have probably guessed by now that tips from Aussies are going to be few and far between... Unless the tip is:
"Be good to your mother"...
  • africaaddict, Sangeeta, Kavita and 3 others like this
*******
Warning, if any safari camps wish to employ me as a guide, I expect a salary far, far, more commensurate than my actual experience!

#50 Atravelynn

Atravelynn

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 9,847 posts
  • Local time: 06:26 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:USA
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:52 AM

 

They have probably guessed by now that tips from Aussies are going to be few and far between... Unless the tip is:
"Be good to your mother"...

 

Or, "plant your corn early."

 

I am on the receiving end of the tipping equation for one of my jobs and always appreciate it.


  • Anita and CarolynL like this
When you think of a rhino, think of a tree (African proverb)

#51 Eagle Owl

Eagle Owl

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Local time: 01:26 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London, UK
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 20 October 2013 - 10:33 AM

An interesting thread on an emotive topic. 

 

I have long seen tipping in a slightly different light, either because I am a scrooge at heart or because of the fact that I am an economist - probably a bit of both if I am honest.  My view is that over-tipping can actually be harmful.  What do I mean by over-tipping? tipping significantly beyond regular wages in the economy you are in.  why harmful? because it distorts the incentive structure in an economy. Thus, by tipping jobs that do not require much in the way of education/skills you raise the wages of those jobs compared to ones that do and reduce the incentive for people to go and get a good education and become lawyers or doctors etc.  By doing that you undermine the future growth potential of the country.  Look at Cuba.

 

Having said that, I am just back from Tanzania where I had my normal tipping angst.  One of the first things our guide told us right at the start of our 6 day camping safari around the northern circuit (before we had even left Arusha) was how much he wanted in tips on a per day basis ($25 p/d for him and $15 for the cook).  For me this put a rather unpleasant tone on the trip.  He wasn't a great guide (morose and not very knowledgeable about the wildlife) and he sure as hell didn't earn that level of tip, and so I didn't tip quite that much, but nevertheless I tipped not far off and more than I felt he deserved for the level of service (and so had to deal with my own internal conflict between my economic brain and desire to avoid an awkward situation). 


Edited by Eagle Owl, 20 October 2013 - 10:35 AM.

  • ZaminOz, PT123, twaffle and 1 other like this

#52 PT123

PT123

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,694 posts
  • Local time: 08:26 AM
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 20 October 2013 - 12:10 PM

Sorry to hear that the guide's tipping comments got the trip off to a bad start and I hope that you had some great sightings. In theory, I agree with your comments above about over tipping possibly distorting the local economic balance/development by creating a de facto disincentive for local people seeking additional education, etc.  All that being said how many local people in rural communities have the opportunity or desire to get advanced education and become a doctor, lawyer or even an economist?.  I view working in the safari industry (guides, cooks, camp staff, etc.) as a more accessible and broad based means for local residents to earn what I hope is a living wage.



#53 samburumags

samburumags

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,335 posts
  • Local time: 01:26 PM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bize Minervois, France
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 20 October 2013 - 01:29 PM

Well your guide would not have got a penny from me! (I was born in Scotland!)
But, in the gathering darkness, deep behind my soul, someone, something whispers "Africa"" (Mark Owens "Secrets of the Savannah")

#54 owenshaffer

owenshaffer

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 154 posts
  • Local time: 07:26 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nairobi
  • Category 1:Resident in Africa/Former resident
  • Category 2:Resident in Africa/Former resident

Posted 20 October 2013 - 07:35 PM

Dear Saburumags,

 

       I quite agree with you. I also agree that tourism is in my own experience the only way that many Africans have to advance themselves. I have met waiters for example who went on to become guides, and of course guides who became managers. There are also guides who have managed to launch their own camps. It is in my own experience that it is Africans both black and white who grew up in rural areas with wildlife in their midst who decide to work in the safari industry.

       I also have to stress that I have no problem tipping guides for excellent service. I prefer to tip maids, and other staff members individually.



#55 africaaddict

africaaddict

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 284 posts
  • Local time: 01:26 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Basel, Switzerland D5, D500 & D810.
  • Category 1:Wildlife Photographer/Artist
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 25 December 2013 - 08:40 PM

 

I think tipping culture on safari is already set in stone.  For example., I think staff would automatically equate some nationalities to be better tippers.....


They have probably guessed by now that tips from Aussies are going to be few and far between... Unless the tip is:
"Be good to your mother"...

 

 

 

I more of a

 

"Never back odds on and never run uphill" kind of tipping advice. ;)

 

The whole tipping thing is completely out of hand IMO, with some lodges in particular, I hate the fact when it comes to the farewell handshake that the eyes of ALL and sundry are on you! <_<

This has led to tipping becoming a covert operation. :ph34r:


  • ZaminOz, twaffle, Kavita and 1 other like this

Marc Mol

African Wildlife Photography

 

 WEBSITE 500px

 

 


#56 Geoff

Geoff

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,681 posts
  • Local time: 11:26 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Victoria, Australia
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 26 December 2013 - 04:19 AM

 I am just back from Tanzania where I had my normal tipping angst.  One of the first things our guide told us right at the start of our 6 day camping safari around the northern circuit (before we had even left Arusha) was how much he wanted in tips on a per day basis ($25 p/d for him and $15 for the cook).  For me this put a rather unpleasant tone on the trip.  He wasn't a great guide (morose and not very knowledgeable about the wildlife) and he sure as hell didn't earn that level of tip, and so I didn't tip quite that much, but nevertheless I tipped not far off and more than I felt he deserved for the level of service (and so had to deal with my own internal conflict between my economic brain and desire to avoid an awkward situation). 

 

Wow, I consider your guides actions outrageous. From your description he would not have received anything in the way of a tip from me and I would have told him in no uncertain terms why it was the case. In fact I would have complained to the company that employed him.

 

When I do tip , to get around @africaaddict 's issue, I tip the day before I leave and if possible with only the person I am tipping present.


Geoff.

#57 optig

optig

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,821 posts
  • Local time: 04:26 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Category 1:Resident in Africa/Former resident
  • Category 2:---

Posted 26 December 2013 - 07:16 AM

      I find that your guide's attitude is nothing less than rude, and arrogant. I would have refused to tip him out of principle.



#58 madaboutcheetah

madaboutcheetah

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 10,011 posts
  • Local time: 12:26 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Coimbatore, India
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 26 December 2013 - 02:13 PM

I would have guessed, the guide in question is very unlikely to have been any good ....... The reason why he probably was crude up front is because of his inability to deliver on safari with a negative outcome at the end (past experience) ...... Just my guess.
 

Nearly as bad, my guide in the Serengeti went on and on and on and on about the price of petrol .......... He was so full of himself, crass, crude, on his cell phone conducting his business at most times of the day - it went on and on and on ......... Being Christmas and the Holidays, I don't want any thought of him ....... Eek!!!


www.facebook.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......


#59 Soukous

Soukous

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,978 posts
  • Local time: 12:26 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:It's flat, it's windy, it's Suffolk
  • Category 1:Tour Operator
  • Category 2:Resident in Africa/Former resident

Posted 30 December 2013 - 12:38 PM

Africa is not the only country where tipping causes many sour moments at the end of a holiday.

It is really frustrating that so many guides have their eyes on the tip as soon as you enter their vehicle and almost without exception you know that if a guide mentions tipping at the start of your safari you are not going to have much respect for him.

My experience is that the guides who have to ask for tips are the ones who struggle to earn them.

Like most people, I have no problem at all giving a tip to someone who has done a great job - no matter what that job is.

 

We tend to give our clients a guideline range for tipping guides and housekeeping staff etc. If you think they were great tip this much, if you think they were just OK, then tip this. If you think they were crap then don't tip.

Bottom line, go with your heart. Don't be pressurised into tipping someone who you think doesn't deserve it.

 

In most cases, you (the traveller) will never see the person you tip ever again, but the tour operator will.

I have come across group leaders who urge their guests to leave good tips because it reflects well on them as the tour operator. In the same way that if you tip well in a restaurant, the next time you go in they will remember you and give you good service.


"if you think you're too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito."

Martin Dunn FRGS

 

website: www.wildlifephotographyafrica.com

facebook: Wildlife Photography Africa

twitter@wildphotoafrica


#60 Soukous

Soukous

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,978 posts
  • Local time: 12:26 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:It's flat, it's windy, it's Suffolk
  • Category 1:Tour Operator
  • Category 2:Resident in Africa/Former resident

Posted 30 December 2013 - 03:50 PM

Africa is not the only country where tipping causes many sour moments at the end of a holiday.

 

 

Oops, that should read continent, not 'country'. :lol:


  • twaffle and JohnR like this

"if you think you're too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito."

Martin Dunn FRGS

 

website: www.wildlifephotographyafrica.com

facebook: Wildlife Photography Africa

twitter@wildphotoafrica






© 2006 - 2016 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.

Welcome guest to Safaritalk.
Please Register or Login to use the full facilities.