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Guided Game Drive Tipping

California
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Guided Game Drive Tipping

Hi, I'm planning on taking a couple guided game drives in Addo (morning, sundowner, evening) and was wondering what the standard tipping policy/rate is for these game drives?

These are the ones booked directly through SANPARKS inside Addo itself.

Also, I am wondering what the tipping policy/rate is for private game reserves like Amakhala and their guided drives?

Thank you for help!

Pretoria, SA
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1. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

I would say that most people do not tip at all.

We tend to give R10/20 and poss a little more if the guide has found something we feel is spectacular. Definitely no more then R50 for the group (up to 4 people).

Pretoria, South...
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2. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

Hi CHH,

When I read posts like yours, I realise why South African guests are unwelcome on game drives! Sorry to say this.

If you search "tipping" on the South African forum, dohdoh, you'll find lots of good guidelines regarding tipping on game drives.

As a general rule, I tip a restaurant waiter about R10.00 per person for a meal, and a filling station attendant about R5 to R8 for good service. And I'm not an extravagant tipper - I just consider this a fair and equitable amount, and a gesture of appreciation.

Most people in the tourism industry realise that the guys who often provide a lifetime experience for their guests are so poorly paid that they rely on tips for their livelihood.

A R50.00 tip for a group would be considered an insult. Rather don't even consider tipping, because it would simply offend your guide (even if he/she didn't show it).

The fact that so few people bother to show any appreciation (by tipping) is even more reason why I always believe that a tip should reflect some sense of balance.

Edited: 4:49 am, May 18, 2010
Pretoria, SA
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3. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

On SANPARKS drives (16 people etc in vehicle)I have only ever seen 2 other people tip and they were Americans. I have been on a number of these drives. I think the SANPARKS drives are different to private lodges and by tipping R20 for 2, that is 10% of the cost.

I am not a South African - I am an Aussie with a very British accent, having lived there for years.

I would certainly not tip R8 for the petrol attendent even if they checked oil etc. R5 maximum. R2 for nothing other than fuel. I am tipping for service but will not pay to compensate for those who do not tip. Restaurant staff, I add 10% - more for excellent service, less if the service is bad. That money is not a given and from what I see around me in restaurants, I tip fairly generously.

Port Elizabeth
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4. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

People dont generally tip on a SAN Parks game drive.

Pretoria, South...
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5. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

Well then, don't be surprised when the SANParks guide who could've have provided an experience of a lifetime couldn't be bothered to find that "something spectacular".

Because the last 10 groups also failed to show any appreciation when he did go out of his way.

I see it all the time. Most folk get off the vehicle without even the courtesy of a sincere thank you!

London, England
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6. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

I would always tip for something like this providing the experience wasn't terrible, for these half day trips on a bus of 16 I would probably go for something like R10-20 per person. For a full day drive in a smaller vehicle I would tip anything up to a couple of hundred Rand depending on the experience.

This is just off the top of my head as I am not South African and don't know what the 'going rate' is, but it's just what I would consider reasonable if you enjoyed yourself.

Port Elizabeth
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7. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

Bushkid, I tend to think that, because you are a tour guide yourself, you think tour guides should be tipped well.

Your tipping for restaurants on the otherhand is unbelievably low. R10 per person. Wow! The normal is 5% for bad service, 10% for okay service and 15% for good service. Which should work out to about R30 a person for a normal 2 course meal with alcohol and a lot lot more in a good restaurant.

I personally think that lodge owners should pay their staff and not expect people who are already paying R5000.00 a night to give huge tips, i.e. pay their staff.

California
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8. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

Thank you for the different thoughts and opinions...

It sounds like on SANPARKS drives tips are not expected then? I would still like to tip a reasonable amount if I have a great guide and experience, so just wondering if 10% would be a decent amount?

Also for a private reserve game drive, the cost is considerably more than the SANparks drive, so 10% would be a bit more costly... is there a 'flat' amount that is more appropriate?

I know how difficult the tourism industry can be to work in and I want to make sure I compensate when I feel a job was well done, but I am also on a tight budget.. so just want to get a good sense.

Pretoria, South...
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9. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

Hi Dohdoh,

Firstly, I'd like to thank you for thinking about it! It is appreciated that visitors to this country do show appreciation for the often wonderful experiences that they have here.

Although SANPArks guides do not "expect" tips, they are always greatly appreciated, but very rarely given (as can be seen from posts on this thread). Often, guests can't even show the courtesy of a sincere thank you (and then wonder why they get such poor service).

As a general rule, a 10% tip would be considered appropriate. My rule of thumb ... tip what you feel comfortable with.

LOL Lamlee ... As a "guide" myself ...

Yes I'm a guide - a freelance one - often called a tour leader - but it's a lot more complicated than that. LOL! I sell my services at a rate I'm satisfied with, and I don't rely on tips for my survival. But I've been there ...

I am also a tour operator, and tips are a budgeted cost on every package I run. Because I believe in enriching the communities that I deal with and I'm wealthier than most of the people in my country. I can afford to show appreciation. Happily and not grudgingly.

Maybe I wasn't very clear on some issues. A restaurant meal to me normally costs about R80 (not R300.00 for a two course meal). And the minimum I would tip for a burger and coffee at R60.00 would be R10.00 (in other words 17%). I never tip less than 10%, and I include a tip in every single meal I have on a tour (including the complimentary ones I sometimes get from establishments).

I don't want to get into the "tips for guides" debate. I've discussed it at length elsewhere.

Thank goodness I'm a guide. I have life-changing experiences and deal with wonderful travellers every day, so I don't have to begrudge a R5.00 tip to someone less fortunate (who, by the way, will feed a family for a week on the R300.00 cost of a 2-course meal for one). Sheesh!

New Zealand
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10. Re: Guided Game Drive Tipping

The best tip you can give someone on a safari....is to come back on these forums and recommend them.

And Bushkid gave us the best safari ever!Even had an elephant surprise us,all primed and ready to walk out on stage,by hiding in the bushes 3 metres from our vehicle.Now that took some planning Russell.

And you looked so surprised to see it!?

I must write up my blog on that one!

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