Tipping Culture and Practices in Tanzania

Tanzania, not known for its wealth, holds a tradition of tipping safari or mountain crews and other service providers. Tips are commonly expected and greatly appreciated by the staff who work diligently to enhance travelers’ experiences.

Importance of Tipping:

  1. Supplementing Income: Guides, cooks, and other staff often rely on tips as a significant part of their earnings. While companies strive to pay fair wages, these additional funds bridge the gap, especially during intervals between jobs.
  2. Gratitude and Acknowledgment: Crew members often go above and beyond to ensure clients have exceptional experiences. Tipping serves as a gesture of appreciation for their tireless efforts and dedication.
  3. Motivation and Retention: Tips serve as incentives for the crew’s excellent performance. In an industry where skilled personnel might move to lower-paying positions offering higher tip potential, these additional earnings play a crucial role in retaining top talent.

Ensuring Proper Tip Allocation:

Efforts should be made to directly hand tips to intended recipients. While grouping tips in an envelope is acceptable, communication with the crew ensures the intended distribution.

When to Tip:

Tipping typically occurs at the end of safaris, allowing evaluation based on the overall satisfaction with the crew’s services.

Reasons for No Surcharges:

Tipping is tax-free in Tanzania. Adding a surcharge to cover tips would incur a 18% VAT and subject tips to income tax, potentially reducing the value received by the crew or increasing the cost to the client.

Whom to Tip:

Guides, cooks, servers, and other general staff members are common recipients of tips.

Factors Influencing Tips:

Considerations such as tour duration, private or group tours, and crew performance affect tip amounts.

Currency for Tipping:

Foreign currency, especially US dollars, euros, or pounds sterling, is preferred for tipping, as it can easily be converted to Tanzanian shillings.

Tipping Guidelines:

Tanzania Safari:

  • Group Guide: $8-10 per guest per day
  • Private Guide: $20-30 per guest per day
  • Group Safari Chef: $8-10 per guest per day
  • Private Safari Chef: $15-25 per guest per day
  • General Staff: $1-5

Kilimanjaro Hike:

  • Head Guide: $20-25 per day
  • Assistant Guide: $12-20 per day
  • Cook: $12-20 per day
  • Assistant Cook: $10-15 per day
  • Porter: $7-10 per day

Tipping Ceremony on Kilimanjaro:

  • Conducted on the last day after the summit, facilitated by the head guide, where tips can be given in USD or Tanzanian shillings. It’s advisable to have newer US bills, as older bills may not be accepted or could be devalued.

Donation of Clothing and Equipment:

Consider donating hiking gear directly to the climbing team after the trek. Such donations significantly aid the crew, who might hesitate to spend money on non-essential items.

Tipping Ceremony Details:

On Kilimanjaro, the final day involves a formal tipping ceremony led by the head guide, allowing for expressions of gratitude and the provision of tips to the team.

Remember, while tipping isn’t mandatory, it’s highly recommended due to its significant impact on the crew’s livelihood and motivation.