African Travel Concept



Posted on Sunday, 28th Dec 2014

When travelling abroad, there are many local customs that only the locals know of.... When it comes to tipping and gratuities, there are different 'acceptable' norms. Giving tips is an appropriate gesture in certain service-based industries and many times it can make someone's day.

The common question of the matter is always around how much to give. When dealing in a different currency combined with foreign customs this can get even more confusing. We have put together some gratuity guidelines for the unsure excursionist to follow.

Car Guards
These distinctly South African “parking assistants” can be found almost anywhere there is space to park your car. Even if they weren’t there when you arrived, it wouldn’t be surprising if you saw someone in a yellow jacket running towards you as you are climbing into your vehicle. Keep a keen eye when dealing with these people, they are not officially employed to watch your car and they will not be held accountable if anything does happen to your vehicle. Some of them are, however, just looking for something to buy some food. Between R2 and R5 is an acceptable amount to tip.

Cab Drivers
There are two different kinds of taxis roaming the streets of South Africa: minivan taxis and metered cabs. The minivans are usually packed full of people and don’t have designated stops, they are less reliable than the metered cabs and don’t require tipping.

The metered cab drivers often work long shifts and would definitely cherish some extra appreciation of their service. Always ask for the meter, don’t be bullied into a set price for your journey, and be aware of the distance you will be travelling (cab drivers will sometimes lead you on the ‘scenic’ route to profiteer). Judge the tip based on stops made and distance covered, the rule of thumb would be rounding up to the nearest ten for local lifts or up to R20 for city to out-of-town driving.

Safari Staff
When going on a safari there is a contingent of game park staff all seeking to make your stay adventurous and congenial. There are guides, rangers, porters, housekeepers and servers to name a few. Assuming that you’ve enjoyed your stay, a day-by-day tip is not necessary. A pooled tip for the staff is a convenient way to reach the people that catered for you all at once; ordinarily 10% of the total bill. It is generally accepted that you tip guides/Rangers separately; R50 to R500 a guide.

Restaurant Waiter/Waitress
They bring you food and drinks and clear up when you are done, if this is all done with a polite smile and courteous demeanour then surely you can’t help but feel indebted to them. Check your bill to see if there has already been a tip included (if there are more than eight in your party it may be added automatically).

Customarily 10% gratuity is the baseline, but feel free to go over and above if you feel the service earned it. It’s not a good idea to leave the bill on the table, rather hand it to the waitron who served you.

Petrol Attendant
Another decidedly South African service, these ‘petrol pump technicians’ will fill the tank for you. They may also offer to check your oil, water, tyre pressure and they will also wash your front and back windows. If the attendant covers these bases, acceptable tipping would be between R2 and R10.

Note that these are only guidelines, if you are unsure about a tipping situation, try and see what others are doing. Above all remember that the tip should reflect the quality of service that you received - use your discretion, but also feel free to spread some good financial karma if you are so inclined.


Posted in Travel Trends

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