If you are going on a safari in Kenya for the first time, you might be wondering what the local tipping culture involves. First, tipping in African Safaris and especially in Kenya is not a compulsory affair and it is only done on the merit of a good service. It is simply an appreciation of the guides, drivers or game wardens involved in the Safari for a well-done job. It is not really expected of you to tip and you are not obliged to tip. However, if you are pleased with the people who served you, it is totally p to you to tip them or not.
This article offers some highlights on the nature of tipping for a Kenyan Safari and what is acceptable as norm, who tip and how to go about it.
If you are headed for a Safari in Kenya, it is pretty obvious you have considered currency exchange to pay for goods and services in the local currency. The tour drivers and guides are paid an average salary and tipping is generally an acceptable culture to compensate their salary deficit for them to earn a living wage. The Kenyan currency comes in both coins and notes.
It is preferable to tip in Kenyan shillings, but dollars are also a second option especially if you are tipping more than the normal average amount of money. In case you run out of Kenyan money that you had planned to last you during the day or the trip then you can use foreign currency to tip. For a small amount of money it is always preferable to tip in the local currency. Having adequate foreign exchange of your dollars is the better thing to do. The normal amount of money to tip in the local currency is between $5 or $10 per day.
How to tip
As clarified earlier, it is not compulsory to tip and the amount of money to tip is not fixed on stone. It is really up to you. However, tipping is not a comfortable experience for everyone and some people feel quite embarrassed. Generally, if you are tipping a small amount of money, simply hand it over to the person you are gifting the money directly to them by hand. However, for a large amount of money, which is above the normal range, it is better to bring an envelope and place the money in it before handing it over. You can also alternatively give a tip in form of a gift, gifts such as clothes, electronic gadgets, or gaming items such as footballs.
Who to tip
For most first-time safari tourists in Kenya, there is the concern of how to tip or who should be tipped. Again, tipping is only for good service and there is not really any obligation to tip everyone who attends to you. The culture of tipping for African Safaris in Kenya mostly involves tipping the tour guides, tour drivers, and hotel or lodge staff. It is not mandatory, but the wait staff, petrol attendants, and airport transfer taxi drivers can also be tipped at your discretion for a good service.