For many people traveling overseas, tipping can be somewhat confusing. We have created a tipping guide that will alleviate the confusion every time you reach for your wallet. Tipping is commonplace in South Africa: People working in the service industry in South Africa often rely heavily on tips to make ends meet. Often these people earn either minimum wage, or no wages at all, making tips a big part of their monthly income.

The below guide will show you who to tip and how much.

1: Restaurants

Tipping is standard practice in South Africa to tip your waiter or waitress 10 to 20 % of the total bill. Most waiters and waitresses earn a minimum wage, but they do rely heavily on their tips to make a living. Some restaurants will automatically add a standard service charge of 10% too big groups, but check this with the manager. If a standard service charge is charged, it is up to the patron to decide whether or not to add to the tip depending on service.

2: Bars

Barmen and women also rely heavily on tips. Tipping them works the same as with restaurants, where 10 to 20 % is of the total bill is acceptable.

3: Safari

Rangers and trackers more often than not play a big role in making your safari special and memorable: The trackers help find animals such as the Big 5, and it becomes apparent how useful their tracking skills are during a safari. Rangers don’t just keep you safe, but also share valuable and entertaining information with you. Tipping is not compulsory, but if you feel that the ranger did a good job, then it is recommended that you tip R200 to R300 per family (or couple) per day. Tips for trackers are usually R100 to R200 per family (or couple) per day.

Most lodges have tipping advice and guidelines, so do feel free to ask them more about this.

4: Airport Porters

It is standard practice to tip airport porters R3 to R5 per piece of luggage.

5: Petrol (Gas) Station Attendants

South Africa still offers the luxury (and much-needed employment) of petrol attendants. These petrol attendants fill up your vehicle, take the payment, and will clean your windscreen, check the oil, water and tire pressure. Petrol attendants also function as South Africa’s back- up GPS systems: If you get lost, or the GPS is not working, you can always stop at your nearest petrol station to get directions. The average tip can be anything from R2 and up.

6: Car Guards

Travelers can expect to find car guards just about anywhere you park. These guards will offer to watch your car and help you park in exchange for a tip of R2 and up. Do be aware however that the guards must wear a reflective vest (usually bright yellow or orange) to indicate that the city employs them, and not just begging.

7: Health and Beauty services

The standard tipping fee for a massage and beauty therapist is 10 to 20% of your total payment. The same applies to hair stylists. Do however remember to leave a small tip for the person who washed your hair: usually R10 to R15.

8: Tour Guides and drivers

The standard practice in South Africa is to tip the tour guide and coach driver at the end of your tour. If you are doing a group tour, then we recommend tipping anything from R20 to R50 per person. You may tip more if you are pleased with the service.

If you are taking a private tour, i.e., only one couple or a family, then we recommend you tip the driver (who will usually also be your guide) anything from R100 and up. Guests are welcome to tip more if they feel that the driver/guide made their trip enjoyable.

9: Accommodation

Each establishment has their in-house policy, and you are welcome to check with them, but usually, a standard tip of 10% of your total bill can be paid upon check- out. This will then be divided between the staff, including cleaners, waiters, porters, kitchen and garden staff and in some cases reception and management. If there is a specific staff member you would like to tip more, you are can either give it to them personally or leave it in a marked envelope at reception or with the concierge. If you wish to tip the porter directly, they would usually expect R10 to R20.

Below is a quick reference guide for when you are on the go (feel free to print it out and keep it in your wallet)


How much?

Game Rangers R200 to R300 per family (couple) per day
Trackers R100 to R200 per family (couple) per day
Tour Guides (Group Tour) R20 and up per person
Tour Guides (Private) R100 and up per couple/ family/ single traveler
Waiters and Waitresses 10 to 20 % of the total bill
Barmen and bar women 10 to 20 % of the total bill
Accommodation 10 % of the total bill
Hotel porters R10 to R20
Airport porters R3 to R5 per piece of luggage
Petrol (Gas) Attendants R2 and up
Car Guards R2 and up
Massage/ Beauty Therapist 10 to 20 % of the total fee

18 thoughts on “Tipping Advice in South Africa

  1. Krisan Sablaon says:

    This blog is super helpful, especially for first-timers. Though tipping is completely voluntary in Africa, it’s highly suggested as it can be a huge help to the locals and people in the country who are earning a minimum wage. But since different countries have different perspectives in tipping, an informative post like this helps people know how much we can give as tips to people. I liked that it highlighted tipping in different industries/jobs too. Great work! This is a must share.

  2. Karanja Kenya says:

    The tipping culture in the travel related field in Africa has affected the overall wage where employers take into consideration tipping before setting out the minimum wage. I think tipping should be left at the discretion of the traveler and should they feel the services provided is worth the penny, then go ahead and leave some tip at their discretion.

  3. Angol says:

    I feel this business of tipping should be stopped, you are paying for the service then why tip is a must? This culture is not good. Let it come from the heart if you feel you have some coin and wants to offer.

  4. Niko says:

    You might be wondering what the local tipping culture involves. First, tipping in Africa and especially in Kenya or Tanzania 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.

  5. Gikungu says:

    While on safari you might be asking yourself how do you give appreciation to your guide or after service at your camp or lodge. It’s not compulsory though it’s appreciated when you that.
    Guideline on tipping for guides in Tanzania.
    1) Safaris Guide $ 10-15 Per day per person.
    2) Porters to your room $ 2-5
    3) Waiters $ 3-5 per day

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  7. Shanon says:

    One of the help ful article. Visiting Africa for first time is my dream after Covid 19 hope we make it and achieve what we had plan. Thank you for sharing such nice blog.

  8. Carlotta Stanley says:

    I plan to visit Africa and when I do I plan on tipping the folk who service me! It’s a priceless experience I will honor it and be generous to those who assist me!

  9. Pingback: 7 things to know before visiting South Africa - My Pink Passport

  10. Sam Baker says:

    One of the help ful article. Visiting Africa for first time is my dream after Covid 19 hope we make it and achieve what we had plan. Thank you for sharing such nice blog.

  11. pius says:

    I completely agree with the notion that tipping should be at the discretion of the traveler. It’s true that tipping cultures differ across countries and industries. While tipping is not mandatory, it certainly does make a significant difference in the lives of those who rely on it. This guide is a valuable resource for travelers, offering clarity on when and how much to tip across various services.

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