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Many Trip Advisor members ask about tipping on safari. Here are some guidelines based on many safaris to Southern Africa. All amounts are given in US dollars as this is the most commonly used currency for tipping, and represent minimum amounts -- if you receive exceptional service, a greater tip is always appreciated!
Guides: $10 per guest per day in a shared vehicle. At least double that amount per guest in a private vehicle.
Mokoro polers / trackers / butlers / valets: $5 per guest per day.
General staff fund (for cleaners, cooks, waiters, etc): $5 per guest per day.
All tips are normally given at the end of your stay. Envelopes for tips are normally found in the camp lounge. The general staff tip box can usually be found near the bar. Including a personal thank-you note in the staff tip box or in the envelope for your guide along with the tip is a wonderful way to thank them and is always deeply appreciated!
Many camps allow tipping by credit card if you prefer not to carry cash, but it's wise to check this in advance.
People often ask if they should bring gifts for their guides. Gifts in addition to the cash tip are always appreciated and give the gesture a more personal touch -- many people bring something characteristic of their home town. Some guides have a collection of small stick pins from around the world which have been given to them by guests. If you'd like to bring food, don't bring anything with a low melting point (e.g. chocolate) as it will most likely melt during your light aircraft transfer (the luggage pods are not insulated) and end up decorating the inside of your bag. Nuts are also not a good idea due to nut allergies.
If you're returning to a camp and know the guide personally, a personal gift for him or his family is a lovely gesture. Current magazines on subjects such as sport and photography are particularly appreciated as they are hard to come by in Botswana, especially in the bush. If you'd like to give a gift to the camp staff, a football (soccer ball) and pump will be very welcome, as many people in Botswana are football-crazy!