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how much to tip the driver

Shanghai, China
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how much to tip the driver

We 4 people for 11-day safari. How much to pay the driver for tipping in total? USD/car/day.

Thanks!

Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: how much to tip the driver

Tipping is purely a thank you for good service. It is not mandatory and should not be viewed as making up the shortfall in wages from an unscrupulous employer.

Having said that Tipping is welcomed if your driver has done a good job.

My yardstick is $10-$15 per day. NOT per person per car load. So in your example this would be $110-$150. If he has done a good job, been friendly and not spent all drive time on his telephones, I would lean towards the top end. If he has been lazy, uncommunicative and even unhelpful he would get nothing at all.

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
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2. Re: how much to tip the driver

That slightly misses the point mfuwe.

Unfortunately, tipping on safari in Kenya has reached the point where it's morally mandatory, even if there's no law about it and it isn't mentioned in the contract. Virtually every tour operator (I can't think of any exceptions) expect their clients, and sometimes almost instruct them in briefing notes, to pay tips in the order of $5-10 per adult, per party or per couple (suggestions vary) per day to their driver/guide. That's the basis on which drivers work. The same applies in most high-end camps and lodges, where a daily tip for the staff tip box (left at the end) is expected from each room. And to be clear, it absolutely does subsidise wages. Without tips, many tourist industry staff would be very much worse off.

Tips aren't a nice little extra in Kenya, unfortunately, they're bread and butter. Or sometimes just bread.

Notoriously, there was a tour operator and hotel owner – African Safari Club, thankfully now our of business – that predicated its whole business model on late or zero wages, knowing that a stream of tips from sensitive clients would ensure the staff kept coming to work.

I think it's wrong and wages should be a lot higher.

But that's where we're at in 2012.

Richard

Fallen on Hard Times
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1,194 posts
36 reviews
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3. Re: how much to tip the driver

Nice Reply Richard!

We did a two night/three day safari in a private vehicle (2 pax) in Feb and gave the driver £60. I didn't think it was a too big a tip.

Mama Mzee had her birthday at Salt Lick and the lodge gave her a big chocolate cake with her name on it. She cut slices of cake for ourselves and took the rest to the safari drivers who were eating in a separate part of the dining hall.

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
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2,930 posts
191 reviews
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4. Re: how much to tip the driver

Richard, I do agree with you, but if you have had mediocre service from a driver/guide, then by not tipping highly, you hopefully have sent a message through to them.

As locals, we usually end up tipping our guide around Kshs 1000 (US$12) per day, and we put Kshs 1000 per day in the camp tip box. However when we have had a mediocre guide, our tip has been "Thank you".

Fallen on Hard Times
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1,194 posts
36 reviews
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5. Re: how much to tip the driver

<<However when we have had a mediocre guide, our tip has been "Thank you".>>

Best "Free" Tip you can give anyone: "Don't drink yellow snow"

Fordingbridge...
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2,019 posts
177 reviews
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6. Re: how much to tip the driver

Would either of you be prepared to update the FAQ on tipping? The points you have raised are very interesting & should be shared with all TA readers. Hope you don't mind my request.

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: how much to tip the driver

Richard,

I am sorry but I must strenuously disagree with the underlying philosophy here. How the heck do you justify increasing the tip by the number of pax? That is madness. The guy drives ONE car, ONE party and does the same work whatever the number of pax he has. If he drives a Minibus does he get 8 times?

Tips are not to make up the difference to a living wage. That is an unfortunate American trait with low paid "Servers" in Burger joints where the practice is almost out of control to the extent that the "Check" comes with the 25-30% actually written out 'to make it easy for you buddy!'. (my tip in those instances is to strike it right out, settle the account, my tip to the server is "Get another job!")

The OP is from a country where until fairly recently it was deemed an insult to tip.

He/she was asking for guidance as they are visiting a different culture. I gave that guidance based on my practice based on nearly 30 years experience which I have no intention of changing..

As for ASC's pernicious practice. Well more fool the people who complied. All they achieved was to make the business plan work until the whole thing went belly up much later than it would have done had they ignored it. They kept that business going when they should not have done.

£60 Mzungu M? I have just hired a car and driver for that. but I will tip him no doubt.

Good to know some folks out there have a sense of realism RoadWarrior.

I have rarely withheld a tip, if he was that bad he would have been exchanged for another sharpish, but I do reserve the right not to tip at all if warranted. AND I up the tip if he has performed over and above the call of duty.

But it is my thank you and NOT a duty.

Edited: 04 July 2012, 16:29
nyc
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14,537 posts
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8. Re: how much to tip the driver

Not to comment on my own tipping habits, as a Yank... am very liberal.

However, in your situation, I feel $10/day per couple will be just fine for guide/driver. And, $5-7/day per couple towards staff tips.

If on a flying safari, likewise I'd give guide $10/day per couple and if there is a tracker $5/day per couple.

Of course, if you find the service is not worthy... then reduce; if better than expected, up the amount.

Don't forget at city hotels - tips for porters ($1/bag), housekeeping ($2/day per rm).

Nairobi, Kenya
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96 posts
1 review
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9. Re: how much to tip the driver

Most tour drivers earn an average salary of 100$ a month.Its true that tips and other forms of gratuity mean almost life and death to them.10$/person/day is the standard and the conventional amount for the tour driver.

Durham
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651 posts
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10. Re: how much to tip the driver

our driver/guide was exceptional

their was five of us for 4nights, five days and we gave him £100