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Safari guides

Dearborn, Michigan
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1,339 posts
136 reviews
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Safari guides

May sound silly here, but I'm wondering... On a private safari, traveling solo, why would a good guide be willing to take just 1 passenger, when he could double his tip by taking two? Can I expect the same caliber of guide traveling alone?

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
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2,898 posts
193 reviews
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1. Re: Safari guides

For guides, it should not be about the tip, but the safari and the passion they have for animals and showing others. Kenya is not a tip centric society. A tip is seen as a goodwill gesture, rather then a need.

I watch guides who have no guests go out on game drives, alone because they love nature.

Ask heaps of questions, and you will have a great experience.

London, United...
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990 posts
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2. Re: Safari guides

I'd agree with RWA, I self drive safari most of the time and have often given guides a lift if they needed one, etc. The good ones, and there are very many, really are attached to and proud of their work. I have had many offers of a day for 'no fee' in exchange for doing something rather basic for someone! I think you will find the people of Kenya very different to what you are used to, they are friendly, and extremely helpful, to the point of insanity at times. Tips are, as RWA says, still seen for the goodwill they are meant to be, and not an 'expectation' as they are in 'the West', particularly in the US.

I am also frequently berated by my friends and associates there for over tipping, not because they are mean or I am particularly over generous, but because it upsets the 'balance' of things. It really is like stepping back in time in some places, mellow out and enjoy it.

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
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4,718 posts
9 reviews
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3. Re: Safari guides

I think the main consideration is that most guides are attached to camps, lodges and safari operators, and they do what they're told to by their employers. So if a great guide gets sent out with a solo traveller (who is going to be paying $250–400 per day *just* for exclusive vehicle and guide (on top of the basic price of the safari), then that guide will be on a higher basic salary than one who goes out with a group of less demanding visitors.

Economics, basically.

Richard Trillo

nyc
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14,460 posts
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4. Re: Safari guides

Those affiliated with a safari operator on a mostly driving safari, might have weeks of group departures with 4-6/pax; and then have a solo traveler. It's always going to vary and their compensation accordingly.

If using camp/lodge guides, unless you choose exclusive use at daily rates as mentioned above, likewise, some days the guide/s will take out a full vehicle of 6/pax, others maybe only 2-4/pax.

Tips will always vary.

5. Re: Safari guides

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