This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Tipping in Kenya

Tipping in Kenya

Tipping in Kenya

Safari driver-guides earn reasonable salaries by Kenyan standards, but tips from clients still make up a proportion of their income, sometimes accounting for a large part of their earnings. How to tip, and how much to give, not just to driver-guides but to other safari camp staff and people working in the tourism industry in general, can feel like a social etiquette minefield.

Since tips are discretionary, and supposed to be supplementary income, not someone’s main source of income, our view at Expert Africa is that ideally you should feel comfortable giving whatever you like in whatever manner you prefer: we would rather see staff salaries higher, and tips lower, transferring slightly more of the onus to camp owners. There is, however, a relatively established tipping culture in the safari industry in Kenya and we hope the following notes of guidance help if you’re simply hoping to do the right thing and not offend anyone.

Tipping while on safari: we suggest you budget on tipping about US$20 or Ksh2,000 per room or tent per day, always at the end of your stay in the lodge or camp. If you’re a solo traveller, you could certainly tip less – Ksh1000 would often be fine. If you’re a family sharing one room or tent, you might want to increase the figure, while if you have children or teens in a separate tent, you wouldn't necessarily want to double it. Half of this daily sum should go to your driver/guide and half to the back-of-house camp or lodge team, by leaving it in the tip box or sometimes in an envelope given to the manager. Driver-guides are not included in the tip box share, which is why you tip them separately, and this is generally done when you say goodbye to them. Sometimes a spotter or trainee guide will also be part of your 'crew' at the front of the vehicle when out on game drives. Depending on their contribution, you might give them a separate tip, or suggest to the main driver-guide that he or she should share some of his/her tip with that person.

If you are at all unsure about any aspects of this protocol, it’s common and perfectly acceptable to have a quiet word with the manager at some point. The manager will be on a significantly higher salary than any of the staff so you don’t need to worry about tipping him or her.

Some camps make suggestions of how much to give in their room/tent briefing notes. We’re not keen on this practice, as it suggests a formality to tipping which undermines the responsibility of the owner to pay staff properly. If these figures seem high, then we would encourage you to stick to your guns and give what you think is reasonable rather than subsidise the payroll costs.

Tipping in coast and city hotels tends to be expected, and Ksh100 or Ksh200 would not be out of place on arrival for seeing you to your room with your bags. During the course of your stay, however, it isn’t necessary to tip waiting and room staff constantly. Instead, plan to tip everyone in one go when you check out. Most hotels have a gratuities box in reception, often a wooden chest bolted to the wall with “Staff Tips” painted prominently on it, where you can leave a single tip for all the staff – including room staff and back-of-house staff – when you leave. Roughly Ksh1,000 to Ksh2,000 ($10–$20) per room per day is about right, depending on how many people are in the room. Again, it’s fine to speak to the manager about this.

Tipping in restaurants and bars isn’t customary everywhere in Kenya, but in Nairobi and on the coast, where wealthy Kenyans and overseas visitors are the usual guests, a tipping culture has become well established. Ten percent of the bill for your waiter – or better still if you can arrange it, to be shared between all the waiting staff – would be appropriate.



Our top picks for holidays to Kenya

We'll always tailor-make your Safari for you. Here are some of our favourites to inspire you.


Itinerary image

Black Kite Fly-in Safari

10 days • 4 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Explore Kenya in-depth with visits to Nairobi and Meru National Parks, the Mara Conservancies and Amboseli. Nestled in remoter regions, four camps provide fantastic access to rich game, a range of activities and beautifully diverse landscapes.

US$8,380 - US$9,630 per person

Itinerary image

Gabar Goshawk Fly-in Safari

10 days • 4 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Experience Amboseli, the Maasai Mara ecosystem and Laikipia during this economically priced safari. Two simple camps offer adventure before a stopover in Nairobi and a final stay in the charming, wildlife-rich Il Ngwesi Eco-Lodge.

US$4,790 - US$4,790 per person

Itinerary image

De Brazza Monkey Fly-in Safari

9 days • 3 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Enjoy a range of activities in the remote wilderness of northern Kenya before exploring the wildlife-rich plains of the Mara ecosystem. Private vehicles and guides heighten the personalisation of this highly immersive safari.

US$9,700 - US$11,350 per person

Itinerary image

Hamerkop Fly-In Safari

8 days • 2 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Different wildlife, contrasting camps and a whole host of activities, this is a safari for those wanting to get out and about and not just sit in a vehicle.

US$5,500 - US$8,280 per person

Itinerary image

Rothschild Giraffe Safari

8 days • 3 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

A luxury Kenyan safari, starting at the iconic Giraffe Manor before fabulous stays on the spectacular Solio Reserve and Sala’s Camp in a remote corner of the Maasai Mara.

US$9,200 - US$12,650 per person

Itinerary image

Golden Jackal Fly-in Safari

8 days • 2 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

A contrasting safari of a lodge and a tented camp, action-packed activities in Laikipia and wildlife-filled game drives in the Maasai Mara, yet overall a consistently high quality experience.

US$8,050 - US$10,300 per person

Itinerary image

Big Cat Fly-in Safari

8 days • 2 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Combining two of Kenya’s best wildlife viewing areas, this slow-paced safari to the Lewa Conservancy and Maasai Mara guarantees iconic wildlife. The long established, well-rated camps are great value too.

US$5,060 - US$7,460 per person

Itinerary image

Lanner Falcon Fly-In Safari

8 days • 3 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Three sister camps offer access to wonderfully remote regions across northern Kenya and the Maasai Mara ecosystem. Enjoy an exclusive safari experience with a range of activities that include great wildlife, superb guiding and considerable comfort.

US$6,170 - US$8,220 per person

Itinerary image

African Finfoot Fly-in Safari

7 days • 3 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

A unique start to the safari in Nairobi National Park, then classic, luxurious camps combine for a high end and exclusive safari in fantastic wildlife destinations.

US$8,180 - US$12,640 per person

Itinerary image

African Hawk-Eagle Fly-in Safari

7 days • 2 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Two luxurious camps provide quieter game-viewing within Laikipia and the Mara ecosystem. Situated on private conservancies, Lewa Wilderness and Naboisho offer the chance to sight all of the ‘big 5’ and enjoy a range of safari activities.

US$6,440 - US$10,070 per person

View all holidays in Kenya

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

Inspire me

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team