When is the right time to tip?We do get asked when the best time is to hand out any tips. You have a few options, ether to tip after each activity, at the end of each day, or at the end of your stay.
Firstly, you may wish to tip your private driver/guide. In this case, we’d recommend that you give the money directly to him/her as you leave. Secondly, if you want to tip staff at the hotels, we would suggest placing the tips in the staff tip box again at the end of your stay.
Finally, if you are tracking gorillas or other primates in Rwanda, it is usual to tip your national park guide, ranger and porter at the end of the trek. It’s customary also to tip a couple of dollars to any trackers, you’ll need to do this after your hour with the primates, as they will stay in the forest while you head back to the park headquarters.
What is the best way to tip?You’ll find that the majority of hotels and lodges have a main tip box, often at reception, that is shared out amongst the staff equally. Guests have asked us if they’re able to tip using a credit card, but this is not usually practical, the majority of hotels in Rwanda are unable to process this, so we advise that you take cash for tipping.
For your trekking guides, rangers, trackers and porters, you’ll need to tip in US dollars or Rwandan francs. We’d advise bringing US dollars in small denominations for this purpose, as it’s often difficult to get small change once out in the country.
If you want to plan ahead, take a few envelopes along to prepare tips for individual guides along the way.
Is there a certain amount I ought to be tipping?’We’re only able to advise based on our own trips out to Rwanda. Tipping is not compulsory, and whilst it’s always appreciated, the amount given depends completely on your personal experiences, opinions and satisfaction.
With that in mind, we’ve given a rough guideline below:
- Private Guide: $5-10 per person per day
- National Park Guide: $5 per person, per trek
- Ranger: $2-3 per ranger
- Trackers: $2-5 for the group
- Hotel / lodge staff: US $5 per person per day
To put that into perspective, in the UK the average GNI is US $116 per person, while in the United States it is around US $156 and in Germany approximately US $120 for each member of the population.
To conclude, though giving gratuities can be a complicated subject, it is a normal part of Rwanda’s culture and service industry. Do remember that more affluent travellers can impact disproportionately on the local economy, tipping the balance of social and economic factors, so keep that in mind when tipping staff and guides during your time in Rwanda.
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