Tipping is not mandatory, though it is customary. Guides, drivers, waiters and hotel staff can be tipped at your discretion and the amount should be based on service received. Tips can be given in the local currency or US dollars. In camp or at your lodge, you’ll often find a box for tips. Tips given here will generally be divided among the staff.
Below is a guideline to assist you:
Safari guide: $10 per day, per person
Trackers: $5 per day, per person
Camp staff: $5 – $10 per day, per person (this typically goes into a communal box or is given to the camp manager)
Transfer drivers: $2-$5
Porters at hotels: $1 -$2
The Safari Experience
Going on safari is a truly special experience. It’s also a unique experience schedule-wise, The rhythm of the day is designed to provide you with the best game-viewing opportunities, and thus is based on the patterns of the animals’ behavior.
Your experience will differ somewhat depending on whether you are on a mobile safari or staying at a permanent tented camp/lodge, and whether you are staying in a private concession area or in a national park. However, there tends to be some similarities to the schedule.
Typically you will:
- Go on an early morning game drive while the animals are still active. They tend to find shade and sleep during the day, especially when it’s hot. This means an early morning wakeup (about 5:00 or 5:30 a.m., earlier in summer and later in winter). A light breakfast is generally available before departing camp or a light snack is provided during the game drive.
- Game drives can last 3-4 hours, depending on what is happening in the bush
- A full breakfast/brunch tends to be served when you return to camp; some camps also provide lunch, depending on their particular schedule
- Relax at camp during mid-day
- Afternoon tea is often served around 3pm
- Late afternoon game drive: These typically leave camp around 4 p.m.. In national parks, you need to be back to camp by sundown; in private concessions, you’re often allowed to stay out in the evening, so afternoon game drives typically range from 2-4 hours.
- Dinner: In private concession areas, dinners can be quite late, especially if the sightings are good on the game drive and those in the vehicle are enthusiastic to follow the activity into the night!
If you have want to know more about what to expect schedule wise with your particular itinerary, just contact us.
Note about Game Drives
The type of vehicle used for game drives is often dependent on the country you are visiting and whether you’re on private concession areas or national parks. In the national parks in East Africa, mini-vans with pop up roofs are typically used, while in Southern Africa, 4×4 open-sided vehicles are commonly used.
Unless you’ve ordered a private vehicle or have enough in your party to fill up a vehicle, you will generally go out on game drives with others at the camp. It can be quite fun to share in this experience with others from the camp. With this comes some compromise on how long to stay out, whether or not to follow one animal for some time or try to see more animals, etc. If you feel having the flexibility of having your own vehicle is important to you, contact us and we’ll be happy to let you know how much the camp/lodge charges for private vehicles.
It can be quite chilly, if not downright cold, on the early morning and evening game drives, especially in the winter months. Prepare yourself for this by packing layers (see packing list) and having a sweater/fleece and a light, wind-resistant jacket. Some camps even provide blankets and water bottles in the winter. Once the sun rises in the sky and you don’t have the wind from the vehicle, you’ll generally be quite happy in a t-shirt in both summer and winter, so layering is key!
Always remember that the animals you are viewing are WILD. Be sure to follow the safety precautions in each camp and when out on a drive or walk. Safety precautions need to be taken seriously and followed.
Don’t ask your guide to get closer to the wildlife. They know what is appropriate and it is not worth risking your safety along with those with you to get a better photo or view … as tempting as it may seem. The behavior of wild animals can be unpredictable, especially when they are frightened. A vehicle too close to the wildlife can hinder a hunt or cause animals to abandon a hard-earned meal. Observe animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities.