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These days, it is difficult to know the appropriate amount to tip for anything, let alone something as specialized as a Uganda safari. So, if you are not quite sure about the appropriate tip, here are some guidelines for tipping in Uganda while you travel through the towns and national parks.

Is Tipping Customary In Uganda?

Please note that tipping in Uganda on a safari is customary but not obligatory or mandatory. However, considering that most Ugandans earn little, tips will be highly appreciated.

This extra money you give as a tip really helps boost the income of people working in the tourism industry. It also boosts their confidence in sustainable tourism. Of course you should only give a tip if you are satisfied with the quality of the service.

Should I Tip in Uganda Shillings?

When it comes to Uganda tipping, it is best to tip in Uganda shillings if possible.

This is because it is often difficult for local people to exchange small amounts of hard currency in East Africa. However, if you do not have Uganda shillings, tipping in Uganda in US dollars is widely acceptable. Your safari/tour guide should be able to assist you with where to exchange currency after you land in Uganda.

Usually, there will be time in your planned Uganda safari itinerary to do this at the airport in Entebbe or Forex Bureau in Kampala city before you transfer to your hotel at the start of your safari. Ensure you exchange enough money; your business is appreciated in Uganda. The money you spend on local services and goods, as well as tipping, power the economy of Africa.

Who Should I Tip on a Uganda Safari?

On an organized safari in Uganda, it is usual to tip the following people:

  • Your personal tour driver guide/company guide: This person make sure you have a great safari tour in Uganda. He/she shares a lot of information about places, things, and the local people and will also ensures you travel safely.
  • Activity guides at destinations: At many Uganda safari destinations you will visit on your safari in Uganda, you will be received by a guide who will take you through an activity or destination, share information and ensure you have the best experience. For instance, you will have a guide during gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking and all active safari experiences. You will also find guides at museums, art galleries, and local sites.
  • Porters: During trekking and hiking expeditions there are porters available for hire at around US$20 for those who need one to carry their backpacks and offer some support in difficult trekking situations. At the end of the adventure you can tip the porter an extra fee.
  • Waiters and waitresses at restaurants: These are constant throughout the Uganda safari trip at restaurants during transit. Tipping them is not standard, but is always appreciated, especially if the service is good.
  • Lodge and hotel staff: At hotels and lodges in Uganda, most travellers also leave tips for the lodge staff and many lodges have their own tip box where you leave money to be shared out amongst the staff.

Is There Ever A Time When I Should Not Tip?

While touring Uganda cities especially Kampala avoids tipping or giving money to street children who are asking for money.

These children must be in schools, and while they may tug at your heartstrings, they are often used as bait and will likely bring the money to an adult lurking nearby.

Generally, avoid giving money to beggars of any age in Uganda, wherever you may encounter them. Giving money to beggars only prolongs the practice.

Also, never give a tip if it is demanded of you, or if the service is extremely bad. Service in Uganda is usually excellent and locals and safari staff are friendly.

You will also find the prices in Uganda extremely cheap in comparison to western countries. If you go on a safari in Uganda, you may even find the destination addictive! Many first-time visitors to Uganda often return for safaris or tours in other African safari countries for, as Pliny the Elder said thousands of years ago, “There’s always something new out of Africa.

How much should I tip in Uganda?

Several facts influence how much to tip on a Uganda safari. These include the quality of service experienced, your individual financial constraints, your personal attitude towards gratuities, as well as the dynamics of your group, and Uganda safari package. 

The guiding principle for tipping in Uganda remains tip any amount that you feel is worthy and that you can afford. But be aware of the fact that there is both too much and too little. 

A well trained guide or ranger, for instance, should always receive more than a cleaner because their skills and training should be rewarded. If porters were to get larger tips than wildlife rangers, then porting would be incentivized over conservation. Please be both generous and fair. 

Irrespective of the amount you decide to tip, there is no need to express apologies for it.  Simply offer the tip in the manner you prefer and express your gratitude sincerely. The staff members always warmly receive gestures of appreciation, acknowledgment, and thankfulness. 

Now, what is the appropriate tip for a Uganda safari? How much should you consider tipping in Uganda on a safari? What is the suitable amount for a tour guide?

Here is a general reference for tipping in Uganda while on safari:

This is a general guide and you can adjust it according to your personal safari budget.

  • Personal tour driver guide: USD$10 to $20 per day per guest
  • Activity/destination guides: $15 – $20 per tourist
  • Porter: a porter US$5 to US$10. The cost to hire a porter is around $20 per trek
  • Waiters, waitresses & other hotel support staff: $5 (Uganda shilling 5,000 – 10,000)
  • Airport or lodge transfers: Tip drivers between US$ 1 – 5 per person.

When to tip?

Tipping in Uganda is appropriate at the end of your meal, lodge stay, game drive, gorilla trek or safari. For instance, if you are staying for three nights at a single safari lodge or camp that includes multiple wildlife game drives with the same guide, tip when you leave for your next safari destination. The same applies to tipping at restaurants. 

The best-case scenario is to provide a single tip at the culmination of your stay at each lodge, camp, or hotel. Your safari guide will not expect a tip after every individual safari activity or even at the end of each day.

If you adopt such a practice, you might inadvertently place pressure on your guide to tailor their performance to only you who is offering the tip, potentially disrupting the harmonious relationship between the guide and other guests. It could also create an uncomfortable situation for your fellow guests if you were consistently offering tips while they chose not to.

Tips for Easier Tipping in Uganda on a safari

  • Examine Your Uganda safari Itinerary: Please note that instances where you think you may be expected to tip – such as the transfer driver from the airport to your hotel, the porter at the hotel, the waiter for dinner that night – and how much you want or can afford to give them. Ask your tour operator for advice if you’re in doubt.
  • Divide the Tips into Separate Envelopes: Split them either per day or per accommodation. This makes it much easier to keep track of your cash.
  • Get Small Bills like USD 5, 10 & 20: These are easier to hand over and few places will be able to break $50 or $100 notes.
  • Bring Cash with You: Uganda is not the country where you can reliably draw money from ATMs or cash machines. Bring cash along with you.
  • Keep Your Cash Secure: Use the in-room safe. If there isn’t one, ask the manager to put your valuables – like money and passports – in the safe.
  • Take US Dollar: This is the most widely accepted currency in Uganda. It’s also much easier to stick to one currency if you are crossing borders or doing a multi-destination safari.

Ready to Start Planning Your Uganda Trip?

Get in touch with our team of Uganda Safari and tours Experts to help tailor-make a trip that is right for you: