Is Tipping Allowed on a Gorilla Safari?
Is Tipping allowed on a Gorilla Safari? This is one of the many questions most travellers raise to their tour operator or even themselves along their gorilla safari planning process. The answer to this question is yes, tipping is allowed on a gorilla trekking safari. Tipping in the tourism industry is much recommended just as a token of appreciation to those that have been most helpful to you during your gorilla safari planning process, and all those that may have served you exceptionally well during your gorilla safari. It is important to note that tipping in Uganda is NOT mandatory, it is just out of courtesy, unlike in other countries where tipping is a must.
If the answer to the question is tipping allowed on a gorilla safari is yes, one next wonders what one ought to give different groups of people. What you should give your gorilla safari team may vary, depending on their specific roles played during your gorilla safari. This gorilla trekking tipping guide should therefore help you know who, what amount, how, and why you should tip, as may be found out in a bit.
Gorilla trekking tipping for a safari planner
Safari planners are employed by the tour company you are using for your gorilla safari. They therefore are paid a salary, for the work that they do. Some travellers however do tip these safari planners, usually those that think that the safari planners did an exceptional job during their gorilla safari planning safari, say changing one’s travel plans over and over again, or even for abrupt planning for a gorilla safari say in less than a week during the busy season.
Gorilla trekking safari tipping guide for local porters
Porters are those people that you shall always find at the starting point of your gorilla trekking adventure. Most times, travellers get to book one right after the briefing by the park officials. Porters are not paid a salary, and most of them are former poachers who renounced the activity and embraced the benefits of tourism and know how it could benefit them and future generations. Travellers take porters to help them with their luggage like carrying camera equipment or lunch equipment, their backpacks as well as help with a push or pull during the gorilla trekking experience. Given they earn no salary, they highly depend on what you tip them, on top of what you pay them for the luggage they would have carried for you. The minimum cost of hiring a porter in Uganda is $20, depending on the amount of luggage to be carried and the location of the gorilla family. Tipping them anything between $5-10 at the end of the gorilla trekking experience if their services were satisfactory is a welcome act to these porters.
Gorilla trekking tipping guide for ranger guides, trackers and security personnel
Often times, there is one Ranger guide per group, 2-3 trackers per group and 2-4 security personnel per group. All these earn salaries from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), but tipping them if their services were satisfactory and maybe went an extra mile for you is advised. A recommended tip is of $40 per day per person, preferably given to the head guide in plain sight that others on the team would know and expect their share.
Tipping for lodge staff while on a gorilla safari
Lodge staff are all paid a salary, right from the receptionist to the gardeners or even gate men. These hotel or lodge staff are however much happier when tipped for it is a token of appreciation in return of the wonderful services that they do offer, especially to you the traveller. That smiling and welcoming receptionist is not the only one who should be given a tip, for it is a collective effort that has you enjoying your stay in a lodge. Placing something in the Tip Box always somewhere in the lodge vicinity is much welcomed for whatever is there is shared by all the hotel or lodge staff. These other lodge staff besides the receptionists that you should consider when tipping include the chefs, cleaners, gardeners, among others, that you may never see or interact with physically but all do something to make your stay all the more comfortable.
Gorilla trekking tipping guide for driver guides
Driver guides are usually employees of the tour company you are using for your gorilla safari, and therefore earn either salaries or given allowances prior to the start of the gorilla trekking safari. But as is the culture in the tourism industry, putting together a little ‘thank you gift’ for your driver guide, who is usually with you throughout your gorilla safari is advised, more so if he or she was really good to you. A tip of $5-10 per traveller per day is appropriate enough. Tipping a driver guide is usually done in person, and at the end of the safari, when he is dropping you off at the airport or your hotel/apartment of stay.
Tipping while on a gorilla safari can be done in either local currencies or United States Dollars, for as long as they are series not of or older than 2009 since they are not expected in East Africa.