This blog post was updated on July 7, 2023.
However, you can expect a service charge ranging from five to 10 percent to be applied to many bills in hotels. This includes room service charges and restaurant and bar bills. Other than hotels, tipping is largely discretionary for services such as tours. You may also encounter per diem rates for some tours.
While tipping is strongly encouraged and expected in South Africa, the percentage is significantly lower than what you may find in other parts of the world. For instance, the standard tipping rate for most restaurants is considered to fall at about 10 percent of the total bill. This tip is usually automatically added to the bill, removing the guessing game for the customer. It’s not expected for customers to tip at bars or for taxi services.
A small amount of a tip is welcome for housekeeping and for bell services or a hotel concierge. Many hotels in South Africa will provide a list of tipping guidelines to make it easier to discern the accepted amount. This is particularly true if you’re staying at a camp or a safari lodge. Visitors should also know that it’s customary to tip for attendants at fueling stations or for airport porters.
Most restaurants and bars do not expect customers to tip in South America. The exception is fine dining restaurants, where tipping is often encouraged. You may even discover that a nicer restaurant tacks a 10 percent service charge onto the total bill.
You aren’t expected to tip taxi drivers or bartenders in South America. A few dollars is a good guide for a tip for hotel housekeeping service and porters. You may want to increase this amount for more upscale hotels and resorts. Escorted tours services are one area where not tipping is frowned upon. A good ballpark figure is the equivalent of about $10 U.S. dollars per person for a half-day activity and $15 for a tour that lasts an entire day.
Hotel porters and housekeepers should be tipped a dollar or two for each time they provide a service to you. The equivalent of about $5 U.S. dollars is a good goal for a hotel concierge, particularly if they go above and beyond for you.