Kenya food and tipping

sambuk lodge Tip your safari guides and helpers if you feel that your expectations have been exceeded, which happens often in Kenya | Credit: Sambuk Lodge

  • Tip in local currency where possible; it may be quite difficult for locals to exchange small amounts of hard currency into Kenya shillings.

  • Tipping is not standard at eateries or bars catering mainly to a local clientele, but that doesn’t mean a small something won’t be appreciated by the recipient.

  • Tourist-oriented restaurants operate on a similar basis to those in Europe or North America. A 10-15% tip to the waiter is standard, depending on the quality of service.

  • At hotels, it’s usually easier to sign drinks and meals to the room than to pay cash, but you could still leave a tip for an individual waiter or bartender, or add one to the bill before you sign it.

  • Hotel porters usually expect a tip equivalent to around US$1 per item of luggage.

  • On organised tours, it is customary to tip to the guide and/or driver and/or cook at the end, usually as a group rather than on an individual basis.

  • Upmarket lodges and camps that operate on a full-board basis generally have a tip box at reception. Tips will usually be distributed between all the staff, a system that seems fairest to backroom workers in a country where hotel staff is very poorly paid.

  • In game lodges that offer guided game drives, any guides, drivers and trackers should be tipped. Many such lodges have guideline in the rooms; failing that ask management for a directive.


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