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Kenya Food and Tipping

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Kenya Food and Tipping

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By Matthys van Aswegen

Safari Travel Planner

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Tip in local currency where possible; it may be difficult for locals to exchange small amounts of hard cash into Kenya shillings. Tipping is not standard at eateries or bars catering mainly to a local clientele, but that doesn’t mean a little something won’t be appreciated by the recipient.

Sambuk Lodge in Kenya
Sambuk Lodge in Kenya

Tourist-oriented restaurants operate similarly 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 luggage item.

Hot air balloons over the masai mara, Kenya
Hot air balloons over the masai mara, Kenya

On organized tours in Kenya, it’s customary to tip the guide and/or driver and/or cook at the end, usually as a group rather than individually.

Upmarket lodges and camps in Kenya 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 guidelines in the rooms; failing that, ask management for a directive.

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