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Tipping in Zimbabwe

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Most restaurants and hotels serve international food that tends to be heavy on meat. If you are a vegetarian or have any other dietary requirements, be sure to let your lodge know in advance so that they can prepare food for you. Many lodges are very remote and don’t get daily food deliveries, so they do need to know about food preferences beforehand.

In terms of local food, sadza is Zimbabwe’s most common dish: maize meal cooked to a thick porridge-like consistency, which is served with stewed meat or vegetables and sauces. Other popular dishes include dovi, a stew made from peanut butter, nhedzi, a wild mushroom soup, cornmeal cake known as mupotohayi, bota, a breakfast porridge made with peanut butter and jam, and mapopo, a candy made from papaya.

The most popular drink in Zimbabwe is beer (Zambezi lager is the national brew), though you’ll find South African wines and a range of spirits, both local and imported, in restaurants and hotel bars.

In Zimbabwe, it’s customary to tip waiters in restaurants (10 to 15% is standard), and to give car guards who watch over your car in supermarket or shopping mall car parks US$1, and give porters a small amount for carrying your bags.

Most people leave tips for their safari guide and lodge or camp staff. Some lodges will offer a suggestion of how much to tip (a range of about US$5 to US$20 per guest per day) and most lodges will let you know what the tipping practice is in terms of how the tips are handed to the staff – either in envelopes to the manager or to the guide or in a tip box at reception. It’s not necessary to give a tip every day as it’s mostly done at the end of your stay.

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