Tipping Etiquette in South Africa

Tipping Etiquette in South Africa

Don’t you just hate that awkward to-tip-or-not-to-tip moment?

It’s especially magnified in a new country where you have no idea what the going rate is. The first thing you need to know is that, in South Africa, all tips should be paid in South African Rands.

Here are some other basic guidelines:

  • Accommodation: Many people like to tip their porter on arrival, but often the individual establishments have their own in-house policy, so check with them in advance. In general, a standard 10% of the total bill can be paid on check-out to be distributed among the various staff members.
  • Restaurants: 10% - 20% is standard. Anything under 10% is considered a bit of an insult and only justifiable if you’re received inconceivably bad service. In general, South African restaurants focus more on the quality of service than the speed, so having to wait a few extra minutes can’t be justified as bad service.

    Also, be aware of restaurants that add a standard service charge to tables with over a certain number of patrons (generally 6). In this case, an additional tip is not necessary.

  • Health and beauty: Although many clients don’t often tip, it’s good etiquette to give a 10% - 15% tip for the beauty therapist or hairstylist and leave some small change for the assistant.
  • Tour guides and drivers: R10 per tourist in your group
  • Airport, train station, and hotel porters: R2 – R5
  • Uniformed parking attendants: R1 – R5
  • Petrol attendants: R1 – R5 


Travel tip shared by deshaakonsen