Guide to tipping in Uganda

Should you tip in Uganda?

Tipping is not a tradition that has picked up in Uganda and therefore most people in the service sector do not expect a tip after offering a service, neither do those who receive a service thinking about tipping.

For a tourist visiting Uganda for a safari vacation and are wondering about tipping in Uganda, you should know that there is no where in Uganda it is mandatory to tip. Tipping it is left to your discretion, to decide if you want to tip and how much you can tip.

But should you tip? Yes, it is absolutely encouraged to tip when you can. Why? Because most people on your service chain earn a very small wage that can barely sustain their lives. A tip goes a long way in supplementing their incomes and bettering their lives and those of their immediate dependents.

Who should I tip?

The people who you should tip are those that really deserve it, and these are people who you will interface with a lot, and people who visibly put in the effort to see that you are receiving a great service.

Here are the people you should consider tiping:

  • Tour drivers: If you are on a guided trip, the tour driver is your closest confidant, if I may say. This is the person who will make you have a great trip. He or she shares a lot of information about places, things, and the local people. He or she also ensure you travel safely.
  • Activity/destination guides: at several destinations you shall visit you will be received by a guide who will take you through an activity or destination, sharing information and ensuring you enjoy the activity or experience. For example, you will have a guide during gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking and all active experiences. You will also find guides at museums, monuments, art galleries, and local sites.
  • Waiters, waitresses: These are a constant throughout the trip, at your hotels and at restaurants during transit.
  • Porters: During trekking there are porters available for hire at $15 for those who need one to carry their backpacks and offer some support in difficult situations. At the end of the activity you can tip the porter an extra fee.
  • Security personnel: You will find security personnel at accommodations manning the gates, and you will also be assigned security personnel during trekking activities in the park. Security personnel are some of the most overlooked people when tipping because there isn’t a lot of interfacing with them, but they do a great job ensuring your safety. They are also some of the least paid.

Who not to tip?

  • Company owners and managers – These are somewhat high up on the food chain and therefore do not need a tip
  • Chefs – After managers, the next better paid personnel are chefs. You may not tip these. However, if a chef prepares the best meal you have ever tested then there is no harm showing your appreciation by a tip.

How much should I tip?

Now this it the most important question for most travelers, more so those coming from a tripping background and know that they have to tip.

You can tip any amount that you feel is worthy and that you can afford.

You can follow the following formular when tipping the persons listed above.

Tour drivers

These take the biggest tip

$10 – $15 per day per tourist in the car

Activity/destination guides

$15 – $20 per tourist

Waiters, waitresses & other hotel support staff

$5

As these are many, and many are in places where you they cannot easily exchange foreign currency. You can change some foreign currency to Uganda Shillings at the start of the trip in Kampala or Entebbe. You can then tip Uganda shilling 5,000 – 10,000 which is in fact less than $5 but is valuable in local currency.

Porters

$5 – $10

Security personnel

$5

You can also tip these in Ugandan Shillings (5,000 – 10,000)

When to tip

Tip after consuming a service or at the end of the activity.

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