Tipping is commonplace in South Africa. Tipping in South Africa, as elsewhere in the world, is always voluntary and should be proportionate to the quality of service provided. Tips are often heavily relied upon by people in the service industry in South Africa. There can, however, be a lot of confusion around tipping for travelers from time to time.
If you’re staying in a hotel in South Africa, it’s standard practice to tip between 10 to20%. Who you tip, and how much, is ultimately at your discretion, and should be based on the levels of service you receive. For example, it’s common to say thanks for great service from housekeepers and cleaners with a small daily tip. Housekeepers and cleaners are among the hardest working hotel staff and often the most underpaid. If a porter assists with your bags, it’s normal to tip the porter approximately R15 per movement, assuming about two normal-sized bags per person.
Whenever you tip during your trip to South Africa, it is important to use the local currency, which is the South African Rand (ZAR). Travelers can exchange currency at the airport before they arrive at their hotel accommodation. It is also important to note that some hotel accommodation will already include a tip in your receipts or final bill so make sure to double check if this clause applies before you tip. Outside of larger cities, you may be asked to pay your tips to the hotel front desk. In some cases, it is preferred that you tip the person directly to ensure that the money goes to the right person who assisted you. Consider tipping a lump sum at the end of your stay rather than little amounts throughout your stay for housekeepers and front desk staff. Porters and doormen are usually tipped immediately, by hand, with a small amount.
In conclusion, the best advice would be to use your own judgement and to ask your hotel reception about the tipping practices customary at their hotel.