Tipping Guide

ExpatCapeTown Guide:
Etiquette in South Africa

In our ExpatCapeTown Tipping Guide you will read how to tip for services in South Africa. Giving tips for good services is customary and appreciated all over the world, but tips can vary hugely. 

People working in the service industry in South Africa usually rely heavily on tips from customers as the basic wages are often minimal and not enough to support a family. Thus, in South Africa, people often tip regardless of the quality of service they receive, as tips are commonly expected or even anticipated. 

Award excellent service with a good tip

This said, we find that in South Africa, services in the hospitality industry are generally provided swiftly and are of good standard. Given the fact, that education and training levels of people in the service industries are often low, misunderstandings and failures due to inexperience of a waiter for example, might happen. However, services are usually delivered with friendly smiles; and the cooperation and willingness to remedy unacceptable situations often will make up for any shortcomings.

Tipping in South Africa:
How much should you tip?

Restaurants/Coffee Shops/Bars

  • Waitron: 10-15% of bill, for tables of six or more the standard tip of at least 10% is usually added to the total amount of the bill by the restaurant
  • Bartender: R5 per alcoholic drink
  • Parking Attendant: R5-10

Day-to-Day Routines/Personal Grooming

  • Trolley Attendant/Car Guards: R2-10, if there is no parking fee
  • Food Delivery Service: R10
  • Handymen: no money, but cold or hot drinks for morning or lunch break time
  • Car Wash Cleaner: R10 
  • Petrol (Gas) Attendant: R5-10
  • Hairdresser/Barber: R20, if the service is provided by the owner, usually not applicable
  • Hair Saloon Shampoo Lady: R10-20
  • Beauty Therapist: R20


  • Taxidriver: 10-15% of taxi fare
  • Porters: R5-10 per bag
  • Airport porter: R20 per trolley
  • Concierge: R50
  • Maid/Housekeeper in Hotelroom: R20+ per person/night 
  • Full-time Maid (self-catering accommodation): R200/day
  • Coach Driver/City Tour Guide: R20
  • Safari Tour Guide: R50 per day
  • Mover: R20 for each staff member per day

Tipping Guide: What else to know?

These are only customary guidelines. The attitude to tipping services varies widely among the different population and income groups.

For excellent service regarding above mentioned categories, tip as much as you feel comfortable with. If people give value-for-money service, appreciate this with a tip and let the 'servant' and the service provider know. 

Remember, recommending outstanding service delivery generally motivates. It generally improves the service commitment for continuously and proudly delivering first-class services and thus creates are better and more positive environment for all. There are many ways to support great businesses, either by writing reports on HelloPeter.com or TripAdvisor.com or let us know.

South Africa Tipping Guide

South Africa Tipping Guide from: Living in South AfricaSouth Africa Tipping Guide

Source: Part of a graphic from the expat guide book: 'Living in South Africa' p.140

Need more info on South Africa?

If you are interested in more in-depth, well-researched, up-to-date information and more South Africa facts:

Order your copy of our Living in South Africa guidebook directly from us.

Get more information on how and where to buy the book. 

Image Source: shutterstock.com and own

Further reading: Etiquette in 50 countries

Back to Business Guide to South Africa

Return from Tipping Guide to South Africa Culture Shock Guide

Return to ExpatCapeTown Homepage

Recent Articles

  1. Cape Town Events in April: Whats on in Cape Town 2017

    Mar 28, 17 06:24 AM

    Read all about the best Cape Town events in April 2017 with links and info. Additionally expat events and where to find the best events and shows in Cape Town.

    Read More

  2. Chapmans Peak Drive | Best Scenic Drive in Cape Town | Cycle Race 2017

    Mar 09, 17 10:34 AM

    Chapmans Peak Drive is one of the best scenic drives in the world and is one of the main attractions in the 40th Cape Town Cycle Race.

    Read More

  3. Moving to South Africa | Relocation | Moving to Cape Town Tips

    Mar 07, 17 07:39 AM

    Our Moving to South Africa information will provide useful tips and advice for all expats moving to South Africa.

    Read More