Covid-19 in South Africa: The National State of Disaster has been lifted as from 5 April 2022.

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. 

South Africa Tipping Guidelines

Award excellent service with a good tip

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. 

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 quite basic, 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

These are only customary guidelines in our tipping guide. The attitude to tipping services varies widely among the different population and income groups. For outstanding and 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 person who served you and the service provider aka her/his boss 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 or or let us know. Tipping Guide: Further reading: Etiquette in 50 countries

Need more info on South Africa?

Living in South Africa - Expat Guide Book by Regina Graeff and Derryn Campbell

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