Tipping in South Africa

Alert! South Africans in the service industry expect tips! And they often rely on them to make ends meet.

While a tip should always be indexed to quality of service, it’s also good to bear in mind that average hourly wages in South Africa can be dismally low – try R4/hour on for size – in an economic context where jobs are scarce. Tips, thus, make up an especially important source of income.

Snap Guide to Tipping in South Africa:



  • Restaurant meal: 10-15% of the bill
  • Drink at the bar: R2-R5 per drink
  • Taxi ride (private/metered taxi): 10% of the meter
  • Petrol station service: R2-R5 per stop
  • Golf caddy: concession and initial tip after 9 holes (i.e., R20, plus a snack or cold drink), remainder tip at the end of the round (usually around R100). Each course has its own rules, and clubhouse attendants will advise you accordingly.
  • Porter: R5 per bag
  • Car guard: R2-R5 per car
  • Street newspaper vendor: Balance of change (i.e., if a paper costs R3.50, don’t quibble over the 50 cents owed to you; also applies to Big Issue vendors).
  • Click here for information on complaining about poor service.

When Not to Tip:

  • When taking a minibus taxi or Rikki.
  • When your attendant (especially with regard to car guards) is obviously drunk or high, or using a “service” to mask the fact that he or she’s really begging.