Dawn’s FAQ of the Week: I am bringing some cash to cover gratuities and souvenirs; do you have any advice about how to do this safely?

“I am bringing some cash to cover gratuities and souvenirs; do you have any advice about how to do this safely?”

Many guests express concern about travelling with cash, which is understandable. On a trip like this it is somewhat necessary, but luckily it is easy to keep your cash safe by following a few tips and by practicing common sense.

First of all, keep your money with you at all times. I recommend carrying your cash in a neck wallet or money belt, similar to those found at the following link:


Luckily most animals aren’t big on pick-pocketing, and since most of your time is going to be spent in wilderness areas without many people around, there is little occasion for concern there. But if you find yourself in a village, market, airport or other public place, simply practice common sense and don’t flaunt your cash or valuables.

While staying at the lodges or camps, don’t leave your cash or valuables laying out in plain sight in the middle of your room while you are out on safari. Most local Tanzanians who are employed at the various lodges and camps each value their  job in the tourist industry way too much to risk losing it for petty theft, but at the same time many of these good folks are far from wealthy and are often using the money they make at their jobs to support the needs of family members back home. It courteous to remember this and simply wise to not put the temptation out there for them. Many lodges or camps have security safes, but better yet just keep your money and valuables with you at all times.



A few other frequently asked questions include:

“Why aren’t tips included in the price of the safari?”

Tipping may seem like an old fashioned tradition to some, but like other service oriented businesses (restaurants, etc.) it remains a cornerstone of the safari industry. Paying out tips ahead of time, even though it may be more convenient for guests who don’t want to travel with cash, really robs tipping of its original purpose.


“Can we use a credit card to make purchases while we are in Tanzania on safari?  Are wine, beverages and laundry service included in the cost of my safari, and if not how much should I expect to pay?”

We encourage people to try and avoid using credit cards for small purchases, even at the lodges. It’s not a matter of the shop or lodge’s reputation, it’s a matter of computer security in general in Africa. (Just an aside, many of the lodges and camps ‘in the bush’ are unable to take credit cards anyway).   For more information on credit card use, as well as the cost of beverages and laundry service, please see the following link to my recent post on this very subject right here!


3 Comments Leave a Comment

  1. Hi Shari!

    Great question! The amount of cash required for each guest will naturally vary for each individual safari, depending on variables such as duration, lodging inclusions/exclusions, number of people traveling with you (to divy up gratuities with), and how much one plans to spend on souvenirs. To figure up what gratuities are going to be is really just a fairly simple math problem, that we can do together if you like. The last page of each guest’s written safari itinerary offers guidelines that are intended to use to figure expenses such as gratuities, and you can also find some guidelines on our website here:


    Personally I will use such guidelines to figure out how cash much I *think* I’m going to need, and then I add a couple hundred dollars. Just to be safe. After all, there are no ATMs out in the bush!

    Since you already have a safari planned with us Shari, I would suggest you and I go over your itinerary together to better address the question for your specific situation! So… let’s make a date to do that! Just email me directly or call me at 866-457-9977 at your convenience! Thanks Shari!

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