Is it customary to tip Virunga national park staff members?
Is it customary to tip Virunga national park staff members? In Virunga national park DR Congo, it is customary but not obligatory or mandatory to give tips to service staff as a token of appreciation for good service. Tips/gratuities can either increase or decrease depending on the level of service satisfaction. Tipping highly might happen if the staff has provided exceptional assistance while low tips may be given for going through the motions or when mediocre services are given.
Yes, for travelers staying at any of the accommodations in Virunga national park, including the Mount Nyiragongo Summit Shelters, a tip box is available and tips are divided up equally between lodge staff members. If you are satisfied with the service, the average amount to tip is $10 per person per day.
The following categories of staff may be tip while on your safari to Virunga national park;
Back of house staff: cleaners, cooks, maintenance workers, gardeners, guards, and anti-poaching units
Front of house staff: Guides, waiters and waitresses, spotters or trackers, spa therapists, and transfer drivers
How to hand over tips to Virunga national park staff members
This is a common question normally asked by travelers who intend to visit the park. And yes, it is very tricky because there is no uniformity due to the fact that every camp or lodge has its own system of embracing tips. Below is the most common way of handing over tips to staff members in Virunga national park;
Communal tip box: This is normally located in the main area and the simplest way to hand over your appreciation for services provided at the lodge or camp. Sometimes there are separate tip boxes for front- and back-office staff. After a certain period, the management opens the box and shares accumulated tips with all staff.
Handing money to the manager: Well at times, guests can give a tip to the manager or head of the department to share it amongst the team. However, some travelers may specify the staff to whom the money must be given while other visitors leave it up to the manager to share accordingly.
Handing cash to individual staff: This is also an option but makes it clear that you are tipping an individual but not others. This is so common when travelers are dealing with guides, rangers, and transfer drivers.
Leaving cash in your room: This is also possible but not highly recommended because the staff may assume that you have forgotten it and may ask your guide to drive you back to get it. Staff members in Virunga national park are well trained not to ‘steal’ and they hand over anything found in your room to the lodge manager.