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Tipping Suggestions for Visitors to Ethiopia

During your visit, there will be many situations in which people expect a tip. Some Ethiopians may indicate that they want one, or even ask for it. In many situations, tipping is not necessary, but there are a few in which it is appropriate. For drivers and guides a tip is expected, especially if you are hiring them for the whole day or longer. The drivers and guides will generally work very hard to make sure your tour goes as smoothly as possible. A tip is a great way to show your appreciation for their efforts. If you are not pleased, be sure to let them or their employer, know why. A few restaurants will include a service charge, but normally a small tip is appropriate. If you assign someone to do a task or to lead you somewhere, you should tip them a few birr for their service upon completion of the job. Small favors generally call for a tip. Tipping taxis is not necessary. Always agree on a price for their service before entering the taxi. If you are especially pleased with the job they’ve done, you may give them a tip although it is not expected.

Tipping for Photographs

If you see someone you would like to photograph, always ask before taking their photo. Many Ethiopians will be curious as to why you are taking their photo. A proud and resilient people,  any
Ethiopians are justifiably sensitive about being portrayed in a negative light. When practical, explain why you want to take their picture – they are especially photogenic; you like their traditional clothing; they are doing a task you find interesting; etc. – and offer one or two birr. Always feel free to negotiate, especially if you want to take numerous photographs. However, if you are taking pictures of a group of people – dancers, football players, etc. – tipping is not necessary. If you are not sure, ask your guide when a small tip for photography is appropriate.