Tipping is usual among travelers in Madagascar although a topic that has caused anxiety, too. This mainly concerns the payment of guides in national parks and reserves, but also drivers. Luggage carriers in hotels or parking lot attendants are also happy about a small tip – many of them earn their daily salary solely through it.
On day trips, in protected areas and when observing animals: If you were satisfied and the Madagascan guide has tried hard, a tip between 2000 and 10,000 Ariary per guest per day is appropriate. When the guide was very well acquainted with flora and fauna and was able to show a lot of things, the tip may move in the upper range – upwards is naturally however no limit set. Basically, everyone gives what he can and wants! Please keep in mind, however, that especially animal sightings can depend on the weather and some luck.
After expeditions lasting several days or even weeks, it is customary in Madagascar to have a Kabary (speech) in which the oldest Madagascans and individual guests say a few words. They thank for the hospitality and the good cooperation, and mention particularly successful moments of the journey together. Tips can also be handed over by the speaker if they are intended for whole groups or certain teams (cooks, drivers, porters). Tips for individuals are always better handed over in person.
Although Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, you should never be tempted to tip less than 500 to 1000 Ariary for an entire day trip. Tips like that are an insult to most Madagascans. It’s like leaving a 10 cent piece on a saucer for a waitress in Germany after a visit to a restaurant. If you didn’t like something at all, don’t tip at all rather than small amounts. But be careful: If you don’t tip at all, you can quickly earn a reputation as a cheapskate in Madagascar.
For restaurant visits, about 5% of the price is considered an appropriate tip.
A little care should be taken with tips especially at Ivato airport in Antananarivo. Here, suitcases are often carried around the area without being asked or hoisted onto bus roofs in order to be paid for this activity. Carrying suitcases and similar small services can be rewarded with 1000 Ariary, but only if you have been asked for it and not unwantedly turned on.
Very important: Tip Ariary. They can’t do much with Euros, Dollars or even British pounds on the island.