Money & Tipping
Money & ATM's
Cash can be brought for safety if an ATM is empty or does not function. Ideally, you should bring a credit card with you, as withdrawing money from cash machines with the Maestro card is only possible in larger cities. With a credit card, you can easily withdraw money at almost all cash machines, and you are insured in case of damage. VISA and Mastercard are the commonly accepted credit cards, but American Express and Diners Club are also accepted in large hotels and ATMs. Meanwhile, the network of ATMs in the country is very well developed. It is therefore no longer absolutely necessary to carry cash, but we still suggest you to take along a cash reserve (about US$/€200 p.p.) to be prepared for all eventualities.
Consider tipping as an expected thing for local helpers, guides, and drivers along your trip. Generally, tipping them a minimum of 10% is a good thing. On average, local guides, cooks, drivers or assistants earn about 30 to 50 USD per day, so a fair tip should be about $3 to $5 per day per group for each of them. In the case of the the escort (permanent) guide and driver it's very personal, because you are spending a lot of time with them. Here we suggest for the driver average $5-8 per day, for the guide $6-10 per day, but feel free to fix the amount of tipping depending on the group size and satisfaction.
We at SimienEcoTours also believe that the amount of tipping should be depending on the level of satisfaction of our clients. Therefore, please consider any number given here as rough recommendation and feel free to tip our staff more or less depending on how happy you've been with them.
- Foreigner restaurants (Ferengi restaurants): about 10% if the service charge is not already included
- Local restaurants: rounding up the bill or something like 5% is fine
- Porters: 30-40 Birr; $0.5 per piece of luggage (consider that in some places like inside the airport helping with luggage might be regulated and a fixed amount is charged)
- For the trekking tours also tip staff such as cooks, assistants, scouts, mule men (you can ask and discuss this openly with you guide)
We would ask you not to bring any gifts for Ethiopians from home. Also don’t spoil children by giving them candies, pencils or other things. Mostly this only leads to envy and disputes among people. As SimienEcoTours, we are committed to sustainable tourism. Therefore a part of your travel price will be donated to social projects in the country. We will visit with you community tourism projects that support local development. There is also the possibility to get to know our projects on site and to donate if you want. Find out more about our local charities here.