Safari Guide Salary (Is It a Good Job?)

If you’ve ever been on a safari trip, you may find your guide’s stories as exciting. In fact, you may have thought to yourself how great it would be to spend their lives amidst all the wildlife and experience. With all the amazement and excitement, you may wonder how much they earn from all these adventures.

If you’re searching for a Safari Guide Salary, this article may give you the answers. Besides learning how much a Safari guide earns, you will also see how much work they put into and what it means to be a Safari guide.

The work of a Safari guide isn’t the typical day job where you would sit, do some work, and get paid. Being such means more, and in this article, you’ll learn more about it!

Without further ado, let’s get started!

How much do safari guides make in Africa?

The first thing you may ask is how much safari guides make in Africa. Since Africa is quite synonymous with Safari tours, it only fits to learn more about it.

One thing to note first is that countries in Africa have a different way of life than the life in America. Thus, you should note that an average amount for a job in any state may already be a good salary in Africa.

Now, to give you an idea, safari guides mean two people at least, a field guide and a tracker. One wouldn’t likely go without another. Thus, if you went on a Safari trip, you should have two people to guide you at least.

The best example would be Safari guides in Tanzania. The reason is that this African country has all the plans for both budget and luxury tours.

In general, some Safari Guides’ Salaries range from 5 USD to 40 USD. Thus, if the salary reaches a thousand dollars per month, that’s already an excellent salary for them.

The same range goes with Kenya since these two countries offer similar budgets for every tourist that visits.

Now, in South Africa, the Safari tour and packages are a little bit more expensive. Since most agencies here offer tourists a bit more for a premium experience, the guides also get more. Thus, safari guides here earn 50 USD per day and even more.

As a general rule of thumb, a Safari guide can earn as little as 5 USD to 50 USD or more per day.

The next thing you may wonder is if it’s a well-paid job compared to other jobs. 

Are safari guides well paid compared to other jobs?

The answer to this question depends significantly on the particular job that you would compare it to. Still, in general, it’s not what you can consider a greener pasture.

For instance, premium safari agencies charge luxurious fees for tourists who want a premium service. The safari guides in this category can earn 50 USD per day and even higher.

This amount is already a big one, but it’s not worth comparing if you would consider jobs in European countries paying at least 10 USD per hour of work.

Moreover, it’s likely the highest salary, and some Safari guides may even receive only 5 USD per day.

One thing to remember is that these guides are locals of the town. With their lifestyle, 50 or 60 USD can already serve them well for some time.

Further, the salary is only one side of the coin. Most guides receive free food and accommodation from the agencies, and they even receive tips from tourists.

For this reason, you may want to see their salary more as basic pay, with bonuses adding up to it.

In short, if you only want to earn money, working as a Safari guide isn’t the best there is.

safari guide

How much do you tip safari guides?

If you’re going on a Safari tour, you may wonder how much you should tip your Safari guide.

While tipping isn’t mandatory, it’s something to see more as a way of thanking your guide for personally assisting you. Without them, you wouldn’t enjoy the Safari experience and be safe all at the same time.

If you visit African countries with budget Safari packages, a tip of 20USD per day to your guides will go a long way for them.

In general, tips form a big part of income for a Safari guide. While guides have a salary from their agencies, it’s the direct tips from their guests that add up to it as a bonus.

As I said, it would be best to see the tips more as a token of gratitude for your guide. The tips will be much appreciated, and they will surely put them to good use.

How much do safari guides work?

If you’ve ever been on a safari adventure, you’ll see how the Safari guides work and hustle every day, and it’s not light work.

Almost every Safari adventure has an early start at around 5 o’clock, as a call time. It means the guides need to prepare earlier than that.

Of course, since it’s a vacation tour, the schedule isn’t that rough. However, a guide would always need to hustle for the guests.

As soon as breakfast is over, everything should be set already, and that’s the start of the tour.

Since Safari is driving around to look for animals, the hustle is pretty much routine. However, due to the random animal locations, both the field guide and tracker works on locating animals and entertaining the guests while they’re at it.

In general, it’s all about taking the guests on the field, letting them view the animals, and entertain them. 

While it’s tiring for the guests, it would be more so with the guides. Aside from the tour itself, the guide should be well aware of everything, from safety measures to animal tracking. 

Guides also need to know all the information so they can give answers to the guests’ queries.

Typical agencies usually ask guides to work straight for three weeks and then give them a week off for their rest. It’s the same working days if you notice, but it can also be a tiring one.

At the end of the day, everything comes down to the guide’s passion for all the things he or she does as a Safari Guide.

So, is it a good job?

Is Safari guide a good job?

Being a Safari guide provides one with work that’s well beyond any typical one you know.

A safari guide is always out in the wild, searching for wildlife and giving the guests a chance to witness its beauty.

In short, it falls nothing short of a dream job for those who have a heart for nature and the way of life as an adventurer.

The salary of Safari guides isn’t insufficient at all, yet it’s also not the best. With all the hustle they do every day and the tiring work, it’s not something you can consider as easy.

In general, a safari guide may or may not be a good job. It all boils down to the person who would work as one.

If you love the wild and wouldn’t mind spending hours under the heat of the sun to witness such a beauty, then you wouldn’t even see it as work.

For many Safari guides out there, it’s more of a passion. They see themselves as a guide that offers nature at its finest to every guest they meet.


In a nutshell, a Safari Guide is one of the types of work that offers quite an exciting experience. Being out in the wild for tourists is already a great experience. With Safari guides, they experience such every day.

The salary of Safari guides isn’t that low, but it’s also not the highest one there is. In the end, it’s all about the love for the wild and nature that makes this job great. All the salary and tips and bonuses only come as an extra.


Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more