In advance of our trip we were given guidelines on tipping in South Africa. A Rand here, a Rand there. Hogwash! We realized on arrival that the Rand (at that time worth about 12 US cents, now stronger) wasn't a tip for anything! We made a family decision to tip in South Africa as much as possible at the same level we would tip in Texas. What does that mean?
I tipped our hotel maids daily. Their wages are small. They use their tips to buy groceries on their way home after a long, hard day. We were in luxury hotels. What was the point of under-tipping or not tipping? I tipped the maids the South African equal to about $4 per day, sometimes more. (We also left unneeded clothing along the way, with a note explaining that the items were left on purpose.) We tipped the equal to about $1 per bag for porters. We tipped waitresses at least 20% of the total of our bill and then some if the tip still looked meager.
We also shopped and tried to buy handmade items whenever possible. The works of art offered are often wonderful. We bought wood and stone carvings and made made clothing of fabric made in Africa.
Don't miss the silk scarves designed by Mike Fitzpatrick in a brand called "Legends of Africa". Incredible! The Mike Fitzpatrick scarves are sold at the Skylight Gallery in the Victoria Wharf part of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Mall. Tel: +27 (0) 21419 0358. They are pure magic!
On returning home our cousin Rodney completed our shopping desires by sending us by ship a large, carved giraffe. Thanks to Rodney! You know who you are and my thanks also for your reading IgoUgo.
Interesting souvenir items are certainly the South African coins. A handful of pocket change may reveal some that go back decades. More impressive gifts would truly be gold coins that come in several values. The famous KrugerRands.