Ideas for gifts for camp staff

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by merlin, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. merlin

    merlin AH Senior Member

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    Hi

    I am going to namibia in september for 10 days, This is my first trip and looking for ideas for gifts for camp staff . things that they can use and will need that are hard for them to get. also what is the sci blue bag program thing?:confused:
     
  2. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hi Merlin
    I can't tell you anything about Namibia but as far as SCI Blue Bag program if you are a member of SCI then you can contact them and they will hook you up.
     
  3. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Merlin, in tha vast majority of cases, gifts, aren't really appreciated all that much. Money is what these people need, and a slightly more generous tip will mean the most to them. There are exceptions, I have a multi-year relationship with a fine tracker in Namibia, to whom I brought my old binioculars when I upgraded this past year. I knew what he was using, and knew these would be cherished (and I checked with the PH to make sure it was a good idea as well.) My spouse developed a relationship with the housekeeper of our bungalow, a tiny little woman in her fifties - who looked seventy-five, and gave her the fleece jacket she had brought along. It too was much appreciated. But these were in addition to a generous tip.

    The SCI bags are a good idea if you are going to a primitive area, and if you have had good advice about what to include. However, much Namibian hunting is done in ranch country, and the schools there are pretty modern by African standards. Ranch country also has nice stores in the small towns, well stocked with SA, Euro, and American products. Again, what the staff needs is money to spend in them. I am sure many will take exception to this, but I have found the whole blue bag thing seems to be focused a little too much on the giver than the recipients. That said, if you are planning to spend two weeks in the Caprivi, then you will find very different conditions there where material aid might be more welcome.

    Finally, I would work with your PH on how to handle the tips. The vast majority of these folks are very honest in apportioning tips to the staff so that all benefit - to include those with whom you have little or no contact. As noted above, I prefer to tip my tracker seperately and I have never had a PH object to that preference.

    There are several PHs and outfitters who are members here, and I am certain they will offer advice from their perspective as well.
     
  4. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Merlin

    Here is what i do...first contact your outfitter or PH and ask what is customary...

    I place a $50 bill in a card that i make prior to leaving. And add another $50 - $20 as the Safari progresses this is what i pass out at the end while getting ready to leaving (group photo time and pass the Cards out). I will add to that amount for a job well done...money is what they would like to receive...

    Make sure all money is newer that 2005 with no torn edges or notes or marks on the bills...Remember it takes the banks a while to assemble money for you unless you order in new bills...

    I use $10 dollars a day for staff as a guide line and $15 dollars for main tracker receiving more.

    PH $50 a day if they do you a good job and more if we have a good time. This is not based on killing animals...It is having a good time.

    on top of that this year i purchased from the NRA center in Raton, NM - NRA Hats & T-shirts to give along the way to the men when they do a great job.

    I also have purchased some Browning Knives that i plan to take along and give one to each party member.

    That is what i have in my plans.

    Some on here see that as being excessive...however this is how i see it this is my safari and i will pass out item they will use and wear....Remember kindness does not cost you anything and how well you treat the staff determines how good of time you will have...And i go to have a good time and if we are able to get some trophies that is a bonus...

    My 2 cents on the issue


    Red Legs

    i could not agrees more with your post...we must have been working at the same time...
     
  5. merlin

    merlin AH Senior Member

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    i have all ready contacted my ph and he has laid out the tip thing top to bottom. I was just considering things that are hard to come by and truly needed by them.
     
  6. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Tips are voluntary in Africa just like they are here and good work can be rewarded but its a shame we feel obligated to do so anywhere. Some of the numbers mentioned above seem a little extravagant to me. I think the 50 dollars a day for the PH is good if things go well and you get along. Trackers between 5 and 10 dollars a day if they produce for you and try hard. Camp staff less. Dont forget everyone is being paid something from the outfitter. Plus room and board and considering their alternatives its a pretty good deal for them. I tipped a little less on my latest trip due largely to lack of production in the way of animals. Everyone tried hard and everyone got tipped something. I have tipped more and less on previous hunts but we should not feel obligated especially if things dont go well. We dont tip a bad waitress at home do we?
     
  7. Baydog

    Baydog AH Veteran

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    Money is the way to go. It's most appreciated and you don't have to worry about carrying extra "stuff" across the ocean.
     
  8. ndbwhnter

    ndbwhnter AH Enthusiast

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    Money is always good, but in the spirit of the question, the best answer I can give is clothing. My tracker had holes in his gloves and pretty thin stocking hat and crappy boots. The only thing that I had that fit him (I'm 6'6" tall) was my gloves and hat so I left him both. On my next trip I will contact the PH ahead of time and ask for his trackers size(s) and see what I can come up with.

    nd
     
  9. Upton O. Good

    Upton O. Good AH Veteran

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    I just made my first trip to RSA and during our planning we asked the outfitter what he thought were good items for personal gifts. When we arrived in SA we had a couple of Bog Pods, fleece hats, baseball hats, and a couple of gifts of chocolate. I tipped my PH very well because he worked his butt off for me and I tipped my tracker very well for the same reasons. I left a very generous tip for the rest of the camp staff and I also left a quarter pound of really good tea with one family I stayed with. My hostess knew how to brew it correctly and it seemed like the right thing to do. My outfitter will be traveling to the States this winter for his shows and when he arrives in our area my hunting buddy and I'll be taking the outfitter's two little daughters along with my buddy's two little daughters sledding or skiing for their first time. I hope their first experience in the U.S. will be as memorable as my first trip was to their country and that will be our tip to outfitter.
     
  10. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    ndbwhnter & Upton O. Good

    US dollars are what they are working for and To add to your post, Last year we went with hats, a few pair of gloves, T shirts, Belts, Some candy and Gum.

    My sister and i both thought we should have brought more clothing, the camp workers had very little...the few dollars that they are paid was little, most were in camp for the tips that they received...There were 13 in camp more than our PH indicated to us and we did not have enough treats to go around...

    We both left most of our clothing and shoes...when we left camp...

     
  11. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I agree with the others when it come to money and clothes. The trackers were so proud of the Army Surplus BDU's and Army Boots that other hunters had given them that when I got back home I shipped a large box full back to them. By the way it's a lot cheaper to carry it as luggage check with your PH ahead of time perhaps he can get the sizes for you. I know for my hunt next year I've already ask for the same trackers to be on my team.
     
  12. Upton O. Good

    Upton O. Good AH Veteran

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    James, thank you for that comment. I thought about leaving some clothing but being over 6' and 235 lbs there wasn't much sense in that. My tracker couldn't have weighed 130 lbs dripping wet. As for next year, we have already made arrangements for fleece hoodies, fleece shirt pullovers, and similar garments through a friend of mine who is on the pro-staff for a national gear company. The sizes will all be either medium or small and in subdued colors. I was going to take some extra knives but I'll wait and see about that. I forgot to mention, I also gave my tracker my high quality Leatherman pocket tool as a personal gift, too. And, as for the money, believe me, they came out just fine.
     
  13. classicsafari

    classicsafari AH Enthusiast

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    Half the time the extra cash is spent on drink or a new wife. All good for them but along with a standard tip I often bring along a knife such as the French made Opinal. Well priced and of sound quality, and yes they do appreciate it. Have seen those knives seasons later in use by happy owners (different tracker comparing them). You also have a bonus of having your valuable trophies being worked on by a sharp new knife.
     
  14. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

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    Although i am not a 'big spender' nor a trophy hunter i have been around hunting Namibia and SA.
    If you can afford it, money is always appreciated much, but i have also found that a propper skinning / pocket knife, jacket, t/shirt, baseball cap, tobacco and especially shoes (boots) are just as much appreciated.

    In my time around so far - my experience was that in-addition to a moderate financial tip, knifes / Jackets / Boots were appreciated the most. Then i also take a bag or 2 of mixed candy and simple toys for the kids.

    Good luck with you hunt
     
  15. classicsafari

    classicsafari AH Enthusiast

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    Please leave the Candy and sweets at home. Its quite distressing watching Staff with a toothache and no prospect of seeing a Dentist. Quite dismal but nothing a good pair of German Nipex cant sort. mmm.
     
  16. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

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    :doh2:...forgot about that mate...
    Ok, add a pair of German Nipex to the bag candy...
     
  17. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Candy (Pee-Pee)

    WE went with a very good mix from the TOP Grocery chain and Cabelas...
    1. Australian gourmet Black Licorice - 1 pound
    2. TOP's Home made Peanut Brittle - 2 pounds
    3. TOP's Cinnamon bears - 2 Pounds
    4. Cabelas - Cherry gum drops - 2 pounds
    5. Cabelas - Orange slice - 2 pounds

    Gum
    1. Big red - 2 packs
    2. Spearmint - 2 packs
    3. ??? - 2 Packs

    The big hit was my NOW GET THIS "JOHN WAYNE - BEEF JERKY"

    Besides the beef jerky the black licorice was the only items that they wanted to know how to get and what it cost.
     
  18. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I guess I can see the hard candy or anything really chewy in the candy section...being hard on teeth....because I have bad teeth and avoid them at any cost. Chocolate can melt in the heat....that's not good. I can see soft candy and cheap gum as a treat.

    I think tobacco products are much appreciated. Most of the trackers...smoked a lot and where always looking to get tobacco to make cigarettes in many camps I've been too. It may not be healthy in the USA....but they enjoy it a lot.

    Quality footwear seems to be lacking....and in bad need in a lot of places.
     
  19. Upton O. Good

    Upton O. Good AH Veteran

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    I'm sorry guys but do I have this right: candy is wrong for health reasons (dental) and tobacco is okay because they like it? No, can't go along with the tobacco under any circumstances.
     
  20. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    A nice tip is always preferred, and used clothing is much appreciated.
     

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