Hi people =]
I'm heading to Africa for 7/8 weeks in aug/sept and wondered if anyone could help!
I'm going with a travel company and booked it through STA Travel. I will be starting in Cape Town and travelling through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya. When i arrive in Cape Town at the beginning of the tour i have to pay a 'local payment' in US$ and will take ZAR for south africa too but was wondering if i really needed to get money changed for each of the other countries before i go??
On other trips i've been on US$ have been very popular and accepted in the most random of places but perhaps with the current economic situation this is no longer true?..
Also, for the majority of my trip I will be in remote places and wonder how easy it would be to change money on the go?
any help is greatly appreciated, i've never been to Africa so just trying to gather as much info as possible before i go,
Hello Rachel 😊
I wouldnt get money changed before you go. Change as much as you need when in big cities and airports. US dollars are generally the easiest to change.
By the way, make sure the notes you take are in very good condition. I have had the situation where they wont take them because they are ''not good enough''
You are ok with USD and ZAR. What you do in each country, try to have one big note changed once you get there....because 1usd is still a lot of money, it's better to have small change in the local currency.
changing from country to country will be the standard... even though many people will most likely take your dollars still. I would watch your pockets and wouldnt carry a lot of cash with me though...
If I remember rightly, there was one African country I visited which did not accept "old" US dollars, which was anything before around 2003 (when the notes were slightly redesigned) - so try to get clean, and later dated versions if you are carrying some with you. If you are unsure about the US Dollar, then the Euro is also widely accepted. Smaller denominations of either currency are a good plan.
Be cautious about carrying too much cash on you - it is rarely a wise idea. Many places along your route should have international ATMs, so you can access the local currency from your home account. If you are heading to remote places, it is preferable to grab some cash from an ATM in the bigger population areas to sustain you for your times in the wilderness, and replenish when you next see an ATM instead of carrying around too much money.
You'll need to check in a guidebook which countries have acceptable ATM access - however, I found Kenya and Tanzania to be very good in this regard.
Travellers cheques can also be considered and may be a good source of emergency cash (in larger quantities) if you lose your ATM card, for getting a replacement ATM card in Africa is just not going to happen.
I just travelled through Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Lesotho. I took $1000, $500 in TC's and $500 cash. Apart from Namibia and South Africa the other countries all accepted dollars and it was easy enough to get $'s changed into local currency at the time.
Is this an overland tour???? because thats what I just did and the truck had an onboard safe so it wasn't a problem taking cash with me, I also took my ATM cards as well. It will be fine, your tour leader will advise you on how much money to exchange in each country. Just make sure that your dollars are dated 2000 an onward.
oh great! yeah thats pretty much exactly what i'm doing. start in SA then on to namibia, botswana, zambia, malawi, tanzania and ending in kenya.
had completely forgotten that a safe on the truck was mentioned!
thanks very much.
You are going to have a blast - I miss my truck and truck buddies a lot and Africa is incredible - amazing!
Truck buddies, the people I met on my overland truck :-)
Never really thought about the currency question for my upcoming trip. Oops.. Great you thought about it Rachel! 😉
TCs, some spare $s and an ATM card has been my way forward so far. Have experienced the no-ATMs-to-be-found though and that time our spare $s saved our day. =) Never lost my card (knock on wood) but did forget my code once... TCs and my travel partner saved me that time untill I could recieve a new code.
So I guess a mix of 'travel currencies' is really the best option. Prepared in any situation. =)
You're actually probably goint to NEED US dollars along the way. A lot of border crossings only accept them for visa fees and a lot of game parks only accept USD for entrance fees. I did the same trip you did, plus a Kili hike and I think I went through $2,000. Don't underestimate how much all these fees can add up.