In Southern and East Africa, both local currencies and US Dollars are widely accepted. The conversion rates for local currencies do however fluctuate quite regularly so if you plan on using local currencies in the countries you visit, please check the exchange rate before you depart on tour. An example of a website that you can use to check a currency against your own is www.xe.com.

The information below is subject to change however we do update it as frequently as possible so please feel free to send us feedback if you feel that the information is not as accurate as it could be.

Cash

If you are carrying US dollars, always make sure that they have been printed after 2005 and if possible, request that your bank provides you with notes that are not torn or severely creased as you may find that the bills will not be accepted if they are not in a good condition.

Request that your bank provides you with a range of bills so that you can use the smaller ones for tipping and the larger ones for settling bills if required.

Carry your cash in a flat money belt on your body however always keep a small amount in a more easily accessible place so that you can access it easily if required.

Credit cards

Most of the major Southern and East African cities do have credit card facilities available, however they may charge you a surcharge to use the facility. Visa and MasterCard are the two most widely accepted credit cards in Africa, while Diners and American Express may not always be accepted. Cards should have a chip and pin if you plan to use them to withdraw money from ATMs. Please be sure to advise your bank before you travel that you will be using your card in a different country as they may block access to your card if they do not know that you are travelling.

ATM / Debit Cards

ATM cards are a good way to withdraw local currency on arrival in a new country. This may not always be possible but it is an option in most cases. Cards should have a chip and pin. The amount that you withdraw depends on how long you will be in the country for and what you plan to spend your money on while you’re there.

Street Vendors

You may encounter black market traders on arrival in countries who will offer to exchange your US$’s for a more favourable rate than the banks. Please don’t be tempted to do this, it is not worth the risk or the hassle and it is not good practice to display your foreign currency.

South Africa

The South African Rand (ZAR) is the local currency that is used in this country. Credit Cards are widely accepted and ATMS are available in all cities and smaller towns. No other international currencies are readily accepted.

Lesotho

South African Rand (ZAR) is accepted in Lesotho, however you may receive change in the local Lesotho currency, Maloti (M). You will not be able to use Maloti once you are back in South Africa so try to use your Maloti while you are in Lesotho. No other international currencies are readily accepted.

Swaziland

South African Rand (ZAR) is accepted in Swaziland so there is no need to change local currency here but do have ZAR on hand. In most cases, credit cards will be accepted. No other international currencies are readily accepted.

Namibia

South African Rand (ZAR) is accepted in Namibia and is 1:1 to the Namibian dollar (N$). You are welcome to use both currencies. No other international currencies are readily accepted. Credit Cards are widely accepted in Namibia, however in remote areas they may struggle with connection. Maestro and Electron Debit cards are widely accepted too. No other international currencies are readily accepted.

Botswana

US$ and the local currency Pula (BWP) are accepted in Botswana. In most cases Credit Cards will be accepted, as well as Debit Cards, however it is best to always carry US$ with you in case technology fails.

Mozambique

Mozambique’s local currency is the Metical and you can withdraw local currency in major towns which have ATMs. South African Rand (ZAR) is also widely accepted in parts of Mozambique.  Visa Credit Cards are widely accepted however Master Cards may not always be accepted. You can exchange US$’s at most banks without paying commission.

Zimbabwe

The US$, Botswana Pula and South African Rand are accepted in Zimbabwe as they no longer have their own local currency. Recently, the Chinese Yuan, Indian Rupee, Japanese Yen and Australian Dollar have also been accepted as legal tender in Zimbabwe. ATMs in Victoria Falls dispense US$s but not all international cards are accepted. Visa Credit Cards and Barclays accounts are the most widely accepted.

Zambia

The local currency Kwacha (ZMK) is accepted in Zambia although you will find some prices quoted in US$. Cash can be exchanged at Foreign Exchange Offices in cities and larger towns and the majority of them do have ATMs that accept Visa cards.

Malawi

The local currency is the Kwacha (MK), and there are a number of Foreign Exchange offices where you can exchange US$s if required. The major towns have ATMs where you can withdraw local currency – there is often a maximum limit of how much you can withdraw per transaction. Credit Card acceptance is not always guaranteed so be sure to carry some cash with you.

Tanzania

The best currency to have in this country is the US$ in a mixture of large and small denominations and a Visa or Master card to withdraw money from ATMs. ATMs are not always 100% reliable however and may be out or order from time to time. Credit cards are not widely accepted and can have large commissions that may be charged. It is possible to exchange money at Foreign Exchange offices.

Kenya

The best currency to have in this country is the US$ in a mixture of large and small denominations and a Visa or Master card to withdraw money from ATMs. Barclays has the most reliable machines for international withdrawals. Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted however it would be best to be prudent when using a Credit Card as fraud is something to be aware of. It is possible to exchange money at Foreign Exchange offices.

Uganda

The Ugandan Shilling (USh) and the US$ are accepted in Uganda and money can be exchanged at Foreign Exchange offices. Visa ATMs are widely available for cash withdrawal and Credit Cards are sometimes accepted. You will need US$s for some activities.

Madagascar

US$s and Euros are widely accepted in tourist areas and major cities. There are some ATMs available in the cities however Credit Cards are rarely accepted. The local currency is Ariary (Ar) and you can exchange your cash at Foreign Exchange offices.

Ethiopia

The local Birr and the US$ is accepted and can be exchanged at Foreign Exchange Offices. Some ATMs can be found in the cities and Visa is again the most helpful card to have. Credit Cards are not widely accepted and if they are, generally incur a high commission for using them.

Egypt

The Egyptian pound is the official currency, however it is good to travel with US$s too. Small change is hard to come by so try to exchange larger bills when you have the opportunity to do so. Some tours can only be paid for in US$ however credit cards can be used in most tourist friendly places. ATMs are widely available.

Morocco

The local currency is the Dirham and can only be accessed and used locally. Euros, US$ and GBP are the most easily exchanged currencies. ATMs are the easiest way to access your money however there may be a withdrawal fee and daily limits attached. Credit Cards are widely accepted in tourist areas however it would be best to travel with a combination of Credit Card, Debit Card and cash.