Money can make or break a tour so make sure you have enough and tailor your trip to fit your pocket. Africa is not cheap so spend wisely and note the prices of the optional activities in your tour dossier when planning for your tour.
In Southern and East Africa, both local currencies and US Dollars are 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.
If you are carrying US Dollars, always make sure that they have been printed after 2008 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.
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.
You may encounter black market traders on arrival in countries who will offer to exchange your USD’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.
Various countries may require that you pay an Airport Departure Tax when departing on an international flight. Please note that all departure taxes must be paid in hard cash currency and US$s are normally the best currency to use for this. Departure taxes can vary from US$10 – US$60 depending on the departure point.