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Buying US dollars in Nairobi

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London
posts: 3
reviews: 2
Buying US dollars in Nairobi

Hi,

I'm planning on doing a tour departing from Nairobi and need US dollars to pay the local payment part of the tour fee (this must be paid when I first join the tour). The fee is quite large so I don't want to be carrying the US dollars with me for the month I'm in Africa prior to the tour. I'm unsure whether I should buy US dollars once in Nairobi (just before the tour) or if I should take travellers cheques. Do you know where (in Nairobi) I'll be able to buy or use travellers cheques to acquire about $1200 US dollars? I'm also a bit concerned about being charged huge amounts... My original thinking was to use travellers cheques and use the American Express site to locate a good exchange point but the site's been down for maintenance for ages (http://www.aetclocator.com/).

Any advice would be great!

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
posts: 13,350
reviews: 46
1. Re: Buying US dollars in Nairobi

My first advice would to forget travellers cheques extremely difficult to change in Kenya and very expensive.

My second would be to ask your tour operator would they accept sterling, most do, or Kenyan Shillings.

If you don't want to carry around £800 for a month a better idea than travellers cheques would be a pre-paid card like FairFX Anywhere card or a Caxton card, the card costs about £10 to buy and there is a small fee for withdrawing at an ATM, but the exchange rates are so good (they use the interbank rates rather than the tourist rates) that it is much better than using your own bank's debit card. You could load the money on the card before you go or online just when you need it. You could then withdraw shillings to pay with or if they do insist on dollars use the shillings to buy dollars in Nairobi, you shouldn't have a problem buying dollars in Nairobi, though it's possible a small forex may need a day's notice for $1,200, but I'm sure the shilling to dollar rate will be better than the pound to dollar rate in Nairobi where they are both foreign currencies.

Another option would be to explore the possibility of transferring the money to them electronically, I'm sure you could leave a post-dated transfer form with your UK bank if you didn't want to pay them before you go, Some banks allow you to initiate international transfers from their online banking service.

Glasgow, United...
posts: 284
2. Re: Buying US dollars in Nairobi

yes i too stopped carrying travellers cheques due to very low rates

and will probably require a bank to exchange them with a lot of fuss and ID's required,

and very slow service,

but if you have to.. you can certainly try Sarit Shopping Centre in NBO,

you could also contact them in advance and have them keep it ready for your future dates,

they did exchange both with passport required (but pls check in advance of your journey),

NBO rates are always a bit lower compared to mombasa rates,

here's contact

Union Forex Bureau LTD - 00 254 20 4447618, 4441855 & 4448327,

unionforex@hotmail.com

here's web link

www.saritcentre.com/index.php…

London
posts: 3
reviews: 2
3. Re: Buying US dollars in Nairobi

Thanks for your advice! I've been in touch with the tour operator who will hopefully accept a bank payment, but I'm not particularly hopeful. So, looks like buying US dollars might be my best option. The travellers cheques idea has been abandoned!

Thanks again.

4. Re: Buying US dollars in Nairobi

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