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cash- best currency

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posts: 44
cash- best currency

we are in naoribi for 2 days before and after our safari- can anyone recomend what currency to take for meals etc and is it safe to leave the hoteL


Bungoma, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
posts: 2,531
reviews: 2
11. Re: cash- best currency

Definitely have some Kenya Shillings. You can get from an ATM as explained, but these are usually large denomination notes (1000/-), so you can go and buy something in a shop to get change!! Use a Debit Card and make sure your Bank knows you will be using it in Kenya.

posts: 4
12. Re: cash- best currency

kenya shillings is the best,but also dollar can do

Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 2
reviews: 1
13. Re: cash- best currency

Kenya shillings is the best option. You can always withdraw from ATM's across the country that accept your card. Some hotels do accept cards. Always good to ask.

It is safe at to leave hotels but again always be mindful of your own security.

Bungoma, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
posts: 2,531
reviews: 2
14. Re: cash- best currency

From UK, I can't see the point of getting dollars - if you already have some from another trip, then bring them

New York, New York
posts: 261
reviews: 12
15. Re: cash- best currency

Sounds best to carry Kenya shillings and not take too much while on safari which makes sense. Does one really need that much cash on safari anyways? Is there a lot to buy in villages or do they carry most wares in Nairobi in the markets and stores anyways?

west midlands
posts: 11
reviews: 21
16. Re: cash- best currency

We are going to do the same as you, nairobi couple of days and then on to safari, I have been advised and will be taking kenyan shillings , dollars and my credit card.

Good idea to inform card company i'll be using it abroad, will do that today thanx.

The only thing I was told by the travel agency is that it wasn't easy to change K Shillings back to our currency if you had a lot left over when you got back to the UK, asked at our bank as well and was told they would exchange shillings back as long as we kept the receipt, so presumably they would only exchange back the amount they had originally supplied us with.

Not sure how true this is ?

Thats why we have opted for a smaller amount of KS and the rest Dollars/Card, we can always change money over there as we need it.

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
posts: 13,622
reviews: 51
17. Re: cash- best currency


as you are from the UK there is no point wasting your money buying dollars, anywhere that will accept dollars will also accept pounds, larger shops, hotels and restaurants will accept dollars, pounds or euros but generally at a poor rate of exchange so you are always better paying in shillings. (The only current exception is Thomson customers who have to pay their own departure tax and that is cheaper in dollars than pounds or shillings, but it doesn't sound like you are on a Thomson package). You can generally charge to your room in the hotel or safari lodge then settle with your credit card.

You can also take a debit card and withdraw money from an ATM as and when you need it, it will be a better deal than getting shillings in the UK. it is always better to exchange money in the country you are visiting, and it is just as easy to change pounds as dollars at any forex or bank in Kenya (the shilling is after all named after the old British shilling)

Your travel agent may not change shillings back to pounds without a receipt but a forex will

Palo Alto...
posts: 12
reviews: 3
18. Re: cash- best currency

Departure tax? I'm aware of the $50 visa upon entry but I was not aware there is a departure tax.

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
posts: 13,622
reviews: 51
19. Re: cash- best currency


Don't worry your departure tax will be included in the price you have paid for your flight, as it is for most people. The exception is UK tour operator Thomson who a few years ago decided to surreptitiously put up the price of their holidays by passing the departure tax on for customers using their own airline to pay directly at the airport

posts: 13,482
20. Re: cash- best currency

In Tanzania you can use USD or exchange for Tanzanian Shillings/TSh.

You get a better exchange rate for USD$100 & $50 notes than for smaller denominations.

And Tanzania more readily accepts USD$ notes than if in Kenya.

Most everywhere in TNZ will accept USD and probably GBP, but it's a good idea to have some TSh for small purchases and/or tips for staff at lodges/camps. The guides don't seem to have issue accepting USD as they're in Arusha regularly and get as attractive exchange rate as do visitors who exchange to TSh.

Don't withdraw more local currency, either country, than you expect to spend as re-exchanging back to your own currency... you lose on the rate, so best to use whatever local notes you have before departing for home.