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Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

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Torquay, England...
4 posts
Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

Hi Im going on a 7 day safari through thomson/first choice holidays in kenya, samburu, aberdaire, treetops, lake nakuru, masai mara, followed by 7 day beach holiday at the southern palms hotel resort at diani beach.

Even after reading various reviews im not sure how to carry cash . I dont want to take credit cards and incur charges for taking out cash on them, Was thinking of taking some cash and changing at nairobi airport, do i still need us dollars for visa and departure tax?, Wether to take all pounds sterling and leave some in hotel safe, can i change british pounds ok at the local banks or should i load a debit card which might be best and are they accepted in diani beach and around? Any help gratefully received. Also anyone been to kenya in november, does it rain much? do i need to take a think raincoat? With all the troubles going on there anyone already there with some safety tips or places to avoid ?

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
3,267 posts
21 reviews
1. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

Hi - know that there are many international & local banks in Kenya with ATM dispensers. There's Barclays, Standard Chartered + many local banks accepting VISA Debit Cards.

Pointless really carrying wads of cash around.

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
384 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

On safety everything its as usually but above all always take caution.

Torquay, England...
4 posts
3. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

Yes I think i will pre load a travel card , all the best deals on them in uk seem to be on mastercards are they readily acceptable now in Diani beach area as previous threads have noted problems with mastercard ?

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
Level Contributor
14,389 posts
55 reviews
4. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

MasterCard isn't as widely accepted as Visa but is accepted at the ATMs of the two biggest banks with the largest ATM networks, Barclays and KCB and both have branches in the Diani area. CFC Stanbic ATMs also accept them.

The big supermarkets and most hotels lodges accept MasterCard.

Barclays had a technical problem with their ATMs accepting MasterCards a year or two ago but it was fixed quite some time ago

Edited: 10:36 am, October 09, 2013
edinburgh
Level Contributor
1,459 posts
182 reviews
5. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

Barclays Bank at the Barclays Centre and Kenya Commercial Bank at the main shopping Centre are your best bet or Wannati Forex Bureaux in Diani near Nakumatt. We personally use these banks.

Torquay, England...
4 posts
6. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

thanks everyone for taking the time to reply !

Torquay, England...
4 posts
7. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

my friend has gone to Thomas Cook this morning to get a preloaded travel card to use while we are in kenya and was advised to load it with us dollars as they say the charges are bigger if loading with british pounds, can anyone advise me please as i read to load with pounds now not sure what to do !!!!

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
Level Contributor
14,389 posts
55 reviews
8. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

If you are going to get a Cash Passport card it's better to get it direct from Travelex as both Thomas Cook and the Co-op add their normal commission on to loading, etc and you can also administer the card online if you get it from Travelex.

They make money when you load foreign currency because they sell you the currency at their exchange rate like when you buy it on their shop. If you load their card with pounds there is no exchange rate so they charge you a standard fee instead. They probably make more from selling you dollars so probably encourage you to load dollars. As you are going to be withdrawing money in a third currency, Kenyan shillings, it doesn't really matter what currency is on the card.

You would actually be better getting a FairFx card or a Caxton card, they are the best preloaded cards. Of course you could just do what most people do and just use your ordinary debit card

shamba25
Level Contributor
240 posts
6 reviews
9. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

Hi Thomas Cook card is not the best to use the rates are very low & yes its more of a hassle to load in $s.

I use Caxton fx card, (visa) which is in ££s - It can be loaded via the net at anytime. I would reccomend it, but may be worthwhile looking at Martin Lewis.com as there is a section on travel cards & which is the best. Hope it helps, have a fantastic holiday.

Ilford, United...
Level Contributor
400 posts
21 reviews
10. Re: Taking cash or loading debit card on safari and diani beach

Hi Cheryl, assuming you have one, as Doff said why not just use your "normal" debit card that you would use at home? I used mine quite successfully this summer. Must admit I've never used a "prepaid card" though so not sure what the benefit would be in using one of those over a "normal" card.

Have a great time on safari...all the lodges will take cards when settling any room bills and I hope you enjoy your Best of Kenya safari. With the exception of Treetops all the Sarova lodges have electronic safes in the room that you set with your own code so any excess cash and other valuables can be left in there

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