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Money in S. A.

South Burlington...
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Money in S. A.

Hello, everyone! As a first time traveler to S. Africa- Kruger, Victoria Falls, Cape Town- only flying in and out of Johannesburg, how much money do you suggest I bring - US$ for tipping, and RAND to pay for safaris, attractions, etc? I would like to stay away from ATM's as much as possible!

Is cash the best way to pay for things in S. A.? I have read some alarming stories of cc#s being stolen, etc.

AND, lastly, what is the best way to keep money, passport, etc. safe?

Thank you!!!! Rhonda in VT

Cape Town Central...
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1. Re: Money in S. A.

You shouldn't pay your tips is USD, we can do little with it here & it costs too much to convert to rand. Credit cards are widely used & a better option than carrying heaps of cash.

Edited: 1:06 pm, May 16, 2014
Washington DC...
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2. Re: Money in S. A.

If you were going to a private reserve I'd suggest tipping in $US or a credit card if you didn't want to exchange dollars. But I believe you're doing a self-drive in Kruger. In that case I suggest you do all your tipping in Rands throughout SA. ATMs are best for getting good exchanges and I've never worried about using a credit card with a reputable business. If you decide to use your ATM/credit cards make sure you notify your banks ahead of time so they don't think fraud is occurring and block the cards. The best way to keep passport and money safe is to keep them on your person.

Berkhamsted, United...
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3. Re: Money in S. A.

Don't understand why you'd want to stay away from ATMs? They give about the best exchange rate.

You need rands or credit cards for everything. US$ are useless to a South African. In fact, tipping in dollars causes the locals problems in explaining why they have foreign currency to exchange into rands.

Cape Town Central...
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4. Re: Money in S. A.

I would recommend to rather have a cc for withdrawels and avoid walking around with loads of cash on you. You will be however limited to an amount of withdrawel at the ATM which could be about between R2500 - R3500 per day/per transaction. Much safer and you will get the best exchange rate as well.

Tipping in South African Rand's is not a taboo thing, it can be done in here but it is just a longer process for locals taxi drivers and guides to exchange the money. But preferble to tip in South African Rands is also a good thing, because then they can make use of the money with an immediate affect instead of having to wait until they have to change it into South African Rand.

For the amount of money that you need to bring to South Africa, as much as possible, LOL!! It will be good for the economy for South Africa. Just kidding, as much as you feel comfortable with. Depending on what you would like to do and on the method of how you want to do it. There is loads of activities and sightseeing places in Cape Town and surrounds, so i would say read up more about what you want to do and see and work out what your budget will then be, including meals and sightseeing trips and things to buy at the markets as well.

All the best with the research and please ask away with more questions

Hank - Owner - Ulungele Tours

Queensland...
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5. Re: Money in S. A.

Question re currency is absurd. Imagine tipping US waiters/taxi drivers in Rand!

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Money in S. A.

Hi Rhonda, I just came back from SA. Like you I am a first time traveller. I have just started my trip report. Anyway, what I did was paid everything, as much as possible, in advance. This way I avoided having to carry a lot of $ cash or use my credit too often. Re. money, it is best to use the ATM with your debit card. You get the best exchange rates. You do not have to hit the atm that often if most stuff are paid off.

Re. credit cards, when I used them, I made sure that the transactions were done in front of me. At the gas stations (are you self driving?) the credit card machine is brought to you. They do not take your card from you. At Kruger park, there is a big sign saying that credit cards must be processed in front of the client.

As mentioned, tip in rand. You do the ones receiving it a big favour and you help yourself too by avoiding having to have two sets of bills ($ and rand) around.

Re. keeping my passport and cash. I bought a Pacsafe neck wallet. pacsafe.com/coversafe-75-anti-theft-neck-wal… In it I put my passport, my $ reserve (w/c I never got to use aside from an experiment) and most of my rand. I kept a few hundred in my pockets for day to day use. I carried the neck wallet with me whereever I went. I tuck it under my shirt and out of sight.

hope this helps.

NY
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7. Re: Money in S. A.

Bigwawao,

I was under the impression that credit cards were not accepted for gas inside Kruger. Is that not the case? I'm looking forward to your trip report. I am under the 3 month mark and getting very excited.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Money in S. A.

AIl the 3 camps I went- Satara Lower Sabie and Skuzuza, they were accepted. They even bring the CC machine to you. Once a camp worker (but not assigned to the gas station) came to help fill my car. He wanted to take my CC inside the gas station house but I asked can the machine come out instead. It was not a problem. Just one thing though. It seems that when they swipe your CC, it will not read it out as a CC. Some attendants will ask you where to charge it to. I was able to sneak a look at it and it had 4 choices, savings, debit, credit, and I forgot the 4th. Just tell them credit. Some attendants know immediately which choice to make. A receipt is printed out on the spot.

Pickering, United...
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9. Re: Money in S. A.

Some of the ATM machines also asked me to say which account I wished to access in my case chequing.

Cape Town, South...
Destination Expert
for Cape Town Central
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10. Re: Money in S. A.

PLEASE... consider my advice. If you can just use the ATM taking all the precautions you can then do that. Do not carry large amounts of cash... not even when putting it into the hotel safe.

I've just gone through MAJOR drama where money was taken from a hotel safe. Fortunately the passenger involved kept receipts and kept a financial record.

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