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When to go
South Africa 

Travel Money South Africa

Rand (R) Notes are in denominations of R200, 100, 50, 20 and 10.


Coins are in denominations of R5, 2 and 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Note: the R200 note looks a lot like the R20 note! 


Currency Exchange

Money can be changed at banks, bureaux de change, some hotels, and larger shops and restaurants. Automated foreign exchange machines and ATMs are widely available


Currency Restrictions

The import of local currency is limited to R5000 in cash. The export of local currency is limited to R500 in cash. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited provided it is declared upon arrival or departure.


Exchange Rate
The exchange rate tends to be in favour of the international tourist and you should find most goods very affordable, whilst some imported and specially manufactured items may be cheaper here than elsewhere. Moreover, you will find that fine cuisine, wine and entertainment cost a fraction of the fee charged by equivalent establishments elsewhere in the world.



Shoestring travellers prepared to camp or stay in hostels and self-cater could just about scrape by on US$10 a day. However, travelling, (other than hitching) will increase this considerably as public transport can be expensive.

Visitors who prefer to stay in hotels with private facilities, eat restaurant meals twice a day and travel by train or bus should budget for US$ 40-60 per person.

Rough Guide to Costs

Eating Out

Budget:     R20-50

Mid-range: R50-80

High:         R80-120

Deluxe:      R120+



Budget:     R40-150

Mid-range: R150-250

High:         R250-300

Deluxe:      R300+


In South Africa banks are generally open from 09h00 to 15h30 on weekdays and 08h30 to 11h00 on Saturdays. Most banks change all travellers cheques in major currencies, however commission can vary greatly:


Rennies Travel is an agent for Thomas Cook. American Express has branches in some cities. Nedbank is associated with American Express. First National Bank is the Visa agent.


Most ATM machines will support your card if it bears the cirrus logo.


Travellers Cheques 

Travellers cheques are useful as they can be replaced if lost or stolen. American Express, Visa and Thomas Cook are all widely recognized.


However, if youre travelling into more remote areas you will need to carry cash preferably in a very safe place, such as a leather pouch under your waistband.


Make sure you keep the purchase agreement and a record of cheque serial numbers safe and separate from the cheques themselves.


In the event that cheques are lost or stolen, the issuing company will expect you to report the loss to their office in South Africa. Most companies claim to replace lost or stolen cheques within 24 hours. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.


Credit Cards
Credit cards are useful for hotel bookings and for paying for more mainstream and upmarket tourist facilities, and they are essential for car rental. Visa and Mastercard are the cards most widely accepted in major cities, while American Express and Diners Club are less widely accepted.


Credit cards are unlikely to  be accepted in small dorps and rural areas such as the Wild Coast and Northern Cape, where you will need cash for most transactions.


Proof of identity may be requested in some instances, so its useful to carry a passport or some form of photo identification at all times.


Note: credit cards are not accepted at petrol stations.

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