Money, Currency & the use of Credit Cards in Southern Africa
You won’t need large amount of cash while on safari, but you should come with the right currencies and credit cards, and be aware of the art of tipping. Please also check which safari camps have credit card facilities, as some safari camps (because they are in remote areas) do not have credit card facilities.
The money you need
While in the bush, in our camps, you will not require any money, as our safaris are fully inclusive (see our policy).
However, if your safari itinerary takes you to a third-party lodge or hotel, then there may be some charges for some premium alcoholic drinks, and you may need cash for the purchase of souvenirs. It is advisable to consult your itinerary or confirm with your travel agent the specific details of what is included at lodges you are visiting on your safari. Drinks in other operator’s camps may or may not be included in the cost. Drinks in hotels and in major centres are not included.
For those passengers flying out of Zimbabwe, there is a US$20 (UK citizens US$50) airport departure tax that is not included in the cost of the safari. Please ensure you have the exact amount of US Dollars in cash before you leave your home country.
Finally, it is wise to have certain amounts of cash and access to credit card or transfer facilities incase of unforeseen emergencies while in Africa.
The local currency used in Botswana is Pula and South Africa the Rand, but the official legal tender in Zimbabwe is the US dollar – though Rands and, only in Bulawayo Pulas, are also accepted as well.
Carrying US dollars is a good choice for the region, as it will widely accepted, though change may be a problem so please carry small denominations with you.
It’s never a good idea to have a huge amount of cash on you but the lodges and hotels are secure and most rooms will have safe. You may need some cash for visas or airport taxes, tips , sundry personal expenses and purchases but we’d recommend no more than $1000 US in varying denominations.
Be aware there is no ATM in the transit & duty free area at Oliver tambo airport Airport, th ATM machines are on the main concourse of the airport before you check in. There are also bureau dechanges at the airport and also in the duty free and transit area.
In South Africa, all major credit cards are widely accepted - how ever there is a large amount of fraud so please be careful when using the ATM, and please also avoid letting anyone take your credit card out of your sight.
It is also quite possible to use credit cards in Botswana, though it is always better to have cash as well.
MasterCard is usually accepted throughout Zimbabwe, but American Express and Diners Club are often not accepted. Generally only the large hotels will accept credit cards but shops will want only cash. ATM’s are hard to come by how ever in Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo you can withdraw upto U$500 per day cash using a visa or mastercard.
Tipping is at the sole discretion of the guests and is not compulsory. Tipping should only be done if you feel you have received good service. However, guests often want to know what is appropriate, so we have included a brief guideline to assist you.
- Guides: if they have done a good job, then about US$5 or more per guest per day is a recommended tip. If you have a specialist guide who accompanies you all the way, this could increase to US$10 per guest per day.
- Camp Staff. We recommend about US$3 per guest per day. This should be placed in a communal tipping box for distribution equally amongst all the staff.
- In Restaurants and Hotels 10% is customary but only if you are satisfied with the service.