atm machines-kenya

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Dec 11th, 2004, 03:44 PM
  #1
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atm machines-kenya

are there atm machines in the nairobi airport?

how about in major hotels- we are in safari park

and at banks...

my friend wants to use hers to get shillings but i dont know if she can do this

im bringing travelers checks

any advice would be helpful..been to kenya before but not recently
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Dec 12th, 2004, 07:32 AM
  #2
sandi
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I've yet to use an ATM machine in Kenya, though I know they are available, probably at banks.

You will find that the currency exchange at baggage claim is open when you arrive and provides an excellent exchange rate to local Kenya Schillings.

While your hotel can exchange funds, they provide the worst exchange. As well, the rate of exchange at lodges/camps is not all that good.
Nor is the exchange rate for travelers checks favorable. It is, however, a good idea to have TCs in case of an emergency; most likely you will not need to use them, and can simply redeposit them when you return home. Credit cards can be used for major purchases, but many lodges/camps will assess a fee for using these.

We've found that USD are accepted everywhere. Bring these in small denominations of $1s, $5s, $10s, $20s - use the large denominations for guide tips. You can tip at camps/lodges for staff and for paying your bill (wines, colas, etc.) using local currency or USD. Be sure that the USD you bring with you are relatively new (though they don't have to be freshly minted) not wrinkled, torn or washed out; bring the bills that have the new larger faces and those that are tri-colored. Your local bank can provide you with whatever bills you need.

If anyone out there has used ATMs, please feel free to chime in.
 
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Dec 13th, 2004, 04:05 PM
  #3
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to sandi- thanks for your help
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Dec 15th, 2004, 09:48 AM
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I got all my Kenya Shillings from ATMs in Nairobi (including the airport) and in other cities. The only problem I noted was the long lines at some ATMs (not sure why) but then there would be others with practically no waiting at all.
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Feb 10th, 2005, 11:50 AM
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The one ATM I tried to use at NBO would not accept my card which is compatible with the Cirrus, Star, and Maestro networks. I didn't try to look for another ATM so don't know if there was more than one.

The Barclays ATM in Nairobi worked fine for me. I didn't bring any travelers checks other than what I needed to pay my safari balance. I relied on my credit cards and ATM card and brought dollars as a back up. None of the camps and lodges where we stayed added an additional fee for credit card use. Only at the Hilton in Nairobi did they convert our bill into dollars using an unfavorable exchange rate before putting the charge through in USD. Had I known this in advance, I would have just paid in shillings. I don't know if this is just the practice of the Hilton or is common with hotels in Nairobi. Everywhere else, the credit card charges were put through in KES.
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Feb 10th, 2005, 03:02 PM
  #6
sandi
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Patty - Rarely do hotels anywhere give you a favorable exchange rate. It's not Hilton or Hyatt or Intercontinental - it's hotels, in general. It's almost always best to have hotels bill your credit card in local currency. Even if there is a conversion fee added to your credit card, the rate is favorable enough to make up for the poor rate hotels offer.
 
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Feb 10th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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sandi,
It's not that I was surprised by the unfavorable exchange rate but rather that the charge was put through in USD instead of KES. I hadn't run into that anywhere else on this trip. I probably could have insisted that it be put through in KES. But they had already converted and charged the USD amount automatically without asking and I didn't bother to check the calculation until later.
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