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traveler318 Jun 28th, 2008 12:56 PM

Cash for Safari
We leave for our Tanzania safari on Thursday. I've read posts saying that we must have new US bills to use there. We've had a terrible time getting these (except for $1's) from two banks on three different visits. We've managed to get fairly new $5's, $20's and $50's, but they are for the most part not completely new and/or crisp. They all have "big heads" but about half are the current versions with pastel colors and some are the green and white variety. They are not torn or written on, but sometimes slightly wrinkled.

Can anyone with experience tell me if this is adequate, or do I need to keep going back to the banks for actual new bills?

Thanks for your help.

sandi Jun 28th, 2008 02:29 PM

Bills don't have to be freshly minted, rather clean, not folded, taped or washed out.

Bills (except the $1s) should have the larger faces and the tri-color green or shades of tan, etc. wherever possible.

More importantly though, the bills shouldn't be older than 2003. Check the dates and have those older changed. Strange, yes... but too many people report older bills not being accepted.

At minimum be sure the bills you use to pay for your Visas, bar bills or large purchases are current in date and face/color.

Though I often have my banker gather the bills I need, I've also been known to stand at the teller window checking the bills and asking for replacements as needed. You still have a few days to do this :)

While USD are widely accepted, I'd suggest, once in-country, you stop at a currency exchange or bank and get some local currency for lodge/camp staff tips, souvenirs along the roads. Remember to use all of these before departing the country as they are not easily reconvertible to USD unless you have time at end of trip to head back to currency exchange or bank; no guarantee you can do this at the JRO airport.

Good luck and safari njema!

divine54 Jun 28th, 2008 03:18 PM

once a nairobi bank didn't exchange my 50$ bills because they had small heads.
since then i only travel with 20$ bills and smaller as the safari has been paid for and i need only some cash for tips etc.

jambo - enjoy your safari!

happy landings!


traveler318 Jun 29th, 2008 08:24 AM

Thanks for your replies. I think our bills will work, but will go back and check the dates to make sure they are not too old. Getting new bills from the banks around here has proven very difficult. Last time I tried, the teller raided every other teller's cash drawer and the vault, and only got about 50% of what I wanted.

Thanks again.

Bill_H Jun 29th, 2008 08:39 AM

I would only worry about $50's and $100's as these are the denominations that are most counterfeited and the ones that are not accepted (in Europe as well as Africa). Never had a problem with people accepting $1's and $5's etc ...

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