Cash vs. Traveler's Checks in Southern Africa

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Aug 6th, 2005, 06:36 PM
  #1
akimyai
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Cash vs. Traveler's Checks in Southern Africa

For Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe), which is better: Cash (US Dollars) or Traveler's Checks? For Traveler's Checks, what denomination is best?

What is the credit card/ATM situation for the above countries?

I've read that for Zimbabwe in particular, I should pay everything in cash.
 
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Aug 6th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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from what I have read, researched etc- CASH (us or Euros) are the easiest to use, the cashing of travelers checks may be difficult at many places. I would take what you expect to use/spend in cash, and emergency money in travelers checks. Suzi
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Aug 6th, 2005, 08:11 PM
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For South Africa you can access ATMs easily for cash. In Zambia and Botswana, and I imagine Zimbabwe, forget about ATMs. Access is pretty limited--only the major cities-- and if you do find them they may not work. You can cash travellers checks at banks and at major hotels, but the exchange rate is better for currency. (I think there is about a 3% discount for using travellers checks). The major inconvenience is that many places (shops, vendors etc) will not take travellers checks at all, so you must find a bank. Credit cards are acceptable all over South Africa, but only in major hotels in places like Zambia...and as you have noted, should not be used in Zim because of the exchange rate issue.

So what you take really depends on where you are going...how often you will be in cities vs. in bush camps, whether your trip is prepaid or not, and how comfortable you are carrying cash. You will need some cash (for things like visas and airport departure fees, as well as for tips), but the mix of cash vs. travellers checks is up to you, and depends on so many things it is difficult to say...
Has your travel agent provided any guidance?
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