credit card use in Kenya & tanzania

Old Jul 21st, 2003, 02:42 PM
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credit card use in Kenya & tanzania

Is Mastercard accepted in Kenya & Tanzania
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We were told that you should have a visa card as Mastercards are not readily accepted. We have never had this issue come up and just want to make sure. Please advise if this is an issue

Also may be a dumb question but is the water in the hotel pools safe to swim in. Are the pools properly clorinated.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 03:40 AM
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If you use a credit card, please be prepared to pay some hefty transaction fees, upwards of 17%. Those places that we were at that did accept credit cards were OK with Visa, Mastercard and American Express. While I would recommend you bring a credit card for "just in case," I think your best bet is to plan on using cash. As far as pools, we swam at the one at Tortilis Camp in Amboseli, Kenya, as well as the one at Sand Rivers in Selous, Tanzania, without any problems.
SusanLynne is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 04:29 AM
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Most often we used local currency or USD for purchases (nothing was really so expensive that we didn't have enough of either in our pockets).

When I happened to run out of local currency and didn't want to spend my USD, the shop keeper in Nairobi was glad to take my VISA* for which he converted the amount into USD (and got a very good rate from him, better than than the money lender down the street) and there were no extra fees. The same happened at the Heritage Cultural Center in Tanzania. But that was back in '96 & '98 - so if additional fees are added today, especially at shops, that might be something new and something to consider.

We did use our credit cards to pay for dinners at our hotel in Nairobi and no extra fees were added.

As to the swimming pools, we had no problems with anything other than leaves that the poolboy was constantly cleaning out of the pool. Most pools at camps are rather small, but those in Nairobi hotels are larger. They all had chlorine.

* My partner used Mastercard
Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 08:51 AM
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We had no problems using Mastercard in either Tanzania or Kenya.

In Tanzania we had to pay a small fee (5% I think) at some souvenir places including the Cultural Heritage Center, or more commonly they would charge the fee to the card in US dollars at an exchange rate from shillings that wasnt as good as you might get if they charged the card in shillings (this affected us more as Canadians since we then also payed US-Cdn exchange).

In Kenya there were no fees and transactions were charged to the card in shillings so you benefitted from the Mastercard exchange rate which was better than that being offered by the lodges on US or Canadian dollars..

Another option we utilized in Kenya (Nairobi) was to get some cash out using our debit card through an ATM. We got a good exchange rate and didnt need to carry enough cash for our entire trip. Obviously we didnt take cash off the Mastercard or we would have had to pay the interest rates as soon as money was withdrawn.

I also called Mastercard and Visa to tell them our travel plans and dates in order to avoid them freezing our cards due to suspicious or unexpected charges. (10 minute phone call good for peace of mind!).

Re: pools It was too cold for us to swim but we did "dip" for posterity Pools were completely clear and extremely well tended, and did smell slightly of chlorine. We would have had no hesitation in swimming if the water was warmer.

Have a great trip!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 09:06 AM
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Oops - should have mentioned that we just got back at the end of June 2003.
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