Currency

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Mar 30th, 2003, 01:38 AM
  #1
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Currency

I am going to South Africa next Saturday (sooooo excited) and would appreciate some help with taking money etc with me. We are visiting Cape Town, Durban, Hluhluwe and the Drakensberg (totalling 3 weeks).

I have R5,000 in cash, my ATM card, 1 Visa card and 1 Mastercard.

Will I be OK with the above or should I take Travellers Cheques ? I have been advised not to take travellers cheques by a few friends as the banks are slow with massive queues and they charge huge amounts commission.

Any idea what the ATM's commission/charge's are ? and lastly, are ATM machines easily accessable ?

What is your advice ?

Thanks
Holly
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Mar 30th, 2003, 10:48 AM
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Dear Holly,

I recently came back from south africa and was invited there by a friend who lives in Pretoria-I was taken everywhere! She advised me to NOT take travellers cheques. I was so HAPPY that I did NOT listen to her. Now to be very clear on this, I exchanged my travellers cheques solely in Pretoria at a shopping mall-at Cook. I got the best rate-more so then cash or anything else and was never charged any commissions for it. I always changed it at Cooks-they were so nice and I repeat again-got the best rate above all else but I never changed it anywhere else then in Pretoria.
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Mar 30th, 2003, 10:49 AM
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Holly, I never changed it at a bank but at Cook! I always go to exchanges when I travel-sometimes a bank but usually do better at an exchange
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Mar 30th, 2003, 09:26 PM
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Hi Holly
Re traveller's cheques or not: I think it's entirely up to you. I have always taken travellers cheques when I have travelled internationally, but I think it's a personal thing. With the exchange rate, any conversion from Rand into dollars or pounds adds up to a significant amount of money to us South Africans so I have always felt just a little but safer having it in cheques. I suppose it works the other way around for visitors to SA ...?
You will not be charged commission if you cash your cheques at an outlet of the brand of cheques you have purchased, ie Master Currency (Thomas Cook/Rennies) or American Express. There is an exchange counter in Cape Town and Johannesburg International airports. I think there is also an outlet in the V&A Waterfront. If you do decide to go the cheque route, get a listing of the branches from where you buy.
About the ATM's: SA has a large and excellent network of ATM's conveniently located. Most garages (filling stations) have an ATM, and you will not be able to turn around in any shopping mall without encountering one. I have never drawn cash via an ATM to a foreign account and so am not sure about the charges.
Hope you have a good trip.
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Mar 30th, 2003, 09:41 PM
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Holly,

When you get(if you go that route)travellers cheques, it comes with a list of places in every country as to where to exchange it. Like I said, I never had a problem-it worked so well for me.
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Mar 31st, 2003, 03:02 AM
  #6
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Thanks very much for your replies they were a great help.

Holly
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Mar 31st, 2003, 04:04 AM
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Hi

I would just like to say that when I travel I never bring any cash or checks...just my VISA and Mastercard card. And I have been to SA three times and in Joburg and Cape Town you will find ATM machines all over the place. And I have also driver the Garden route and I can't remember that it was a problem getting any cash.

Regards
Gard
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Mar 31st, 2003, 06:17 AM
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Like Gard, we never take rands (except for any leftover ones we happen to have on hand from our last trip) or travelers checks. Our ATM card and credit cards work all over SA.
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Mar 31st, 2003, 08:14 AM
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Holly,

I still stand by travellers cheques-I also brought cash & my credit cards but the best overall rate given is for travellers checques exchanged at Cook-but when you receive the cheques there will be a list of places to exchange them in south africa. Are you going on a tour-may I ask you who you booked with. I'm always interested in anything to do with africa-anything! Have a wonderful trip and please post us & let us know upon your return.
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Mar 31st, 2003, 11:58 AM
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Hi Patty,

I was brought up in South Africa and moved to the UK in 1980. I returned in 1987 for 3 months with all intensions of staying for good but changed my mind.

I am travelling this time with my Husband and 10 year old Son. We are starting off in Cape Town (6 nights), flying to Durban and making our way up to Hluhluwe for 3 nights, back down to Durban (Umhlanga) for 7 nights and lastly the Drakensberg for 4 nights.

I booked and researched all flights and accommodation over the internet.

We has decided to take our limit in local currency, ATM Cards, Visa & Mastercard - as the majority of people (several travel forums) have advised us not to take TC and that the above cards/currency are all we need. We travel to the States a lot as well and don't bother with TC's there.

I shall let you all know how we got on, on our return.

Bye for now.
Holly
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Mar 31st, 2003, 02:14 PM
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Dear Holly,

Very strange that they would say that about TC;I also had my doubts and never used them "before" SA;but was I ever glad I had them in south africa.
I also had my visa, cash but TC was the best. Can't understand why they would say that but people may not be aware because my friend who lives there told me NOT to bring TC but I did and it proved a great decision. Anyways, that's your decision. Have fun. See Traci's opinion as well.
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