Currency exchange in Kenya?

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Sep 20th, 2003, 05:40 PM
  #1
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Currency exchange in Kenya?

Hello, I'll be doing a week long fly-in safari next week Nairobi-Saburu-Mara-Nairobi. Do I need to change dollars to shillings or can I get away with tipping and paying in $US? It's been my experience in other parts of the world that dollars are appreciated, but I don't wont to offend my hosts. Can anyone advise? Thanks...Peter
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Sep 20th, 2003, 05:49 PM
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LizFrazier
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It was easier to convert to schillings for us. If you get change anytime it will be in schillings anyway. We converted some at the airport and got 73 schillings to 1USD. At camps we got the going rate of 76=1USD. You have to be careful because you don't want to end up with any extra and you cannot convert them back. We just gave out the last we had in tips before we left camp. We heard that the guides had a hard time converting dollars in the bush, so we gave schillings. Almost everyplace took dollars though. Just have mostly smaller ones and fives. You can always use a credit card for larger charges. Liz
 
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Sep 20th, 2003, 06:17 PM
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Thanks for the speedy reply Liz. I leave Newark on 9/27...My birthday no less. Can't wait! I've got 3 Gigs of memory for my Dig camera and intend to use every bit and byte!...Peter
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Sep 20th, 2003, 08:21 PM
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3 Gigs? In one week? What resolution? Must be top resolution. The trip sounds wonderful and a trip report is becoming mandatory. Lots of pictures are appreciated too. Hope the flight doesn't do you in. Liz
 
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Sep 21st, 2003, 08:08 AM
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Hi Peter:

You can't take Shillings into/out of Kenya (at security when I left they even checked my coins to make sure there were none). But at least ABM's are abundant, I took some out at the ABM at the airport in Nairobi (just past baggage) & in Nanyuki on the way from Samburu to Mara when we stopped for gas. If you happen to use Bank of America in the US look for a Barclay's ABM in Kenya, as they have an agreement on ABM usage so no 'extra' international transaction fees.

We were there in early October last year & was amazing, Samburu was fairly hot/humid but the Mara was warm (but not hot) during the day & comfortably cool in the evenings.

Enjoy the trip, with I was going back.

Z
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Sep 22nd, 2003, 03:58 AM
  #6
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Liz the camera is 6.1 megapixel and can save images in raw (read: large file size) format. I'll let you all know how the trip goes when I return and will post photos if possible.
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Sep 22nd, 2003, 04:25 AM
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Sounds like you're ready to hit the ground running. Please do post a report of your experiences upon your return. If you had the chance to view the album I posted, you can also use ofoto.com to post some pictures so we can all see them. Some of us here use that site. We'll be waiting. If you need any last minute info, just ask. Liz
 
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Sep 22nd, 2003, 02:48 PM
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TravelMaster, why can tourists not take Kenya schillings out of the country?
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Sep 22nd, 2003, 07:19 PM
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Peter - if you are shooting RAW you may use 3 gig pretty quickly. In RSA and Botswana I used over 2 gig per day several times. Of course they weren't all keepers but when you have all that wildlife just staring you in the face what can you do!

Have a great trip!

Cindy
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 04:17 AM
  #10
sandi
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hlphillips2 -

How about "it's the law" - why I don't know why, my question would be to you "where would one spend them?" I would believe the government is referring to large amounts of currency that might be able to be forged or whatever reason they deem important.

However, if you're talking of taking a single bill in some denomination, or coins, as a sourvenir, I've done this in every country I've visited, Kenya included (they go into a photo album and kids love coins).

Departing Kenya on two occasions I've never been asked about whether I have any currency, so I have a total of about $USD6 worth of Shillings.

Maybe some other poster can provide another reason.
 
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 05:40 AM
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Hi Hlphillips2 -

As per Sandi's posting "it's the law", can't bring local currency into the country & can't take local currency out of the country (was the same when I was in Bali). My guess is that its because in both of those areas what a North American/European tourist would consider as 'walking around money' is several months salary for the local people, so generating money as potential 'sourvenirs' is money taking out of the local economy & needs to be 'replaced' (so I guess its cost of 'printing' vs benefit of 'dead money').

Z
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 08:39 AM
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I too like to have a few coins from visited countries just as a souvenir. It's just one of those things, no interest in forging currency ; just my own private interests. I've never been exposed to a country prohibiting currency from being removed but it makes perfect sense when put into an economic light, particulary when one of their main revenue streams is tourism (if every tourist took five coins, yada yada yada).
Thanks for the education - you learn something new everyday, and better to know now than when we're leaving Nairobi...

Heather
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 12:52 PM
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Heather:

I understand, in fact my traveling companion had 1 of each coin from Kenya packed away in her luggage. I just happened to have a UK coin (as our next stop was the UK & one of the Internet cafe at the Nairobi airport took that currency & I needed an e-mail fix after 2 weeks, they provided the change in UK coins) and when I went through security they checked those coins to make sure I wasn't taking out any Kenyan money.

Z
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Sep 24th, 2003, 12:14 PM
  #14
Jed
 
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Dollars are accepted all over, but we usually get a small amount of the local money from the ATM to use for buying small stuff as it is easier than converting to dollars.

When we went 2 years ago, I brought out some shilling paper and small coins without problem. I think it is to their advantage for their money to be taken out as they gain the foreign currency without having to give something for it.
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Sep 25th, 2003, 02:11 AM
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I would not advise taking money out. I am sure lots of people take the odd note out and do not get caught. I just remember a story of one Brit who got caught with a small value note and the immigration guy got stroppy. The tourist probably did not handle it that well (i.e should have paid a bribe while smiling), got in a stink and tore up the note - result was he was thrown into jail for 6 mths for insulting Mr Moi (on the note), ended up extremely ill and was waiting blood tests to see wheher "hospital" treatment had given him aids.
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Sep 25th, 2003, 06:22 AM
  #16
Jed
 
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This is from the site of the Kenya Embassy:

"Currency

There are no restrictions on the foreign exchange you may bring into the country. However, if you wish to take out of the country amounts exceeding Ksh 500,000, you require written authorisation from the Central Bank of Kenya. Defacement of the Kenya currency is an indictable offence. The unit of currency is the Kenya Shilling. Notes come in denominations of Ksh.10, Ksh.20, Ksh.50, Ksh.100, Ksh.500, and Ksh.1,000. It is recommended that you change your foreign currency only in Banks, Bureaux de Change or authorized hotels."

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