Spending Money in South Africa

Old Feb 16th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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Spending Money in South Africa

I am going on a family holiday to SA in April. We are starting off in Cape Town, travelling along the Garden Route for 5 days and then flying to Jo'Berg with a transfer to Madikwe for safari.

This question has probably been asked before but (as novice travellers to SA) what is the best advice for taking spending money?

Is cash best and if so what currency?

If we took travellers cheques, (again what currency) can they be easily and safely cashed outside of Cape Town?

Do most places accept credit cards and are they safe to use?

What about withdrawing cash using a UK debit / bank card? Will there be ATM's outside of Cape Town?

Finally, what is the done thing with regards to tipping in SA?

Thanks in advance for any help.

prettyinpinkmum is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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Take no more cash than you can comfortably lose. We use ATMs, around everywhere, to get Rands. (Our cards are USA). Tip like a drunken sailor

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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Don't take travelers checks; IF you can find a place that will cash them, they will probably charge a big fee. Use your credit cards, which are very widely accepted. Get cash from ATM's, which are, as Tom says, ubiquitous. Remember that petrol stations don't take credit cards, so you will need cash there.

When we're in SA, we don't tip like a drunken sailor, but just like we do in the US.

Have a wonderful time!

Celia is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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hi, ppm [love the screen name, BTW]

we did roughly the same route as you last July, and are from the UK too.

you'll have no problems finding and using ATMs just like at home. you should take the same precautions using an ATM that you would at home - make sure your number can't be seen, don't get distracted by other users, etc.

we took about £500 in rands to start us off and it lasted for AGES. credit cards are widely accepted, and you won't need or want travellers cheques.
there is no more danger using them in SA than anywhere else.

as for tipping, you seem to have to do it everywhere, but the amounts aren't huge - mainly the odd rand or 2 for car parking attendants, and we left tips in the rooms for chamber -maids when we stayed more than the off night. you should be prepared to leave quite large tips on safari - goodness knows why, you've paid enough for it as it is.

where are you staying on the garden route?

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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will just echo that ATMs are easy to find, even at the rest lodges in Kruger they were there. We always carried enough cash to pay cabs, tips, petrol but usually charged shopping and meals. We also had US credit and debit cards and never had any problems.

I would not take travellers checks anywhere in the world.

Have a wonderful time, Cape Town has lots to see!
stormygirl is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 12:42 PM
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Thanks for all your comments which are very useful. Do the ATM's take Maestro as well as Visa?
prettyinpinkmum is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 12:58 PM
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You shouldn't have too much trouble finding Maestro compatible ATMs. I know CPT has one in the arrivals hall and we used our Cirrus/Maestro ATM card several times in Franschhoek.
Patty is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 12:59 PM
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Enjoy your trip...we went last October with our son teaching in Jo'burg. Yes, credit cards and ATMs widely used. S. A. is a combination of rural and urban so to speak. Along the Garden Route there are many resort like towns. So some tourist trade. We did a Kruger Pk. safari and enjoyed various sites both in that area and north of Jo'burg and also Cape, Knysna, etc.

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