Money matters

  • 16 July 2015 | Sarah Came

If you have travellers from outside the country, remember that they use a different currency where they are from, and that they will have to do certain things in order to pay for goods and services in South Africa.

In many countries, the US dollar is accepted as currency (the official currency of Tanzania, for example, is the Tanzanian shilling, but many Tanzanian people and places accept US dollars) so guests may be accustomed to using dollars everywhere.

However, since only rands are accepted in South Africa, notify your guests that if they are buying goods in cash, they will have to use rands. Additionally, only authorised dealers are allowed to do foreign exchange, so find out where the nearest foreign exchange office is so that if guests have brought foreign currency with them you can tell them where they can exchange it.

Although travellers’ cheques are being used less often these days, some visitors still like to use them. Let visitors know that travellers’ cheques can be cashed at foreign exchange offices, banks and even some hotels (although this is not the norm).

The majority of shops, especially in big cities and towns that tourists often visit, accept chip or PIN cards, so there is no need for tourists to use cash. Most debit and credit cards, including Cirrus or Maestro cards, can be used to draw cash at local ATMs.

Bear in mind, though, that some guests may not be prepared for the less modernised areas of South Africa, where cards may not be accepted, so warn them to always have a small amount of cash on them.

Some garages also only accept cash. Find out if the garages in your area accept cards and notify your guests accordingly if they don’t. Some smaller towns don’t have an ATM, so tell your guests if and where this is the case.

Remember, making guests feel welcome is also about making things easier for them. Coming to a place and finding that your money is worthless, or not knowing where you can get money, is a scary experience and we want our visitors’ trips to be fun and convenient.