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How much money should I take on safari?
Use our comprehensive guide to money matters when planning your safari.
Before you go
- Inform your bank/credit card providers of your travel plans
- They can note overseas activity on your Credit and ATM cards.
- Check that your ATM card is set up for use in South Africa.
- Your credit card will need a four-digit PIN number for use in South Africa.
- Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club are all accepted in South Africa.
- Visa and MasterCard are preferred in most.
- All currency must be declared on entering the country.
- The South African currency is the Rand, with 100 cents making up R1 (one Rand).
- Banks, bureau de change and ATMs are located at all major airports in South Africa.
- ATMs are found throughout South Africa and in Skukuza and Letaba camps within Kruger National Park.
- There is also a bank at Skukuza camp in Kruger.
- Banks are open from 9h00-15h30 Monday to Friday and 9h00-10h30 Saturdays.
- ATMs are targets for muggings.
- Do not accept help from the public.
- Only use machines in banks or where guards are on duty.
- Value added Tax (VAT) of 14% is changed on most purchases.
- Foreign tourists to South Africa can have their VAT refunded on items purchased.
- Provided that the value of the items exceeds R250.
- You will need to present your receipts at the point of departure to receive the refund.
Outside of private camps: Although not compulsory, tipping is welcomed after good service.
- Restaurants (10-15%).
- Petrol stations (loose change up to R5).
- Hotel staff (R 10 per day for maid and R3-5 for porter).
- Hairdressers (5-10%).
- Tour guides (discretionary and can be up to 10% of the full tour price).
- Bar service and car attendants (loose change).
Within private camps and Lodges: Cash tips are normally given in USD or ZAR.
- Rangers: USD 10 per guest per day in a shared vehicle.
- At least double that amount per guest in a private vehicle.
- Trackers / butlers / valets: USD 5 per guest per day.
- General staff fund (for cleaners, cooks, waiters, etc): USD 5 per guest per day.
- Outstanding service may warrant a larger tip.
How It's Done:
- All tips are normally given at the end of your stay.
- Envelopes for tips are normally found in your suite or in the main lounge.
- The general staff tip box can usually be found near the bar.
- Including a personal thank you note with the tip is always appreciated.
Gifts for staff
Although cash is always preferable, gifts with the cash tip are more personal and always appreciated.
Gifts from you home country are a good idea.
- Toy icon (koala, panda, hedgehog)
- Stick pin or badge
- Fridge magnet
- Cap or T-shirt
- A football with pump
- Crayons or magic markers
- Book or journal
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