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Money Matters

The currency in South Africa is the Rand, divided into 100 cents. The price is about 23 Rand to 1 Pound (February 2016), so this is very beneficial for tourism from the Pound in the United Kingdom. There are banknotes of 10, 20, 50,100 and 200, coins of 1, 2 and 5 Rand and 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Credit cards are widely accepted, but they charge a fee which is unfavourable to you. Pins can be used at most places. You will see regular ATM cash machines as you go.

The banks are open Monday to Friday, some even on Saturday or Sunday morning. Most large banks have an ATM, but ATM machines can also be found elsewhere in the shopping district. For current exchange rates please visit: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/. Euros/Pounds and dollars can be exchanged at most banks, as well as travellers checks. The usual credit cards for example Visa and MasterCard are accepted in the larger cities. Pins can be used at an ATM machine with your English bank card. The charges levied for this are equal almost everywhere in the world.

Please contact your bank for more information on using your credit card in South Africa.

Some petrol filling/gas stations may only accept cash payment, keep this in mind when refuelling. In the larger gas stations there is often an ATM. Refuelling is done for you. The attendant will also ask to check your water and wash your windshield, check oil level and tire pressure. It is customary to provide a small tip in this case.

From markets and roadside stalls, it is not strange to bargain. At restaurants a tip of 10-15 % is usual for the waiting staff due to a very low salary. For larger groups, the gratuity is already added to the total in some restaurants.

If you are buying presents you can ask for a VAT note, so you can get back the tax at the airport before you fly back to the United Kingdom.

**As Zimbabwean banks are limiting cash withdrawals, we are advising all guests to bring US Dollars in order to avoid the long queues at ATMs or banks. Plastic payments - by credit or debit card - could cause delays. The good news is that according to ZIMRA, "The importation of currency into Zimbabwe by travellers is not restricted. This implies that any person can bring in any amount of currency into Zimbabwe."

Tourists just need to declare the money in their possession on Baggage Declaration Forms when they enter the country. Travellers should however be aware that the maximum cash they can take out of Zimbabwe is US$1 000 or R20 000, according to a statement by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority ZIMRA.


Your holiday begins at South Africa Specialist!

Fees & Tips

In South Africa there are often low salaries, thus it is customary to tip waiting staff. In some places it is the fact that the staff shall be paid only with tips. Tipping is not compulsory but if you are satisfied with the service we can give you some guidelines.

Restaurants: Lunch and dinner are considerably cheaper here than you are used to in the United Kingdom. The exchange rate of the Rand often helps with that. It is an average lunch (rough estimate) about 5 to 10 euros/pounds per person depending on the menu. A main course is on average between 10 and 15 euros/pounds and almost all restaurants have websites where the menu often shows the prices. Drinks are also cheaper than in the United Kingdom. Giving a tip is often 10 to 15% of the amount of the total on the bill. For larger groups, the tip is already added to the total at some restaurants. You will see this then listed on your bill and it is often mentioned on the menu. A drink or meals in local venues are usually cheaper than in more expensive hotels.

Parking attendants: Many are in shopping malls or in the centre of towns as parking attendants and they tell you that they will look after your car. These are basically free parking spots, so you are not obliged to give something. Often they are helpful with loading your groceries, dropping off your trolley and guiding with parking. A coin from 2 to 5 Rand will be much appreciated.

Paid parking spaces: You can pay with cash or a parking ticket at a vending machine, but often there is also a parking attendant around that can assist. He or she will tell you the time rate and you pay the person, which then upgrades the machine for you. And for the service of the arranging for you can give for example 2 extra Rand.

Petrol stations: Here you have the luxury of a gas station attendant. He or she will refuel for you and check if oil, water and tire pressure is in order. Generally they also clean your windows. It is a wonderful service that you give at least two Rand but usually 5 Rand for.

Tours and tour guides: Think of your tour guide! The rule also applies of a 10% tip here, if you are satisfied. And here it is often the case that the staff lives on tips.

Ranger on Game drives: It is customary to give 10% of the bill of the game drive as a tip to the ranger and then also what you leave behind when you leave the game lodge for all the other staff to show that your stay was very special. If you book a multi-day safari, an amount of 100 Rand per person per day is usual.

Train staff: On the train you can judge for yourself what you want to give your booth staff and / or operating personnel. It is not required to give anything but nice.

Hotel Porters: It is customary to give them a few Rand tip per bag.

Domestic staff: Satisfied with the service? Then leave a few Rand tip.

A little tip can already make someone smile and what could be nicer than happy people...

Tolls and E-toll

Tolls in South Africa
In South Africa, for the maintenance and improvement of the road network includes the use of tolls. Tax money is used for maintenance of 81% of the road network; the remaining 19% of South Africa's roads are toll roads. These are mainly the highways between the major cities. You will find so-called toll-plaza where you pay before you can use this road. Always carry some cash with you in case you use a toll road. You drive to the lane with the sign 'manual' where you can pay cash and then continue your way. Both for economic and social development as well as for tourism it is important that the roads are well maintained. You can often avoid toll roads, but the alternative route is always longer, takes more time and it will take and run on bad roads.

E-toll Gauteng
In the Gauteng Province (the economic heart of the country) is another toll since December 2013: e-toll. E-toll is an electronic toll system where drivers do not have to stop to pay a toll plaza, but automatic toll when they drive underneath a toll. You will see this toll on some highways between Pretoria and Johannesburg (in the dark, they shine a purple light). All cars that use these highways are required to have an e-tag (a chip), this e-tag records when the car is passing under the toll and the money is debited at the end of the month on the bank account the driver or via a pre-paid system whereby the driver's money is in his e-tag sets.

When you use these roads with a car you are also required to pay e-toll. Your car must therefore be provided with an e-tag and you will hear a beep when you drive under the electronic toll. The maximum amount a driver pays of e-toll per month is set at 450 Rand. Most car rental companies' count on this amount from your deposit and you pay back an overpayment of the rental period. You only pay when you use these roads.