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We're going on a safari holiday with Thomson holidays in October. We're flying to Mombasa and then on to Taita Hills Game Reserve, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Tarangire and Tsavo West and having our second week in Kenya Baobab Beach Resort to recover!. I seem to be getting conflicting reports on what currency to take. We're mainly staying in Sopa Lodges, will these accept US $ or will we need to get some Tanzanian currency? Also will we need some Kenyan shillings for our second week?

Also I notice it is a bank holiday on 14 October, will this effect us in Tanzania?

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Easy Travel & Tours Ltd
Safaris, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Cultural Tours
Gosheni Safaris Africa
Safaris, Nature & Wildlife Tours
African Scenic Safaris
Hiking & Camping Tours, Safaris, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Climbing Tours
Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Currency

Many TA posters will recommend having local currency. Both in Kenya and Tanzania, you will be in small out of the way places, where it's not so easy for locals to deal with US currency. Either way you are paying an exchange fee, so why not go with the local currency? If you want to charge your big ticket items on credit card, ask the hotel what currency they deal with, and ask that the bill be processed in that currency, otherwise you might find yourself paying 2 conversions - pounds sterling to Tanz shillings and then to US dollars.

Any local transactions are best done in local currency as you will have better luck getting smaller denominations and better luck at making change.

Bank machines at the airport should alleviate the problem with bank holidays (but for peace of mind, go with some local currency in hand).

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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2. Re: Currency

On bank holidays the Bureau de changes will all be open typically and that's the best place to exchange your money. They will exchange GBP for you as easily as US dollars. Using anything other than local currency will get you a low exchange rate, so I always advise using local currency.

I would never advise you to use a credit card in Tanzania, too much identity theft. Probably safe to use it at an ATM, which will dispense local currency only.

Conflicting reports come from those who travel there and use US dollars typically, can they be used, most generally you can. Is it wise to use other then local currency, I don't think so. How far would someone get in England trying to use US Dollars, not far. Some may accept this, but it would be at a high cost.

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3. Re: Currency

Board Advice has been

1) Caution using ATMs and your Visa at all merchants

2) best exchange rate is at currency exchange offices not banks

Personal Experience

My Guide took me to an exchange shop where I received a zillion or so Tz Shillings for my USD. It turned out during my stay stay, nobody wanted these notes with lots of zeros on them, except Sopas.

While Sopas will bill you in local currency, they did accept dollars for payment. In my case, they would not give me change for large US Bills in dollars

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4. Re: Currency

Of course, if you use USD (even GBP... have seen these being used) for payment of something and change is due, it will, most often, be returned to you in local currency. Some larger establishments may actually provide change in USD.

Sopa Lodges will take USD. They may even accept GBP.

5. Re: Currency

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