For reasons of my personality/background/practicality/common sense/whatever, I don't arrive in any country without carrying at least some currency of that country with me. So I was somewhat surprised to read on TA about the difficulties related to exchanging TZ Shillings (TZS) abroad and decided to look into it. As I half suspected, there seems to be some misunderstanding in some quarters about what one may or may not do.
In the US, you can *legally* buy more than US$100 worth of TZS to carry INTO TZ. This is not the same as taking more than US$100 worth of TZS OUT of TZ. The latter is/may be against the Tanzanian law (I have not verified).
So, if one is left with more than US$100 of TZS at the end of one's trip, it may be illegal to take it out of TZ and/or not worthwhile to convert back to US$, even if possible. No country sells its own currency in exchange for another at a lower rate than it buys the same currency for. So, e.g., if you are charged, say, $200 to buy 150 Euros in the US (not counting fees/surcharges), then if you want to exchange 75 Euros back into US$ after returning from your Europe trip, you will not get $100 back. It will be more like $90. I assume similar loss for reconverting TZS back to US$, if there was a legit way to do so. I've enquired about reconversion rates but have never reconverted any foreign currency left over from a trip back to the local currency thus far. But besides not having too much left over at the end of a trip, I've also never been in a situation where there were supposed legal limits to how much one could carry back.
Several yrs ago, I could get ForEx at many banks in the US. Now the only places I know in town accessible to me as a regular person [*] to get ForEx cash are a few select branches of Wells Fargo bank. That's where my information about the legality of obtaining and carrying more than US$100 worth of TZS into Tanzania comes from. The local person had to call their ForEx division somewhere to clarify the situation. Unlike some more "common" currencies like the Euro, Japanese Yen, British Pound, etc. that the bank keeps in stock on site, one needs to give the bank advance notice to be able to procure other currencies like TZS, Chinese Yuan etc. I assume that the situation regarding conversion and availability would be similar in Canada, Europe etc.
Can someone who has recently been to TZ tell me what kind of exchange rate you got for US$s at a legit exchange place in TZ (Arusha/Dar/....)?
[*] - By regular person, I mean an individual interested in retail exchange of small amounts of ForEx, not a ForEx commodity trader etc. who handles vast amounts of currency.