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Money Matters

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Money Matters

Arriving on January 2 via private transfer from Nairobi. I am aware of all requirements for shots and visas. Our tour operator has suggested $20 per day as a tip for our 14 day safari (private safari for the 2 of us). This seems in line with prior posts. Most seem to suggest getting local currently. We are staying at the African Tulip for our first night. Where is the best location to exchange USD to Shillings?

My thought is that I can tip the driver in either Shillings or USD so I would probably change about $500 US to Shillings. This gives us plenty of $$, I think, for gifts, etc. and althought I don't think we will go through this much case we can always use the Shillings for the tip for the driver.

We are staying at moderate to higher end camps (TSL, Sopa at the Crater, Dunia Camp), most for 2 or 3 nights. If I understand correctly they will probably have a communal tipping box at the desk. Does this mean that no other tips should be paid (porters, etc.)? Is approximately $10 for a 2 or 3 night stay considered low, average or high?? Whatever amount we chose I presume USD or shillings would be fine.

Edited: 29 October 2013, 16:16
New York City, New...
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1. Re: Money Matters

Sorry one more questions (probably more to come). I have seen some suggestions for various places in Arusha to shop. In one post it was suggested that whatever price is quoted to counter with a price that is 50% of the asking price. Is this appropriate? Is this only for roadside stands and stalls or also for "shops"? Do these negotiations change if we stop at some smaller towns along the safari circuit? I would presume that any shops at the lodges have prices that are non negotiable - correct?

Thanks. Any suggestions on good quality souveniers along with "normal" prices would be appreciate.

nyc
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2. Re: Money Matters

$20/day for the two of you daily for guide is fine. The guide will gladly accept USD as they get the same exchange rate as would you at the same currency exchange*. That is if they're not storing their USD under the mattress or secure bank as 'savings.'

*there's is an exchange bureau middle of town that seems everyone uses; you walk up, hand over your currency and they exchange... next person does the same. Easy and quick. Can do this on the way out of Arusha onto safari, barely takes 5/min.

This was the first year I've changed some USD to TSH (maybe $50 worth as we only spent 5/days in TNZ) for camp staff and made sure to use all before departing the country. Whatever TSH I had close to end of visit I gave to my travel partner to dispense as he wished.

When I did purchase souvenirs, if the price from the get go was something I could deal with... no bargaining and the items/s were still a bargain. Where interested in others, went for 50% less and if vendor not willing to accept I just walked away... soon enough he was on my tail and agreed. Lodge/camp shops are set prices, and with few exceptions their quality if better than if from roadside; often have items you won't find elsewhere so that's worth something.

You're a New Yorker... you know how to 'shop' :-)

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3. Re: Money Matters

Thanks. As it's getting closer it is getting more exciting. This was 2+ years in the planning stages. Any recommendations for specific items to look to purchase??

Chicago
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4. Re: Money Matters

I had a solo trip and tipped $15 per night for myself as I had exceptional service. I usually figured about $5-10 for the camp box, but tipped specifically for carrying luggage, etc. I love to barter and get bargains, so I always started low, and you usually can tell if they are shocked and say no, or if there is room to bargain. The lodges and higher end tourist shops are less likely to bargain much, but never accept face value price. You might want to just look for a while if you have your mind on something to see the prices at various places, as many things are available everywhere. The only exceptions are unusual things you only see in one shop or place-for example, I saw a woodcarver doing unusual pieces which were different from all the other shops, or when a local Maasai set up a small stand, and I saw a zebra tail fly wisk with beaded handle, I knew I wanted that. My first Swahili words I memorized were: 'how much?', 'very expensive', and lower the price please'.

Edited: 29 October 2013, 18:01
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5. Re: Money Matters

Sciguy, was the $5-$10 per night at the lodges?? I presume your $15 was to the driver/guide per day. Am I correct.

melbourne
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6. Re: Money Matters

Medic_5

I would have some small $2 bills to tips the porters or the guys who show you your room in some of the camps...if they do.

I think $10 for the camp staff is probably too low..if you are staying at Dunia 3 nights ( guess) then I would have thought $10 a night would be okay..if it is worth it and everybody is nice. Or even $50 for the 3 night stay.

For the guide $15 is great or even $ 20 a bit on the higher side...per day.

Except for the lodges the smaller market type places will negotiate...

A nice batik, small wood carvings of course, Khanga or Kikoyi...nice material and useful.hand made hand bags (usually from Kenya).

There are many local artists who do decent paintings of Kili and wildlife always nice as a gift or for yourself.

Edited: 29 October 2013, 19:57
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7. Re: Money Matters

Thanks. For the small tips and camp tips does it matter if I use USD or Shillings??

Edited: 29 October 2013, 20:16
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8. Re: Money Matters

Is the 10,000 shilling the largest bill?? At a value of about $6.50 it would seem you would have to have a whole boatload of them if one were to cash $500 USD to Shhillings.

melbourne
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9. Re: Money Matters

Doesn't matter as they will save it and when they go to town then change it as there are bureau's everywhere.

melbourne
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10. Re: Money Matters

My post 9 is in answer to your post 7.

$500 to me is a lot and you will have a big bundle of cash. I would leave tips for the lodges in $US and only have Tsh for the smaller purchases.

Water if needed snacks before you head off. Even the smaller markets on the tourist circuit will accept $.