Travelling to South Africa
Although more expensive than many of its neighbours, travelling through the cities and savannahs of South Africa is normally cheaper than in Europe or North America. You’ll be astounded by the awe-inspiring beauty, magnificent wildlife, cultural diversity, and high levels of comfort your money can get you.
Budget travellers are best off concentrating on the more out-of-town areas where prices will be more modest. If you’re willing to stay in hostels and cook for yourself it’s possible to get by on a budget of around 250 rand per day.
Mid-range and luxury travellers
At the other end of the scale, the country’s more upscale hotels and wildlife lodges can cost as much as 7,000 rand per day. Fortunately there is plenty of middle ground and most visitors should be able to travel comfortably on around 450 rand per day.
Prices are approximate and subject to change.
South African currency tips
- To get great deals on South African rand head to the Post Office Money and change your money before you get to the airport.
- South African banknotes come in denominations of ten rand, 20 rand, 50 rand, 100 rand and 200 rand.
- The South African rand is subdivided into 100 cents. Coins come in denominations of 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 15 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents, as well as 1 rand, 2 rand and 5 rand. The 1 cent and 2 cent coins are no longer produced, but remain legal tender.
- When collecting your travel money, ask for some small denomination notes as well as large ones, since some businesses, especially in rural areas, may be unwilling to accept larger notes.
- Tipping is expected (at a rate of about 10%) but not compulsory in restaurants, and service charges are generally not included in the bill. It is also customary to tip hotel staff, and the tour guides and drivers on safari.
- Older 200 rand notes are subject to forgery and you may find that that some businesses are unwilling to accept them.
The smart way to travel
Keep track of your holiday spending and instantly convert local prices into pounds with our free smartphone apps. There are three handy apps to download for iOS and Android, including Travel Essentials, Travel Money Card Plus & Currency Converter. You can also download an instant currency converter for your Apple Watch.
South African Rand facts
- The South African rand is the legal currency of the Republic of South Africa, but is also used as currency in the Common Monetary Area between South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. Namibia was formerly part of this union, but even though the South African rand has now been replaced by the Namibian dollar, the rand is still widely accepted in Namibia.
- There are legal limits on the amount of money you are allowed to bring into the country. If you intend to enter with more than 10,000 rand, you should declare the amount on entry to South Africa.
- The South African Reserve Bank recently designed and issued a complete set of new bank notes bearing the image of national hero Nelson Mandela.
Get your South African currency from us
- Order travel money online or in your local Post Office branch, up to five days in advance - minimum order value of £400 applies online
- Order before 3pm on a working day for free next-day delivery to your home or your nearest Post Office branch
- Orders placed before 3pm, on a working day, can generally be delivered the next working day. Where an order is placed on a Friday and delivery to your home is required on a Saturday, there will be a charge of £1.50
- 0% commission, competitive rates on up to 70 foreign currencies
- Show us your Post Office Money receipt, and we’ll buy back your leftover South African rand bank notes commission-free