Money Matters, in East Africa, additional credit card surcharges from 5% to 8% may be charged when using your card. It is best to use it only in case of an emergency but always have cash on you.
US Dollars, GB Sterling, Euro, and select international currencies are used within Africa, with the US Dollar being the most popular. You will find food, taxi, accommodation, and optional activity prices are all quoted in US Dollars.
US Dollars cash notes must be issued POST-2009. Money matters regarding notes pre-dated are accepted due to fraudulent notes rife in East Africa. You can pre-order US Cash notes from your local bank or foreign exchange office prior to arriving in Africa.
It is also best to bring a combination of larger denominations (USD100 and USD50) to pay for your Local Payment and smaller denominations (USD50, UDS20, USD 10, and USD5) for spending money, visas, and optional activities when it comes to money matters.
ATMs are found throughout East Africa and other major towns and cities in East Africa. Please note that when drawing money matters from a local ATM, you will receive local currency.
01 Banking facilities
There are full banking facilities in the major towns based on weekly business hours, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Here you can change money and withdraw cash from a credit card. Visa and Master Card are preferential, as other cards may not be widely accepted. There are several forex bureaus that exchange money and offer better rates than banks.
02 Local Payment & Gorilla Permits
Local Payments must be paid in US Dollars cash or Shillings specific to the East African country you might be in as required by your chosen East African tour.
Gorilla Permits can be pre-paid (on select tours) and mostly paid in US Dollars cash before tour departure, usually months in advance. We will advise you on money matters based on your chosen East African safari.
Handling safari money matters in East Africa.
03 Optional Activities & money matters
These are mostly paid in cash in the currency quoted on the optional activities you may wish to take part in.
Depending on your nationality, visas are paid in US Dollars upon arrival at an international airport or border post. Please contact the relevant country’s Embassy / Consulate for confirmation of your particular requirements and the visa application process. There is also an East African visa that applies to Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Tipping is entirely at your own discretion or based on the following guideline:
Driver/ tour leader: USD 10 to USD 30 per person per day
Camp assistant/cook: USD 5 to USD 10 per person per day
National Parks guides/optional activities: USD 3 to USD 5 per person per day
Restaurant or Bar staff/waitrons: 10% of the total bill
06 Emergency expenses
Sometimes political or civil unrest and other circumstances beyond our control will mean the group has to make alternative travel plans. Therefore keep some extra cash on you for these occasions.
Keep in mind that with most Travel Insurance policies – you need to cover the money matter expense and then claim from your insurance.
More on Mbarara town in western Uganda.