Money & Currencies in South Africa
Table of Contents
What is the currency spend in South Africa?
When travelling nothing puts your mind more at ease than knowing you are in control of your money and that it’s safe but, keeping your money secure in the bank is one thing and really understanding the buying power of that money in whichever country is another thing entirely.
There is probably nothing more important than take the necessary precautions and educating yourself on what your hard earned money can buy for you when on vacation. Especially knowing the difference between what everything should reasonably cost and knowing when you might be being ripped off on taxi fares, gifts, trinkets, food, alcohol etc.
Please take the necessary time to acquaint yourself with the local money and currency customs of whichever country you’re in before you arrive. In our GS Africa Motorcycle Travel Guide we aim to provide as much valuable information to help you get over the hurdle of getting to grips with the buying power of the Rand (ZAR) in South Africa.
The Rand is the currency of South Africa. The Rand is subdivided into 100 cents. The ISO 4217 code is ZAR, from Afrikaans Zuid-Afrikaanse Rand.
- Symbol: R
- Central bank: South African Reserve Bank
- Subunit: Cent
- Banknotes: R100, R200, R20, R10, R50
- Coins: 20 cent euro coin, 10 euro cent coin, R1, 50c, R5, R2
- ISO code: ZAR
Which currencies are accepted in South Africa?
In South Africa foreign currencies are unfortunately not accepted, so it is best to exchange your money at a forex or bureaux de change outlet. These can be found at any international airports, banks, and most big malls.
The Rand is used throughout the whole of South Africa, including its major cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg. The international airports have 24-hour foreign exchange services to accommodate international visitors.
Currency Denominations (Rands and Cents) Updated 2023
- R1 = 100 cents
- Denominations of coins: 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, R5.
- Denominations of notes: R10, R20, R50, R100, R200.
What is South Africa’s current Rand Value and Exchange rate?
As of May 2023:
- €1 = approximately R20.84
- $1 = approximately R19.34
- £1 = approximately R24
For up to date exchange rates or a currency calculator, visit the following link: https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
How far will my dollar/pound/euro stretch?
The dollar, pound or euro goes a long way in South Africa. This makes South African motorcycle tours or South African trips in general quite affordable to international visitors.
For £5, €5 or $6, you could probably get a nice hamburger, about £20, €20 or $22 could pay for two nice meals and a drink at a restaurant and more or less £3, €3 or $4 can get you a pint (draught) of beer.
What do I need to know about banking in South Africa?
You should be able to find ATM’s (automatic teller machines) or banks in most cities and the airport will have bureaus to exchange your money. Banks are usually open 09:00am – 15:30pm Mondays to Fridays and 08:30am – 11:00am on Saturdays, although banks at the airport have adjusted trading hours to accommodate international travellers.
Will my credit card/s be accepted in South Africa?
South Africa accepts all major credit cards, but MasterCard and Visa are more widely accepted than American Express or Diner’s Club. Most bigger cities or towns will have card machines to make payments, but cash is always handy in case of an emergency.
Always be cautious when drawing money from an ATM – see Crime and Safety page for more info.
Useful Contact Information
Who can I contact about my finances, while in South Africa?
Here is a list of numbers or websites that you might find useful.
The 0800 numbers are free, if calling from a landline.
- American Express SA – 011 359 0200
- Master Card SA – 0800 990 418
- Absa Bank – 0800 111 155
- Nedbank – 0800 555 111
- Standard Bank – 0800 021 000
- First National Bank (FNB) – 0800-899-7977
- Capitech – 0860 102 043
VAT (Value Added Tax)
VAT (Value Added Tax) is charged on most goods and services, but if you are an international tourist, you can reclaim VAT on goods that you would like to take out of the country unused. You need to do this before embarking on your flight.
For more details, please see the following website for tourist tax refunds:
- Apply for a VAT Refund: https://www.gov.za/services/custom-duties/how-apply-vat-refund
- VAT Refunds for Foreign Tourists: https://www.sars.gov.za/types-of-tax/value-added-tax/vat-refunds-for-tourists-and-foreign-enterprises/
Contact GS Africa today for any more information or queries and we would love to be of assistance to ensure that you motorcycle rental or bike travel experience is as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
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