“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage.” – Paulo Coelho It’s that gorgeous, red-and-blue checked fabric that catches your eye more than anything else. Shuka, your guide says.
It’s that gorgeous, red-and-blue checked fabric that catches your eye more than anything else. Shuka, your guide says. You stare transfixed, as he explains the history of this traditional Maasai pattern.
Your small group had traveled for ten days through the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, having an experience of a lifetime, and this is your last day before returning to Arusha for your flight home. You’re stopped at a Maasai market for some shopping. The merchant is radiant when you approach her, and she places your hand upon the soft fabric. You melt. This blanket is different; it’s brilliant.
Settling on a price, you reach for shillings and realize you barely have any left. In Arusha, everyone had gone to the ATM except you. You thought you had withdrawn enough shillings but now you’re out. Luckily your group pools some cash and your walk away with this brilliant shuka over your shoulder, smiling but wishing you had been a bit more money-savvy from the start.
Before you Arrive
Shillings, the National Currency. The Tanzania Shilling (TSh) is convertible for US Dollars, Euros, and other currencies within Tanzania. There are several places you can exchange your money, but we advise only to use hotels, banks, and bureau de changes . US dollars are recommended over euros or pounds. Watch exchange rates in real-time here (xe.com).
Don’t Bring Old Cash. Most Tanzanian shops won’t accept U.S. bills dated 2006 or earlier. Why? Apparently, the older-issued bills were easy to forge. Good to know! Also, if you have bills that are extremely tattered, merchants will reject them. Think of U.S. currency like potato chips: they’re best when crispy, clean, and not outdated.
Forget Traveler’s Checks. These artifacts live somewhere in large piles full of pagers, landline telephones, and teletubbies. Don’t bring them; it’s as much a hassle for you as it is for Tanzanians.
Credit, Debit, Cash: The Golden Triangle. These three should function as your primary methods of carrying money. Keep it simple. VISA is most widely recognized, followed by Mastercard (5% surcharge per swipe). Most lodges and higher-end shop accept credit cards.
ATMs: Cash machines aren’t found outside major cities (Arusha, Moshi, Dar, Zanzibar, etc.), so be sure and withdraw what you need before you go anywhere else (daily maximum of 400,000TSh, less than USD $200). Also, don’t forget to call your banks ahead of time and inform them of your trip dates (and prepare to make the bank teller extremely jealous.)
While in Tanzania
Keep your receipts. If you do use credit/debit cards in Tanzania, be sure and keep your receipts. If you return home and a charge looks mysterious, you’ll have a paper trail to prove the miscalculation.
Etiquette: In Tanzania bargaining is part of the deal (literally). Merchants expect to haggle, but within reason. Remember when negotiating a price that Tanzanians work hard, too, and they have families to feed and financial needs, just like you. Have fun but be reasonable. Here are tips we found useful: view more
Tipping: This can get a little complicated, but worry not. Easy Travel can help you navigate this. Click here for a complete overview on tipping in Tanzania.
Other Essential Items
Hints for Carrying Money: Money belts can be clunky and awkward, but there are some sleek designs out there these days (source). If you decide to carry a wallet, keep it in your front pocket. And lastly, if you withdraw handsome amounts of shillings, distribute them a few different places: some in your money belt, some in the pocket of your daypack, and some emergency dollars hidden in your luggage. That way, if anything were to happen to one bag, you still other resources available.
For Travellers on a Budget: If you’re watching your pennies and wish to be money-conscious during your time in Tanzania, here is a list of the five best things you can do.
The Fine Print
Arrival/Departure Accommodations: Here’s some fine print regarding your first and last nights in Arusha: clients can choose one of two options for accommodations: first, you can book a bed-and-breakfast hotel, where you’ll be responsible to pay for your own for lunch and dinner. The second option is to book “half-board” accommodations, which include breakfast and dinner. While on safari, all meals are included for the duration.
Paying for your Experience: Click here for a complete overview of Easy Travel’s payment methods for your trip). For a full look at Terms and Conditions, take a peek here .