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A favourable exchange rate for many international currencies, you'll find South Africa is a very inexpensive destination. And an easy one - our financial institutions are world-class, with no shortage of banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers.
Rands and cents
South Africa's unit of currency is the rand, which is divided into 100 cents. Coins come in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5, and notes in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.
How far will my money go?
A long way! With a favourable exchange rate for many international currencies, you'll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination. For example:
One US dollar will get you about two daily newspapers; or two cans of Coke. A litre of petrol - which is about 0.25 gallons - will cost you about $1. An economy class flight between Johannesburg and Cape Town will cost about $100.
One euro will buy a good cup of coffee in a restaurant; or two loaves of bread. A music CD will cost about €15.
Banking made easy
You'll also find South Africa an easy destination. From the moment you step off the plane you'll start seeing banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers all over.
The banks are generally open from 9am to 3.30pm Mondays through Fridays, and 8.30am to 11am on Saturdays, but those at the airports adjust their hours to accommodate international flights.
The major banks have branches as well as automated teller machines (ATMs) in most large towns - and all over the cities. International banks (see the "foreign exchange services" links below) have branches in the major cities. Thomas Cook (represented by Rennies Travel) and American Express foreign exchange offices are also available in the major cities.
Credit cards and cash
All major credit cards can be used in South Africa, with American Express and Diners Club enjoying less universal acceptance than MasterCard and Visa. In some small towns, you may find you'll need to use cash.
One anomaly - you can't purchase fuel with a credit card. Many locals have special fuel credit cards, known as garage or petrol cards, for use only at filling stations. You can, however, pay road tolls with MasterCard or Visa.
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