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Zimbabwe Economy Update
There have been changes to the Zimbabwe economy with the introduction of the new unity government. There is a very long way to go to rebuild this once wealthy nation but at least there are some positive changes.
The Zimbabwe Dollar as a currency has been shelved at least for the next year until the economy revives.
Things are no longer priced in Zimbabwe dollars, but rather in US Dollars or Rand.
Some of the larger tour operators are now accepting VisaCredit Cards for payment of activities and most of the Hotels are now able to accept payment via credit and debit cards. However many of the smaller outfits are not able to accept cards for payment and cash is still required. Travellers Cheques are not accepted.
If you would rather book and pay for everything before you go Please see our payment page for more details.
ATM - cash machines
Barclays Bank and some of the other banks in Victoria Falls has activated their cash machines and you can now get cash US Dollars out of the ATM machine. They accept VISA and MASTERCARD cards with pin numbers. "Even though the stickers say Visa Only, I have checked with them inside the bank and they confirm MasterCards are accepted".
Barclays Bank Zimbabwe charge you $1.25 per transaction, but your local bank at home is also likely to charge you a fee and this can be quite high. My bank in England charges me 2.5% on cash withdrawals in a foreign country. So it acts as a good back up plan, but still best to get your currency before you go.
Maximum withdrawal is variable per day.
Are NOT accepted by most places and I would NOT recommend using them.
South African Rand and Botswana Pula
Please be aware that almost everything is priced in US Dollars. You can pay for things in Rand or Pula but some places when converting will give you shocking exchange rates. For example at the time of writing the bank rate is Rand 13.5.0 to USD 1. but they will convert at 14 to 1. For example a coke is $1 or R10 or an entry visa is $55 or Rand 550. So my advice is to purchase some US dollars cash before arrival certainly enough to pay for all your entry requirements at the border. Some exceptions to this are the supermarket which is priced in Rand and US dollars and the activity tour operators who use the Bank mid rate of the day.
It is still advisable to:** TAKE CASH WITH YOU **
** DON’T RELY COMPLETELY ON CREDIT CARDS **
** DO NOT USE TRAVELLERS CHEQUES**
** PAY FOR ACCOMMODATION AND ACTIVITIES BEFORE YOU GO **
* Carry mostly small denominations of currency. This makes paying for restaurant bills and curios easier, as change is not always available. Carry larger denominations only for activities and accommodation that are not booked and paid for in advance.
End of this Zimbabwe Currency update
*Please Note* The information below is now outdated and no longer applies it is kept here merely as a record. The information above this line is current.
20th January 2009
Zimbabwe Currency In Brief
Zimbabwe’s economy as you probably already know is rated as the worst in the world, with inflation in the millions of percent. It is extremely difficult for anyone from a stable economy to actually comprehend the scale of this.
So before travelling it is absolutely vital that you have a clear understanding of how things work. My best rule of advice here is **Don't deal in Zimbabwe Money**, that way you avoid the risk of getting conned at the wrong exchange rate.
The rate of exchange changes vastly every day, often doubling in one day. It is impossible to keep up.
Almost everything is now priced in US Dollars, but make sure that you carry enough small denominations. Rand, Pula and Euros are readliy accepted at the relevant exchange rate to the USD. There are no US cents so items are priced $1, $2, $3, $10 etc
**Don’t rely on Credit Cards** most places won’t accept them and you cannot access cash via ATM machines or the Banks. Zimbabwe Dollar Credit card transactions will be billed to you at the official rate which will end up making your holiday an extremely expensive one.
** TAKE CASH WITH YOU ** US$-Rand-Pula-Euros are readily accepted
Zimbabwe Currency in Detail. - *Please Note* The information below is now outdated and no longer applies it is kept here merely as a record. .
* Most organisations have now bought a US Dollar Licience from the Zimbabwe government. This allows them to legally trade in US Dollars(not sure that the US government is happy with this) but anyway this is why prices are now allowed to be displayed and charged in USD
* There are two exchange rates in Zimbabwe. The official and the black market rate. The differential between these is sometimes vast. The government controls the official rate. The black market rate is the rate used on the streets and is the more realistic value of the Zimbabwe currency.
* It is illegal to exchange money on the black market and if you get caught you could face criminal charges. We do not condone this exchanging of money but the official rate is so often out of touch that paying in this way would make things too expensive. That is why I suggest avoiding exchanging money and pay for everything in international currency.
* You will be approached many times over by local traders on the streets to exchange into Zimbabwe dollars. Be extremely cautious and only do very small amounts at a time, these guys are very streetwise and the chances are that unless you are completely savvy with the current rate you will get taken for a ride. They also have numerous tricks such as fake notes stuck in the middle of a bundle notes, or asking if they can recount the bundle, then they exchange it for another bundle. Be warned!!!
* If you are ever quoted a price in Zimbabwe currency make sure that they relate that back to you in a currency you can understand. Dealing in billions of dollars is too mind boggling for most people.
* MasterCard does not operate in Zimbabwe and Visa is set to withdraw. Some hotels do have this facility; however it is important to check with them first. As a foreigner you will be billed in international currency so using your card in this instance would be fine. Using a credit card for an item priced in Zimbabwe currency however will be converted back to hard currency at the official rate, which means that this will cost you a lot of money.
* Try a much as you can to pay for your accommodation and activities in advance through your booking agent. If you want to pay on arrival, a good idea is Traveller Cheques these will be accepted by all the major hotels. Drinks and meals at your hotel will be charged in international currency and will need to be settled on departure so again have cash or travellers cheques.
* Paying for everything in advance is not always possible, there might be some activities that you’re not sure whether you want to do at this stage. So make sure you take enough international cash with you. I have seen too many disappointed people who have come all this way and then can’t do what they want because they can’t pay for it. Remember no ATMs and no Banks just yet.
* Carry mostly small denominations of currency. This makes paying for restaurant bills and curios easier. If you only have large denominations your change will often be given to you in Zimbabwe dollars, you don’t want this. Carry larger denominations only for activities and accommodation that are not booked and paid for in advance.
These are only guide lines which we will endeavour to keep up to date as possible, but we cannot be held responsible for any changes. If you have any queries please send us a contact us form for the latest update on the Zimbabwe currency situation. Zimbabwe currency
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