Money & duty free for South Africa

Exchange rates:

C$1 = R10.54
€1 = R14.71
£1 = R17.55
US$1 = R14.14

Currency & Money

Currency information

Rand (ZAR; symbol R) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of R200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of R5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents.

Credit cards

MasterCard and Visa are preferred. American Express and Diners Club are also widely accepted. ATMs are available in all towns, cities and shopping malls and most petrol stations, and accept international cards. Almost all hotels, shops, restaurants, national parks and game reserves accept credit cards. They are now acceptable at most petrol stations too, but since that is a relatively new measure, it’s worth checking before you fill up.


ATMs are available in all towns, cities and shopping malls and most petrol stations, and accept international cards. Be alert when using ATMs, and do not accept help from anybody as conmen are adept at switching cards. Check your statements afterwards for a few weeks too, as cloning machines are occasionally planted in ATMs. More obviously, be aware of who is hanging around and don’t withdraw money if your instinct tells you not to.

Travellers cheques

Valid at banks, hotels, restaurants and some tourist-orientated shops. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1530, Sat 0830-1100.

Currency restriction

The import and export of local currency is limited to R5000 in cash. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited provided it is declared upon arrival.

Currency exchange

Money can be changed at banks, bureaux de change and some hotels. Proof of identity may be requested so take your passport. Visitors are restricted to bringing in and taking out a maximum of R5,000 in cash.

South Africa duty free

The following goods may be imported into South Africa by passengers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:

• 200 cigarettes and 20 cigars and 250g of tobacco.
• 1L of spirits or liqueurs and 2L of wine.
• 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette.
• Other goods up to a value of R5,000 (R25,000 if arriving from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia or Swaziland); this allowance is valid once per person in a 30-day period and only if you have been out of the country for at least 48 hours.

Banned imports

Prohibited goods include narcotics, firearms, weapons and ammunition, poison, cigarettes with a mass of more than 2kg per 1,000, counterfeit goods, unlawful reproductions of any works subject to copyright, and prison-made goods.

Restricted goods requiring an import permit include South African bank notes in excess of R25,000, gold coins, coin and stamp collections, unprocessed gold, endangered species, food, plants, animals, biological goods, and medicines (excluding three months' personal supply accompanied by a letter or certified prescription from a registered doctor).

Banned exports

You may require a licence to export precious stones or minerals.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.