Currency in Tanzania
CASH is generally King in Tanzania – the US dollar being the favored currency. It is recommended to have with you a supply of small denomination notes (US$1, US$5 & US$10) for tipping and the purchasing of daily refreshments and sundry items. Carrying large amounts of cash on your person is, however, not advisable. US Dollar notes should be issued after the year 2000.
Lodges and hotels are usually sold on a full board basis, so cash is required for shopping, hotel extras, optional excursions, laundry and drinks. Most hotels and lodges will, however, accept credit cards for settlement of bills.
The unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (Tsh). Coins currently in circulation are the 50, 100 and 200 shillings and banknotes in circulation today are 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 shillings.
Major currencies (like the US Dollar, the English Pound, and the Euro) are easily changed in large towns, although US Dollars are sometimes preferred.
Foreign Exchange Bureau offer faster service than banks and although the exchange rates are only nominally different, the bureau usually offer a better rate on travelers’ checks. Standard Chartered banks around the country have ATM machines that allow you to withdraw cash from your VISA card and Barclay’s Bank ATMs allow you to withdraw on both VISA and MasterCard accounts. Credit cards are accepted only at major lodges, hotels, and travel operators.
It is advisable to exchange some US Dollars into Shillings upon arrival for tips and small purchases where credit cards or US Dollars are not normally used.
Traveler’s checks are accepted if they’re in US Dollars, British Pounds or Euros. High commission charges are common, and bureaus that charge no commission will often give a rate substantially below the cash rate for checks. Charges vary widely, from 1% to 3% per transaction, to flat fees of up to US$15.
Exchanging large denominations of US Dollars or large denomination notes at game lodges can be challenging so come prepared.