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Local Payment, Money, Travellers Cheques for African Travel

Local Payment

Simply put the Local Payment is a portion of your total tour cost that gets paid locally (in Africa) to your Overland Crew at the beginning of your African travel overland tour. (Some trips do not have a separate Local Payment but rather an all inclusive Tour Cost).

This money is used for many different on-the-road trip expenses ranging from National Park fees to activities and even food. Local Payment for most (but not all) tours is to be paid in US Dollars which you should source in your home country before you travel. Crew do not have the facility to accept Travellers Cheques or Credit Cards.

The Local Payment price can vary depending on local exchange rates but is usually pretty consistent.


Billion Zimbabwe Dollar Note

Bring some US Dollar cash in small denominations. On an African travel experience, nearly all optional highlights /activities can be paid in USD and all visa’s brought at border crossings require it. It is a time saving and stress relieving exercise to have the correct amount needed at the time as often change is not available.

You will find that you could get a bad exchange rate if you organize African currency in your home country so change a little bit at the Airport on arrival to see you through the first day at least. Often a better exchange rate can be had in town.


ATM’s are becoming more and more common throughout Africa and can be found in all major cities and towns and most minor ones too. A card showing the Maestro, Cirrus, Visa or Mastercard logo is commonly accepted.

Your Overland Crew will advise you of what cash is needed for coming days and activities in advance so that you have the opportunity to obtain that type of cash in areas where it is easier to come by. However, you should always have a little bit of local money on hand to buy snacks, drinks and the odd souvenir when needed.

Don’t forget to save some of your USD cash for departure tax, payable locally at the airport when leaving. Make sure any USD notes are printed post 1993 and are in good condition to avoid official ‘discussions’ over counterfeit notes.

It is a good idea to change or spend all your local currency before leaving a country and try not to take it home, expecting to change it at your local bank. It will often then only be good as a souvenir from your African travels.

Travellers Cheques

Travellers ChequesAlthough Traveller’s Cheques are definitely the safest way of carrying your money, most of our past passengers have found that bringing USD cash for optional highlights and activities is much more convenient. Changing Travellers Cheques can be extremely time-consuming and large amounts of USD or GBP can be hard to come by especially at East African Bureau de Change’s.

Only buy Traveller’s Cheques of a known brand and make sure you bring your purchase receipt with you. Keep a record of any Traveller’s Cheques bought and cashed in. According to the terms & conditions of your Traveller’s Cheques, you should keep your receipt separate from the actual Cheques and everything separate from your passport.

It is advisable to bring both Traveller’s Cheques and cash and a card or 2 to cover your trip expenses. That way you will never be stuck for cash if the ATM is broken or the bank is closed for a public holiday.

Tour Highlights

African travel activities listed as a ‘Tour Highlight’ means that these places/activities are included in either the tour price or the local payment and you will not have to pay for it separately.

Tour Optional Highlights

Tour Optional Highlights means exactly that – they are optional. You may choose to do that activity if you wish and if you do, you would pay for it locally. Please note that although every effort is made to keep the prices of our optional highlights up to date, OverlandingAfrica.com cannot be held responsible for any price changes or activities not being available upon arrival.

Personal spending

A common question is “How much money am I going to be spending?” There is no exact answer to this question. Only you know how much you are likely to spend, do you smoke/drink/love shopping? An average of about USD 20 – 30 per day on top of any optional activities is a good rule of thumb. It is also a good idea to make sure you have an accessible emergency fund just in case.


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