8 money tips you NEED to know for Kenya and Tanzania

Currency tips for Kenya and Tanzania

[This post about currency and money tips for Kenya and Tanzania contains an affiliate link. This means that if you chose to make a purchase via one of the links I’ve provided, I may earn as small commission at no additional cost to you.] 

If you’re heading Kenya and Tanzania, I’ve collated my eight best currency and money tips that you need to consider when preparing for your trip. From how to avoid having you card being devoured (I’ll get to that later) to what cash to bring, here’s how to plan for Kenya and Tanzania:

1. Local currency

The local currency in Kenya is Kenyan Shillings and in Tanzania is Tanzanian Shillings.

2. Not all currencies are accepted

Not all currencies are accepted at money exchanges. (AUD was one currency that some money changers wouldn’t accept.)

3. USD is the king currency

USD is also widely accepted in *most* places. I recommend bringing some along, even if it’s just as back-up. However, ensure the print date of the notes is within the last 10 years AND in good condition. I recommend taking some smaller denominations (I took $50 and $100, which were far too big in most cases).

4. Visa is more widely accepted over Mastercard

Visa is widely accepted in Tanzania and Kenya, over Mastercard. I ordered a Visa travel card through Wise for my trip. I also took my Qantas Travel Money Mastercard as back up.

5. Bring a back-up card

ALWAYS have a back up card. I also recommend a back-up for the back-up, which is why I usually take my normal bank card just incase. Which brings me to my next point…

6. ATMs have time limits

Of all these currency tips for Kenya and Tanzania, this one comes from lived experience… ATMs are impatient in Kenya and Tanzania. If you’re an indecisive over-thinker like me, I recommend you go into the ATM booth knowing exactly how much you want to withdraw as they don’t give you much time to think before asking if you’d like to continue your transaction. I learnt the hard way and when asked a second time by the machine if I’d like to continue, I pressed “yes” and then it devoured my card. (Hence, point 5.)

7. Specific ATMs offer USD withdrawal

In Kenya, there are a few specific banks that offer withdrawals for both Kenyan Shillings and USD. This is very handy if you don’t have enough USD on you and there is something you need to make a payment in USD.

8. ATMs may have withdrawal limits

You may encounter issues with larger withdrawal at ATMs. You can potentially try a second time or, rest assured, they are often plenty of ATMs around.

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3 comments

  1. These are wonderful tips for those traveling to Kenya and Tanzania. I’m so surprised ATMs have time limits. That’s something a traveler definitely needs to be aware of!

  2. Good info to know. I always take 2 credit cards and keep them in different places ie one in my wallet and one in my backpack/suitcase. That way if I lose my wallet I have a way to pay for things and carry on.

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