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Money

bridgend
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6 posts
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Money

There seems to be a lot of conflicting info on which currency to take and where to change it. I am hoping to just take kenyan shilling? Do I really need to take American dollars also? We are 6 days Diani beach & 3 dsys safari on a full board package. Good sound advice would be greatly appreciated.

13 replies to this topic
Nyeri, Kenya
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30 reviews
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1. Re: Money

Tour operators an hotels tend to charge in Dollars. Otherwise the legal tender in the Kenya Shiliing and most goods and services are priced in Shillings. I recommend that you bring Pounds with you and exchange them at a forex in Kenya. That way you will get a much better rate.

If you change your money into Dollars and again to Shillings you will lose money on the double exchange.

It should also be noted that there are plenty of Visa compatible atm's in Kenya and visa debit/credit cards are widely accepted (usually chip & pin). However, do check with your bank regarding charges and travel plans.

Glasgow, United...
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2. Re: Money

I took dollars to pay for my safari, and my return taxi from the airport to hotel, that is the only time I used USD in cash. When I stayed in the lodges, I was full board and just had to pay for drinks, all my drinks bills were in KSH. My advice is to get some KSH exchanged in the UK, that way you have some on you right away, then at your hotel or lodge, buy some KSH as you need it, I got decent rates doing it that way. I would get a lot of 100KSH for tips. I went through a lot of them.

Nyeri, Kenya
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3. Re: Money

As someone who has travelled regularly between the UK and Kenya, I have never got my Shillings in the UK. The rate is significantly worse than even the forex at the airport. You can easily get a few Shillings at the airport forex, or ATM's, on arrival. Obviously up to you though.

Most definitely do not buy currency from a hotel. Their rates are very poor indeed (to their advantage, not yours).....far worse than forex, or bank.

I don't suggest that you pay for taxis, or anything else with USD. Although they will be accepted, it will be at an unfavourable exchange rate to you

Glasgow, United...
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4. Re: Money

Hmmm, I managed to get a decent rate at my hotel... Ah well, ignore my suggestion, haha!! Also, my taxi was booked in advance before I left the UK with these naturaltoursandsafaris.com/mombasa_airport_h… , and was a fixed $40 return, which I thought was decent.

Nyeri, Kenya
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2,731 posts
30 reviews
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5. Re: Money

Well it's different if the taxi is booked advance, of course. If you arrange one on arrival its best to pay in Shillings.

bridgend
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6 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: Money

Thanks

bridgend
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6 posts
3 reviews
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7. Re: Money

Thanks all for the advice. Seeing that most of the trip is prepaid, I think I will take Kenyan shilling mainly for tips and any little extras.

Joshua Tree...
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4 posts
106 reviews
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8. Re: Money

Check with your hotel. Most take Kenyan Shillings.

Mtwapa, Kenya
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for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
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9. Re: Money

As you haven't arranged to pay for your safari or any other trips in Dollars don't waste your money buying them, As you are from the UK there is no point buying US Dollars to come to Kenya as anyone or anywhere that accepts Dollars will also accept Pounds but you end up being hit by two sets of exchange costs buying the Dollars and then using them. But anywhere that accepts Dollars, Pounds or Euros will accept them at an exchange rate beneficial to themselves.

You'll need shillings for day day expenses but don't buy your shillings in the UK, you'll get a better rate here. If you are going to change money it is always better to change currency in the country you are visiting rather than at home. And as said above avoid changing money at your hotel, is not their main business so their mark ups are high. You will get the best rates at a good local forex, preferably away from the airport. But the easiest thing to do and as good as any is to use your debit card to withdraw cash here. (Avoid using Barclays or Standard Chartered ATMs if you can as they add a surcharge for using foreign cards).

Most lodges, hotels etc also accept credit cards so you can charge to your room and settle the bill with a card.

Please tip in Kenyan Shillings as most staff find it difficult to change foreign currency, and they lose some of their hard earned tip in commission to the money changer. Also please note they cannot change foreign coins at all.

Kiev, Ukraine
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300 posts
106 reviews
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10. Re: Money

you dont need American dollars at all. Everywhere you go youwill pay much more in US $ than in shillings. For example price of 500 shillings which is less than 5$ US becomes 7$ US if you pay with US dollars. Its over 30% difference.

Also at the hotel if they ask you in which currency you want to pay always say in shillings. The difference is significant if they charge you in dollars. Very often i was given bill in US$, and saw that they were not expecting me to ask them change the bill into shillings.

At one hotel i could see that front desk was really confused why i insist to pay in Kenyan shillings. I had to explain to him and show calculation. When he finally changed the bill and i showed him the difference, he was seemingly sincerely surprised to see the difference. The original bill was for 110$. When it was changed into shillings it became 89$.

At another hotel the front desk lied to me that their machine only set up to charge in dollars. When itold them that they give me terrible exchange rate and i refuse to pay the amount, suddenly their machine started working the proper way and they charged me in shillings.

This is going all over the world. There is no reason for any merchant to ask a client in which currency the client wants to pay. A merchant can just charge in local currency without asking anything.The difference is that a merchant always knows that when a client not knowing the right way indifferently says in dollars , a merchant makes significant extra money on exchange rate it gives.

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