Money and budget

Your holiday budget can easily accommodate little luxuries like cocktails!

With the South African unit of currency, the rand, offering favourable rates of exchange against the world's hard currencies, your money and budget when in South Africa will go surprisingly far.

You'll find your purchasing power on the up with your pounds, dollars and euros, and those items you think twice about back home will seem extremely inexpensive here.  Five-star luxury, for example, is very affordable on the South African holiday budget.

Check out the Big Mac index when planning your holiday budget for South Africa. Don't forget to include money for tips, curios, meals outside of your hotel, tollgates if you're driving, as well as mobile phone hire and airtime in your budget.

Budget 10% of total cost for tips; anything from R100 to R500 for individual curios; R50-R80 for a single takeaway meal; R100-R200 per person for a restaurant meal; and R75-R100 for a bottle of wine; R30-R60 for a cocktail and R15-R25 for a beer at restaurants. Tollgate fees vary from around R7 to as much as R40 depending on the route you're on.

Rands and cents

  • The rand is divided into 100 cents
  • Coins come in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5
  • Notes come in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200
  • Travellers' cheques can be exchanged in banks, bureaux de changes and some hotels. It is suggested you bring them in hard currencies.
  • Money can also be withdrawn at automated teller machines (ATM) of which there are many countrywide.
  • South Africa's main banks are Absa Bank, First National Bank, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Capitec
  • Banking hours are generally 09h00-15h30 on weekdays and 08h30 - 11h00 on Saturdays.
  • All major credit cards are accepted in the country, particularly MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club.

Most retail purchases carry a VAT levy of 14%, which is refunded to foreign tourists at departure points, subject to stipulated amounts spent, completion of the necessary forms, and presentation of original tax invoices. 

For more information on VAT refunds, duty and duty-free goods, for the 'Travellers Guide - customs requirements when entering and leaving South Africa' visit the South African Revenue Service's website


  • What currency is applicable in South Africa?
  • The south African currency is the Rand, indicated by the letter ‘R'. R1 = 100 cents. Bank notes are issued in R10, R20, R50, R100, and R200 denominations.

  • Is tax payable upon entry or exit of South Africa?
  • Visitors to South Africa are not exempt from paying VAT (Value Added Tax) on goods purchased. Visitors can claim back the VAT paid on items from certain amount, that the take out of the country.

  • When are banks open in South Africa?
  • Weekdays from 08h30/09h00 to 15h30. Saturdays from 08h00/08h30 to 11h00. Banks are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays