What currency for Africa?

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Australians have been known to travel far and wide and it’s easier than ever these days. If you can put up with a long haul flight you can be in Santiago, Chile in about 14 hrs (12,000 km), or if you fancy Europe then Berlin, Germany is 22 hrs (16,000km) but if you fancy the sights sounds and culture of Africa then Durban, South Africa is 17hrs away (10,000km) and you would have a similar trip if you wanted say, a safari in Kenya.

In fact, you could be spoiled for choice as Africa is made up of no less than 54 countries. However, many are war torn and in conflict, many actually pose a threat to Australian citizens and in some you may get caught up in terrorism related incidents!

The good news is the Australian Governments Smartraveller website gives you information and advice on every African country so you can get well informed before you start planning a trip.

This informative website will tell you straight off not to visit certain places including Somalia, Chad and Libya – don’t even think about it!

Some place are labelled “exercise a high degree of caution” or “reconsider your need to travel” such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco and even South Africa.In fact, only 8 of the 54 African countries are deemed by the Government to be safe to visit! We have listed the countries below that at the moment Smartraveller has suggested are OK to visit with the tag “Exercise normal safety precautions” and also listed are their currencies.


Nestled between Namibia and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa the official currency is the Botswana pula – subdivided into 100 thebe.


Until fairly recently this country was known as Swaziland. It is the smallest country in Africa bordering South Africa and Mozambique. The Currency is the Swazi lilangeli which you probably won’t find in Australia but South African rand is widely accepted.


A large country on the west of Africa the currency is the Ghanaian cedi which is sub-divided into 100 pesewas.


Back down south is landlocked Malawi, nestled between 4 other African nations. The currency is the Malawian Kwacha and if you visit and get some small change you will have a pocket full of tambala.


Yes that lovely, idyllic little island in the Indian Ocean. A true dream destination and safe according to Smartraveller – phew! You will need Mauritian rupees for your dream holiday.


Another little African island paradise in the Indian Ocean. You will need Seychelles rupees for this beautiful destination but we don’t have any suppliers offering an exchange rate.


Again in the south of the continent is Namibia, bordered by 3 other African countries it still has hundreds of miles of coastline. Namibian dollars are the official currency here but you can also get by with South African rand.


Last but not least in our list is Zambia. Landlocked and bordered by no less than 7 other countries! You can get a great Safari holiday though and if you do you will need Zambian Kwacha.

Not many of these currencies are available in Australia probably because of volatility and demand. It is usually the case that it is more cost effective to exchange in the country providing you use a safe location. If you do manage to book a dream trip, you will find plenty of advice about obtaining the currency of your destination and any alternatives.

Images by lapping from Pixabay

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the business development manager for Compare Holiday Money and an active blogger across the websites.

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