Got questions about money? Whether it’s advice on financial services, foreign exchange, banks, or tipping; here are useful tips for all your money matters in Cape Town…
If you are a tourist visiting South Africa, you will need to exchange your home currency for South African Rand (ZAR) in order to make purchases and pay for services. You can exchange currency at banks, forex bureaux, and other authorized dealers, or you can use an ATM or credit card to withdraw money in local currency. It is important to be aware of the current exchange rate to get the best value for your money. The Rand is available in the following denominations: coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, as well as 1 and 2 Rand; and banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Rand.
Cape Town International Airport has a 24-hour foreign exchange service, as well as various cash machines. There is an abundance of cash machines and foreign exchange outlets throughout Cape Town and the vast majority of retail outlets and service providers in the city have credit card facilities. Most banks are open between 09h00 and 15h30 on weekdays and 09h00 and 11h00 on Saturdays. Banks are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
South Africa charges value-added tax (VAT) of 14% on goods and services. Foreign visitors can reclaim VAT on purchases of more than R250. This can be arranged through the VAT refund offices at Cape Town International Airport. To reclaim VAT, you will need your original tax invoice/s, as well as your passport. For more information on reclaiming VAT, visit www.taxrefunds.co.za.
While South Africa has no legislation regarding tipping, it is customary to leave a tip of at least 10% of your bill at restaurants and bars. If you are driving around, you will notice car guards patrolling streets where there is free parking. While you are under no obligation to tip these car guards, it is customary to do so if they have looked after your car for more than 30 minutes. While the amount is at your discretion, locals would normally tip an official car guard about R5. In South Africa, petrol and diesel is administered by attendants. At most service stations, attendants will offer to wash your windows, as well as check your car’s oil and tyre pressure. This is part of the service, and you are under no obligation to provide a tip unless you would like to. Social services in South Africa advise against giving money to street children and beggars. If you’re looking to make a difference, rather donate money to an organisation like The Haven (https://www.haven.org.za) that offers a network of night shelters in and around Cape Town.
Cape Town Tourism is the Official Destination Marketing Organisation for the City of Cape Town.