money exchange

Sophie created the topic: money exchange

  • Sophie
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Dear Mike,

First of all thank you for this great website, I am actually glued to it since 3 days.

This is my first travel to Africa and I have chosen Mozambique (september).

My biggest concern is safety. I will be traveling alone for 3-4 weeks, starting in Maputo and going north along the coast, mainly for the diving. As I will be solo female traveler (35) would you give me any advice? I will be taking public transport.

I have a question about the money exchange,
-is it ok to bring euros (i am from europe) to MZ or is it better to bring dollars?
-is there an easy access to money distributor (ATM) in Inhambane, Vilanculos? what is the usual fee to withdraw the money?
-is it easy to exchange money in Inhambane and other places? what signs should I look for in Portugese?

Thank you for the help!!

Sophie

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mozman replied the topic: money exchange

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Hi Sophie

From experience meeting lone female travellers in Moz, also from what has been posted on mozguide and on other sites, the country is quite easy for you. Good idea to carry a wrap (sarong, kikoyi or Capulana - the Moz favourite) to wear over your shorts while on buses - this is the way local women (many travel on their own) travel.

I used to carry all of my money 50% ZAR (South African Rands) and 50% US$ but now I mostly use my VISA credit card (Maestro , electron, Mastercard also work) and draw money from ATMS - the exchange rate is the bank rate and a small service charge (if any!?).

You can also easily exchange Euro or US$ or ZAR cash inside the banks but the queue can be long and the service slow.

There are many ATMS in almost all Moz towns along the main coastal and inland routes now - many in Maputo (incl banks at airport), Macia, Bilene, Xai-Xai, Quissico, Inhambane, Tofo (must confirm this), Maxixe, Massinga and at Vilankulo. At month end and Fridays there can be very long queues at ATMS and banks so be aware of this.

I think the maxixum PER TRANSACTION (not per day) withdrawal at an ATM is MT5000 or about equivalent of US$200, but you can re-insert your card and immediately withdraw more.

Main banks are Millenio BIM, Austral and Standard Bank. Exchange is Cambio and of course the banks have a bureau de change but any teller can assist you - must have your passport with you (required by law to have with you when away from tourist spots anyway).

carry passport, cards and money in a flat money belt underneath clothes and just the daily Meticais in a pocket or purse.

Do not change money (unless no other option) with the touts on the streets or anywhere as there is no currency black market in Moz and these friendly fellows can only make money by trickery.

September very hot and dry, but almost no possibility of rain so carry the minimal amount - buy capulanas in Moz. Oh donĀ“t forget the sunscreen as I assume central Europe has not seen much of the sun lately.

Mike

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Sophie replied the topic: money exchange

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Mike,

Thank you VERY MUCH for this! great, detailed info. How are you doing this?
I thinks I will continue to ask you for more help...I am in very rainy switzerland and planning my trip makes it a beautiful day!

I land in Johannesburg and planning to take a greyhound bus to Maputo (cheaper option than plane).
- In johannesburg airport I will change money only to buy the bus ticket to Maputo, should I and can I buy also meticas?
- the greyhoundbus, does it leave from the airport in Johannesburg or need i take a transport to the city to get to the bus stop?
- Visa: is there an option to get a MOZ visa at the airport in Johannesburg? if not, I know I can get the visa at the border, if the bus driver will not agree to wait for me (while I am arranging my visa), do I need to buy a new bus ticket and wait for the next greyhound bus?

thank you and I am afraid there will be more posts from the mountains.

Sophie

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Ramer replied the topic: money exchange

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Another master piece of good advice... as allways!
Travelling also in September... 2010!
The girls will like to read this one...

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mozman replied the topic: money exchange

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I have been visiting Moz from SA since the mid '80's - spent 6 months there in 1992 and since then visit 3 or 4 times per year each time 2-3 weeks. I have an extensive network of friends and contacts throughout Mozambique and communicate constantly using email and text (sms).

Good question regarding getting Meticais outside of Mozambique; The Metical is not a hard currency and is not exchangable at any banks or bureaux outside of Mozambique. If using the bus Joburg - Maputo most of the passengers will be Mozambican citizens so can be possible to exchange small amounts with them to get your through a day or two in the country should you not be able to use an ATM and arrive on the weekend (banks open 08:00 - 12:00 on Saturdays, closed sundays).

You can also change a small amount at the Ressano Garica border with a tout (US$ or ZAR), but make sure you know the rate and only have a small amount in your hand - count then hand over. Note that there are two types of Meticais in circulation in Moz: the New Meticais (Nova Familia) dropped three zero's off the old, but both still in circulation: new notes of 20 (vint), 50 (cinquenta), 100 (Cem), 200 (Duzentos), 500 (Quinhentos) and 1000 (mil) and old Meticais where all the notes were in thousands so will have 'mil' written on them, while the old coins were mainly 500 and 1000 meticais. There are also New Meticais coins with values of 1, 5, 10 and 20 New Meticais and also Centavo coins.

The old currency is gradually disappearing but look up and print: www.kanimambo.com/kmeticalnotas.jpg
to see what the new notes look like to avoid being tricked - not likely but still possible.

Greyhound and Intercape buses leave from Park Station in central Johannesburg - there are shuttles from Oliver Tambo (Johannesburg) Airport and make sure you keep inside the station as the area around is not safe. Visas only issued at the border and if your bus leaves you behind you will not need to wait for another - just catch a chapa taxi for MT50 - 100 Ressano Garcia to Maputo - ask the driver to take you to wherever you will stay in Maputo. Where will you stay in Maputo?

Mike

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Sophie replied the topic: money exchange

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Thank you Mike very much.
I am hoping to stay in the BAse, in Maputo.

I am finishing to read all the guides that you posted on your website and listing my last questions. I will be back very soon!

greetings,
Sophie

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