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Money

 

 

MONEY:

Each of us had a Visa and Mastercard credit card. Apparently drawing money from ATMs is easier with Visa in most of Africa. The following two websites are great for searching for Visa and Mastercard ATM localities - http://www.visa.com/atmlocator/index.jsp#(page:home) http://www.mastercard.us/cardholder-services/atm-locator.html

We will use our laptop, Ipad and a dongle for internet banking and can also use our cell phones. We have notified our bank of our trip to ensure that our credit cards are not stopped after drawings from weird and wonderful places. We will carry a stash of US$, hidden in various secure spots in the vehicle including a lockable vehicle safe. How much money to carry is a question with no single answer but cash is king. We made sure to have new notes, as old or worn notes are sometimes not accepted. We will carry mainly 50$ notes, but some smaller currency notes too in case the “no change” trick is pulled on us. It is better to take $50 notes and higher for the best exchange rate. We have four separate wallets with various currencies. We also will have a laminated printout of the various currency exchange rates handy so as not to be taken for a ride. This of course could be updated from the internet. We will try to keep currency trading on the black market to a minimum, having had experience of these shysters in our preceding travels in Southern Africa. Don’t exchange money at border posts with the locals if at all possible. The rate is always poorer and the transactions often fraught with dishonesty and sleight of hand. There are bureau de change shops at many of the borders. If they are closed, just exchange enough to get you through the border and to the next town. Most towns near a border, even the small ones, will have a bureau de change and or ATM.

Something to note is the fact that in Sudan foreign credit cards cannot be used to withdraw money, due to a political boycott. One thus has to bring sufficient US$ into the country from Ethiopia to change into the local currency.

Just as we have no time budget, we are exceptionally fortunate not to have a fixed financial budget for this trip. It seems such a long way to travel just to have to quibble at the charges levied for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. But we shall see how it pans out!