Convert US$ to Rand (ZAR)
Currency: South African currency units Rand (ZAR). To see the current rate, you can use this currency exchange (right). Also look in newspapers for current exchange rate. Due to favorable exchange rates, South Africa is a very inexpensive destination given the quality of lodging, dining and activities offered.
Sales Tax: Currently set at 14%, Value Added Tax (VAT) is included in the price of most goods and services. Foreign visitors are not excempt for paying VAT on purchased goods. They may, however, claim back VAT paid on items taken out of the country when the total valued exceeds R250. The refund may be lodged with the VAT Refund Administrator's offices, which are situated at Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airports, various land border posts and designated commercial harbors. Please note that the refund claim should only be lodged with the South African Customs Authorities at points of departure where the VAT Refund Administrator is not present.
Credit cards: You can use credit cards to get cash from ATM machines. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Visa and MasterCard are universally accepted by restaurants and shops which allow card payments - about 80% of retailers allow them, while American Express and Diner’s Club cards, though not unknown.
Tipping: It is normal to tip in South Africa, so keep your small change handy. In restaurants 10-15% is standard. Tipping tour guides, trackers and and game rangers is also the norm since they depend on this for most of their income.
Cost: It can be difficult to get hotel rooms during the South African holiday season, from mid-December to late January, especially in coastal areas and parks, and prices tend to double. Plan and make your booking ahead of time before your trip. Also applies during school holidays in April, July and September.
Tip: Earn hundreds of dollars on your dental visit or change eyeglasses on the trip.