What Is The Currency Of South Africa – And Travel Tips To Protect Yourself From Scams And Theft.

I’m here to help you get a grip on the currency situation in South Africa. The legal currency there is the South African Rand, identified as ZAR. It’s an eye-catching currency with vibrant colors and images of notable figures and the Big Five wildlife.

If you’re curious about how this translates to international exchange, particularly the USD, then you’re in the right place. I’m going to show you what 1 USD is worth in South African Rands and explain how to prepare your money for travel or business in South Africa.

As an Amazon associate, I earn from purchases, with no extra costs for you, however

Current Conversion Rates for the South African Rand

Here’s the deal: the exchange rate for the African Rand constantly fluctuates due to various economic factors. These include inflation rates, economic performance, political stability, and global market trends.

Now, to give you a rough idea, as of my latest update, 1 US Dollar is approximately equal to 15 South African Rand, but make sure to check a reliable financial news source just before any transactions for the current rates.

Whether you’re planning to invest in South Africa or simply looking to convert your money for a trip, understanding these factors can help you anticipate changes in the exchange rate and manage your funds more effectively.

Can you use the South African Rand Beyond Its Borders?

Now, you might be curious about where else the South African Rand holds power. The Rand isn’t just confined to its home country.

In fact, it’s officially used in the Common Monetary Area (CMA), which encompasses Lesotho, Namibia, and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). These countries peg their currencies to the Rand, which allows for a smoother financial relationship, also because South Africa belongs to the list of richest countries in Africa.

But what about the big players like the Euro or the US Dollar? Can you use them in South Africa?

You’re going to find out about a mixed bag here. While some tourist hotspots might accept these currencies, it’s not the norm. South Africa’s economy is very Rand-centric, and you could convert your money into Rands upon arrival for local transactions.

That’s not to say your Euros or Dollars are useless. Many exchange offices will gladly take them off your hands, and ATMs are widely available for you to withdraw Rands directly from your bank account. Ensure you’re aware of any foreign transaction fees that your bank may apply, though, as these can add up.

You can always adjust your approach down the road if you find a place that accepts international currencies, but it’s less common.

Practical Currency Conversion Guide

Now, let’s talk about converting your dollars to rands. Whether you’re planning a trip or conducting business in South Africa, knowing the value of your money in local terms is crucial. Here’s a practical guide:

10 USD is approximately ZAR 150.50

100 USD is roughly ZAR 1,505.00

500 USD equals about ZAR 7,525.00

1000 USD is close to ZAR 15,050.00

2000 USD is nearly ZAR 30,100.00

These conversions are based on the current exchange rate and can fluctuate daily. Always check the latest rates before any transaction.

There are plenty of reliable online converters and apps ready to use, check out the Currency Convertor Plus on Google Play, for example.

How to safely get cash in South Africa or transport your Rands- some tips!

Upon arrival at Johannesburg Tambo Airport, we encountered some issues from the start to get South African Rands.

Beware that there are a lot of people at the airport, waiting for the tourists to arrive and maybe scamming you, so do not ever exchange your dollars or Euros from a person you don’t know!

My advice really would be to already bring along a small amount of Rands from your home country, in small bills, so at the least you have some cash available for tips ( at gas stations, for example, it is very usual to tip the people who get your gas tank filled up or wash your windows ).

At first, we tried to exchange some of our Euros at an exchange office at the airport, but we got kind of ‘shooed away’ in a very impolite way, and we didn’t really know the reason why.

So then, we tried an ATM with our European credit card, only to find out it didn’t work, luckily our card wasn’t held back.

Finally, we found an ATM that DID work, pffoeee, but the fees at the airport were very high! And there were a lot of bills, so tucking them away in your purse isn’t easy.

About ATMs in South Africa, also beware that sometimes you can’t even trust those, so it seems. And one time, we even had our card swallowed by an ATM, and we immediately blocked that particular card! Luckily, mine still worked, and we had a spare card, Djees!

So again, only go to an ATM at a large shopping mall where the circumstances seem safe or go to an actual bank!

Other than that, don’t take along too much cash, only for the bare necessities, and try to just use your credit cards.

To transport the cash, we both split it up between some bills in my actual wallet and purse, as a diversion for theft, but the largest part was placed in a Travel Crossbody Wallet, where a copy of my ID and my Creditcard was inside as well, you can’t be too SAFE when traveling around!

You might even place a part of your cash hidden somewhere in your rental car!

My Final Conclusion.

I hope that I could answer all of your questions about the currency of South Africa, but if you have anything else to ask, just leave them down below in the comment section or join me on my social media channels for more pictures,stories and even videos on my Youtube channel 😉

I wish you happy travels!

Kind regards,


I now have a YouTube channel as well!


4 thoughts on “What Is The Currency Of South Africa – And Travel Tips To Protect Yourself From Scams And Theft.”

  1. Hi it was good to know about that I’m going to need to change my currency over. I happen to be from Canada but I do have some us dollars. That’s a good thing for me to know early on because I never actually thought about it. Also like you said good idea be careful of the scams because they are definitely out there.

    • Hi Jake!

      Yes for sure, always be careful, but other than that, you sure will enjoy your visit, happy travels!


  2. Since I have never traveled to Africa, I found this article to be very interesting to read and learn from.

    Your currency guide was extremely helpful and I thank you for taking the time to include it. I found your advice to check the currency to be good to know, so this is another good feature your article has.

    Thank you for the warning of people at airports trying to scam visitors. That is terrible people are doing that to people visiting their country.

    Bringing some cash in Africa currency in small bills sounds like great advice. I would have never thought about that myself since I have never traveled out of the USA.

    Thank you for all your help, Lizzy




Leave a Comment