Declaring Us Currency in South Africa

friendswoodmatt

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12 days till we leave for our trip to SA— I was thinking of bringing 20k for tips/trinkets/emergency money etc or so on the trip in cash.We will be there 30 days and I saw the Dept of State Website and it said foreign currency unlimited if declared. Do you guys declare the cash you take? Any issues?
 

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I think that most just use their credit cards or hit up ATM's for local cash.

When I went over in 2015 I had $1000 US cash for some tips and roughly 10,000 SA Rand for tips and a tour after my hunt was over. The only time that I even got the US currency out was to tip my PH the rest was Rand to the help and my tour. But even then the vast majority of items that I purchased was paid for by credit card.

The other 3 in my group pretty much picked up some Rand whenever they were near a ATM, but they also paid most of their expenses with their credit cards. We were there for close to 25 days.

On taking $20,000 US cash you will need to declare it with US Customs. I believe that the cut off is $10,000
 

wesheltonj

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WOW, why? You will tip your PH in USD and maybe your cook too, Everyone one else is usually in Rand. Credit Cards are widely accepted in stores. If you really need USD, you can stop by an American Express Office and they can hook you up with some greenbacks.
 

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12 days till we leave for our trip to SA— I was thinking of bringing 20k for tips/trinkets/emergency money etc or so on the trip in cash.We will be there 30 days and I saw the Dept of State Website and it said foreign currency unlimited if declared. Do you guys declare the cash you take? Any issues?

I would STRONGLY advise you don't even think about taking that much cash with you regardless of declaration requirements. That just has a potential of pain and suffering should "something" happen which could be as simple as just having it in a bag that somehow gets lost to more sinister things.

Some emergency cash for sure, like maybe a few hundred bucks. As Jim mentioned use your credit card otherwise unless you think you'll be somewhere that doesn't take a card.

I'd get clarification from your outfitter on this. I've tipped using U.S. dollars, the outfitter handled conversion with those receiving the tips. Perhaps yours can do the same and you can avoid the conversion to Rand hassle.

I guess what I'm saying is take U.S. dollars only and just enough to cover tips and a bit of spending money. Use your CC wherever possible. On that note call your CC company ahead of time to setup a "travel plan" with them. If you've not done this before, they certainly have. Provide them dates, destinations and relatively small amounts to approve for purchase.
 

Newboomer

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I would STRONGLY advise you don't even think about taking that much cash with you regardless of declaration requirements. That just has a potential of pain and suffering should "something" happen which could be as simple as just having it in a bag that somehow gets lost to more sinister things.

Some emergency cash for sure, like maybe a few hundred bucks. As Jim mentioned use your credit card otherwise unless you think you'll be somewhere that doesn't take a card.

I'd get clarification from your outfitter on this. I've tipped using U.S. dollars, the outfitter handled conversion with those receiving the tips. Perhaps yours can do the same and you can avoid the conversion to Rand hassle.

I guess what I'm saying is take U.S. dollars only and just enough to cover tips and a bit of spending money. Use your CC wherever possible. On that note call your CC company ahead of time to setup a "travel plan" with them. If you've not done this before, they certainly have. Provide them dates, destinations and relatively small amounts to approve for purchase.
On all my trips I use my CC. I tipped my PH in USD and gave the outfitter USD to pay the help. I had a couple hundred USD for incidentals while traveling. No need to take a chance with a lot of greenbacks. Too easy for it to sprout legs even in your locked suitcase in the lodge and you sure don't want it in your pocket out in the bush or driving around.
 

Hunt anything

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Must declare cash over 10,000$, and many Safari outfitters charge 3% on cc purchases, I have always tried to take about 3 to 4 thousand for any extra animals that I don’t think I can live without. Along with tip money for the staff.
 

Still alive

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I just got back in June. I brought 2k and only used 200$ which I converted to Rand which was around $400 after the conversation rate. Everything else was charged to my Cc. I did give away my binoculars to our ph after being with him for ten days.
I agree with above, don’t bring so much cash with you
 

JimP

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For extra animals you can always wire transfer the cost back to the outfitter once you get home. It isn't like you are going to bring the trophies home right away.
 

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Is this going to be your first trip to South Africa? It’s much more developed than you might be thinking. Your credit card is just as good for emergencies there as it is here. I’d be very concerned carrying that much cash. I usually take a couple thousand but no more. I’ve had PHs ask for tip to be wired into their account too instead of cash.
 

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Credit cards are also much easier to replace if stolen at no risk. $20,000 in cash will definitely make some people in security checkpoints at Johannesburg airport take notice if Johannesburg isn’t your final stop.
 

Hunt anything

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Another thing I do is take a supply of 5’s and tell the skinners that for every bullet they recover they get a 5, if you like to collect bullets as I do.
 

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$20K is way too much money to take for a South African hunt. Also, it is a hassle as you will have to declare anything over $10K to US Customs.

If you feel you must take a lot of cash I would take an amount just under $10K and you will end up bringing most of it back anyway.

Payment for extra animals etc. can be wired to the outfitter after you get home. Tips should not be a lot for a typical RSA hunt either.
 

Bert the Turtle

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Even if it doesn't get stolen, that much cash is going to look suspicious. Honestly, it would look suspicious for good reason. Its just way more cash than is needed for any legitimate purpose. That's not to say you have any funny business in mind- it is easy to imagine you are going out beyond the reaches of modern life- but maybe a couple thousand max (and if it is going to be used for incidentals, I think it is easier to just get some rand at home. In fact, I have a Southern Africa wallet and a US wallet and bring both.) Its a credit card world there as much as here.

There is also Venmo and Apple Cash, etc. Not sure which are operational in ZA, but in my experience, they are generally ahead of us on that kind of thing. Text your PH (WhatsApp seems to be the preferred mode) and ask him what apps are used for finances where he is.
Cell phones are everywhere, service is good, and people in villages too small for a bank branch office still need to conduct business.
 

Nevada Wapati

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I just got back from SA. I took $10,000 to pay for my hunt and tips. If I was to go over I would have wired the balance upon my return. South Africa Customs not Immigration asked how much money I had. I used a credit card for everything else.

I agree with others that there are probably better ways for you to handle the money. I suggest wires and credit card if possible.
 

neckdeep

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No way in hell would I go into JNB with that much cash, you could possibly go through with no problems but as corrupt as that place is I wouldn't count on it, mostly likely tipster's and crooks at every corner looking to rob you, including the police, best to use your card or wire to the outfitter.
 

friendswoodmatt

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Ok thanks — i was going to split it up with me taking 10 and wife taking 10 — but will decrease amounts and take much less— thanks
 

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Use your CC for everything but tips. You are protected with CCs from fraud. Lost or stolen cash is simply gone.
 

Mark Biggerstaff

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Like others have said. Take just enough cash for tips and little things. Use credit cards for final payment or wire transfer when you get back. My preferred outfitter has a USA bank account. So I take a couple blank checks with me. Make them out, he takes picture and deposits in his USA account.
 

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Rick HOlbert wrote on NTH's profile.
NTH, Just found your message. I hunt with Eland Pro Safaris in Namibia. Wide selection of game and great folks. Hell my PH and his family ARE adopted family, LOL! I book people to hunt with them and should you be interested I'd be happy to meet and discuss a trip. Anyway all the best to you and give me a shout sometime. Bye for now.
NTH wrote on Rick HOlbert's profile.
Nice “meeting” you Rick. I made my first trip to S. Africa this year through Kuche Safaris. We had an incredible time. What outfitter do you use? Neal
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