I was wondering if I could get some advice on carrying money when travelling. I will be moving up along the East coast of Africa from S.A. to Kenya next year from feb to June through countries such as Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. I have heard that travellers cheques are a waste of time as few places can cash them and when they can they charge over-the-top commisions. Therefore I was wondering if carrying a meastro debit card for use at ATMs would work best or if a pre-loaded credit card is better? Suggestions with specific reference to these countries?
Travelers cheques are an absolute waste of time in my opinion. Hard currency is the best to have, but of course you wouldn't want to journey with all your cash on you just in case. With this in mind i would reccomend using an atm card with the visa logo on it, i'm not sure if maestro is very prevelant but i know in the cities that visa is. This way in the capital cities you can withdraw enough cash to get you to your next destination. Also i'm pretty sure that your home banks exchange rates will be much lower than the brokers you find in the cities, so its a double bonus. A preloaded credit card will be a hassle, if you want to take cash advances out they may charge more for it.
Oh yeah, don't forget that when you cross borders, if you need a visa for the country, many can't take cards at the gates, they only accept cash.
I'm currently in Kenya and travelled with a friend from South Africa (starting in Jo'burg), we travelled via east coast up to Kenya. I would recommend carrying an ATM Card and some US Dollars. I'm not sure which country u are travelling from, but we came from Australia and carrying Aussie dollars around was not much value to us. I have been able to use my ATM card everywhere (except for in Livingstone, Zambia where they did not a maestro atm machine, but just used my US cash). So far we've been to Jo'burg, Cape Town, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya - and had no problems with using ATM'S (maestro). I would carry some travellers cheque as backup (u don't want to carry too much money on you, and u never know u mite lose ur card). Just remember to have enuff cash in advance for borders.