Cape Town in detail

Money and Costs

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than R1000

  • Dorm bed: R250
  • Gourmet burger: R70
  • Local beer: R30
  • Hiking in Table Mountain National Park: Free
  • MyCiTi bus from City Bowl to Camps Bay: R11.70

Midrange: R1000–5000

  • Hotel room: R1000–3000
  • Township/cultural tour: R600
  • Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert ticket: R180
  • Meal with wine at Waterfront restaurant: R500

Top end: More than R5000

  • Hotel room: R3000–6000
  • Meal at top-end restaurant: R800–1200
  • Full-day gourmet wine tour: R2000
  • Thirty-minute helicopter flight: R1650
  • Three-hour cruise on luxury yacht: R6800


South African rand (R)


ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted at most businesses, but some smaller food places, including weekly markets, are cash-only.


If your card belongs to the Mastercard or Visa networks you should have no problem using ATMs in Cape Town. It pays to follow some basic procedures to ensure safety:

  • Avoid ATMs at night and in secluded places. Machines in shopping malls are usually the safest.
  • Most ATMs in banks have security guards. If there’s no guard around when you’re withdrawing cash, watch your back, or get someone else to watch it for you.
  • Watch the people using the ATM ahead of you carefully. If they look suspicious, go to another machine.
  • Use ATMs during banking hours and, if possible, take a friend. If your card is jammed in a machine then one person should stay at the ATM while the other seeks assistance from the bank.
  • When you put your card into the ATM press 'cancel' immediately. If the card is returned then you know there is no blockage in the machine and it should be safe to proceed.
  • Politely refuse any offers of help to complete your transaction. If someone does offer, end your transaction immediately and find another machine.
  • Carry your bank’s emergency phone number, and if you do lose your card report it immediately.


The unit of currency is the rand (R), which is divided into 100 cents (¢). The coins are 5¢, 10¢, 20¢ and 50¢, and R1, R2 and R5. The notes are R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200. Rand is sometimes referred to as ‘bucks’.

Changing Money

Most banks change cash and travellers cheques in major currencies, with various commissions. You’ll also find exchange bureaux at the major shopping malls, including Victoria Mall at the Waterfront. Bring your passport.


Wages are low here, and tipping is expected.

  • Restaurants & cafes 10% to 15% of the total in restaurants; 10% in cafes.
  • Hotels A standard tip of R10 to R20 is welcomed.
  • Car guards Offer R5 or more for longer periods.
  • Petrol stations Anything from R5 – more if the attendant also washes the windscreen and checks the tyres.
  • Taxis Tips not expected but rounding up the fare will be appreciated.