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Zimbabwe Currency

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Zimbabwe Currency: The Zimbabwe Dollar, since its inception at independence in 1980, is in its 5th series. Each new series replaced the last as hyperinflation rendered the currency worthless. Each new series was redenominated by dropping zeros to make it manageable again. Prior to 1980, there was the Rhodesian Dollar, which was at parity with the pound sterling.

The official currency of Zimbabwe today is the RTGS Dollar (ZWL), but due to persistent inflation, several foreign currencies act as the de-facto legal tender in the country.

What is the money situation if you are visiting Zimbabwe today?

Please read the update below which will put you in the picture.

Zimbabwe Currency

How much is $1 in Zimbabwean dollars?

1 USD = 322 ZWL Nov 02, 2022, 17:45 UTC

Check the currency rates against all the world currencies here. The currency converter below is easy to use and the currency rates are updated frequently.

What currency is used in Zimbabwe currently?

The Zimbabwe dollar

Whilst the primary legal tender in Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWL), it is currently possible for tourists to transact using the US Dollar at the official exchange rate. There are some bureaux de changes that will accept and change foreign currency, particularly US dollars.

What Is The Currency Of Zimbabwe 2022?

The Zimbabwean Dollar

Historically, the Zimbabwean Dollar reached an all-time high of 628.23 in October of 2022. Zimbabwean Dollar – data, forecasts, historical chart – was last updated on November of 2022.

How Do I Pay for Things in Zimbabwe?

If you are an international visitor to Zimbabwe and only here for a short while, then you want to think in US Dollars or a foreign currency equivalent. You do not want to get involved with exchanging your forex for the local currency as you can easily get taken for a ride, it is too complicated. With the exception of buying goods in a supermarket – see below for details.

  • US Dollar cash is king and paying is easy. However, there is a critical shortage of small denomination notes so getting change is very difficult. There are no coins so everything is rounded up or down. Be sensible with the amount of cash you carry with you though, Zimbabwe like anywhere in the world has thieves.
  • Credit and Debit cards– Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. American Express not so much. ***CAUTION*** only use your card when the item you are buying is priced in US Dollars. If the item is displayed in Zimbabwe Dollars (ZWL) your card will be debited at the official bank exchange rate of the day, which is very different to the parallel rate, which is what the item would have been priced at.
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What Currency are Prices Displayed in Zimbabwe?

Unfortunately, this is not a straightforward answer, some sectors of the market display prices in ZWL and others in US$, and some in both. I have detailed some examples below:

  • Entry Visa’s and National Park entry fees– Priced in US$ and can only be paid for with a foreign Credit/Debit card or US$ cash or equivalent in another foreign currency.

     Large Supermarkets – Priced in ZWL, can be paid for with ZWL cash or ZWL credit /debit card. Can also be paid for using a foreign credit/debit card or foreign cash. At the checkout counter, state you are paying with a foreign card and they will tell you what is the exchange rate of the day.***CAUTION*** The rate that most supermarkets use is a blended rate between the bank rate and the parallel rate. As an example. Bank rate is 626 to 1 and the parallel rate is 700 to 1 they will use 680 to 1
    Items will have been priced at 700 to 1, so this will end up costing you a lot of money.

    As a possible solution, in Victoria Falls, outside the supermarkets, there are vendors who will offer to pay for your items with their local cards (they will approach you, and just stand around looking confused). You then pay them back in USD cash. This is a good idea as they will give you close to the black market rate rather than the blended rate but you must have a clue of what the rate of the day is otherwise they will fleece you.
    As a general rule, if you are a foreigner and don’t have access to a local bank account, with ZWL, try to do as little supermarket shopping as possible, bring your goods in with you.

     Liquor stores – In Victoria Falls, there is a liquor store called Liquorama on the main street, close to Shearwater Cafe. Here the prices are in ZWL or US$. Do NOT use Pick n Pay Liquor, the prices are astronomical.

    General stores – This is hard to be specific because it differs from store to store. Most will have both US$ and ZWL prices displayed but you always need to ask if they are using the bank rate or the parallel rate.

    Garages – US$ cash or SA Rand cash- No ZWL cash or  ZWL card. Some garages do have a foreign card facility but not all. As fuel is priced in US$ paying with a foreign card when you can is not a problem.

    Restaurants – Prices are generally displayed in both US$ and ZWL. So if using a foreign credit card or cash, you pay the US$ price.

    Hotel accommodation and activities – These are all currently priced in US$ and can be paid for using foreign cards or US cash.

    Taxis – Priced in US$ – paid for with US$ cash or ZWL cash equivalent.

Can I Withdraw Money From Banks or ATMs?

  • Small amounts of Zimbabwe Dollars ZWL (Bond Notes) are available from a few banks, but definitely not all. Limited to US$50 equivalent per person per day.
  • Some banks’ ATMs dispense US dollar cash notes (Standard bank, First Capital bank, CABS, and Stanbic bank). The limit is determined by your home bank, up to a maximum of US$1000 per day. However, one should NOT be completely reliant on this as the situation in Zimbabwe can change overnight. Think of it as more of a backup.
  • ZWL (bond notes) and foreign cash are exchanged on the streets. This is NOT advisable, you can very easily get ripped off.

Is it Legal to Carry Foreign Cash on You?

It is completely legal to carry foreign cash that you have brought in with you. Just be mindful of the fact that carrying large sums of cash can be risky. Rather have enough cash for sundry expenses and reserves but any major expenses like accommodation should either be pre-paid or paid for with a credit card.

Can You Use Currencies Other Than the US Dollar in Zimbabwe?

In non-tourist centers such as Harare and Bulawayo, no, you can’t pay for things in other currencies. But in Victoria Falls, the SA Rand, the Botswana Pula, and the British Pound are accepted as payment in some places like hotels, restaurants, and the rainforest. Banks will change your currency into US Dollars.

What to Be Careful Of!

  • Paying for items priced in Zimbabwe Dollars (ZWL) with your foreign card – the exchange rate will end up costing you way too much.
  • ATM’s running out of cash – so bring US Dollars cash with you.
  • Zimbabwe has good internet but for some reason, the network when paying with a credit card often goes down. It’s advisable to have some cash reserves for these instances.
  • Buying pre-2008 Zimbabwe dollar notes from street vendors, who might well spin a story and inflate their value.
  • Exchanging ZWL for US$ on the streets with street vendors – these guys are very quick and even experienced locals get taken for a ride sometimes.
  • Change not being available – make sure you also bring enough small denominations of US$ with you.

Zimbabwe Money Matters

As a nation Zimbabwe is one of the poorest countries in the world, the economy is in tatters and basically, the country is bankrupt but in tourist centers like Victoria Falls, you are not like to be aware of this. It looks like a boom town, which in effect it is as tourism is flourishing. However, it is critical that you are aware of some important factors detailed below that will ensure that you don’t have any problems when visiting.

The Zimbabwe Dollar

The US dollar is now the official currency of Zimbabwe. However, there is also a local currency, known as a Bond Note or Zollar, in a local bank account it is called RTGS. Bond notes can be used for some purchases in Zimbabwe but are worthless outside the country. So if you are given a bond note as change make sure you spend it whilst in the country.

Credit Cards

Almost all hotels, shops, restaurants, and activity operators now accept credit cards; MasterCard and Visa only – NOT American Express. However as with everywhere occasionally a card machine won’t work so it’s always best to have a reserve of cash in these instances.

Best advice is to book and pay for as much as you can in advance so that you don’t have any problems whilst here.

Entry Visas at the ports of entry can be paid for by card but again occasionally the machine or your card won’t go through so a reserve is advisable. The exact same applies to entrance fees for the Victoria Falls rainforest.

Cash and ATM machines

All banks have ATM machines however there is a CRITICAL shortage of hard cash within the country. You must bring enough cash with you, as there is none available in the ATMs.

You will need cash for National Park fees if you are doing any activities like helicopter flights, sunset cruises, rafting, game drives, etc please check with your booking agent for details. Also for curio purchases, or any purchases of a small amount that don’t warrant a credit card fee transaction.

Plus you must have a cash reserve for when a credit card transaction fails as mentioned in the credit card section above.

Travelers Cheques

Are NOT accepted.

 

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