Travelling to Central Africa?
Get the best rates for Central African currency online
You can have your Central African CFA Franc banknotes securely delivered to your home or office. Or you can pick them up at the Manor FX bureau near Heathrow.
Manor FX provides quick delivery and a straightforward online ordering system for your Central African CFA franc travel funds. Enjoy a hassle-free experience and fast service.
Central African travel money
Prepare for your Central Africa adventure with some valuable information about cash and card payments.
Which African countries use CFA franc?
The following countries use the Central African CFA franc (XAF):
- Central African Republic
- Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
Can I buy CFA francs in UK?
Yes. But Central African CFA francs are not available at most banks or the Post Office.
In the UK, you’ll have the best chances of finding Central African CFA francs (XAF) from the following places:
Currency Exchange Offices
Currency exchange offices and kiosks at airports, train stations, and city centres offer foreign currency exchange services. You can visit these locations to buy Central African CFA francs. Beware, the rates in airports are notoriously bad.
Online Currency Exchange Platforms
There are online currency exchange platforms and websites (like ours!) that allow you to order foreign currency online. You can choose to have it delivered to your home or office. Be sure to choose a reputable platform with competitive exchange rates.
We recommend you look no further; our rates are the best in the UK.
Some travel agencies also offer foreign currency exchange services to their customers. If you’re booking a trip through a travel agency, ask if they can provide you with Central African CFA francs.
When purchasing Central African CFA francs, be aware that exchange rates and fees may vary among different providers. It’s advisable to compare rates and inquire about additional charges before exchanging your currency. This makes sure that you get the best value for your money.
Should I exchange money before I travel to Central Africa?
Yes, exchanging some money before you travel to Central Africa is generally advisable. Here are a few reasons why exchanging cash before your trip can be a good idea:
Having some local currency on hand when you arrive in Central Africa can be helpful. It covers immediate expenses like transport, meals, and small purchases. Not all places accept credit or debit cards, so having cash is essential.
Exchanging money in advance saves you the hassle of searching for a currency exchange office or ATM as soon as you arrive. Especially if you land late at night or in a remote area.
Better Exchange Rates
You may find more favourable exchange rates when you exchange currency in your home country rather than at a foreign destination.
A small amount of local currency can be a backup in case your cards don’t work. It provides peace of mind in unexpected situations.
Avoid Airport Fees
Currency exchange services at airports often charge higher fees and offer less favourable rates than those in the city. Exchanging some money before you depart can help you avoid these extra costs.
You don’t need to exchange all your money before your trip, though. It’s a good idea to use cash and cards for flexibility.
Do I need cash in Central Africa?
Yes, having cash in Central Africa is advisable, as it can be essential for various purposes.
Electronic payment methods like credit and debit cards are becoming more widely accepted in urban areas. But cash still remains crucial for many situations in Central Africa:
- Rural Areas. In rural or less developed areas, cash is often the primary and sometimes the only accepted form of payment. Small towns and villages may not have access to electronic payment systems.
- Local Markets. Cash is typically the preferred method of payment when shopping at local markets, street vendors, or small shops. Many sellers may not have the infrastructure to accept card payments.
- Transport. Taxis, buses, and other forms of public transportation often require cash payments. If you plan to travel within Central Africa, having cash for fares is essential.
- Emergency Situations. Cash serves as a valuable backup. It can help cover unexpected expenses or emergencies.
- ATM Availability. While major cities may have ATMs where you can withdraw local currency, they may not always be readily accessible. ATM networks can be less reliable in some regions.
- Negotiation. In some situations, particularly in markets or when dealing with informal services, the ability to negotiate prices requires cash. Having cash can give you more bargaining power.
To ensure you have the right amount of cash, exchange travel money for Central African CFA francs (XAF) before you travel.
This way, you’ll be ready for cash-based transactions when needed. Be mindful of security and keep your cash safe while travelling to avoid potential issues.
What is the best currency to bring to Central Africa?
The best currency to bring to Central Africa depends on your preferences and travel plans. However, we recommend you bring a mix of the following.
Central African CFA franc (XAF)
This is the official currency used in most Central African countries, including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Some XAF in cash is essential, especially for local transactions, transport, and small purchases.
US dollars (USD)
USD is widely accepted in Central Africa, especially in larger cities and tourist places. It can serve as a helpful backup currency. Ensure that your USD bills are in good condition; old bills may not be accepted.
Euros are also accepted in some places, particularly in countries with historical ties to European nations. Check the local acceptance of Euros before bringing them.
Credit and Debit Cards
While not as universally accepted as cash, credit and debit cards can be used for larger expenses and in more urban areas. Visa and Mastercard are generally more widely accepted than other card networks.
It’s best to use the local currency for day-to-day expenses whenever possible. It ensures you get the most accurate and fair prices.
Having a mix of the above currencies ensures you are prepared for various situations.
Can I use my bank card in Central Africa?
Yes, you can generally use your bank card in Central Africa. International debit and credit cards, mainly VISA and Mastercard, are accepted by some international hotels and large shopping malls in larger cities in Central Africa. (Such as Bangui, Bata, Brazzaville, Doala, Libreville, N’Djamena, Pointe-Noire and Yaounde.)
Most of the local vendors don’t accept international card payments, though. They only accept cash payments via mobile payment solutions such as MTM Mobile Money (nicknamed ‘momo’).
If you want to use your bank card, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:
Major credit and debit card networks like Visa and Mastercard are more widely accepted in urban areas. However, the acceptance of cards is less likely in smaller towns and more rural areas.
You can use your bank card to withdraw local currency (Central African CFA francs, XAF) from ATMs in major cities. You’ll find ATMs at banks and in commercial areas.
Be prepared for occasional challenges, such as limited availability or technical issues with ATMs, especially in more remote regions.
Inform your bank
Before travelling to Central Africa, it’s essential to inform your bank of your travel plans. This will help prevent your card transactions flagging as potentially fraudulent when used abroad. Provide your bank with your travel dates and the countries you plan to visit.
Currency conversion fees
Check with your bank about any foreign transaction fees or currency conversion fees associated with using your card abroad. These fees can vary among different banks and card issuers.
Be vigilant about card security. Use ATMs in well-lit and secure locations. Cover your PIN when entering it, and keep an eye on your card during transactions.
It’s also a good idea to have a backup payment method, such as cash or another card, in case your primary card is lost or stolen.
Cash for smaller expenses
While cards are convenient for larger expenses, having cash (local currency) on hand is necessary. Especially for smaller purchases, transportation, and in case, you visit areas where card acceptance is limited.
Check Card Compatibility
Ensure your card has a chip and a PIN, which are often necessary for card transactions in Central Africa.
How much cash should I take to Central Africa?
It depends. Here are rough daily spending ranges for tourists in Central Africa, including budget, midrange, and luxury options. Keep in mind that these figures can vary depending on the specific country within Central Africa and individual preferences:
- Accommodation: £15 – £38
- Food: £8 – £16 (eating at local eateries, street food)
- Transportation: £4 – £12 (using public transportation, shared taxis)
- Activities/Entrance Fees: £4 – £12 (visiting local attractions, cultural activities)
- Total: £31 – £78 per day
- Accommodation: £38 – £115 (midrange hotels, boutique lodges)
- Food: £16 – £38 (eating at midrange restaurants)
- Transportation: £16 – £38 (including occasional taxi rides)
- Activities/Entrance Fees: £12 – £38 (guided tours, cultural experiences)
- Total: £82 – £229 per day
- Accommodation: £115 and above (luxury hotels, eco-lodges)
- Food: £38 and above (fine dining, gourmet experiences)
- Transportation: £38 and above (private transfers, car rentals)
- Activities/Entrance Fees: £38 and above (exclusive safaris, private guides)
- Total: £229 and above per day
Be sure to research the cost of living in your chosen destination to create a budget that aligns with your travel plans. Additionally, consider budgeting for other expenses such as visas, travel insurance, and souvenirs.
Is life expensive in Central Africa?
The Central African CFA monetary union consists of six countries. Consequently, prices are different depending on which country you visit.
A coffee in a cafe in Cameroon will cost around 1,500 CFA francs (£2). For a three-course meal in a Cameroonian mid-range restaurant, you can expect to pay about 10,000 CFA francs per person (£13).
Prices in Central Africa are certainly lower than prices in the UK. The overall cost of living in Cameroon is 50% lower than in the UK.
How does tipping work in Central Africa?
Tipping customs in Central Africa vary from country to country and may also depend on the specific service or situation.
Restaurants and Cafes: In most Central African countries, tipping at restaurants and cafes is not obligatory but appreciated. If a service charge is not included in the bill (often the case), you can leave a tip of around 5-10% of the total bill if you’re satisfied with the service. However, checking if a service charge has already been added is important, as it varies by establishment.
Hotels: Tipping hotel staff is a common practice. You can tip the bellhop who helps with your luggage, the housekeeping staff who clean your room, and the concierge for assistance. Small denominations of local currency (Central African CFA francs, XAF) are usually appreciated. You can leave a few XAF for each service provided.
Tour Guides and Drivers: When you take guided tours or hire drivers for excursions, it’s customary to tip them. The amount can vary depending on the length and complexity of the tour or service, but a guideline is to offer a tip of 10-20% of the cost.
Taxis: Tipping taxi drivers is not as common in Central Africa as it is in some other regions. However, consider rounding up the fare or offering a small tip for excellent service.
Porters and Baggage Handlers: At airports, bus stations, or train stations, there are often porters or baggage handlers available to assist you. You can tip them a small amount for their services.
Central African Currency
Banknotes in Central Africa
Central Africa uses a common currency, the Central African CFA franc (XAF). The currency is shared by six Central African countries that are part of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).
This is a subregion of the larger Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). The countries using the Central African CFA franc are Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea (only the mainland region) and Gabon.
The Central African CFA franc banknotes are available in various denominations, including 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 XAF. Each denomination features different colours and designs, making it easy to distinguish between them.
The banknotes feature various elements that highlight the cultural and natural heritage of the Central African region. These elements often include images of local wildlife, traditional art, and notable landmarks.
Banknotes are used extensively and may, in many cases, be well-worn and dirty. Wash your hands often.
Coins in Central Africa
Central African CFA franc coins come in various denominations, including 1fr, 2fr, 5fr, 10fr, 25 fr, 50 fr, and 100fr.
The design of Central African CFA franc coins often features national symbols, historical figures, local flora and fauna, or cultural elements representing the countries within the CEMAC region.
Central African CFA franc coins are typically made of metals like nickel, brass, and copper. The material and weight of the coins correspond to their denominations.
Central Africa’s currency import and export regulations
Bringing money in and out of Central Africa, specifically the countries within the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), involves specific currency regulations and limits.
- When entering Cameroon, travellers must declare any amount of local or foreign currency that exceeds XAF 1,000,000 or its equivalent in other currencies.
- When leaving Cameroon, travellers are obliged to declare any foreign or local currency that surpasses XAF 1,000,000 or its equivalent in other currencies.
The Central African Republic
- Upon entering the Central African Republic, travellers must declare any amount of currency, whether local or foreign, exceeding XAF 1,000,000 or equivalent in other currencies. Failing to declare amounts above this threshold may result in confiscation or penalties.
- When departing from the Central African Republic, travellers must declare any amount of local or foreign currency exceeding XAF 1,000,000 or its equivalent in other currencies.
Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon
- Upon entering any of these four countries, travellers must declare any amount of local or foreign currency exceeding a specified threshold.
- When departing, travellers must declare any amount of foreign or local currency that surpasses a specified threshold.
- The specific currency import and export limits can vary over time and may be subject to change.
- These limits can vary based on local regulations and policies. Obtaining the most up-to-date information directly from the authorities before your trip is crucial.
Travellers are generally discouraged from taking excessive amounts of local currency outside the Central African monetary union.
Ordering Central Africa CFA Francs online
Order Central African CFA francs (XAF) online. Get swift and secure delivery right to your doorstep or workplace using Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®.
Alternatively, you can collect your currency at our travel money store located near Heathrow Airport. Convert your British pound to Central African CFA franc now.
Selling back Central Africa CFA Francs
Got Central African CFA francs (XAF) to sell? Simply follow this link to exchange Central African francs to GBP. Click on ‘sell currency’ and choose ‘XAF Central African CFA Franc.’
We offer competitive rates for your unused CFA francs, ensuring you get the best value for your currency.
With 1000 Central African CFA francs (XAF), you can purchase various items and services in Central African countries.
Here are some examples of what you can typically buy with 1000 XAF:
- Basic food items: You can purchase some staple items such as bread, rice, or vegetables.
- Snacks: You can purchase snacks like a bag of chips, a small pack of cookies, or a piece of fruit.
- Public transportation: In some cities, you can use 1000 XAF for a short bus or taxi ride.
- Bottled Water: You can buy several bottles of water essential for staying hydrated.
- Local street food: You may be able to enjoy a simple meal from a street food vendor.
- Phone credit: You can top up your mobile phone with airtime or data.
- Personal care products: You can purchase basic personal care items like soap, shampoo, or toothpaste.
- Small souvenirs: You can buy small souvenirs or crafts in local markets.
Remember that the cost of living and prices for goods and services can vary between urban and rural areas and from one country to another within the Central African region.
Yes, British nationals typically need a visa to travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) for tourism or other non-official purposes.
CAR requires visitors from the United Kingdom and many other countries to obtain a visa before entering the country.
Yes, specific vaccinations are generally recommended and, in some cases, required for travellers to Central African countries, including the Central African Republic (CAR).
The exact vaccinations you need may depend on your travel plans, including the regions you intend to visit and your current health status. Standard vaccinations visitors to Central Africa Include:
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis A and B
- Routine vaccinations against diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough.
Malaria is also a significant health concern in Central Africa. Consult with a doctor about appropriate antimalarial medications and take steps to prevent mosquito bites, such as using mosquito nets and wearing long-sleeved clothing.
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