On any given day, travellers in Zimbabwe may not be able to draw cash from their bank of choice as the ongoing ATM cash shortage continues in the country.
Travellers to Zimbabwe are now being advised to bring along cash in US dollars as some banks do not have cash for the ATMs every day.
Earlier this week, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued an update for those travelling to the country, advising them that “Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a severe shortage of cash. It’s not currently possible to make cash withdrawals with an international bank card”.
But Ross Kennedy, Africa Albida Chief Executive says the cash shortage in ATMs is variable. “Some banks’ ATMs have cash today, but could have none tomorrow. It all depends on each bank’s supply of notes.”
Some of the machines are dispensing the local bond notes, while others are dispensing US dollars, says Mr Chakunda from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority. “It all depends on the financial institution and which bank the traveller is using,” he says.
Visa and MasterCards can still be swiped, say tour operators on the ground, who have also indicated that many areas frequented by business and leisure travellers do provide card swiping facilities.
“Cash withdrawals are very restricted at most ATMs, so we recommend that all clients bring some US dollar cash with them for incidentals and certainly if they are going to remote areas. However, credit cards are widely accepted, so clients can pay for most things using their Visa or MasterCard,” explains Laura Dacomb from Travel Wild Africa.