The Livingstone Currency Bandits (part 1)

Beware of the “Livingstone Currency Bandits”. Livingstone on a Saturday night is a live with locals looking for the unsuspecting tourist, they hang around the ATM machines knowing that if you are unsuccessful in obtaining KWACHA (local Zambian currency) you will be forced into a local on the street transaction, the result being the most common exchange of US dollars to KWACHA. In today’s rates this varies from 3500 – 1 USD to 3800 – 1 USD. Of course you may also wish to exchange your previous currency from Botswana, Namibia or any left over Rand from South Africa. All of this adds to the on the spot confusion, couple this with 3-4 locals quoting different rates and you have the exact scenario that these bandits survive on.

So the scam is to quote the tourist a high and very good rate, in this example it was 3950 – 1 USD so exchanging 100 USD should return you $395,000 KWACHA. With this very good rate planted in your head you consider that you have done very well. The Bandits then stall and go to get some currency and return where they count the $100,000 KWACHA notes. The unsuspecting tourist with a handful of new currency goes on their way only to find that they have been short changed.

In our case the first check showed that we initially got $ 300,000 KAWCHA, some more KWACHA was added and the second count was $ 360,000 KAWCHA. Finally more KWACHA was added and suddenly Dave and Brendan had the new total at $390,000. With some reluctance the Bandit finally adds the remaining $5000 KWACHA and we are on our way.

You cant rip off a Kiwi !!!!!

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