The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) announced the changes on Wednesday, saying the move was meant to keep up with technology and prevent counterfeiting.
The new notes, which will enter into circulation from Thursday, will retain the image of Nelson Mandela, the country’s first democratically elected president who died in 2013.
Africa’s so-called “Big Five” wild animals — rhino, elephant, lion, buffalo and leopard — will now be depicted with their young on the banknotes.
The coins will have an ecological theme, through pictures of plants and animals.
South Africa’s 11 official languages will also be represented on the various banknotes and coins.
There will also be specific physical characteristics to help visually impaired people differentiate the banknotes.
There are no changes, however, to any of the denominations or size of the banknotes.
Existing banknotes and coins will continue to remain legal tender and can be used alongside the upgraded banknotes, according to Sarb.
The notes will also be rolled out in Namibia, Eswatini and Lesotho that are in a common monetary area with South Africa and where the rand is considered legal tender alongside their own currencies, said Fundi Tshazibana, a deputy governor of the Sarb.