Authentic safari clothing

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Oct 18th, 2001, 12:20 AM
  #1
Andy
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Authentic safari clothing

In a couple of weeks we start our safari to Botswana and then on to a break in Mautitius. I have bought the outfit - the bush hat, the sleeveless jacket with hundreds of pockets, safari shirts, the lot.

My wife hasn't stopped laughing and thinks I look like an extra from an old African movie. She says everyone else wll be in T shirts and trainers and that I will stand out like a sore thumb.

I'm hoping that people here will say that I'm right and that if you go on safari then you dress the part. I fear that I might be alone in that view!!
 
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Oct 18th, 2001, 12:44 PM
  #2
Penelope
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Wear your clothes and launder them a few times before you go. Sleep on your hat so that it looks a little rumpled. I had been going to Africa for thirty years before I bought myself a safari shirt last year and I wish I had done it sooner. I'm in the market for more safari clothing (for next thirty years), but don't want cargo pants, which seem to be the only safari-type slacks offered. In my experience, lots of people wear safari clothing with elan and, in some safari camps, "street clothes" diminish the overall atmosphere. So, dress the part---and let your wife buy some safari clothing for herself after you get to Botswana (it may be cheaper there than what you paid) P
 
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Oct 18th, 2001, 01:03 PM
  #3
Thyra
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Hello, we are planning a safari in April and Andy, if safari clothes make you look silly, then you and I shall be in the same boat! While I don't plan to go utterly Indiana Jones... I certainly will bring primarily khaki pants, earth tones, with lots of pockets and vests.. in short, the whole "do".
Usually our destination is Europe and I wear leather coats, black slacks and *chic-ish sweaters.. in Hawaii, I wear tropical clothes and bathing suits! Why not go 100% safari if that's whatyou are doing??? Have a safe and wonderful time Andy.. please post a report upon return!
 
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Oct 19th, 2001, 12:57 AM
  #4
Andy
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What words of comfort you bring - the washing machine is on as I write!

I think I look qute dashing with a slightly raffish quality - but then I might be slightly biased!

Don't know if I can carry off "elan".

Thanks both
Andy
 
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Oct 19th, 2001, 03:05 PM
  #5
darlene
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I can assure you that safari clothes are made and recommended for a reason. Although you don't have to get expensive, "official" camp clothes, khaki colored clothes don't scare the animals, and don't show the dust. Our guide was so happy the first day when we came out in our khaki and olive clothes. A vest with many pockets was turned out to be one of the most important items of clothing that I brought. I had mine on every day, over a safari shirt or t-shirt, it's so much handier to have chap stick, tissues, handy wipes, lens cleaner, lens cap etc. on your person. Safari pants (with zip off legs were handy too). It's cool in the mornings, but heats up fast. The people I saw in jeans just looked out of it.
 
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Oct 19th, 2001, 03:34 PM
  #6
Thyra
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Penelope and Darlene, can I jump in and ask a question? The prices I've been seeing (here in L.A) are insanely high for "safari style" clothing ($125.00 for a pair of pants!!). Do you favor particular brands or do you have any tips for where to purchase??
 
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Oct 22nd, 2001, 02:41 PM
  #7
carol
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We were in East Africa for the month of August and I didn't feel stupid at all with my safari vest. It's an old one and it has served mme well. I kept everything in there like various camera lenes, cleaner and brush for it (the camera) To me it's like a piece of luggage. Which I pack to the gills when it comes to weight restrictions on the smaller planes. Lots of people came up to me to ask where I got one (vest) with so many pockets. !5 years ago they made them good. It is also handy to keep your zip off pants in. I wouldn't leave home on a trip without it. I orginally got it for scuba vacations. I'm glad I still haad it for Africa. So my advice is go for it!
 
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Oct 22nd, 2001, 03:27 PM
  #8
darlene
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Most of my "safari clothes" were bought in department type stores, any summer shorts, or lightweight khaki pants are fine, t-shirts, or camp shirts, sleeveless is also good, cotton or wicking nylon material is best. I also checked outdoor/sporting goods stores for the harder to find convertable (zip off legs) slacks. For shopping online I found www.SierraTradingPost.com to be the best for price, but they don't always have everything, if you're not leaving right away, keep checking. Also good is www.campmor.com. More expensive is www.travelsmith.com and www.exofficio.com. I got one of their jackets with all the pockets, and zip off sleeves - more expensive but very practical, I'm sure I'll wear it for years. Sorry, don't mean to sound like a commercial, but lots of pockets are great.
 
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Oct 23rd, 2001, 02:27 AM
  #9
Andy
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Thanks for the information. I'm from the Uk and we have some good outdoor shops with this type of clothing. I bought most from a company called Millets and the vest with pockets was about 60 dollars and is lightweight with a "breathable" lining. The zip off trousers are again lightweight and were about 75 dollars.

We received the Travelsmith brochure in the post (unsolicited) 2 days ago but in the UK they want up to 14 days for delivery and we don't have that time.

We're restricted to 12kgs luggage for the safari part so won't be taking too much of anything. We're leaving a case at J'burg airport with all the "play" clothes for Mauritius.

Thanks again folks.
 
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Oct 23rd, 2001, 12:32 PM
  #10
L
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Just back from three safaris in SA, and can assure you khaki and olive green are what you need. Pockets are good. Avoid dark colors and whites, like the plague. Think what the bush colors are, and that's the way you need to go. Leave tennis shoes at home. take something comfortable to wear after the drives. Plan to use their washing services. You'll need a windbreaker for the game drives, and a good hat. Use high-speed film - leave your tripods at home if your plan is to use them in the land rovers ... be ready to shoot fast. Hand-held is what works best. By all means, keep it all very simple and convenient ... you need to keep your eyes out for animals. Have a good trip. Keep in mind you'll be tipping everyone ... take bills and plan to put part of the tip on your credit card. Any questions, ask the reception desk ... they have guidelines to give you a starting point for gratuities. When in doubt about anything, ask. You'll find everyone helpful. Ciao
 
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Oct 23rd, 2001, 01:05 PM
  #11
kal
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What? No Hawaiian shirts, checked shorts, knee hi black sox, Tevas and a ball hat on backwards?

Welcome back?
 
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Oct 25th, 2001, 05:05 AM
  #12
Al
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You can find lots of safari-type clothes on the Cabelas web site. They are a Nebraska-based firm with good prices for durable stuff. I've worn their clothing to Kenya/Tanzania and found it perfect for game drives, etc.
 
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Oct 25th, 2001, 07:42 AM
  #13
andy
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thanks all for your very helpful information. Its ironic that after a decade of being criticised by my children for being too bland in my choice of holiday clothes, I can now officially bring much of my wardrobe into play!!

L. you say take plenty of bills. We touch on 4 countries, 2 for only a day each and I've been wondering about currencies. Although we're from the UK, would a fistful of dollars suffice?
 
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Oct 25th, 2001, 08:21 AM
  #14
L
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Hi, Andy - I see your point - we were in S. Africa the entire time - and each day had to tip a lot of times at the lodges, but never large amounts. At the end of each stay, however, we left larger tips for rangers and trackers, and people who'd helped us - the meals, the room, etc. And these can be charged on your final bill. Hope that clarifies what I'd meant. Have a good trip. Ciao, L
 
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Oct 25th, 2001, 01:51 PM
  #15
Penelope
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Thrya asked about my source for safari clothing and I have not replied before now because I've bought only one safari shirt in my life and it was in a shop in the town of Victoria Falls (I paid something like US $24, which is outrageous, but undoubtedly cheaper than what I could buy in the U.S.) Another advantage, other than cost, to waiting until you get to Africa to buy your clothing is that you can try it on and avoid the hassle of exchanging wrong-sized or ill-fitting clothing purchased on the Web or through a mail order catalog. As for currencies, carry small, very clean (no markings)new-looking U.S. bills ($1, $5)---and plenty of them! P
 
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Nov 1st, 2001, 01:46 PM
  #16
Kavey
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Ditto to Darlene.
Most safari clothes we took were bought from regular dept stored and a few from some inexpensive camping/ outdoor sports shops.

We generally stuck to beige and khaki having been advised to avoid any bright white and bright colours in general as these are not found in large blocks in the wild and may disturb animals.

We did a really top notch and classy safari but did not find people really did dress in luxury safari clothes.

Most wore comfortable every day clothing, with trainers, to climb in and out of the jeeps more easily. Generally the camps do laundry so you don't need to pack many clothes. You want clothes which don't crease easily, are suitable for warm and cold (you may be getting up before sunrise for the morning safari when it is chill and staying out till it's hot hot hot).

We didn't take gloves and scarf despite recommendations and I had to buy some out there for these early morning and after sunet drives though we went in June which is winter season.

I took lots of layers as in winter temperatures can really change during the course of day and night, and we spent time in deserts as well as lush okavango area.

I think I probably would have smiled if I had seen someone in FULL safari outfit, but not in a nasty way. Could understand the excitement behind it, the urge to live the dream.

But it is more important to have really comfortable clothes which wash and dry easily (we took no jeans as they are heavy, bulky and take an age to dry).

If I can answer any more questions on things to pack and things we found useful on our namibia and botswana trip, please post here or email.

Kavey
 
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Nov 2nd, 2001, 08:16 AM
  #17
Leone
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On a recent safari we found green, khaki, tan to be just fine. Yes, rely on camp washing ... allows you to take less. You'll need t-shirts, shorts, light-weight khkai pants, loose cotton shirts to wear out, a windbreaker and hat (baseball and cotton rain hat). A cotton sweater is useful. The trick is layers. You also need plenty of clean socks, plus comfortable loafers and moccasins to wear around camp. The rangres give you a ponco to wear in rain. Stick with cotton and things that can be washed easily and folded. Ciao
 
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Nov 2nd, 2001, 07:05 PM
  #18
Joan
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We are planning our trip to South Africa and I am finding all the messages very helpful in planning what to pack.
I am wondering what to take to wear for 2 Women in Cape Town and Victoria Falls?
We will be on safari but also have stops in these two places.Can we get by with out a dress or will slacks or jeans do? We don't want to over pack.
Thanks for any help
 
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Nov 4th, 2001, 01:05 PM
  #19
Celia
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Joan, Vic Falls is a vacation town, so your safari clothes will be fine there, but in Cape Town women wear "smart casual" for dinner. Especially if your hotel is a 4 or 5 star one, you'll want something a bit dressier than what you wear on safari.

Cape Town is a wonderful city, and SA a wonderful country. Have a great time!

Celia
 
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Nov 5th, 2001, 05:51 AM
  #20
Joseph
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Joan, Celia's advice is right on the mark. In CT, at the better restautrants, such as Quay West in the Cape Grave Hotel, women wore very nice slacks or a VERY SIMPLE dress, with a minumum of jewelry, a minimum. Heels are a waste. Jeans are okay for the city during the day, but not at better places at night. One caution: jeans, if too heavy, will not be convenient on your safari ... you need to sick to lighter khakis, loose t-shirts (not white or dark things) and loose shorts, plus cotton shirts to wear out as a jacket when it's cool. Also a good washable windbreaker, hat and possibly even very light-weight gloves if you plan to be in a Rover at night. If you wear glasses, a strap to hold them secure is a good idea, plus some way to tighten your hat so it does not blow off. At certain times it will absolutely NOT be possible for your ranger to stop and permit someone to get out of the Rover to retrieve it ... not safe. May I also mention camera equipment ... I am assuimg you plan to photograph the animals. A tripod is a useless thing in a Rover ... no room ... no time ... just have fast film and be ready to shoot. Above all .... keep everything as simple as possible ... avoid too many lens, uncomfortable clotes, things that need to be adjusted or tied too much ... just stay simple, and things will work better for you. Anything that takes your eyes or thoughts away from what is happening outside that Rover is working against a successful trip. I do not mean to be too "preachy" ... I am just thinking back three weeks ago and what I saw with my own eyes. You will have a terrific time. And afterward, please do post about your experiences, what worked, what didn't. Thanks, JC
 
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