Best hat and shoes and gifts for guides??

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Apr 7th, 2006, 05:01 PM
  #1
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Best hat and shoes and gifts for guides??

Going off in late August to Kenya for game drive type safari and am wondering just what kind of hat I will nee? are light weight hiking boots necessary? and how about the guides? in additon to money, what can I take to give them? and how about when I visit the Mara..should I take some beads and buttons? (I was thinking of sewing both all over my hat and/or vest to be cut off to give away? What does any one think?
13moons is offline  
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Apr 7th, 2006, 05:08 PM
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Hello,

I would recommend a Tilley airflow hat -- they are practically indestructible.

http://www.tilley.com

Boots really aren't necessary unless you are on a walking safari. Comfortable walking shoes (closed toe) should be fine -- sandals might be all right for camp if you don't mind the dust.

Some people like to bring something from home to give their guides. I haven't been to Kenya, but in Botswana and South Africa quite a few guides have a collection of pins from various places that they stick all over their bags and hats.

I'm not sure why you would be bringing beads and buttons to the Mara...

Cheers,
Julian
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Apr 8th, 2006, 06:07 AM
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13moons,

I also responded to you on the camera help post.

Hat: I agree with Jasher that a Tiley is an excellent choice and I've had one for years that has gone all over the place with me. Plus if anything ever happens to it, I believe their policy is to replace it as long as you explain the loss.

My most recent hat acquisition is a Columbia Schooner Bank Cachalot and I find I am wearing that more than the Tiley. It offers more neck protection.
If you type in that full name, you should find it on the web.

No boots needed for a vehicle safari. Just tennis shoes. I like a pair of flip flops for the shower and around the tent.

Gifts for guides--In addition to their tip, the guides also have liked sunglasses. The kind I've given are the drugstore kind, nothing fancy. That's the kind I wear anyway so it works out well to take some extra pairs in case of loss or breakage. You can add the neck strap too.

I also have given small treats from my home. Cranberries are big in my state, so I usually bring a small bag of dried cranberries as a personal token. You could also do baseball hats with a local team's name. When you mention buttons, a pin-on button that is unique from your area would be good. They always need pens and pencils, and those are nice especially if the guide has kids.

Since you asked, I would not give out regular sewn on buttons. It is a clever idea, but don't know that the buttons would be the best gift.

Happy travels.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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hello 13moons,
Curious name - is there a story there?

Hats: I bought a very light weight wider brimmed hat with venting on the cap part from REI - I like this hat for sun protection and a little airflow - can't remember the name though.

Guide gift:
Don't know how much you want to spend but we gave my husbands new Timex $35.as well as a cash tip to our guide upon departure - it's a digital type with a velcro wrist band with an alarm, second timer and some other features. He, the other guides and even the Maisai all seemed to want that watch. Watches are very costly over there. Something from home as the others said, sounds good as well. Our guide had a Colorado wilderness type T -shirt given to him by a vacationing client who also was a guide from Colo. he loved that T-shirt

Shoes:
We wore comfy walking sandals in the vehicle and around camp and light hikers when hiking.

beads:
Don't know but they may like some very unusual beads, perhaps. Sounds like a cool addition to your hat/vest either way.

buttons:
Don't think there's a need as they don't seem to use buttons too much.
Hope that helps;
Sherry
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Apr 8th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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Regarding hats: Buzz-Off (made by Ex Officio) makes at least one model of a hat which I am hoping will serve me well in southern africa. It's that silly style with a bill in both the front and the back so that your neck is protected. In case you are not familiar with Buzz-Off, these products are embedded with a bug repellent.
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Apr 9th, 2006, 07:01 AM
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Buzz Off is great! I have a whole outfit in misquito netting. Traveling to Africa in the dry season, I've needed it there, fortunately.

That silly hat you describe is my new favorite. You're right, it's great. The brand I have is Columbia Schooner Bank Cachalot, or at least that's what they are calling it now, I believe. When I look at a few pictures of me wearing that hat it doesn't look too bad really. And who cares if it does? There are no fashion police on safari.
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Apr 9th, 2006, 05:19 PM
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13moons:

If you are going to be in Kenya in August you most likely will not need any "special" safari gear unless you are doing a walking safari.

I go every January and August. I purchased a Tilley hat prior to my first trip and I have never worn it or any other hat. Since I am in a vehicle most of the time I wear regular sandals or sneakers. Shorts and blouses or T-shirts are fine during the day. However, evenings can be cool so you will want to take a sweatshirt or fleece jacket for evenings and early morning game drives. Also take several pair of socks as feet can get cold in the evenings.

The thing most appreciated by your guide, steward, etc. will be a good tip from you. Some do have young children who would appreciate a packet of pencils or pens, but money is the thing they most need.
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Apr 9th, 2006, 06:12 PM
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Jan,

Do you have the top of the vehicle open? Don't you get sunburned? Or do you use lots of lotion or have a darker complexion
that does not burn?

Just wondering because a hat has been so important for me and I don't burn easily.
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Apr 10th, 2006, 02:25 AM
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atravelynn:

Yes, I always go in open-topped vehicles. I have an extremely fair complexion. Ashamed to say, I never use sunscreen. I never go on early game drives but arrange to go out around 8:30 - 9:00. I do get a burn the first day there, but from then on for some unexplicable reason I don't burn. The other odd thing I have noticed is that when here in the U.S., the sun bothers my eyes and I have to use sunglasses. However, I rarely need to use them in Kenya. The one exception to the above about sun burn was the time I tried doxycycline as an antimalarial. I did have a sun reaction then. Now since I always go during the dry season and have never seen mosquitos I don't take an antimalarial. I take them with me but haven't used them since my first trip. Were I to go during or following the rainy season I would definitely take them. When you talk with Kenyans none of them use antimalarials. The first sign of stiff neck or headache they go to the doctor and are treated.

I'm a tough old gal and realize I am taking some chance, but so far the risk has been extremely low. I think most of the travel medicine specialists have never been to Africa and therefore think mosquitos are always present, and that isn't always the case in every place.

Anyway, over nine trips I have been very lucky and never had a problem. For a first-timer, I would definitely follow all the "rules".
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