Fodor's Editor Wants to Know...Part 2

Oct 22nd, 2007, 01:04 PM
  #1  
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Fodor's Editor Wants to Know...Part 2

About specific brands when packing. Don't forget to say why.

1. What brand of hiking boots or walking shoes do you recommend for safari wear?

2. Is there a particular hat that you think is worth recommending?

3. What about clothing? A particular brand good, bad, ugly?

4. Any other specific recommendations?

I'm always reading the packing lists that are posted, in fact I used a few I found on the forums to help when I packed for my safari. So, hit me with the particulars. I look forward to hearing them.

Asante sana!!!
AlexisK is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 06:02 PM
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1. What brand of hiking boots or walking shoes do you recommend for safari wear?

Any brand that you are comfortable in and that has been broken in. For something like gorilla trekking, Iíd buy new boots 3-4 months in advance and wear them often. For trips where hiking is the focus, I take 2 pairs of boots. Unless you are doing lots of walking, regular tennis shoes are fine. My brand of tennis shoes is New Balance because my orthotics fit well in them.

2. Is there a particular hat that you think is worth recommending?

I have a Tilley for my wide-brimmed hat and have found that to be good over the years. Any wide brimmed hat with the brim strong enough to withstand some wind so it does not go flopping around and become useless for sun protection is fine. I would take a second hat because a hat is so important that if something happens to Hat #1, then you still have Hat #2. My other hat is a water-resistant long-billed baseball cap with fabric neck guard. It is from Columbia.

3. What about clothing? A particular brand good, bad, ugly?

Any zip-off pants in neutral colors, so you donít need both shorts and slacks. Quick drying underwear. I bought mine from Tilley. Ladiesóa sports bra because the roads are so bumpy. Rather than go out and buy an expensive safari wardrobe, if you do not own the garments on the packing list, you can buy neutral colors at Goodwill or similar. Then leave them behind. Fashion is not an issue. For night drives and in Africaís winter season, I like gloves with shortened fingers that have a mitten capóa combo glove and mitten. I bought the gloves-mittens at a camping store called Gander Mountain.

4. Any other specific recommendations?

An extra shoe lace or 2. I always take 1 or 2 flattened garbage bags (brand is Hefty) with me to Africa or wherever I travel. Only needed them a time or two, but was glad I had them. Iíve also given them to others who needed them. Some envelopes to put tips in. Now my responses are starting to look like the packing list.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 06:46 PM
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1. I wear Columbia hiking/walking boots, ankle high. Lasted through 4 trips to Africa and very comfortable for wearing all day long. Agree with lynn-anything comfortable and broken in.
2. I just bring a baseball hat. Look too dorky in a full brim hat
3. Clothing-lightweight pants, khaki color, shirts just t-shirts in neutral tones any brand
4. Bring gallon or 2 gallon ziplock bags. Those magic washcloths that grow when you put water on them come in handy and an extra pair of sunglasses.
I have an Eagle Creek duffel, has also lasted 4 trips to Africa and numerous trips to the mainland.
matnikstym is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 07:34 PM
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If it's a regular jeep safari with just the odd mickey mouse walks thrown in ...... i just take my running shoes along. It is important to take good shoes that are broken in.

Hat- any regular baseball style hat works!

Brand - anything goes!!! no fuss on safari...... no one cares!

Pack light ....... most important thing!!!!

Enjoy!!!
HariS is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 07:38 PM
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Totally agree with Hari!
Leely is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 07:39 PM
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Shoes -- I wear sneakers

Hat -- baseball hat (anything with a bill to keep the rising sun out of your eyes)

Clothing -- hardly matters (but I don't bring denim since that takes longer to dry than khakis)

thit_cho is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 10:14 PM
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1. I like my Salomon trail sneakers because they are super light weight, comfy and dry fast if they get wet. But any brand you find comfortable is the one to take.

2. Any baseball hat will do, but I do love my North Face one made of lightweight water-resistant material (packs well, weighs nothing, dries fast). And a wide headband and ponytail for those times I just can't deal with wearing a hat again.

3. Comfy, cheap, slightly loose (for when they get shrunk by the laundry) cargo pants. Whatever t-shirts are in my closet. Any fleece with kangaroo pocket to keep my hands warm.

However, I do have one pair of cargo pants by Twill 22 that are my favorites because they have these sideways pockets on the knees that are perfect for lens caps.

4. I'm a big fan of Naneu Pro camera bags. Cheap, well-made, fit a lot in a small size, don't scream "expensive camera bag."

MD sunscreen wipes.
hills27 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 03:33 AM
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Here goes:

1) If there is no walking or hiking component, I highly recommend the lightest sneakers (non-white) that you already own. Crocs, partially vented Keen sandals or running shoes.

2) Anything that covers your ears. I use Rogue hats from South Africa.

3) Dress comfortably. This is not a fashion show. Don't wear white, as some dirt may never come back out. I am a fan of fleece vests for cool mornings, with an added thin Marmot Precip jacket for wind protection. Typical dressing in layers approach, instead of just bringing a thick-ish jacket and being too warm on 60F mornings.
andybiggs is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:34 AM
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1. Comfort and multi task light hikers in a sneaker design work for me.
I like my Soloman hikers in a nuetral color on safari and home as they don't show dirt. These have the durability to use in hiking situations where you may run into thorns that could penetrate a thinner soled shoe. They're also great for schlepping thru the airport etc.

I also bring a pair of very thick soled leather topped thong style sandals for use in the jeep, around camp and to and from the shower.

2. I burn easily, so I bought a wider brimmed breathable no name hat that I could scrunch up. Tilley doesn't offer me enough protection. DH used a baseball cap.

3. Nothing special. Brought a thin windbreaker, thin stretch jeans (good for evenings and airport), capris, a long tee-shirt to sleep in. I also bought a mosquito repellant shirt from REI.
Mostly thin layers that would dry fast.

4. Nothing specific, just know that most camps will launder your clothing and have a fairly quick turn around time. Don't buy into the 'safari look' as there's no need unless you have money to burn or want to stand out as a safari goer.
Comfort rules!

cybor is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 08:03 AM
  #10  
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Thanks everyone. I know that "products" are very individual and that safaris are not a fashion show. I am constantly saying comfort first, but I find that providing first timers with actual brands is very helpful and calming. At least they have a place to start and can then determine if they too like said product or want to find something else.

I brought an old pair of sneakers with me that I wore all the time, but my mom got a pair of walking sandals from LL Bean that she loved. I think Merrell's are a good foot option too. Esp the slip on kind, which are great for security lines at the airports and none safari time. I also think flip flops are essential. I'm partial to Reefs myself. The dry quickly and are so comfortable!!!

i always wondered why white was such a big no no. Besides the dirt factor, any ideas? I read somewhere that's it's b/c it reflects the light and thus startles animals. Thoughts?

AlexisK is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:36 AM
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The dirt factor is definitely something to consider. The adage that you can't shake the dust of Africa off your boots is true literally as well as metaphorically. The bag that carried my husband's camera in Botswana in 1987 STILL has dust in it!
Celia is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:47 AM
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After many years, I just open the closet/drawers and pull out all "the usuals" - the browns, tans, khakis. Most of my wardrobe are of neutral colors and these are "my colors." Simple slacks (never the convertibles which are "not a fashion item" but "do make a statement") usually cotton or twills, even linen and silk (never poly or special fabric anything... ugh!); 1/pr of long walking shorts; cotton shirts w/ long or short camp-type sleeves; 1/pr black or brown slacks for evening; a termal-t; light weight sweaters for evening or mornings; jacket (usually jean) or fleece outter wear; cheap $1 rain slicker; small umbrella. If going to the beach or anywhere with a pool, toss in a bikini and pareo.

For shoes it's mocassins or slip-in keds and maybe a pair of Teva sandals. I've collected enough slipper from hotels around the world... just toss in a pair; Costume (and even precious) jewelry, especially for dinners which smarten up evening clothing. Pashmina and other-like shawls always packed to wear in evenings, mornings or on airplanes. I travel in yoga pants with loose knit fabric top and ballet slippers.

I've been known to take and wear jeans (blasphemy), because "I want my denim." I take all the wears (ladies smalls) I need as I don't do my own or send out laundry if it's not done by my person here at home.

If I ever have to fill in with new clothing, it's off to the Gap... they've got sales on something every week. Have a hat (unbranded from some street vendor), but have never worn.

Everything (for all travel anywhere since forever) gets packed in 2/gallon ziplocks, to keep clean and easy to locate in those duffle bags. And, keep those greasy hands of TSA officials off of them if bag has to be opened.

Yup, princess moi! As Leely (I believe) said, I appeared to be the cleanest person she had ever seen on safari.
sandi is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 11:33 AM
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1. Iíve never been on a walking safari, but for shorter game walks I use leather sandals and for longer walks I use comfortable moccasins. On game drives you donít need any shoes at all.

2. I need a hat, but as I have horns I canít find one that fits and doesnít look stupid. This is a problem.

3. Avoid synthetics and try to look good.

4. Look out for my packing list. I hope to post one asking for weight and style advice before my next trip.
Nyamera is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 11:45 AM
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For our second trip I took our thermos coffee mugs which we great for the early morning game drives when it was still chilly.

More importantly as I have long hair, and we were camping I took spray in conditioner which was a life saver!!!
ajy733 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 12:44 PM
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Avoid synthetics? Just the opposite IMHO. Cotton gets clammy, is heavy, bulky, takes a long time to dry, and doesn't wick. Oh, oh, have I started another wheels vs. no wheels duffle controversy?

Good synthetic blends are soft to the touch (Ex Officio, REI), look good, are light, take up little space, and dry quickly. Yes, most camps have next day laundry service, but when traveling light it's really nice to rinse out a shirt or pants after the a.m. drive and have them ready to wear for the p.m.drive.

I like to wear hi top hiking boots. My Hi-Tecs were cheap, offer good ankle protection (it's easy to turn an ankle even on a "mickey mouse" walk), good traction, and are very light. I even wore them while traveling, just loosely lacing the lower eyelets for slip on and off at ap security, then tying more tightly for walks. I didn't wear my Tevas except on boating trips and around camp.

I took zip offs, but a pair of shorts takes up little room, and I do not like struggling with the zip-off zippers--takes time away from that first Mosi when back in camp. In general, I covered up most of the time. Hate to have to slather on sunscreen all over, and tsetses and mossies love to drink blood at the ankles, even through socks.

As for hats, I am glad to see that someone else has discovered the Rogue. Roelof, wonderful manager (with his wife, Helen) and guide at Old Mondoro wears one. Wide brim all around, mesh for coolness, and a bit more style, IMO--and cheaper and less common--than Tilleys. Only found one dealer in US, however.

Jim
steeliejim is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 12:49 PM
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Oh, in the spirit of the request for "any other" ideas, I can't imagine how we would have managed without our wheeled duffels, and can't imagine why anyone would wnat to carry their luggage when they can roll it. Seriously, we were on some small planes, and saw others flying on even smaller ones using wheeled duffels. No problems at all.

Jim
steeliejim is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 01:19 PM
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I have a pair of Columbia wading pants (they're pants that roll up into capris) that are made of a very lightweight cotton weave. They dry as quickly as my husband's synthetics. These pair of pants are the only article of clothing I own that I only wear on safaris. Everything else I bring including footwear is whatever I happen to have at the time that's comfortable and I live in natural fibers - cottons, linens, etc. What I'm trying to stress is that you really don't need any special safari wear. I also bring a cashmere shawl for chilly evenings and to keep me warm on the plane.

I second the suggestion of an insulated coffee mug for early morning game drives!
Patty is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 02:25 PM
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I agree with the folks here who said they basically just wear their ordinary casual clothes -- I didn't buy any special clothes just for safari that I wouldn't wear elsewhere. But then, I like to wear browns and greens.

For travel in general, I love my low-top LL Bean hiking shoes, which are a lot tougher than regular athletic shoes but not as heavy as my high-top hiking boots. Those shoes served me well on my walking safari. I loved having a pair of roll-up-and-button cotton pants from Old Navy, which can be worn at three different lengths (and were cheap). I also really like the "quick-dry" t-shirts you can get from places like REI; the newer fabrics really feel just like cotton but dry so much faster, and aren't as weirdly synthetic feeling as the "quick-dry" shirts we used to get about 10 years ago.

I know this is not a popular opinion around here, but I was very happy to have my most comfy pair of jeans along with me, for the long plane rides and to change into for sitting around the campfire at night. But other than the jeans, I took clothing that I could easily wash out in the sink. I did use the laundry service at the lodge a few times (mostly for pants), but I found it kind of expensive and it was often just as quick and easy to do it myself at night.

I have a pair of zip-off pants which are just about the least flattering pants in the universe, but they did come in handy for long days with variable temperatures (like at the Ngorongoro Crater). Also, once you zip off the lower pants leg they make excellent dust covers for your camera!

MyDogKyle is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 02:53 PM
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hi, alexis,

we found that even for non-walking safaris, walking boots and thick socks were de rigeur - to keep us warm in the south african winter. cold wet feet are particuarly unpleasant if you're sitting still in a land rover for several hours.

and i definitely agree that boots need to be broken in first. as do my feet.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 04:56 PM
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Well, since you asked for specific brands...

1. As others have noted, unless you're actually hiking, it doesn't really matter on safari. I prefer New Balance sneakers because they come in lots of widths. Fit is probably the most important thing when it comes to shoes.

2. Everybody recommends Tilley's and I do see the practical advantages, but I think they're a bit dorky looking. I used a wide-brimmed hate from Columbia with a high-spf rating, but it looks even more dorky. If I had to do over, I would go with a baseball cap.

3. I used a pair of North Face convertible pants that had lots of useful pockets and was synthetic. I've also used REI's convertible pants, which are pretty good.

4. I like Ex-Officio quick drying underwear. Even if you pay for laundry services at the lodges, there are no dryers - everything dries via sunlight, so quick drying clothing is worthwhile. This is especially true if some of the lodges won't wash women's underwear. I also liked Ex-Officio's Buzz-Off clothing. I only had a bandana made with the stuff, but it was useful for protecting the back of my neck and the sides of my face. It seemed to work o.k. Smartwool socks are my favorite.
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