what to wear

Oct 30th, 2003, 12:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2
what to wear

i am planning on touring kenya in november. what is the best clothing to wear? and which shop in the US do i go for my shopping? i have been to the gap and dont really know if i should stick with khakis or buy expensive cargo pants. and should i get shirts or tees and is it better to wear black or brown (though at gap, i have a hard time finding brown colored things which is sticking to the whole neutral colored clothing thing)

help and save me some money.
excitedtraveler is offline  
Oct 30th, 2003, 12:57 PM
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One of the best clothing item investments you can make, IMO, are several pairs of convertible pants - pants that the legs zip off so you have "instant" shorts. Travelsmith, Eastern Mountain Sports, L.L. Bean and others have them - but do shop around for the best price. Another item will be a good hat, one that will protect you from the rays. And last not but least, I think a multiple pocket vest is fantastic. Never thought I would become so enamoured of pockets! You will get lots of advice, I am sure. Just remember that whatever you bring, it will get dirty from red soil and dust. I always urge women to bring a zip-lock bag of powder laundry detergent as the camps we stayed in would not include womens underclothing in the laundry - so I had to do those by hand. Other people have not run into that, but better to be safe than sorry. Have a wonderful trip and make sure you post a report!
SusanLynne is offline  
Oct 30th, 2003, 07:36 PM
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Everything Susan says is right. I took her advice before my trip and did well. The Gap clothes (in general) are not as well-made as the camping/sporting stores she mentioned. There is a co-op store called REI too, check that out. Search the internet as you can often find deals from the online versions of the stores. You don't need expensive pants, esp. if you're not going to wear them later. Skip black because it can attract some bugs. Stay with bush tans/muted greens and let the focus be the animals. Also I found that pure cotton was better than the synthetic mixes (even though the synthetics are easier to pack) because two of our shirts were burned and I met a woman whose mistake was not under the collar like ours but blazenly on her back - a clear iron burn. It's hard for them to control some of the coal irons they use in some camps and 100% cotton is more rugged. Have a great trip.
Clematis is offline  
Oct 30th, 2003, 08:43 PM
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As per Susan & Clematis, I went with the 'zip-off' pants last October (Columbia-Timberland-Far West all make good ones that should be available in most sporting good stores).

Aside from the obvious advantage of not having to pack both shorts & pants, it was fairly cool on the morning game drives but would warm up fairly quickly so I would startout in the full pants then zip off the legs as it warmed up. I'd also packed some sweatshirts & long sleeved t-shirts for a side trip to the UK on our return back to Canada but ended up wearing them as well, as it also got quite cool in the evenings (expecially when we were at Mt Kenya, where I could have used some gloves as well).

And don't be surprised at what 'US' clothing you may see - the manager at the Samburu Serena Lodge wore a Flordia Marlins hat & one of the guys working at a curio shop in Narok was wearing a Bud Lite/NHLPA t-shirt.

Enjoy the trip.


PS - and if you have a chance put away some postcards of your hometown & pens for the kids you'll meet, they'll greatly appreciate it
TravelMaster is offline  
Oct 31st, 2003, 07:47 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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What about sleeveless and "tank top" sort of clothing? Traveling in the summer in the heat, I'd rather go sleeveless but is that discouraged?

Also, anyone have other recommendations for places to buy a hat? My husband bought a Tilly Hat from out local Galyans which he loves (it really is a cool hat). But I'd prefer for us not to be twins and can't find many other options.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2003, 08:56 AM
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I bought the zip off pants at an Academy sporting goods store - they carry the Columbia brand where I live (at less than retail). I did buy cotton and would probably do so again. These pants are also made in a synthetic fabric that dries quickly. If your travels will take you other places that are more remote and you have to do your own laundry overnight, I would probably go for the synthetic.

For the tops - I looked for neutral t-shirts and couldn't find what I wanted inexpensively. So I bought white $5.00 t-shirts and a package of Rit dye from the grocery store and colored them myself using the stove top method. Had planned on using the Rit color-remover to change them back to white but decided I would be going again so I left them colored.

sundowner is offline  
Oct 31st, 2003, 09:45 AM
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I agree with previous posts on the convertible pants. They are convenient and comfortable and launder easily. I also bought a couple of long-sleeved 'sunblock' shirts. The sleeves could be fastened with tabs in rolled-up mode. They were great for the same reason the convertible pants were in terms of temperature changes during the day.

For both modesty and sun protection, I avoided tank tops, but some women did wear them. I mostly saw short-sleeved t-shirts and polo shirts, though.

REI, EMS and LL Bean are all good sources at reasonable prices. You might find stuff on sale by now.

Have fun and report back!!!
star55 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2003, 03:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I agree with what most of the other posters have said.

You might want to buy an inexpensive plastic poncho or raincoat to throw in your suitcase. November is the beginning of the light rains and you might have some rain showers while you are there.

I just got back from Kenya on the 10th and I wore walking shorts and a sleeveless blouse every single day. Then in the evening I would wear long pants with a nice T-shirt or blouse. Even needed a sweater in the evenings at Amboseli. On my next trip I will take 2 pair khaki shorts, 1 pair navy shorts, 2 pair khaki pants and one navy pair of pants.

You can get Travel Wash at www.Magellans.com for $3.85 a tube to do your hand laundry. The lodges/tented
camps do a superb job of other laundry. The other thing I have purchased from them and used on every safari is a Flexoline ($7.85) to hang my hand washables on. It is great.

If you are also taking a video camera and battery charger I would order a EA34MCG power adaptor from Magellans also ($6.85). Just plug your charger into the adaptor and plug the adaptor into the wall in your room.

You didn't say where in Kenya you were going or what lodges you would be staying in. In most situations you do not need to spend a lot of money on fancy clothes. Things are quite neat but casual in most of the camps. I invested in a photographer's vest and Tilley hat before my first safari and I have never worn either so I now leave them at home when I go. I don't think I would wear short shorts or a revealing tank top in most places, but certainly anything neat but modest will be acceptable. I got some nice polyester walking shorts by Coral Bay (CB collection) at www.beallsflorida.com and I notice they still have them on sale for $20.99 and the long pants too.
Though they are not cotton, they are so comfortable and dry in about 2 hours in Kenya.

Have a wonderful trip and please be sure to write us a trip report when you return.

JanGoss is offline  
Oct 31st, 2003, 04:10 PM
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Also, this year "safari" wear happened to be in fashion. So places like Target and Walmart (as well as higher-end designers) made a lot of tan t-shirts. You might find some on the sale racks. If not, that dye idea is a great one.
Clematis is offline  
Nov 1st, 2003, 08:45 PM
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We went to Tanzania and Kenya in June - slightly cooler then I guess, but the convertible pants were still great. I found layers of cotton were good - T shirt and cotton overshirt and convertible pants could be "peeled" and re-added as temperature rose and fell. I am not a very warm person, and I found a fleece (or a heavy sweater) was nececcary.

I disagree with Jan's excellent advice on one point only - my husband and I both took Tilley hats and wore them every day. I did notice, however, that with the Tilley hat I did not need the polarized sunglasses I had invested in. I preferred wearing the hat and not sunglasses for two reasons - first I saw the "natural" colours and second we had a polarizer on our camera and my sunglasses cancelled out the effects, so I had to take them off whenever I took a picture anyway which was awkward. My husband found the same thing.

I suspect it is an either-or situation as you prefer.

The sporting goods and outdoors goods were where we found our pants etc. - cotton convertible pants were harder to find than synthetic, but were worth looking for.
nkh is offline  
Nov 1st, 2003, 08:46 PM
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serves me right typing late at night.... neceSSary, not nececcary!
nkh is offline  
Nov 1st, 2003, 08:53 PM
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hi hlphilips 2

Further reply on Tilley hats from the absentminded Canadian (the main Tilley store is about 20 minutes from where I live....)

If you like Tilley hats remember there are different colours and styles (cream, khaki and green I believe - maybe even navy blue) - at least 5 styles are made so you dont need to be a twin with your husband if you know you like Tilley hats. They have different brims and crowns, and even are made of different materials. I personally prefer the cotton ones for breathability, but they come in floatable etc. etc.....

www.tilley.com is their website - might be worth taking a look if you know you like the hats.
nkh is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2003, 08:39 AM
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Thanks nkh! (and just caught the typo in my own message - should be "our Galyans" not "out"!)

With summer almost over in the northern hemisphere I've found that most sites and shops have sold out of their canvas hats. Tilley.com was going to be my last stop but fortunately I was able to find something significantly different and discounted at the Sierra Trading Post site (per a recommendation on another post). They also had a lots of inexpensive short sleeve and cap shirts on sale, so I should be set!
hlphillips2 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2003, 06:33 PM
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And my two-cents - for women traveling the bumpy potholed roads of East Africa specifically - I strongly recommend a sports bra. Just makes it a bit more comfortable, especially if one has it up front.

Generally, anything that you feel comfortable in. But often when puting on shorts for afternoon drive, the sun sets and it gets chilly, even in a closed vehicle. And the same holds for morning game drives - a reason many recommend the convertible pants. Though I never wore mine. Just light-weight slacks/shorts, a t-shirt and a light jacket or sweater if the weather changed. Didn't bother with color, just whatever I had and felt comfortable wearing (though avoided bright red and yellow - try to stick with neutrals, easier to mix and match, but it's not a "must"). Was never over- or under-dressed either during day or evenings - rarely, if ever will you find travelers who look (or are dressed) as if right out of Vogue or Bazaar. Comfort, durability, ease of cleaning - and the same with shoes.

You're going to have a great time.
Jun 22nd, 2009, 06:53 AM
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marking for reference
smbruner is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 07:04 AM
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smbruner -

This thread is 6/yrs old.
There are more current ones re clothing for safari.
sandi is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 07:48 AM
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But even 6 years later I can't argue with zip-offs, a sports bra, and a pocket vest--especially for the plane ride over so you can have more stuff on you and don't have to worry about it being delayed or missing in lost luggage.

Although I wouldn't buy a sports bra there, and doubt you'd find a safari vest, try a 2nd hand store for khaki clothes. I recently found some Travelsmith zip-offs there.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Seconding the sports bra, I found it to be very important.

Not a fan of convertible pants at all. I don't think they look good on anyone. What I really like are the pants that you can roll up and use a built in strip to botton into a capri. Columbia carries them, and I got a pair at REI as well. Not sure if they were available 6 years ago, but they really look alot better than those zipper bulges around the thighs (where most of us do not need added bulk!)
LynnieD is offline  

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