A closer look at the Lamy Safari

Oh the beloved Lamy Safari, what can be said that hasn’t already been said a hundred times? This pen is probably one of the most reviewed pens on the ‘net right now. By now, you’re probably bored to death with Lamy Safari reviews! When I decided to do this, I asked myself what I could talk about that might be slightly different from all the other reviews out there.  That’s when I came up with the idea of focusing on the various design aspects that set this pen apart from the others.

Obviously the biggest selling point is the price. Yes, that’s a lame joke, ignore it and move on. Go read just about any “what pen” thread and you’ll find numerous people suggesting the Safari, regardless of the question. Why? Well it’s a flat out good deal. This pen delivers more in the sum of $30 or less than a lot of much more expensive pens have ever managed. Granted, you need to buy the converter separately but it’s an amazingly versatile pen for the few bucks the converter might cost you.

Let’s look at some of what makes this pen great shall we? To start, we’ll head to the top of the pen and check out the clip.

Lamy Safari Clip

Look at that, it’s a monster! In the world of the utilitarian, this pen has a clip to put all others to shame. Need a firm grip on your shirt pocket? You got it! Need to slip it on your notebook cover? No problem! It’s a simple wire loop that just plain works. Sure it’s funky looking but this isn’t a normal pen so who cares?

Next up, let’s look at the body. I’m not sure how exciting you might find this feature, but it has a built in window that gives you a glimpse into the ink reservoir.

Lamy Safari Ink Window

Yes, I’m aware this isn’t an amazing feature but hey, take a look at the pen with the body unscrewed. That ink window is an exact science. There are 2 indentions in the section that match up perfectly with the windows in the body of the pen. Unscrew the body a tiny bit from the section and half the window is obscured. When the body is screwed tightly onto the section, the window is all you see. That’s engineering!

While we’re talking about the exterior aspects, check this nib feature out.

Lamy Safari Nib

Yes, the nib just slides off the feed. Why is this great? You want a Fine point today and a Medium tomorrow but don’t want to pay for 2 pens? Buy 2 nibs! The nibs slide off and back on with an ease that I’ve yet to find in any other pen. What’s that? Your Esterbrook has interchangeable nibs? Bah! This is even easier! No unscrewing required, you just slide the nib off and slide a new one on. Want to sign that birthday card with an italic nib? Slide your current nib off and slide the italic nib on, sign the card, and swap them back. This is pure genius.

You want more? Take a look at any inexpensive pen you own that has a converter. Chances are it just slides on like a cartridge would. This means it can be slid off without much thought. Sure, that’s not a big deal but what if you were a German, would you really engineer your pen that way?

Lamy Safari Converter

Yes, you’re seeing correctly, the converter has little bumps that lock into the section. Seems like such a little thing but it really makes the converter a part of the pen instead of just something you stuffed into the front section. I know what you’re thinking, the German’s can really engineer a pen! This thing is starting to seem more like a BMW than Kia right?

While we’re on the subject, check this converter out.

Lamy Safari Converter

Yeah it looks like your normal piston style converter but it’s SOLID. I’m not kidding, don’t mistake this with a cheap converter, this thing is precise. Sure, that’s not a a huge deal but trust me, it matters.

And finally, I want to take a look at the section. Most pens have a round section and we’re all quite familiar with that. Lamy threw the normal design out the window and made the Safari section a little differently. Or if you want me to be candid, they made the darn thing comfortable.

Lamy Safari Grip

See that? Those 2 flat spots are perfectly placed for a proper pen hold. I love writing with this pen!

And there you have it, a glimpse into something I hope most reviews have ignored. If you want to hear people gush about how great they write, there’s a ton of reviews for that and just between you and me, those other reviews are absolutely correct, this thing is a joy to write with. But I won’t get into that, because you came here for a funky review and I hope I delivered.

I’ll toss you one last tip. If you head to Lamy USA’s website and click on the Care, Repairs, & Parts link, you can find parts for your Lamy. Say you wanted a Lamy Safari in Charcoal and you can’t find it anywhere (a quick Google search proves this to be false but play along anyway). You can actually build the pen from parts right on their website. I don’t know if they ever release any of the limited edition colors but right now you could get the parts for 5 different colors. If you happen to find one of those colors sold out and you simply MUST have it now, for a few bucks more than a complete pen, you can build your own. Hey, you could even build yourself a crazy multicolor pen!

Now, if you don’t have a Lamy Safari, go get one! And if you already have one, get another! You won’t regret it.

11 thoughts on “A closer look at the Lamy Safari

  1. I have two. One for regular writing and another for italic. I know I can just change the nib on the regular one, but the one I got with the italic nib is longer, like an elegant cigarette holder, so it makes calligraphy a lot more pleasant. Plus it’s red and black!

    I’m left handed, so I really appreciate the smoothness of the nib.

    In short, I love my pens and totally agree with everything you’ve said.

  2. Thank you for a wonderful review. I have been collecting fountain pens and am missing a Lamy Safari because I always wondered what the fuss about a plastic pen was. Now I’ll try one and find out for sure–but can I love it more than my Sensa or my Visconti? We’ll just have to find out . . .

  3. Great review, very different from the usual ones out there. I have one Safari but have been thinking of getting a second to have a wider nib with different ink colour to hand.

    BTW Kyoho16, the longer, tapered pen you describe has the same section as the Safari but is actually called the Joy Calligraphy fountain pen.

  4. I have three Safari fountain pens. Unfortunately, I left all three in a drawer with ink in them for nearly a year. I cleaned them and they worked fine for five minutes. Now they don’t work at all. I’m sad. I joined the Pen Addict contest for a new Safari and I hope I am chosen for my 67th birthday this week.

  5. I had a Lamy Safari for quite some time, but I kept clipped to the front pocket of my jeans (pen inside, clip outside) and, sadly, while riding my bicycle one day, the top worked its way off the pen and not only did I lose it, but I ruined a perfectly good pair of pants in the process. LAMY INK DOES NOT WASH OUT EASILY. I’ve been trying to replace it and can’t remember if I had the fine or medium nib and have nowhere to try them out here locally as the shop that used to carried them no longer does so, thus my reluctance to get a new one.

    That being said, do you prefer the medium or fine nib in your pens and why?

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards, Matthew

    1. I hope you see this Matthew. Thanks for the comment.

      I prefer Medium simply because, as I get older, I like to have something that puts down a substantial amount of ink. Obviously this is a personal preference but I used to like Fine nibs but that evolved over time.

      One thing to remember, the Safari does seem to run a bit wide on the nib size and thus a medium might not be quite as medium as you think.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Cleaning out old ink is a snap…Paula ….Re: Nov. 17th post…Just mix one tablespoon of clear household ammonia with 1 to 1- 1/2 cups of water ( room temp), then stand the pen’s nib… pointed down in it for a bunch of time, check it so see if the old ink running out…..all the pens for that matter , just the whole nib…not the plastic parts… in the liquid…that will probably clear out the old clogs…repeat if necessary..> and then run.. or…suck up the mix into the pen…& flush the ammonia mix thru a LAMY converter IN the pen(s)… ( buy one if u don’t have it …about $5.00)…. back and forth in the pen.. until there is no more ink in the feed and nib section…followed by a complete flush with clear water of ALL system’s parts for about 1/2 hr….under the tap.. make sure there’s no more ink color in the flushed liquid too…..in the converter… nib section… ALL PARTS inside and out.. That’s the ticket. The let dry over night. THEN after all this >test the pen in water only!!… to see the flow…If all is well… let the parts dry out and buy some fresh ink..not the old junk in your desk…G-d only knows how long it’s been in there… lol. Stay with a blue to start..no staining and will meet your needs…maybe a Noodler’s Ink …say…hum…”Ottoman Azure”, or Private Reserve’s ” Midnight Blues”…or WATERMAN’S “FLORIDA BLUE”…my go to blue..& has been in just about every pen I’ve ever owned at one time or another. FYI..I have every color of every Safari..and Al-Star that Co. has ever produced incl. the mystical Demonstrator…not the VISTA….a pen never sent to USA…..they are fab… and there isn’t a FP in the world that compares at $110 and under …really! Get a silver 1.1 nib for a LAMY, you’ll really like what it does for your writing ( about &12.00)… online. This is my friends formula for recovering messed up pens..Personally… I always flush them out before they are left to fight off intruders on/in my desk….lol. Have fun…that’s what FP’s are all about.

  7. Am I the only one who has safaris where the ink window doesn’t line up with the section – 4 out of my 11 safaris have this problem. Yes I am tightening to normal tolerances so thats not the problem – the problem is called “quality control”. Having said that I love my safaris.