Way, way back in September, my friend got me a Lamy Safari. This is actually my first Lamy Safari: I’ve been in the fountain pen world for about three or four years! Incredible, I know.
The Lamy Safari is about 5 1/2 inches capped (14 cm), 5 1/8 inches (13 cm) uncapped, and 6 5/8 inches (16.5 cm) posted. There’s a small window in the barrel so you can look at the ink level in a cartridge or a converter. This does, however mean that you can’t convert the Safari into a eyedropper. It’s not particularly heavy nor lightweight–it has an all-plastic construction other than the clip and the nib, but it feels nice and sturdy. It’s relatively cheap, too, so I could definitely see why this is a workhorse pen for a lot of people. It feels like you can throw it around. I do think the plastic will pick up scratches, especially gouges from things like keys, but you know. Sometimes you have to accept that things aren’t always going to look perfect!
Mine has a broad nib that I really adore. I’ve heard that Lamy nibs may be hit or miss, but I got lucky and I got a really good one! Didn’t have to tune it or fiddle with it or anything. Actually, I didn’t do anything to my Safari when I first got it, just popped ink in it and wrote, and it did. The broad nib lays down a nice and juicy line, and I love it with the ink that I put in it: Diamine Marine. This ink really needs a broad nib to reveal the really pretty shading, and I think it’s a great fit with this broad nib. As always, the nibs are swappable so you can get nibs from extra-fine to a 1.9mm italic!
A lot of people are on the fence when it comes to the Lamy Safari (or Lamy Al-Star, or Lamy Vista) because of the triangular grip. I do find myself “skipping” the triangular grip entirely, if that makes sense. I’m left-handed and I grip my pens in ways that no human should be able to, and with the Lamy Safari I tend to grip it with my thumb on the indent closest to me and my index finger on top. This does make my writing experience a little uncomfortable, but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker. I tend to rotate my pen just slightly, too. Honestly, I don’t know why my wrist doesn’t hurt as much as it should. I guess a couple years on this earth getting used to a terrifying grip strengthens your wrist a little. But anyway: if you are really worried the triangular grip might be an issue for you, I would suggest trying it out. See if there are any fountain pen clubs in your area and drop by: someone is bound to bring a Lamy Safari/Vista/Al-Star. Or buy a Chinese knockoff like the Jinhao 599 or Hero 359 (which you can get for under $5 on eBay) and see if you like it.
I don’t love this pen, but I think it’s a great pen. It’s definitely a workhorse that I don’t feel worried about throwing around. It’s also relatively cheap at around $30 with a converter and you can get nibs to swap in for about $10. However, I’ve heard that TWSBI is getting closer and closer to a release of the Eco, a $30 piston filler. If the nibs are as swappable as the rest of the TWSBI line are, I could see Lamy Safari sales taking a pretty big hit, especially with regards to people who hate the triangular grip. Either way, though, I would definitely suggest both to fountain pen fans. (Actually, I purchased a Lamy Al-Star in that beautiful, beautiful blue-green for the same friend who bought me this pen. She loves it!)
Here’s a writing sample on a watermelon Quo Vadis Habana Smooth. On the top is my handwriting when I hold the pen like I would. The bottom is my handwriting when I hold the pen according to the grip. (Sorry about the picture quality–I no longer have access to a scanner.)
I don’t know where my friend got me my Safari, but you can–of course–purchase this pen at a couple of reputable dealers. The Goulet Pen Company sells the Lamy Safari for $29.60, and JetPens sells it for $28. If you’d like some infinitely swappable nibs, JetPens have them for $10.75 each. Goulet Pens have them for $13 each, but they also sell sets! You can get a set of EF-B nibs (so four) in either silver or black for $41.60, or a set of italics (1.1mm, 1.5mm, and 1.9mm) for $36.
I’m not at all affiliated with Goulet Pens or JetPens: just a happy customer!