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  • Writer's pictureGarth

What to Wear on Safari in Africa

Watch the video to see real-life examples of the best clothes to wear on safari, what the guides wear, what the safari guests wear and even what to wear in the evenings.

With a seductive setting Africa reveals lions roaring by night, the call of a jackal at dawn, treks into the wilderness and stays in luxury safari lodges and mobile camps set in the most idyllic locations in the wild.

The African Safari remains one of the greatest gifts you can award yourself, yet for most in the planning stage, there are many questions relating to what to wear on safari and how best to prepare for this trip of a lifetime.

This guide offers useful advice to help you plan for your dream African Safari vacation!

Clients dressed for African Safari
Earth Tones are Best for an African Safari

What to Wear on Safari

– Autumn hues and neutral colours are the best and most popular clothes on Safari – beiges, browns, greens etc. and shades of blue. The idea is no bright, neon or white in the bush as these alert the local wildlife to your presence when spotted.

– T-shirts, shorts or light skirts, cotton or linen clothing, jeans in winter or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days.

– Hat and sunblock.

– The days warm up whatever time of year it is, so you’ll want to be in light and cool clothing by around midday.

– Days on safari are generally hot. In the mornings and evenings, long-sleeved shirts and slacks are better and will also protect you from mosquitoes.

For those sensitive to the sun, a loose cotton shirt is a good bet during the day, as is sunscreen.

For colder mornings, layering clothing helps keep you warm and is a convenient way to ensure you’re wearing what you need as the day heats up.

– A light, compact raincoat is a good idea for the summer.

– For the ladies a big floppy hat, healthy collection of interchangeable scarves and a little slip of a dress to make you feel beautiful on those warm summer evenings, goes a very long way when deciding what to wear.

– Remember to pack swimming costumes / bathing suits as most of the safari lodges and camps have swimming pools.

– A pair of walking (not hiking) shoes and sports socks should you opt to do a walking safari, which we highly recommend. Although at the end of the day there’s nothing better than hanging up your shoes and putting on light flip flops or slip-ons to walk around the camp in.

– Don’t be mislead, temperatures can drop drastically in the winter and you'll want warm safari clothes like a jacket, fleece, gloves, scarf and woolen hat to guard you from the cold on that open vehicle during your stay.

– Make sure you don’t bring your best clothes to wear if you are planning on doing a walking safari or spending time in a more rustic camp, they could get caught up on thorns, or damaged a little on a long stay.

– The African safari experience is relaxed and all about reconnecting with nature, you can leave your best clothes and jewelry at home, replacing it with an open mind and heart.

What to Wear on Safari in the evenings?

After an adventure filled day of spotting your favourite animals on safari, you'll return to the lodge where you can relax and freshen up before dinner.

Evenings are typically spent in the boma outdoors if the weather permits, or indoors in the lodge dining area. Evening attire is casual and more often than not your tracker and guide will have a shower and change into long REI-style trousers with the beige or earth toned lodge shirt. My point is, these affairs are even relaxed in the bush, so there is no need to wear your Monaco best in Africa, as long as you are comfortable, everyone is happy in Africa :)

The Unavoidable Essentials

– Your Passport and copies of your passport, kept separately

– Credit cards – remember to let your bank know you’ll be traveling abroad before you leave

– Contact information of the places you’ll be staying at, transfer companies and your tour operator and a print out of your reservations.

– Driver’s license (if you’ll be driving in South Africa)

– Travel Insurance details

– Local guidebooks, bird and animal guidebooks and small maps can be handy

– A travel journal to make notes of the animals you saw and experiences of the day

– Yellow Fever Inoculation certificate – if required for the country you'll visit.

– Carry some cash as you may visit a local village or craft shop where you can pick up some unique souvenirs, also for gratuities for the lodge staff, tracker and safari guide, which you’re likely to leave on departure.

– Insect Repellent and Malaria prophylactics if required in the area you will visit. Consult your doctor for these prior to traveling.

– Your cellphone, laptop or tablet – although we do encourage a complete disconnect.

– Chargers and an international adaptor if required.

– We recommend that you pick up a local sim card in arrival in South Africa, it makes for affordable and easier communication.

– A basic first aid kit, prescription medicine and personal toiletries, lip balm, tissues, a packet of wet wipes and a flashlight.

– Your camera with lots of memory cards and even an external hard drive to back up your photos each day. You will need much more storage space than you anticipate and you don’t want to risk losing your captured memories.

– A personal set of binoculars would be wonderful.

– A small backpack to take on your game drives, for your camera, binoculars etc.

Additional Suggestions

– Try and pack everything you want to wear on safari into a soft bag with one smaller piece of hand luggage per person, with the weight not being more than 20kg, and even as little as 12-15kg on some light aircraft transfers.

You don’t need as much as you think you do and most lodges and camps offer a laundry service, especially the all inclusive safari lodges.

– When traveling, the best habit is to allow everything to have a place and stick to it. This makes it easy to find things on the move and minimises the risk of losing anything, as at a glance you will know what is where and if something is missing.

– Take a padlock as a precaution to lock your bag when flying or traveling.

– Try and get a waterproof or dust-proof cover for your camera bag.

There is nothing more humbling and surreal than a true African Safari and your choice of reserve and lodge matters greatly.

It is recommended that you communicate your expectations with African Safari Home so that we can match your dream with the right property.

Be sure to be clear on your focus, be it luxury, big 5, walking, game drives, remote private concessions or national park.

Should you need friendly expert advise, contact us for more information.

Remember that your Africa safari vacation is about connecting with nature and yourself in the most unique and tranquil settings on earth, so feel free to wear clothes that you are comfortable in and don't worry about impressing other guests, it's not that type of vacation.

If you need any more information on what to wear on safari in Africa we'd love to hear from you and assist with any - or all - of your vacation planning requirements.


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