While in reality the type of clothes that you choose to wear on your safari is not that big of a deal and you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on stylish safari outfits, most clothing is fine for a safari. It however important to keep somethings in mind while packing clothes for your safari.
How To Dress For An African Safari
While on an African Safari you are likely to be engaged in different activities. These activities may include walking safaris, horse riding, elephant back safaris, and game drives. So when considering how to dress for an African Safari, Neutral and naturally-toned colours are the best for your safari.
Can You Wear White On Safari
The worst possible colours to pack on safari are white and black. One of the reasons why you shouldn’t wear white on safari is because white stands out more than any other colour in the African bush and so isn’t suitable for safari activities such as walking safaris. In addition to that most African safari destinations are extremely dusty so white clothing before the day is done, would probably be reddish or brown depending on the soil colour.
Its been argued that the maasai people of East Africa wear brightly coloured clothing and live in hamorny with the wildlife in their surroundings. While this is true their clothing actually help scare away the animals most often and this helps in avoiding unwanted encounters.
You on the other hand the African Safari traveler want to get closer to the animals especially on a walking safari therefore more neutral coloured clothing would suit this purpose.
Best Safari Clothing
- Men’s Explorer BUGTech Anti-Insect Safari Shirt
By Rufiji™ – A safari-styled shirt packed with features and made from fabric with built-in insect defense, sun protection & wicking.
- Women’s Serengeti V-neck Safari T-Shirt By Mara&Meru™ – Super soft feel and natural drape for undeniable safari luxury. Casual style rarely feels this good. It can be paired with the Jogger pants or jeans.
While on safari you should blend in as much as possible so that you do not disturb the wildlife you are viewing. This ensures that you are able to watch animals behaving naturally and not running away from you or towards you, which is certainly not ideal!.
White clothing should be avoided as it stands out against the muted browns and green tones of Africa and also gets dirty really quickly. Also avoid packing safari clothing that is blue or black in colour, especially if you are going to an area with tsetse flies. These flies are the equivalent of tiny fighter jets and deliver a very painful sting. The traps used to attract and catch tsetse flies are blue and black – and you do not want to become a mobile tsetse fly trap.
We suggest comfortable clothes that are cool, but that can layer to keep you warm in the evenings or on an early morning wildlife viewing drive. Light weight shirts and fleece pullovers are ideal. Zip off pant s that turn into shorts are great and convinient especially when the day starts to heat up. A good sun hat? Highly recommended.
If traveling by road on safari to places like Kenya’s Masai mara, amboseli, Serengeti and generally in East Africa, female travelers should bring a sports bra as the roads can get very bumpy.
Pack light for your trip as laundry is done on a complimentary basis at most safari lodges and camps. In most cases clothes picked up in the morning will be returned to you by evening time. In city hotels laundry can be done for a fee. This is often outsourced and turn around can be 24 hours.
It is common in Africa for all laundry to be ironed – including jeans. This does serve a purpose as during the rainy season in some parts of Africa the Putsi fly will lay eggs in damp clothing… ironing kills these eggs. Silks and other more delicate fabric can be ruined by the hot coal irons used at some safari camps and lodges. Let camp staff know if you do not want your clothes ironed – nothing like a crease ironed into the front of your expensive jeans!
It is also important to note that some safari properties may not wash undergarments. You may wish to bring a small supply of liquid laundry soap (a small plastic travel bottle filled with Woolite works well) for hand washing.
One more tip – on long international flights your feet can swell a whole size. we suggest wearing flat, roomy shoes.
Shoes and boots
Footwear is an item that is often overlooked by many when packing for their safari vacation. Many men and women alike, assume any shoe will do. Not just any pair of shoes can work for a safari. The comfortable flat roomy shoes that we suggested earlier can only take you as far as the vicinity of the lodge where you’ll be staying and off course on your long international flight, however the rugged African terrain requires sturdy comfortable hiking boots that are long lasting and will not leave your feet bruised. It is very easy for something as trivial as a pair of shoes to ruin your African safari experience. So we strongly suggest that that you invest in safari footwear for your trip. Try and get a pair of shoes or boots that are high quality, preferably waterproof and that protect the ankles. An extra pair of quality sneakers should do. Check out our guide on the best shoes for a safari.
An Africa safari is one trip where you need only pack what is necessary. Extra luggage will just be a burden which will put a dumper on your African experience. Carry a sweater, a jacket or a shawl to keep you warm when it gets cold, trousers shorts, T shirts, sleeping clothes shoes that you will need. Recycling clothes when on safari is something to bear with especially for women who find it hard. Jewellery is not necessary, but you can buy some African jewelry to take home with you.
African weather is very unpredictable so baggy clothes are good since they can be used in cold and warm weather. It is better to shop for the bush before you travel rather hoping to get everything you need when you get to your destination, you might not get time to do any shopping, or you might fail to find what you need.
What To Wear On Safari Evenings
Most evening will be spent at the lodge either at a bonfire under the African sky or being entertained with traditional dances at a common area within the camp or lodge. The evenings can get chilly so it would be advisable to have something warm to wear. Do not forget a good pair of sandals.
Once in a while you might dine out in a nearby hotel, so an extra dress or outerwear for such an occasion can be added to your luggage or backpack with shoes to go with.