Africa Freak

Best safari clothing: brands, clothes & tips for African safaris

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You’re off on safari! You’ve done all the research , purchased the guide books , and the tickets are hot in your hand.

But most importantly, you’re getting ready to pack your ultra-light bag with everything you’ll need for your trip of a lifetime.

You’ve read all the advice you can handle (perhaps even this post on how to pack for safaris for your African bush adventure).

But when it comes down to the line, you still have no idea whether your favorite sweater is going to be a help or a hindrance, if you should pack jeans, how many pairs of socks are enough, and what on earth to expect once you are out in the wild.

What to wear on safari is something of a conundrum , the answer to which is entirely dependent on whether you are a complete slave to fashion and constantly worry about your appearance.

Or whether you don’t care if your trousers absolutely match your shirt and if your shoes co-ordinate properly with your camera bag.

So, in a bid to help sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to safari style, this guide aims to highlight the best safari clothing brands and tips for your next trip to Africa .

African Safari Clothes: 7 Useful Tips

The African savanna has seen virtually every take on both the best and worst dressed safari goers , including some of the most practical and impractical safari gear around.

This includes everything from haute couture animal prints hot off the Milan catwalk, to Prada stilettos getting stuck in between the slats of wooden decks, and $300 silk scarves ripped to shreds by thorn bushes.

There are also tales of wild baboons getting hold of Victoria’s Secret lingerie and leaving it draped for all to see high in the branches of an acacia tree.

There are plenty of stories about complete wardrobe disasters—but to ensure you’re not one of them, here is a list of useful tips on how to dress for safaris .

1. Leave the luxury safari clothing at home

Couple on safari in Tanzania, posing in front of their four wheel drive

Lesson 1 in safari style is to NEVER take your best clothes into the bush .

If you find a pair of shorts, trousers, or a top you love and know that it would break your heart to have it ruined on safari, it’s probably best to leave it at home .

Instead, look for clothing that is specifically suited for the wild . And if the item comes in different colors, buy the range!

This way, over the years, you’ll acquire a variety of clothes which come everywhere with you. Look out for clothes that you can team together to create practical yet stylish outfits.

2. Keep your clothes for safari simple

Lesson 2 is learning how many of each item you will need . As a rule of thumb, always go with four of the basics.

Four pairs of shorts , four pairs of cut-off pants , four string vests , four t-shirts , four pairs of long pants , four button-through shirts (two of which are long-sleeved), four sets of underwear , four pairs of socks … you get the drift, I am sure!

When traveling in winter or during the colder months of the year, add to this scenario two lightweight long-sleeve t-shirts and two knitted sweaters , plus two fleeces or warm jackets , thermal long johns , gloves , a scarf , and a beanie .

When considering your safari apparel, ALWAYS pack a swimsuit and a couple of sarongs/kikoys . Even in the winter, it’s usually warm enough to suntan during the day and sometimes even swim.

3. Your safari wear should include comfortable shoes

Low angle view of two safari guides and an elephant bone

Lesson 3 concerns footwear . In the heat of the summer, it is best to pack at least two pairs of “bush slops” – flip flops (thongs) which are heavy-duty, waterproof, and good enough to handle walking in the light bush for game drives.

You may also need two or three pairs of fashionable flip-flops or sandals for around camp and evening meals, and a pair of good walking shoes ( Merrells ) for walking safaris.

In the winter, replace the walking shoes with walking boots and add a pair of lightweight faux-fur lined “trendy” flat boots for evening wear.

4. Safari fashion: accessories

Accessorize – that’s the key to lesson 4 – it’s the difference between a good safari wardrobe and a bad one. Two or three lightweight colored scarves and/or wraps are a must in any safari bag .

Usually, they have beadwork or applique of some description on them. These are useful for dressing up even the most conservative safari outfit—great if you’re looking to add a dash of glamor to your evening meals. Team them up with a couple of great “ethnic” bead necklaces and earrings .

Another essential item to include with your safari attire is a hat —and these can most certainly be fun. Pack in a couple of lightweight, floppy straw sun-hats, as these are great for game drives or tiger fishing.

Another good option is the usual peak baseball-style caps.

5. What to wear on safari – quality

Typical clothes to wear on an African safari

Lesson 5 is all about quality . Everything you take into the bush with you needs to stand the test of time.

This includes the elements of the African wild, the rigors of hand-washing, and bumping and grinding in the back of a safari vehicle halfway across Africa.

So it’s important to check your clothes before you pack to make sure they can be hand-washed, aren’t going to fall apart the first time you wear them, and are not likely to fade too drastically when hung in the sun to dry.

The material of your clothing is also important. When out in the wild, it is best to stick to strong natural materials like hemp , linen , leather , and wool .

Nylon and polyester also tend to provide adequate protection against the elements.

6. Best safari clothing brands

Wondering where to buy safari clothes? Most of the high-street fashion chains carry good quality fashionable safari clothes which will stand up to the average safari conditions.

As such, you may be able to avoid the need to go to specialist outfitters and camping/outdoor stores where things tend to cost a lot more.

And, of course, the big brands like Jeep (a favorite with safari goers because their clothes are practical, hard-wearing, and pretty at the same time) and Cat always have some great clothes for safaris—including some of the best safari shirts.

In addition to these, here are several more reliable brands to consider when buying safari clothes:

  • Columbia — this is a good option for those seeking affordable safari clothing that is still good quality.
  • First Ascent — if you’re buying safari clothes in South Africa, keep an eye out for this brand as it offers some excellent quality clothing.
  • Patagonia — while the brand is more expensive, they provide some of the highest quality outdoor clothing and gear on the market.
  • REI — if you’re shopping online, REI is often the go-to for outdoor gear. Their house brand is affordable and offers many items that will serve you well on your safari.
  • Ruggedwear — proudly South African, it is an official partner of the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA).
  • Sapmok — footwear for every adventure. Comfy. Durable. And stylish.

7. What color clothing for African safaris

Woman observing African elephants from her safari vehicle

Finally, lesson 7 concerns white . Do you take white clothes into the bush with you? Hell yes.

As long as you don’t expect them to remain white for long and can accept the fact that no matter where you wear them, they’re bound to get a little dirty. It’s more or less a bush essential in my book because it reflects sunlight , keeps you cool and goes with everything .

Everyone says, “don’t wear white on a safari vehicle,” – but this is far from the truth. However, white isn’t the only color that’s good for safaris.

When dressing for safaris, the basic color range is simple: khaki , beige , white, and brown (or variations thereof).

Avoid black and blue during the day because they attract tsetse flies .

But do occasionally take these colors for evening wear when the tsetses have gone to bed.

What to Wear on an African Safari: Checklist

Father and kids enjoying the view of the Ewaso Ng'iro river in Samburu

Now that you’re all clued up with what to consider when deciding what clothes to wear on a safari, it’s time to pack.

Here’s a checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Africa safari clothing list

Below are some of the most essential pieces of clothing to bring along on a safari:

  • 4 safari shirts
  • 4 casual t-shirts or vests
  • 4 safari pants or shorts
  • 4 pairs of blister-proof socks for safari walks
  • 3 pairs of pajamas
  • 2 warm fleece tops or jackets (good for a summer or winter safari outfit)
  • 2 pairs of flip-flops or sandals (one for the wild and one for at the lodge)
  • 2 safari dresses (for at the lodge)
  • 2 swimming costumes
  • 1 waterproof jacket
  • 1 kikoy or sarong
  • 1 wide-brim hat or baseball cap
  • 1 pair of safari shoes or boots

Safari gear and accessories list

In addition to clothing, you should include the following items when packing for a safari:

  • 4 pairs of anti-chafing tights (good for walking safaris)
  • 2 pairs of garden gloves (useful for gorilla trekking safaris)
  • 2 pairs of ankle gaiters
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 bottle of sunscreen
  • 1 safari belt

Start Packing Your African Safari Clothing

Tourists on a mokoro safari in the Okavango

There’s nothing quite like getting down and dirty on an African safari. Whether you’re going on a game drive or a walking safari, you’re sure to come in contact with the various elements of the wild—and not to mention the wildlife, too.

For this reason, having the correct clothing is important . This will protect you during excursions and allow you to blend in better with the natural environment.

So next time you’re contemplating what to wear on African safaris, review the list above . These useful tips will guarantee you have a pleasant experience, both at the lodge and in the bush.

So what are you waiting for? Check out these incredible African safari deals and start packing!

About The Author

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Sharon van Wyk

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What to Wear on Safari in Africa? 8 Tips for the Best Safari Outfit

Searching for practical tips about what to wear on safari in Africa for a safari outfit that is both fashionable and functional? Embarking on a safari adventure promises thrilling encounters with wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. As you plan for this unforgettable journey into the African wilderness, one crucial aspect to consider is your attire. Your safari outfit should strike a balance between comfort, functionality, and style, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the wild wonders of the safari world while remaining practical for the natural environment you'll be exploring. In this comprehensive safari clothing guide you will learn more about the safari dress code and clothing essentials.

Game Drive in Africa with private guide and landcruser

So what is a good safari outfit? A good outfit for safari helps you deal with Africa's environmental conditions like heat, moisture, dust, and insects. It’s important that they offer sun and anti-insect protection, dry quickly, and don’t wrinkle fast. There is a safari clothing rule of thumb that says: ‘Dress in layers for all activities & wear shades of the African bush’.

Your clothing choices and safari wardrobe can greatly impact your comfort and overall enjoyment during your safari. Here are 8 essential safari clothing tips for crafting your perfect neutral safari outfits :

1. Neutral Earth Colors for your Safari Outfit

4X4 photography vehicle for safari in Africa

Neutral-colored tones like khaki, beige, brown, and olive green work best to help you blend in with the natural surroundings of the African wilderness and are less likely to attract insects. Another tip to keep insects away on safari : avoid applying strong smelling perfume. Instead, use essential oils with citronella or lavender to repel insects like mosquitoes. Wearing a safari outfit in earth tones also demonstrates respect for the natural environment and its wildlife. It aligns with the principles of responsible and ethical wildlife viewing.

Dark clothes for safari like black and blue attract heat, biting tsetse flies, and other insects, so these colors are better not to wear on safari. Also, avoid bright colors and neon colors that may startle or attract animals; especially when you go on a walking safari . Although white colors often look nice and stylish on the safari photos across the web, I wouldn't recommend wearing white clothes on safari drives as the  roads can be extremely dusty, especially if you're allowed to go off-road in for example the conservancies around the Maasai Mara .

In summary, what colors to wear on safari and what not to wear on safari :

  • DO wear on safari: Khaki, brown, sand, beige and green hues are the best colors to wear on safari
  • DON'T wear on safari: bright colors, pale and neon hues, black and blue colors, busy patterns and military camouflage clothing (in African countries, camouflage attire is only worn by the rangers and military).

2. Wear Layers on Safari for Protection from the Cold

Reasons to visit Limpopo South Africa

Layer Up! On safari in Africa, weather in certain seasons can change quickly and temperatures can vary significantly, especially during early morning and late afternoon game drives . In the mornings, it can be cold and windy, while in the afternoon it can still be very hot. Sometimes, Mother Nature may surprise you with a heavy rain shower; all part of your Africa safari adventure. That's why it's a good idea to wear layers when you go on a game drive or a walking safari. Layering allows you to adjust your clothing accordingly and stay comfortable in changing weather conditions.

Now, what does wearing layers mean? In the morning, when you start your game drive before sunrise, it can be chilly. So start by wearing for example a lightweight khaki short-sleeve shirt, then a beige long-sleeved blouse, and an olive-green warm fleece jacket to keep you warm in the mornings and on exciting night drives to spot nocturnal animals. When it gets hotter during the day, you can take some layers off. Simple as that. For rainy days, it's handy to have a rainproof jacket, for example a soft shell or poncho that you can easily put in your daypack.

3. Wear Breathable Fabrics on Safari

Safari destinations often have warm climates, so prioritize lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton and linen to stay cool and comfortable throughout the day.

You can wear lightweight pants, shorts or long outdoor pants that can change into shorts (zip-offs). Choose long-sleeve neutral colored blouses made of light fabric. These best clothes for safari not only keep you cool but also protect you from bugs and the sun. If it gets hotter during the day, you can roll up your sleeves or change your convertible pants into shorts.

4. Consider Safari Clothes that offer Protection

Tracks and Signs with EcoTraining instructor Sean

Safaris means exposure to the sun, insects, and potentially (lots of) dust. Long-sleeve shirts and pants will protect yourself from the sun an other elements like dust, wind, rain, and insects. Opt for outdoor clothing with built-in UV protection or safari clothing with  insect-repellent  for added defense and to minimize pesky insect bites.

Also, don't forget to bring a hat and a scarf. A wide-brimmed safari hat and safari sunglasses protect your face from the sun, and a scarf keeps you warm when it's chilly or it can protect you from rain or dust. This safari clothing with sun protection and protection against other natural elements will help you have a better time on your safari.

other safari gear to bring along on safari game drives or walking safaris is rain gear. Even during dry seasons, unexpected rain showers can happen. Packing a lightweight, foldable raincoat or poncho can keep you dry and comfortable. So, be prepared for all kinds of conditions on your safari adventure.

5. Pack Lightweight and Versatile Safari Clothing

Field Guide Training and Wildlife Courses

On safari, it’s smart to pack efficiently because you often travel around. Minimize your luggage by selecting versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched. Pack items that can easily be washed and dried overnight.

If you choose lightweight clothes, you can travel with a lighter bag. This is especially important when you travel around with charter flights , as most small planes used for moving between safari destinations have rules about how heavy your bags can be (often max. 10kg). Many African lodges offer laundry services, so you don't need to pack too much.

One clever trick is to bring safari clothing for hot weather and safari clothing for cold weather that can be mixed and matched and used as layers. Earth tones, like khaki and green, are not only great for blending in with the surroundings, but they also make it easier to put together your safari outfit.

Maasai Community in Enonkishu Conservancy

Moreover, leave valuable jewelry at home. Minimal jewelry is the way to go. It does not only enhance your comfort but also ensures your safety. Instead, by some colorful beadwork from the ladies that make beautifully handmade jewelry, like bracelets.

6. Wear Comfortable Footwear on Safari

Veldskoen Shoes Safari Footwear

Make sure to bring along a comfortable pair of shoes to complete your safari outfit. Opt for sturdy, closed-toe shoes, boots, or vellies with good traction. You'll likely be walking on uneven terrain, so prioritize comfort and support to avoid discomfort and potential injuries.

The type of closed shoes you need depends on the type of safari and activities on your safari trip. For example, if you go on walking safaris, or if your safari involves gorilla trekking through muddy forests or hiking dusty terrain, it’s advisable to bring high-quality safari boots or hiking shoes with good grip worn with hiking socks and impenetrable soles, which can be useful to protect you from sharp objects like snares or thorns and from reptiles like snakes.

Some even wear gaiters for better protection from snake bites or ants. Depending on the terrain, I wear short olive-colored gaiters when encountering wildlife on foot in East Africa. For Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda , I wear higher gaiters as you trek through dense vegetation than can be thorny and slippery with biting ants along the way.

If you're mainly going on a game drive in a vehicle, basic stable shoes, like lightweight trail shoes, are fine. If you're in an area with lots of bity insects and reptiles, it's wise to consider higher-rise hiking boots for added protection on safari. I prefer closed shoes on walks because of the insects and thorns but I'm also someone who loves to wear slippers on game drives. If you decide to wear sandals or slippers, please make sure to apply sunscreen on your feet.

One of my preferred safari shoes choices is the authentic South African Veldskoen boot. These shoes are handcrafted, comfortable, durable, and have a stylish touch. Many local field guides in Africa wear these boots too.

7. Respect Cultural Sensitivities

Get to know the Maasai in Enonkishu Conservancy

Respect local customs and traditions by dressing modestly , particularly if you'll be visiting communities or cultural sites during your safari. In (rural) communities, revealing clothing, such as short shorts or low-cut tops, can be considered disrespectful or offensive. If your safari includes visits to local communities , opting for clothing that covers your shoulders, arms, and knees is advisable.

If you have the opportunity to participate in local festivals or ceremonies, wearing clothing that aligns with the traditional attire of the community can be a sign of respect and can enhance your cultural experience.

8. Check the Camp or Lodge Dress Code

Safari clothing for evening dinners in the African bush

Most safari lodges and camps have a casual safari-style dress code . In that case, formal (evening) wear is not necessary to pack. If you prefer, you can change your safari outfit for formal evening wear, but in reality, most people go straight to dinner after arriving from the evening game drive.

On my first African safari , I used to go back to my room to take a shower and change my safari clothes . But I quickly learned that most people prefer to stay by the fire after the game drive while sipping on a glass of wine or cold beer as an after sundowner . From gazing into the fire and talking about your sightings with other guests, you go straight to dinner. Most safari days don't end extremely late as you have early morning game drives.

Some lodges or camps may have specific dress codes for certain activities or dining areas, so it is advisable to check the clothing guidelines of your lodge or camp in advance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about what to wear on Safari

Can i wear shorts on safari.

What to pack for safari in Africa?

While shorts can be comfortable, long trousers are recommended for better protection against insects, thorny vegetation, and the sun, especially on safari walks.

Should I Wear Camouflage Clothing?

It's best to avoid wearing camouflage clothing as safari attire, as it's often associated with military or hunting activities, which may not be appropriate in wildlife conservation areas.

Are Hats Necessary on Safari?

Safari Guide Training Kenya

Yes, sunhats are essential for sun protection. Since most African safari destinations are located around the Equator, the sun is fierce! I therefore recommend wide-brimmed styles to shield your face and neck from the sun's rays. Additionally, I always recommend applying sunblock between 30 and 50 spf.

What is a stylish Safari Hat?

Rogue Hats are a popular choice to wear on safari. These safari hats are not only stylish, but also practical for protecting yourself from the African sun. They are known for their quality and durability. Many safari-goers appreciate the wide brims of Rogue Hats, which offer excellent shade and sun protection. If you're looking for a blend of fashion and function during your safari, Rogue Hats are a fantastic option to consider.

What are the Best Safari Clothing Brands for Women?

photography safari Maasai Mara Kenya

For women, it can be tough to find a stylish women's safari outfit as most affordable safari clothing is designed with men in mind (sold as unisex). The best safari clothing for women is also very subjective, but I love to wear for example the "Tayla Jane Range" of RuggedWear, designed by and for women. RuggedWear is among the most popular safari clothing brands, especially in South Africa . Another brand I love is Fjällräven. This is not a safari clothing brand and doesn't fall under the category cheap safari outfits, but a great outdoor clothing brand with sustainability in mind.

Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park Mangroves walk

One of my favorite safari essentials is a lightweight green jacket made of thermal and water-repellant material. It's from the luxury Italian clothing brand Colmar. The side pockets and a practical adjustment drawstring make the jacket feminine and functional for safari.

Closing Thoughts: The Best Safari Outfit to Wear on Safari

Limpokwena Nature Reserve viewpint

Safaris are extraordinary adventures, and your attire plays a significant role in ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience. By selecting the right clothing and accessories, you can fully immerse yourself in the safari experience. Crafting the perfect safari outfit is all about finding the right balance between comfort, functionality, and respect for the environment and local culture. Choose safari clothing with moisture-wicking properties , and lightweight earth-toned fabrics for practicality and blending in with nature on the various safari activities.

Safari Packing List

Curious about what other things to pack for safari in Africa? I crafted a complete safari packing guide about what to pack for safari in Africa or have a look at the safari packing list below.

Safari packing list for your safari in Africa

In conclusion, by following these safari clothing tips and considering your destination's specific climate and activities, you'll not only be ready to embrace the wild wonders of Africa but also ensure a more comfortable and culturally sensitive journey. So, pack wisely, explore passionately, and make the most of your safari in style, wearing a safari outfit that is comfortable and fashionable. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have questions or tips about what to wear on safari.

"Safari Njema!" (Save travels in Swahili ).

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What To Wear On Safari

What clothes to pack for your safari.

The type of safari clothing you decide to pack for your safari will depend on a number of things, including the destination, time of year and what type of safari you’re going on. However, there are a number of universal principles when it comes to deciding what to wear on safari.

Click below to go straight to the most relevant section, or scroll down to read the full safari clothing article:

Safari wear basics | Safari shirts  | Trousers | Footwear | Safari hats  | What not to wear

Safari wear basics

What’s the best colour to wear on safari.

The basic rule of suitable colours for safari clothes is to go neutral . When trying to spot wildlife you’ll have the best chance if you blend in as much as possible with your surroundings, and bright colours will make you conspicuous to animals – particularly if you’re on a walking safari .

Ideal colours for safari wear are natural, such as:

  • Light Browns

Whilst any other neutral colours are fine too, there are a number of colours you should definitely make sure you don’t wear on safari wear:

Camouflage clothing is a big no-no, and in some African countries it’s actually illegal , so leave the camouflage safari clothing at home!

White and very pale coloured clothes show up the dust, so are best kept for evening wear.

Dark blue and black colours attract insects and mosquitos, which can carry malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever – some of the most serious health risks you might encounter on safari.

Ideal safari clothing material

The ideal material for safari clothing is something that’s lightweight & breathable and makes minimal noise whilst you’re moving. Simple cotton works best for safari shirts and trousers, though there are increasing numbers of quality modern man-made materials that work just as well as cotton and are even more durable.

Think layers for safari wear

Packing lightweight safari wear has the benefit of enabling you to layer up or down according to need. Africa is a continent of extremes – it can be extremely cold through the night into the early morning and swelteringly hot by the middle of the day.

As such it’s a good idea to take multiple layers of safari clothing so you can add and remove layers as required – including at least one warm layer like a sweatshirt, fleece, or safari jacket . This is particularly important if you’re going to be doing any early morning safaris in an open-sided vehicle (though your lodge will likely provide blankets for early morning game drives).

What to wear on safari – the essentials

When it comes to safari clothing less is more, and most camps and lodges have same-day laundry services, so bear this in mind before packing a huge suitcase full of safari clothes! At a minimum you will need:

Safari shirts

A few comfortable long-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved t-shirts. Long-sleeved safari shirts have the advantage of offering protection from the sun and insects, but also being able to roll the sleeves up if it gets too hot.

Shirts with a collar to protect the neck from the harsh sun are advisable, as are shirts with pockets to store your bits and pieces (see our article on top things to take on safari if you’re after useful things to fill your pockets with!).

Our favourite men’s safari shirts:

[amazon box=”B07427LJG9,B00EO32DCW,B06XD5V6D9″ grid=”3″]

Our favourite women’s safari shirts:

[amazon box=”B0868LGBCY,B07115T7MB,B07M8BCYYK” grid=”3″]

Trousers & shorts

A pair of comfortable long trousers or two, and a pair of shorts. Combat style trousers and shorts are ideal safari gear as they have several pockets, great for storing compact binoculars, suncream, camera etc.

Long trousers have the benefit of keeping you warm and protecting you from the sun in the day and mosquito bites on evening and night game drives. Here are some good safari trouser options:

[amazon box=”B01D60XBVK,B08DTW3F7W,B00DQ5244G” grid=”3″]

The type of footwear required to wear on safari really depends on what type of safari you’re planning. For a standard game drive or self-drive safaris , special safari footwear isn’t necessary. You’ll be climbing in and out of safari jeeps and maybe a little walking around the bush, so comfortable trainers will work fine.

For more specialist safaris such as gorilla trekking  you’ll be trudging through thick, uneven rainforest, so rugged Gortex boots are ideal. For any kind of walking safari, it’s advisable to have some sort of hiking boots that cover your ankles – for protection from both bush and snakes. It’s also worth considering a small investment in some hiking specialist insoles to provide extra comfort.

[amazon box=”B0779Q9G9B,B081P5WBQV,B01HFPP89A” grid=”3″]

Whilst not essential safari wear, any hat or cap is better than none at all. It will give you protection from the sun, and also shield your eyes from the glare – meaning potentially better wildlife spotting opportunities. The ideal hat is a wide-brimmed safari hat to offer maximum protection.

Read our take here on the very best safari hats , or check out these great options from Amazon:

[amazon box=”B06XH2JSK7,B072J5JS25,B07K447FF5″ grid=”3″]

The African sun can offer a surprising amount of harsh glare, so you won’t want to forget sunglasses as part of your safari attire. A pair of polarized wrap-around sunglasses will give you protection from both the glare and the dust that’s a feature of many game drives, meaning more chance of spotting that hiding leopard!

Evening wear

When considering evening safari wear, bear in mind that the days of jackets and ties at the dinner table are long gone. Most safari lodges have relaxed dress codes for dinner so there’s no need to take any formal safari clothes with you.

You’ll want to wash and change after a hard and dusty day’s game viewing, but a pair of jeans or trousers and a long-sleeved shirt will suffice, perhaps along with a warm fleece or safari jacket to ward off the night-time chill. Light colours are recommended for evenings so you don’t attract mosquitoes.

Be sure to check out whether your lodge has a swimming pool and if so, don’t forget to pack some safari-chic swimwear. A dip between game drives during the middle of the day is a great way to contemplate your wildlife viewings (past and future!) whilst working the tan.

What not to wear on safari

The above information should give you a good overview of what safari clothes to take with you, but just in case you’re still in any doubt, here’s a list of the clothes you should absolutely not take with you on safari:

A camouflage safari outfit .  In a number of African countries, you can actually be arrested for wearing army-style camouflage clothes that could be confused with military wear. Best to avoid at all costs.

Overly thick fleeces and jackets . Temperatures on safari change depending on the time of day, where you are, and what altitude you’re at… so layered clothing is ideal to add or remove as the temperature requires.

Heavy walking boots . Unless you’re planning to do some serious hiking a pair of trainers will do for walking around camp and hopping in and out of your jeep.

Black and blue clothing . East Africa is home to the tsetse fly which is attracted to dark colors and packs a nasty bite – best avoided by wearing lighter colours.

Bright clothing. Don’t draw attention to yourself if you want the best chance of spotting wildlife .

Tuxedos & ballgowns. Yes, people do! Most safari lodges have a very relaxed dress code for dinner, and whilst you will want to wash and change after a hard day game viewing you won’t need to dress over-formally for any evening activities.

And one last ‘don’t do’ tip for packing your safari wear:

Packing it all in one large suitcase . Limit the risk of all of your luggage going missing or being stolen on the flight by packing some essentials – and one safari outfit – in your hand luggage.

what to wear on safari. Classic non-safari-wear, a Hawaiian shirt!

Hawaiian shirts are a classic no-no as safari clothing

Have you been on safari lately and have some tips on what to wear on safari? Please let us know by getting involved in the comments section below!

What To Wear On Safari 1

Have a sneak preview at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glO-rRsPBIo&feature=youtu.be All authentic gear – made close to the Kruger National PArk in South Africa – available here in the UK

What To Wear On Safari 2

We are travelling to South Africa to do a safari adjacent to the Krugar. Is that right that Camouflage is completely no allowed? Only I have just purc hased Shorts and a Hat. Please advise

What To Wear On Safari 3

Hi Colleen, as far as I’m aware there are no restrictions on camflage wear in South Africa, so you should be fine. That said, to be sure you should drop your safari lodge a line as they may have their own rules.

What To Wear On Safari 4

This is suitable for safaris! http://www.cafepress.com/guaxinim/9341456

What To Wear On Safari 5

Do you consider light to medium gray to be ok for colors

What To Wear On Safari 6

Hi Aggie, medium grey is a good colour for safari clothes, so long as it’s not too dark and not too light!

What To Wear On Safari 7

I would be interested in specific suggestions of brands to check out for women’s safari wear. Thanks, Barbara

What To Wear On Safari 8

An item I found extremely useful for gamedrives in open vehicles during winter is my large olive rain poncho. It works fine as a wind spiele and easily fits over the extra set of blankets you might wrap around you.

Excellent idea Birgit, I’ve never used a poncho, but I’d imagine they’re ideal for game drives – lightweight, and quick and easy to get on and off according to the weather.

Sounds like a great idea Birgit. We’ve been on a few high-end safaris where they’ve provided ponchos on bad weather game drives… but taking your own means you’ll be sure to stay dry!

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Adventure Travel Planning

The Essential Safari Clothing Guide

The first thing you may be thinking is, why safari clothing? What makes it different?

First, it’s tailored to the outdoor conditions common on safaris.

Second, all of the pockets on African safari clothing can be very useful when you carry gear around, especially if you’re out to take photos and/or videos to document this incredible adventure travel experience.

Sometimes you may be out in the elements for hours on end as you wait to spy some incredible wildlife, and you’re going to enjoy the experience a lot more if you’re comfortable.

This brief guide to African safari clothing will help you to do that as you watch for majestic lions, elegant giraffes, stately elephants and all of the other amazing wildlife you’ll see while on safari in Kenya , Tanzania , South Africa or another African location.

So what kind of safari clothing should you be thinking about while preparing for your expedition to Africa?

Keep this in mind: Chances are you’re going to be out in some hot weather and maybe walking through some rugged country while out in the bush, so you need to protect your skin from head to toe. That means you need to cover up as much as you can.

Safari clothing in Africa

Do bring some extra safari clothing for colder weather. You may be surprised how much the temperatures can drop at night, so think layers.

Three comfortable outfits (shirts, pants, underwear) are often recommended for a safari, but check with your guide and ask for their recommendation based on the number of days of your safari, seasonal weather conditions and the type of safari you choose.

You may want to dress differently if you’re going to be trudging through the bush as opposed to sitting in a vehicle the whole time.

Wear neutral colors like khaki, brown and olive.

Bright colors, like red, draw attention to you and are not good for viewing wildlife. They may even scare off some of the animals you want to see.

White (and pale colors in general) can also draw attention and they will show all of the dirt you run into on your safari, so stay away from them as well. And some claim that blues and blacks attract certain nasty insects that like to bite, so you may also want to stay away from these colors.

Do not bring camouflage colored safari clothing. You may get mistaken for the military and that, my friend, could ruin your whole safari.

Here’s your list of essential African safari clothes.

Safari hat The safari hat is the key to protection from the sun. You’ll want it to be gas permeable to release the heat from your head and it should have a wide enough brim so that your neck and face are protected even when the sun gets low.

Look for a hat with an absorbent band on the inside to catch your sweat and make sure it’s waterproof to keep you a little drier should you run into an unexpected rainstorm.

Long safari trousers You’re going to need long safari pants for full protection against sunburn, mosquito bites at night and getting scraped up in the bush. You might also want to bring some safari short pants for those hot African afternoons. Just make sure you stay in the shade or put on plenty of sunscreen.

Here’s a great tip for you. Find long safari pants that are convertible to shorts. They’ll have zippers about half way down the leg that allow you to remove the bottoms. They’re the perfect solution for any safari weather conditions.

Long sleeved shirts The long sleeved safari shirts follow the same principles as the trousers. You need them for protection from the sun and from getting scraped up when out walking in the bush. Do take a short sleeved shirt, or two, if you like, or just take loose fitting long sleeved shirts that you can roll up past your elbows.

Safari jacket (or safari vest) Safari jackets are great for the evenings and at night when it can get pretty chilly, or for the cooler times of the year. An alternative for when it’s hot is the safari vest. The great thing about both of these garments is that they have plenty of pockets, which is great when you need to carry gear (like photography equipment).

A couple of points to wrap things up Think lightweight when packing: Safari clothing made from lightweight fabrics, lightweight safari walking shoes or boots (no heavy boots unless they are necessary for a walking tour) and don’t over pack. You don’t want to be hauling heavy luggage through the bush.

And leave your jewelry at home. It will just get in the way, and it doesn’t impress the wild animals anyway, so why bother.

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Safari Clothing

Wondering about what to wear while on an African safari? Here is all what you need to know about the African safari attire that you need for your safari. Find peace of mind & answers to your questions about what African safari clothing to have for your African safari. Learn what to expect & be prepared for your African safari vacation.

Here are some essential African safari attire tips

We have given you the items are that we think are essential African safari attire. Safari attire that will enhance your African cultural & wildlife safari experience.

Safari Attire Guidelines

  • When getting your safari attire choose beige, khaki, brown and olive for safaris and game walks. They are least disruptive to the animal’s eyes, they are natural and camouflage well.
  • Bring a sweater and layers of clothes. It may be chilly on the evening game drives and hot during the day. During the day a tee shirt and shorts are fine.
  • What safari attire you pack also depends on the time of year that you will be traveling. During the winter months (May to September), it can be chilly in the mornings and evenings, so it is a good idea to have long trousers and a warm sweater. Summer temperatures can be very hot, so loose clothes in breathable fibers are most comfortable. Simple separates are ideal. They can be layered to add warmth if necessary.
  • I always recommend bringing a sweater. And I always have layers even in summer, since the nights can be quite cool due to the high altitude. You are well above sea level in many safari areas of South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. At night you need to have long sleeved shirts and long pants for protection from mosquitoes and for warmth.
  • Again, neutral colored clothing is preferable on safari. Clothing is generally casual, especially at holiday resorts and in the game reserves. However, in some of the more exclusive hotels, men are required to wear jacket and tie for dinner. Black tie for dinner is optional for a journey on The Blue Train and Rovos Rail.

Suggested List Of Safari Attire & Supplies

Here is a suggested list of safari attire & supplies that you can use as a guideline.

Scroll further below for a checklist of other essential things you must remember to bring.

  • 2 pairs khaki cotton pants (jeans may be too hot)
  • 2 pairs sturdy shorts
  • 2 long sleeved shirts (for sun protection as well as warmth)
  • 1 light sweater or sweatshirt
  • 1 lightweight, waterproof windbreaker
  • 1 or 2 pair sturdy walking or hiking boots or running shoes
  • 3-5 short-sleeved shirts or T-shirts
  • 5 changes underwear and socks
  • 1 hat with a brim (you need to also protect your ears and neck)
  • Note most lodges have a laundry service, complimentary or at a charge
  • Also bring insect repellent if camping though most lodges have this
  • Small personal first aid kit & if you take prescription medicines bring what you need for the whole trip. They won’t be available on safari.
  • Bring a copy of your prescription; it may be available in the cities.
  • Repair kit: needle and thread, nylon cord, rip-stop tape
  • Plastic packets to compartmentalize items within your travel bag
  • For a mobile safari (where you will go from camp to camp and porters set up camp for you in advance) the best luggage is a soft bag, or backpack with an internal frame.
  • If part of your itinerary includes light aircraft flights, there are serious weight restrictions. You are usually restricted to 10 or 12kg (22 or 26 lbs), per person, in a soft bag. Storage space in a light aircraft is at a premium, and the pilot may refuse to take on bulky or excessive luggage. You will be charged for the excess.

What you should also bring:

  • Sunscreen or block. In Africa the sun is strong nearly year round. So if you are pale a #10 or higher screen will be needed for the first few days; #4 or 5 may be adequate thereafter.
  • Aspirin or Tylenol for mild pain or headache
  • Moisturizer, lip balm
  • Anti diarrhea medicine
  • Topical antibiotic, for cuts, bites or sores
  • Insect repellent. The principal active ingredient is N, N-Diethyl-Metatoluamide (DEET), an effective repellent will have 75% content or higher. Liquid drops are best for skin application unless your skin is sensitive, sprays can also be used for clothes Sun Sticks are best for lips and nostrils
  • Moleskin or Second Skin adhesive pads for blisters

From our experience the following are also great to have:

  • Camera and film or memory card. And batteries. Film and batteries can often be obtained at the lodges or rest camps. It will be expensive though.
  • Paperback reading and writing material (keep weight at a minimum)
  • Bird and animal checklist some lodges have these
  • Extra sweater
  • Gloves yes, gloves you have a wind chill effect when you are on early morning game drives. This is especially so when in the the back of open 4 x4 s
  • Down vest or jacket if you get cold easily

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Sustainable Safari Clothing Guide: What to Wear on a Safari

Are you planning an African safari? If so, you’ve probably been over the details of a safari lodge, transportation, animal migration patterns, and more. One thing people tend to overlook, however, is safari clothing and  the process of packing for a safari . 

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Choosing safari clothes can be more challenging than choosing outfits for the average city break or beach vacation. It requires  carefully thinking through each and every item  you pack.

South Africa Kruger Timbavati safari Oksana 02451

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Whether it’s your first safari or your tenth,  being prepared with the right safari clothing is essential . This guide will teach you what materials work best, why colour matters, what to wear at the lodge, and more, along with specific recommendations from our favourite brands of safari clothing.

What to Consider When Choosing Your Safari Clothing

When it comes to the overall look of the outfit, there are no real guidelines, as the animals don’t care what you wear . However, there are a few tips to follow that will definitely make finding the right safari clothing a lot easier. 

Colour Matters

If you’ve ever seen photos of people on safari, you may have noticed that their colour choice is quite bland.  Tan, brown and army green clothing isn’t just a trend  (maybe just a bit). The colour of your clothing while on safari does matter and earthy tones are the typical recommendation.

Sustainable Safari Clothing Guide

First of all, blending in and not attracting attention to yourself is always good practice while around wildlife. What you wear on a safari while inside a vehicle doesn’t matter too much, as the animals generally view the car as one entity and do not differentiate the different people inside it. But if you are planning to go on any walking safaris, where you may come face to face with animals outside of a vehicle, wearing earthy colours is critical to your safety. 

Another reason to wear neutrals is to avoid attracting the aggressive Tsetse flies that call central Africa home. They’re especially attracted to blue and black so whatever you do, avoid these colours.

Comfort Above All

Safaris are no fashion show. The thing that matters most is ultimately your comfort. You’ll likely be sitting in a car all day under the hot African sun or walking through the bush with your guide.  You’ll need clothes that fit you well but not too tight , leaving room to breathe. The best safari clothing is made from  soft, natural fabrics.

Sustainable Safari Clothing Guide

Pack Different Clothes for the Lodge

After a long day out on the savannah, you won’t want to stay in your safari clothing any longer. That’s why some travelers like to  pack separate things to wear at the lodge  that are also comfortable, but perhaps slightly more dressy. Most of the lodges, even the fanciest ones, do not have any dress code for their restaurants, but when you are wining and dining in such beautiful settings, it can be tempting to dress up just a bit to fit the scene. 

Specific recommendations for lodge clothes can be found in the section below.

Layering up is a great idea while out on safari.  Nights can be freezing cold and days can be steamy,  so having multiple layers is a great solution. Especially since most game drives start during early mornings when the air is still very cold but run well into the heat of the day. This even goes for Southern Africa safaris where summers get blistering hot.

Sustainable Safari Clothing Guide

Watching the sunset in the Serengeti, Tanzania

Don’t Pack Too Much

Although it might be tempting to pack a lot for your safari,  it’s essential to keep your packing list to the minimum . The main reason for this is that to get to some of the safari camps you’ll likely be  taking a small plane from a major African city  to a smaller town out in the bush. 

These planes have strict weight limits most of the time and anything that exceeds this will have to be left behind. Make sure to research your airlines ahead of time and  plan to adhere to these weight limits . Our best advice is to pack right so you can pack light! Safari clothing is all about versatility.

What to Wear on Safari: The Best Safari Clothes for Women and Men

Safari pants.

It might be tempting to pack shorts since you’ll be in hot weather, but they’re generally a bad idea.  You’ll want your legs covered when the Tsetse flies come out  as well as when the sun gets dangerously strong. We highly recommend opting for great safari pants instead of safari shorts.

Sustainable Safari Clothing Guide: Safari Pants Womens

Best Safari Pants for Women

Halle pant from prana.

Comfortable, durable, and sun protecting , the Halle Pant from prAna are a safari wear staple. Long hours in the hot sun call for lightweight travel pants instead of wearing shorts. An added bonus with these pants is that you can  roll them up and snap them into capris  when you need to cool off. The fabric dries quickly and is wrinkle-free so they’re ideal safari attire. If you only had to bring one pair of pants as safari clothing, it would be these.

prana halle pant

Crestwood Pant from prAna

Another great pair of versatile pants from prAna are the Crestwood Pant. They’re made from a  blend of organic cotton and Coolmax for all-weather comfort . They’ll keep you cool during long periods in the sun and cozy when evening comes around. Plus, they look great and make for a practical yet stylish African safari outfit. 

safari costume womens: prAna crestwood pants

Quandary Pants from Patagonia

Patagonia’s  Quandary Pants  are another great all-around pick for safari trousers. Synthetic fabrics really shine when it comes to breathability and drying fast. Their blend of recycled nylon and spandex is super comfortable and offers  sun protection with a water repellent coating . Similar to the Halle Pant, you can roll them into capris and ride in a safari vehicle comfortably all day.

Luxury safari clothing: Patagonia

Best Safari Pants for Men

Stretch zion pant from prana.

The Stretch Zion Pants from prAna are pretty much the perfect travel pants. They’re  wrinkle-free, water repellent, quick-dry, and offer UV protection . The soft nylon fabric is as durable as it is comfortable and can hold up to anything an African safari might throw at it.

zion prana

Organic Cotton Gi Pants from Patagonia

Safari clothes for men are all about comfort and durability and Patagonia’s  Organic Cotton Gi Pants  are exactly that. They pair the ease of slipping on sweatpants with the look and resilience of denim. They’re made from 100% organic cotton and have  plenty of pockets  for all your gear. Plus, the dark green colour is perfect as an earthy neutral that won’t attract flies.

patagonia cotton gi pants

Safari Shirts

With shirts, it’s a great idea to layer a t-shirt with either a safari button-down shirt or a sweater. Make sure that both your t-shirt and your safari shirt are made of  breathable, natural fabrics . We like to go for a linen safari shirt with a collar to stay breezy and protect our necks from the hot African sun.

safari outfit ideas for men

Our Favourite Safari Shirts for Women

Sahara long-sleeve shirt from rei.

Women’s safari clothing is best kept loose for maximum comfort and breathability. The  Sahara Long Sleeve  from REI is my perfect safari shirt because it’s lightweight and super comfortable. The fabric is UPF 35 rated with  moisture wicking properties  that’s easily packable and looks great too. A lot of hiking and outdoors clothing makes great safari wear for ladies!

Sustainable Safari Clothing Guide: Africa Safari Shirt Womens

Ezra Shirt from Kuhl

The stretchy woven fabric on the  Ezra Shirt  from Kuhl is nice and soft with excellent sun protection. Roll the sleeves up on hot days or wear it open over a tshirt as an extra layer. This shirt dries quickly and is  loaded with pockets , which is always a great feature for African safari clothes.

ezra shirt rei

Pilsner Peak Novelty Shirt from Colombia

For hot days, I like to wear a short sleeve safari shirt like the  Pilsner Peak Novelty Shirt  from Colombia. It has  hidden vents  for increased breathability and air circulation to keep you cool. The lightweight fabric wicks moisture and offers an impressive  UPF 50 sun protection .

columbia pilsner peak

Our Favourite Safari Shirts for Men

Sahara solid shirt from rei.

Likewise, a short-sleeve breathable button-up, like REI’s  Sahara Solid Shirt , is ideal safari wear for men. The shirt is carefully designed with  extra ventilation  in peak areas (hello armpits!) to stay cool and fresh. The fabric is easily packable and can be touched up with a cool iron to double as a lodge outfit.

REI coop sahara solid shirt

Sahara Solid Long-Sleeve Shirt from REI

Just like its short-sleeved counterpart, the  Sahara Solid Long-Sleeve Shirt  from REI is a safari clothing essential. The long sleeves offer sun protection and the synthetic materials are  breezy and quick drying . The khaki safari shirt is ideal for staying cool and comfortable with lots of pockets for gear. What’s more, it has a  built-in loop to store your sunglasses  so you won’t have to worry about losing them.

rei coop sahara long sleeve

Safari Boots

Unless you are doing a walking safari,  boots are not a requirement  for any game drives. You’ll be pleased to know that it does not matter whether you wear flip flops, running shoes, or boots inside the safari vehicle. So what you choose to wear is completely up to you. 

However, keep in mind that practically all morning game drives include a coffee/tea break or an evening sundowner. This means that at one point or another,  you will get out of the car  and find yourself walking on red dusty soil. You’ll venture through bushes (those bush toilets don’t have any paths) and your feet will be exposed to the elements.

South Africa Kruger Timbavati safari Max local guides 02566

Max loves wearing flip flops while in the car, they let his feet breathe and he is not at all bothered by the cold or the dust that often gets kicked up into the vehicle during the drive. I, on the other hand, prefer to wear boots. They keep me warm during cool mornings and chilly evenings while keeping my feet protected from elephant poop and other dust/dirt on the ground. 

The best safari boots are those that cover your ankles as well as your feet.  There’s no need to pack hiking shoes or boots, as most days you won’t be walking great distances. Instead, look for more of a  combat-style boot that can be worn every day.

clothes for safari in south africa

Good Safari Shoes for Women

Bata safari boots.

The go-to for any traveler heading to Africa,  Bata Safari Boots  are a classic. The  thick sole protects against Acacia tree thorns  piercing through and the suede material is extra durable. They’re made locally in Kenya and have been put to the test in East Africa for over 50 years.

Red Wing Silversmith Boots 

When I’m packing for a safari, I like to bring boots that I can wear on the safari vehicle and at the lodge. The  Silversmith Boots  from Red Wing are a perfect  combination of durability, style, and comfort . You can easily wipe away any dust and dress them up for dinner—perfect safari attire for ladies.

rei red wing silversmith boots

Allbirds Tree Runners

Running shoes are a great all-around option for safari clothes for lightweight comfort. The Allbirds Tree Runners are  made from renewable materials  and are super comfy, even for a walking safari. The best part is that they’re  machine washable  so even African safari dust can be washed off.

Good Safari Shoes for Men

Chacos .

Like I said earlier, Max prefers to wear sandals on a safari and Chacos are our go-to. Their  hiking sandals  and flip flops are  super comfortable and can hold up to any terrain.  They’re easy to toss in your suitcase without taking up much space or weight and come in all kinds of colours.

chaco mens z

Red Wing Moc Boots

The  Classic Moc Boots from Red Wing  are a great addition to any men’s safari clothing wardrobe. They’re built to withstand pretty much anything, while still being  comfortable and easy to throw on . These boots are incredibly versatile so you can wear them all day, from the safari vehicle to the lodge.

red wing classic casual boots men

Rain Jackets

When it starts to pour on the savannah, you’ll be very happy you packed a good rain jacket. The best ones are  light and breathable while still fully waterproof . You’ll especially want to pack a rain jacket if you’re going on safari during the rainy season. Linen safari jackets make for fashionable safari clothes, but they just won’t cut it in the rain.

Views of Cape Town's beaches from Lion's Head, Cape Town, Sustainable Safari Clothing Guide: Safari Jacket Womens

Best Ladies Safari Rain Jackets

Arc’teryx zeta sl rain jacket.

Our favourite rain jacket for women is the  Zeta SL Rain Jacket  from Arc’teryx. The  double-layer GORE-TEX  fabric is fully waterproof while still being breathable. The jacket is constructed with a hood and pockets in all the right places for all-day comfort. It’s lightweight and can pack down nice and tiny without any extra bulk. It’s a great safari coat for days and evenings when you want to layer up. 

Arcteryx Zeta SL Rain Jacket Womens

Marmot Packable Anorak

The  Marmot Packable Anorak  is exactly what a safari jacket needs to be—lightweight, breathable, and packable. It’s made from recycled nylon and has fully taped seams. What makes it especially good for safari clothing is that it can  pack into its front pocket . This way, you can throw it in your day pack and always have a rain jacket handy if the weather turns.

Marmot Anorak Womens Rain Jacket

Best Mens Safari Rain Jackets

Just like the women’s version, the  Zeta FL Rain Jacket  from Arc’teryx is our top pick. It’s  ultra lightweight and has 2 layers of GORE-TEX  so you’ll be covered in any weather. The fabric is completely waterproof yet still breathable and has a durable windproof hood for stormy weather.

Arcteryx Zeta FL Rain Jacket Mens

Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket

With taped seams and a breathable waterproof shell, the  PreCip Eco Jacket  from Marmot marries performance with eco-consciousness. The lightweight material is  made from recycled nylon  with “pit zips” for added ventilation. It  packs into its own pocket  and has a built-in hood that you can tuck away into the collar. Good safari clothes are all about versatility and this jacket ticks all the boxes.

Marmot Mens PreCip Eco Jacket

For both sun protection and classic safari style,  a good hat is absolutely essential . Go for  something with a brim  to keep the sun out of your eyes and off of your face. 

Sustainable Safari Clothing Guide: Safari Hat

Best Women’s Safari Hat 

No safari wardrobe is complete without a wide brim hat. We recommend the  Columbia Global Adventure Packable Hat  because it travels well and is made from  fabric with UV protection . You can throw it in your suitcase and it’ll bounce back into shape, which is perfect for travel. Plus, it has an  adjustable chin strap  to stay secured while you’re out in the bush. Any person wearing a hat that’s flown off before knows this is essential in a safari vehicle!

rei columbia safari hat

Best Men’s Safari Hat 

Tilley is one of the best safari clothing brands for durable and functional attire. Their  Wanderer Hat  is a classic when it comes to safari-style clothing, with an adjustable brim and wind cords. It has a  built-in sweatband  to keep you cool, sun and water resistant fabric, and it floats! Maybe we’re biased because it’s made in Canada, but this hat is perfect for a safari in Africa.

African safari hats: Tilley Wanderer

Clothes for the Lodge

At the end of the day, you’ll want to get out of your safari clothing and into something nicer to wear around the lodge.

Sustainable Safari Clothing Guide

We suggest packing the following:

  • Dresses/Dinner Outfits : Sundresses or maxi dresses are perfect for nice dinners at the lodge. Note that  modesty is important  in Kenya and other countries, so leave any above-the-knee safari dress at home. For men, pack shorts, long pants, and a few button-down shirts.
  • Warm Sweater or Jacket : When the  nights get especially chilly , you’ll want a cozy sweater to stay warm. A lightweight fleece is a great option because it’s easily packable and dries quickly. 
  • Sandals : To go with your dinner outfits.
  • Bathing Suit : If your safari lodge has a pool (and most of them do), make sure to bring at least one swimsuit with you.

South Africa Kruger Singita Sweni river pool OM 03053

Other Things to Bring

These don’t necessarily count as clothing, but they’re still essential items for your safari packing list.

  • Water Bottle : A reusable water bottle is an essential item for a day out on safari. We use and love  Hydroflask bottles .
  • Binoculars : To see the animals up close, binoculars are a must-have. 
  • Sunglasses : Protect your eyes from the harsh, direct sunlight. 
  • Camera with a Telephoto Lens : If you’re a photographer, you won’t want to miss the chance to photograph some of the most beautiful animals on earth in their natural habitats. Make sure to bring a good telephoto lens with you so you can zoom in close enough.
  • Unlocked Phone With a SIM Card or Solis Hotspot : The wifi at safari camps tends to be pretty bad in general, so it’s good to have a SIM card and/or mobile wifi device. 
  • Day Pack : For all your extra items that you’ll need throughout the day, we highly recommend a reliable day pack, such as  this one  from Peak Designs.

What NOT to Wear on Safari

Here are a few quick tips to simplify your safari clothing packing based on our first-hand expert advice:

  • Avoid dark colours  like dark blue and black clothing to ward off Tsetse flies. Tsetse flies are especially prevalent in Eastern Africa. 
  • Leave your white clothes at home . The African bush can get pretty dusty so prepare to have a layer of red dust on pretty much everything. 
  • Avoid bright colours  or prints so you don’t scare the animals.
  • Khaki green is great, but  avoid camo prints . Many countries in Africa consider camouflage to be a military-only print for tactical gear.
  • Don’t bother bringing jeans . Convertible pants made from quick dry fabric will have you covered for game drives and dinners at the lodge. Jeans are heavy and take forever to dry—a no-go for safari clothing.
  • Skip any perfume or heavily scented beauty products . Fragrances attract bugs and we promise the animals won’t care how you smell.

While it may seem like there are a lot of requirements for what to wear on a safari, it isn’t as complex as it appears. 

Choosing the best safari clothes really comes down to practicality.  If you make sure everything is comfortable, neutral in colour, and within your plane’s weight allowance, you should be in excellent shape.

Read Next:  Best Safari Destinations In The World

What’s your favourite article of clothing for a safari or other outdoor activities?

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January 29, 2024

Safari Style: What to Wear and How to Flaunt it in the Wild

Welcome, fellow adventurers! If you plan to embark on a thrilling private safari in Tanzania, the heart of Africa awaits, and so does an opportunity to showcase your style amidst the wilderness.

At Nakuja Expeditions, we understand that a safari is not just about wildlife; it’s a journey that blends the raw beauty of nature with the refined elegance of your wardrobe. Join us as we unravel the secrets of safari style, offering practical yet fashion-forward tips to make your adventure both comfortable and chic.

Contact Nakuja Expeditions Today!

Before we dive into the world of safari fashion, allow us to extend an invitation to experience the magic of private safaris in Tanzania , where every detail is meticulously crafted for an unparalleled adventure. Contact us at Nakuja Expeditions  to explore our exceptional safari packages,  including mesmerizing Mt. Kilimanjaro  climbing tours and custom travel itineraries for Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Dressing for the Wild: Practical and Stylish Safari Style Tips

1. prioritize comfort without sacrificing style.

When packing for a safari, comfort should be your top priority. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen to stay cool in the African heat. Loose-fitting clothing not only enhances comfort but also protects from the sun. Our private safaris in Tanzania often encounter varying climates, so layering is key. A light jacket or a long-sleeved shirt can be a game-changer during chilly mornings or evenings.

However, comfort doesn’t mean sacrificing style. Choose earthy tones and neutral colors that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings. Not only does this camouflage you amidst the flora and fauna, but it also captures the essence of safari chic.

2. The Safari Hat: A Stylish Shield

Your choice of head wear can make a significant impact on both your style and comfort. A wide-brimmed hat not only adds a touch of elegance to your safari ensemble but also shields you from the harsh African sun. Opt for a hat with a chin strap to ensure it stays in place during game drives or walks. This small accessory can be a game-changer, providing both practicality and a dash of safari sophistication.

3. Footwear Matters: Choose Comfortable and Sturdy

Exploring the wilderness requires sturdy footwear that can handle different terrains. A comfortable pair of hiking boots or closed-toe sandals with excellent grip will make your safari experience more enjoyable. Neutral tones, like khaki or beige, work well and complement the safari aesthetic. Remember, a well-chosen pair of shoes protects your feet and can elevate your entire safari look.

Contact Nakuja Expeditions for Tailored Safari Experiences!

Ready to embark on a safari that blends luxury with adventure? Contact us  today to explore private safaris in Tanzania, captivating Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing tours, and customized itineraries tailored to your preferences.

4. Embrace Utility with Stylish Safari Accessories

Accessories can be your best allies when it comes to safari style. A versatile scarf can double as a fashion statement and protection from the sun or chilly evenings. Choose accessories with earthy tones or tribal patterns to add an authentic touch to your ensemble. Sunglasses, a classic watch, and a spacious yet stylish backpack complete the safari look, offering both practicality and flair.

Blend Fashion and Functionality on Mt. Kilimanjaro Climbing Tours

5. layering for success.

When it comes to Mount Kilimanjaro trekking or climbing tours, the key is to master the art of layering. The temperature can vary dramatically as you ascend, and being prepared is essential. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin. Add insulating layers for warmth, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. This adaptable approach ensures you stay comfortable while conquering the majestic Kilimanjaro.

6. Durable Gear for the Climb

Investing in high-quality gear is a non-negotiable aspect of preparing for Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing tours. A sturdy backpack, well-fitted hiking boots, and weather-appropriate outerwear are essentials. While practicality is paramount, choosing gear with sleek designs and neutral colors can keep you trekking in style. After all, reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro should be an accomplishment celebrated with both awe and fashion finesse.

Reach New Heights with Nakuja Expeditions!

Embark on a transformative journey with our Mount Kilimanjaro climbing tours. Contact Nakua Expeditions  to explore our carefully curated packages and experience the thrill of ascending Africa’s tallest peak in both comfort and style.

Safari Style, a Celebration of Nature and Elegance

As your safari adventure unfolds, remember that your attire is not just clothing; it’s a statement. Each choice reflects your respect for nature and your desire to experience it in style. Whether you’re on a game drive in the Serengeti or conquering the heights of Kilimanjaro, let your wardrobe resonate with the wild.

7. Mix and Match Safari-Inspired Prints

Infuse a bit of the local culture into your safari style by incorporating prints inspired by African wildlife or traditional patterns. Animal prints, earthy tones, and tribal motifs can be seamlessly blended into your wardrobe. From scarves and shirts to accessories like bracelets or necklaces, these prints add a touch of authenticity to your ensemble, connecting you with the vibrant spirit of the safari.

8. Capture the Moment: Dress for the Photo Ops

Every safari moment is a photo opportunity, and your outfit plays a starring role. Opt for well-coordinated, photogenic outfits that stand out against the natural backdrop. Neutral colors, such as beige, khaki, and olive green, complement the surroundings and ensure you’re the focal point of those stunning safari snapshots.

A group of people trekking

Book Your Safari Adventure with Nakuja Expeditions Today!

Ready to embark on a safari that seamlessly combines luxury and adventure? Contact us  to embark on a safari adventure that transcends expectations and leaves you with memories to last a lifetime. Safe travels!

Fashion Meets the Wild

As we conclude this journey into the world of safari style, we hope you are inspired to pack not just clothing but a sense of adventure and style for your next African escapade. At Nakuja Expeditions, we believe that your safari experience should be a harmonious blend of comfort, luxury, and awe-inspiring moments.

Embrace the wild, conquer new heights, and capture the essence of nature with every step. Remember, your safari style is not just about what you wear; it’s about how you celebrate the untamed beauty that surrounds you.

Contact us  to explore private safaris in Tanzania, captivating Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing tours, and customized itineraries tailored to your preferences.

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  • Best Safari Clothes for Women: Outfit Examples + Where to Buy 

by Nichole | Last updated May 7, 2024 | Safari Packing List , South Africa

Images of khaki pants and an Australian outback hat immediately come to mind when I think of the safari outfit. As a first-time safari-goer, I had no idea what to wear. Now that I have done two safari experiences, one at Lion Sands in South Africa and one at Chobe National Park in Botswana , I can now share my travel pearls of what are the best safari clothes for women. 

* Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. All recommendations are from first-hand experience that I feel will deliver value to you! Thank you for your continued support.

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Best Safari Shirts for Women

#1- orvis open air caster shirt, #2- orvis chambray shirt, #3- kuhl arriva shirt, best safari pants for women , #1- prana halle pant, #2- anatomie kate cargo pants, #3- l.l. bean vista camp pants, #4- kuhl freeflex roll-up pants.

  • Women's Safari Outfit Examples

Best Safari Shorts for Women

#1- prana double peak short, #2- prana elle short, best safari hats for women, #1- orvis packable felt hat, #2- j.crew packable straw hat, best safari jackets for women, #1- anatomie kenya safari jacket, #2- rei 650 down jacket, best safari shoes for women, #1- saucony peregrine trail runners, #2- rothy's slip on sneaker, #3- blundstone chelsea boots (walking safari), bathing suit, fleece or sweatshirt, safari dress alternative.

  • Best Women's Safari Accessories

MULTI-COLORED SCARF

Polarized sunglasses, 9 safari clothing tips, #1- where to buy safari clothing, #2- pick lightweight clothing, #3- pick breathable fabrics, #4- pick upf 40+ rated clothing, #5- avoid these colors, #6- dress in layers, #7- khaki not required, #8- pack light, #9- be aware of luggage weight limits, final thoughts, related content.

OPTION A : Ahh, too much khaki! Please tell me there are other options.

OPTION B : Gorgeous, but are you seriously going to wear this sitting in a jeep in the heat with dust and bugs flying around you?

When I first started my search for the ideal safari clothes for women, I thought there has to be more choices than options A and B as seen from the photos above.

I despise khaki (and I’m fair-skinned which does not mix well with skin-toned colors), and I crave feminine, well-fitted, PRACTICAL clothes (that do not look like you are only wearing them for a dramatic Instagram shot).

Is there an option C?

But it took me a lot of purchases and returns later to find the best safari clothes for women. I hope my trial-and-error clothing discoveries can help you as you pack for one of the most epic experiences of your life … the African safari!

By the way, if you are still trying to figure out what to pack, don’t miss my ultimate safari packing list below (#23 will surprise you!).

There are three features you want to look for when selecting a safari shirt:

→   Lightweight

→   Breathable fabrics

→   UPF 40+ rating

All these features are discussed more in detail at the end of this blog post. Click here if you want to read more about these features and tips first.

You do not have to stick to beige and browns for your safari drive that look like the color of your skin. Instead, I opted for colors such as light blue, grey, olive green, white, rust, and soft pink.

Here are my top recommendations on the best safari shirts for women that are stylish and feminine but also practical.

Orvis Open Air Caster Shirt in White

WHY I LOVE THE ORVIS OPEN AIR CASTER SHIRT :

  • Lightweight
  • UPF 40 rated
  • Built-in Odor Control
  • Roll-tab sleeves
  • White is a versatile color that will pair with any pants

Orvis Chambray Shirt in Alpine Lake

WHY I LOVE THE ORVIS CHAMBRAY SHIRT :

  • Dries quickly
  • Super breathable
  • Wrinkle resistant

Kuhl Arriva Shirt in Olive

WHY I LOVE THE KUHL ARRIVA SHIRT :

  • Ultra lightweight

Quick drying

  • UPF 50 rated

Moisture wicking

I admit it.

I overpack and like to plan for all possible outfits I may need. If you are taking a small plane to your safari destination, you will likely have a weight limit for your luggage.

That means you have to make smart choices of what clothing to bring.

Pants take up a fair amount of space in your luggage, so it’s very important to pick pants that are LIGHTWEIGHT and versatile.

Let’s go through some of my favorite picks to make your trip enjoyable and comfortable.

Prana Halle Pant in Sedona Fields

WHY I LOVE THE PRANA HALLE PANT :

  • Stretch performance with durable water-repellant (DWR) finish

UPF 50+ rated

  • Roll-up leg feature
  • Comes in a lot of great colors

Kate Skinny Cargo Pants in Army Green

WHY I LOVE THE ANATOMIE KATE CARGO PANTS :

Stretchy material

  • Quick-drying

Anatomie pants vs. Jeans

L.L. Bean Vista Camp Pants in Granite 

WHY READERS LOVE L.L. BEAN VISTA CAMP PANTS :

  • Durable (made from rugged nylon)

* I haven’t tried these pants yet, but I had to include them because readers keep raving about how great these pants are for safari drives. I can’t wait to try them out on our next trip!

Kuhl Freeflex Roll-up Pants in E ucalyptus

WHY I LOVE THE KUHL FREEFLEX PANTS :

Roll-up pants

Water-resistant FREEFLEX

Women’s Safari Outfit Examples

My husband hates taking personal photos, so you’ll only see a few personal safari photos of us in this blog post. 

Since I did not have photos of every single safari outfit I wore while in South Africa and Botswana, I took a few photos back home to demonstrate what I wore on our 4-day trip.

Safari Outfit Day 1

Safari Outfit Day 2

Safari Outfit Day 3

Safari Outfit Day 4

I strongly advise wearing pants on your safari drive because of the dust, sun, and bugs.

However, back at the safari lodge, you may want to slip into something clean and comfortable to walk around in.

Here are my recommended versatile performance shorts:

Prana Double Peak Short in Mud

WHY I LOVE THE PRANA DOUBLE PEAK SHORT :

Prana Elle Short in Rust

WHY I LOVE THE PRANA ELLE SHORT :

Comes in fun colors

4-way stretch

Lots of pockets

Wearing a safari hat and taking photos of elephants in Chobe National Park in Botswana

Bring a hat!

The African sun is strong and hot. If you want to avoid skin cancer and wrinkles, be sun smart. This saved my skin!

One other feature you may want to consider in a safari hat is a chin strap.

It was not very windy when we were in Sabi Sands in South Africa. I can imagine though if you are traveling by jeep on an open plain in Tanzania, there may be more wind that could steal your hat away.

Orvis Women’s Saddle Packable Felt Hat

WHY I LOVE THE ORVIS PACKABLE FELT HAT :

  • Super packable!
  • Water-repellant and stain-resistant
  • Adjustable interior band

J.Crew Packable Straw Hat

WHY I LOVE THE J.CREW PACKABLE STRAW HAT :

  • Super squishy and packable!

Depending on the time of year, you will need a light to medium jacket.

Remember, those mornings can be chilly!

Layer, layer, layer!

Anatomie Kenya Safari Jacket

WHY I LOVE THE ANATOMIE KENYA SAFARI JACKET :

Super stylish and slim fit

Versatile- wear it on safari by day and city by night

Performance stretch

Wrinkle AND wind-resistant

Machine washable!

REI 650 Down Jacket in Saragasso Sea

WHY I LOVE THE REI 650 DOWN JACKET :

  • Water resistant
  • Great for layering up on a safari and for city exploring

Wearing my light down jacket on a safari drive

A lot of the blogs will suggest hiking boots. I strongly disagree IF you are only doing game drives.

If you are doing a walking safari, then please bring those heavier mid-rise hiking boots! You may be walking in tall grass, navigating around rocks, or accidentally stepping in lion poop. Sturdy boots are essential for protection and keeping those dainty ankles away from biting insects.

Otherwise, lightweight trail runners work perfectly. They provide a little grip just in case you jump out for a quick walk or to enjoy a sundowner.

Plus, remember those little planes taking you to your safari destination have weight limits. Pack light!

Saucony Peregrine Trail Runners

WHY I LOVE THE SAUCONY PEREGRINE TRAIL RUNNERS :

  • Lugs for good traction
  • Variety of fun colors to choose from

Rothy’s Slip On Sneakers in Sand

WHY I LOVE THE ROTHY’S SLIP ON SNEAKER :

  • Doubles as a great “transit” shoe for travel days on/off the airplane
  • Do not wear on a walking safari but perfectly fine if sitting in a jeep for 3 hours
  • Super comfotable
  • Machine washable

Blundstone Chelsea Boots in Cocoa Brown

WHY I LOVE THE BLUNDSTONE CHELSEA  BOOTS :

  • Cushioned midsoles
  • Leather uppers are weather-resistant
  • Vibram Megagrip outsoles
  • Immediately comfortable
  • Great for walking safaris

Swimming in Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls on the Zambia side

Athleta super soft sweatshirt

Remember the mornings and evenings in Africa can get chilly. Layers are so important!

My favorite is my Athleta sweatshirt due to its super soft material.

Anatomie Louisa Skinny Jean Pant in Black

I had brought a few dresses with me because prior to the safari portion of our trip, we had the opportunity to dine at some of the best restaurants in Cape Town including The Test Kitchen!

We had also visited numerous wineries in South Africa wine country , so I did end up bringing a few “dressier” items.

I love wearing dresses, but I found a safari lodge is really not the place people wear them. Everyone was super casual.

Of course, wear what you want, but I would have felt a little out of place wearing a dress.

If you do wear one, a long maxi dress probably makes the most sense to keep your legs protected from mosquitoes.

So instead I opted to wear my Anatomie Luisa Skinny Jean Pant in black with a flowy top and sandals.

Then I just alternated tops since black goes with everything. Remember, there are no tsetse flies in South Africa, but if you are in another country that has them, no black or dark blue!

Sorry, no photo from the safari trip, so I took a photo of the Anatomie pants I wore for dinners at the safari lodge when I got home.

Best Women’s Safari Accessories

Wearing a multi-colored scarf at Chalkley Treehouse at Lion Sands River Lodge

Morning safaris can be chilly depending on the time of the year you go. Layer up.

One way to do that is to bring a scarf. Not only does it provide warmth, but it also fends off the sun and dust.

I opted for a multi-colored scarf I could wear with multiple outfits. Orvis usually has some great colorful options.

Wearing my Ray Ban sunglasses in Chobe National Park in Botswana

They reduce eye strain and cut down the glare and help as you are staring into the distant bushes trying to make out if you just saw a leopard.

I did not care for all the khaki boxy clothing options I was discovering when I Googled where to buy safari clothing.

I found the best clothing for a safari is from travel, camping, hiking, and fishing stores. They sell clothing that is performance-performing, lightweight, and durable. My favorite stores include the following:

→    Anatomie

A lot of the safari lodges will offer laundry service. However, if you need to wash an article of clothing by hand, pick something lightweight that dries quickly.

By far, my Anatomie pants are the quickest-drying clothing I have ever encountered.

There have been a few occasions where I have had to wash them in the sink with a little soap, and they literally air-dry within a few hours.

Pretty impressive!

According to Anatomie’s website, they can be dried in under 8 minutes using a hairdryer (but I have not tried that yet).

Wearing breathable fabrics is so important especially when you are sitting in a jeep underneath the scorching African sun!

Cotton, rayon, and linen are very breathable but not moisture-wicking.

Nylon and polyester wick moisture, but the breathability depends on the weave.

Merino wool is not just for winter but is also used for summer clothing because it breathes well and wicks moisture. For me, it’s a little itchy even with the fine weaves, but I have super sensitive skin.

For shirts, specifically look for a vented back with mesh lining, which allows for breathability. Also, another great feature to look for is roll-up sleeve tabs.  

To stay cool, some pants are convertible where you can zip off the pant legs or roll them up and snap them in place.

Most people know what an SPF number means for sunscreen, but they may not be familiar with UPF ratings for fabrics.

The Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)   number shows how much UVA + UVB radiation a fabric permits to penetrate your skin.

Look for a UPF 50, which blocks 98% of the UV radiation.  Also, look for shirts where you can pop the collar up. Your neck will thank you.  

For some reason, Americans always think (myself included!) to wear less when it is hot; whereas cultures in Asia and the Middle East tend to cover up in the heat. 

I know it seems counterintuitive to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, but you will be glad you did when you are baking in the sun and fighting off mosquitos and tsetse flies. 

Tsetse flies love black and dark blue, so do not wear those colors while on safari. Otherwise, you can get a nasty bite and possibly African sleeping sickness if the fly has been infected with a parasite.

I asked my safari guides about the tsetse fly while we were in South Africa, and they had no idea what I was talking about. I found out later that is because this fly is not present in South Africa!

If you are in Tanzania or any other country, do not wear dark blue or black clothing/shoes and keep those ankles covered.

South Africa though has NO tsetse flies, so it is okay to wear black and dark blue there. However, dark colors absorb heat, so you may feel hotter if you choose to wear them. 

Never wear camouflage since that type of clothing is identified with the military.

Also, a lot of guides will say not to wear white because it will get dirty quickly.

This may be true in other countries when driving out on wide-open plains, but honestly, I wore a white shirt twice while in Sabi Sands in South Africa and had no problems with getting really dirty. 

I would avoid white though on a walking safari because it does make you stand out. 

When we went to Sabi Sands at the end of September, the weather was VERY cold for the morning safari (I was layered up) and hot for the afternoon safari (I was stripping down).  

If you are like me whose body does not regulate temperature very well, you will be happy you have layers to account for all temperature situations.

You really do NOT have to wear khaki for your safari outfit  UNLESS you are doing a walking safari, and then by all means wear those browns/tans to blend in. 

Most lodges offer laundry services. Take advantage, so then you can pack less. I’ll be honest, I am horrible about “packing light.”

That is one reason why I love Anatomie clothing! I can bring more because it weighs hardly anything.   

Remember you need room for all of that lovely South African wine you are going to bring back! We toured multiple wineries in the Cape Winelands before we headed to Sabi Sand and stored them in wine sleeves in our luggage.

Wine or clothes? Wine always wins.

There you have it.

My top safari clothes for women.

Most articles I have read just provide another generic list. I hope my more detailed explanations of what I personally wore will make your safari experience more comfortable and memorable.

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Any other safari clothes for women that I missed or that you would recommend?

Let me know in the comments below!

Ann

2 weeks in zambia. I brought 2 prs of these https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/86735?page=vista-camp-pants and lived in them Every Morning!!!! I had to have the neutral color so went with toasted almond. I had to wash a pair once because I forgot to put them in the laundry. and they were dry within a couple of hours. Crazy comfortable, good pockets for extra camera batteries, lens cover, etc. Vista Camp Pants. Love them.

Nichole

Thanks so much for sharing! I’m excited to try those out. They look super comfortable!!!

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Passport & Pixels

What To Wear On Safari: My Detailed Safari Packing List With Photos

safari fine clothing

Written by BELLA FALK

What to wear on safari: four women in safari clothing in front of a safari car in Botswana

You’ve all seen the brochure photos: a smiling family is sitting at a camping table in the middle of the African bush. Behind them, the sun is setting, and perhaps a giraffe is crossing the savanna landscape.

Contents (click to view)

What are they wearing? I’m sure you can picture it: lightweight designer safari gear, all matching, in indistinguishable shades of beige, taupe and camel. Maybe the dad is wearing khaki chinos and the mum has a floppy-brimmed hat (colour: putty) on her head. They all have sand-coloured lace-up boots on, and from head to toe all their clothes are pristine, clean, and crease-free.

If it’s your first time figuring out what to wear on safari, it might feel like this is the model you have to follow. Like, having booked the blindingly expensive trip of a lifetime, you now have to go out and splurge hundreds more on the ‘proper’ kit, otherwise people will laugh at you and you may even get into trouble for not doing it right.

Well I’m here to reassure you: that’s rubbish.

A packing list for safari: Pin this for later

What should you wear on safari?

I’ve been on five safaris (to Kenya , Botswana , Tanzania , Uganda and South Africa) and I still don’t own any ‘official’ safari clothes. I’ve always worn stuff I already own and been just fine.

That said, there are some dos and don’ts about packing for a safari, some things it’s a good idea to make sure you bring with you, and some stuff you should definitely leave at home.

So welcome to my complete safari packing guide. I’m going to go through a few points and FAQs, and then make a handy list at the end. Scroll down if you just want to skip ahead to that.

The writer and friends on safari in the Serengeti in Tanzania in 2016

What happens on a safari?

Days on safari follow a similar schedule. You wake early and head out shortly after sunrise for a morning activity – usually a game drive but sometimes a boat cruise, guided walk, or scenic flight.

You return to the camp mid-morning for brunch and have some hours to relax in the heat of the day before heading out again for another activity later in the afternoon. Your afternoon game drive or boat cruise normally ends with sunset drinks in a beautiful location, before you head back to the camp for dinner.

After dinner you might sit round the campfire or boma enjoying a few drinks with your fellow guests, but most people go to bed fairly early, ready for another dawn start the next day.

Read more: Top 50 African Birds: A Safari Photo Guide

Guests take photos on a river boat cruise in Botswana in 2023

What to wear on safari during the day

The most important thing to note is that a safari is not a fashion show. It can be hot and dusty, or rainy and muddy, so it’s important to dress for comfort and practicality, so leave the designer gear, luxury fabrics and bling jewellery at home. Instead, bring stuff that washes easily, dries quickly and hides the dirt well!

You’ll also be coating yourself daily in suncream and insect repellent, so don’t bring anything that won’t mix well with those!

When I was in Botswana in December, some days reached 40 degrees C (104 F) with high humidity, so think lightweight breathable fabrics like cotton, viscose or sweat-wicking sportswear, or even linen if you don’t mind the creases).

T-shirts and shorts are your friends, but I’d avoid strappy vests for two reasons:

  • Many African countries are quite conservative, and it doesn’t do to flash a lot of skin.
  • The sun is extremely strong and the more skin you show, the more of you there is to get burned, even in a shaded safari car.

T-shirts and lightweight shorts or cropped trousers are my go-to things to wear on safari

What to wear on a game drive or boat cruise

On wildlife viewing trips you’ll be sitting in a car for several hours, so it’s important to be comfortable. T-shirts and shorts are a great option.

Early mornings in Africa can be chilly, so bring a long-sleeved shirt, light sweater or jacket just in case.

Don’t forget your hat and sunglasses. Safari cars have roofs, but sometimes the roof rolls back so you can stand up, and when the sun is low in the sky it can shine in from the side very strongly. I was surprised by how much I ended up needing my hat.

Since you won’t be walking around much, light sneakers or sandals are fine.  

Safari cars are open-sided, so if it rains you may get a bit wet. Most safari companies carry ponchos in the car, to hand out to guests when it rains, but you might want to bring your own light waterproof raincoat just in case.

The author on a rainy afternoon in Botswana wearing the poncho provided by the lodge

What to wear on a walking safari

For a walking safari the principles are the same, but you should wear long trousers to prevent your legs being cut or scratched by branches, and closed-toed shoes to protect you from biting or stinging animals or insects.

Although walking safaris can sometimes last for three or four hours, you don’t actually walk that far because there’s a lot of stopping and looking at stuff. So you don’t need hiking boots; comfortable trainers or walking shoes are fine. If you’re travelling in rainy season you might want to bring waterproof or Gore-Tex ones.

Read more: 46 Amazing African Safari Animals – A Photo Guide

On a walking safari it's a good idea to wear lightweight trousers or leggings

Do I need warm clothes on safari?

We think of Africa as being hot, and it is, but it can also be extremely cold. If you travel during the northern hemisphere summer, that’s winter in most of Africa, and temperatures can drop below freezing especially in desert areas, if you’re at altitude, and the further south you go.

In Botswana and South Africa during the winter, average nighttime temperatures can be 0 or even -2 degrees C (28-32 F), and remember that most safari cabins and tents are not heated!

Even in Kenya, which is much closer to the equator and therefore not as cold, nights and early mornings can definitely be chilly.

What to wear on safari in Kenya: on chilly mornings I wore my lightweight down jacket

Staff in camps will provide you with hot water bottles and blankets both in your tent and on game drives, but you still need to bring warm clothes with you as well.

If you’re travelling to the southern African countries between April and October, I’d recommend bringing at least one pair of long trousers, one long-sleeved top, one jumper, and a packable down jacket.

But remember to dress in layers, as the day quickly warms once the sun’s up, and even if it’s close to freezing during the night, afternoon temperatures can ramp up to high 20s (70+ F) or more.

It’s very important to check the weather forecast before you travel, as different regions’ climates can vary.

Some of our group wearing fleeces, hoodies or ponchos at the cool end of the day in Kenya

What colour should you wear on safari?

It’s recommended that you wear plain designs in neutral, earthy or natural colours, such as shades of beige, grey, brown or natural greens.

Avoid vibrant, bright colours like orange, red and yellow, or vivid patterns. This is for two reasons:

  • It helps to make you less noticeable to animals.
  • You can get pretty dusty on safari, and natural shades don’t show the dirt so much!

Bright white and full black are also not recommended. This is not only because they show the dust really badly, but because many animals actually only see in black and white, and large gleaming white shapes or dark black ones are very noticeable to them.

The best colours to wear on safari are neutral shades like beige, grey, navy and earthy greens

With that all said, I wouldn’t worry about it too much, and you certainly don’t need to rush out and buy an entire new wardrobe full of khaki and beige. As I just mentioned, many animals only see in black and white, and when you’re inside the car, most only see the car as one large object, and not the people inside.

It’s more important to stick to the rules when you’re on a walking safari and don’t have the protection of the car.

But in general, if you pack plain, neutral-ish colours, you’ll be fine.

A safari car and a rhino, Kenya

Why not wear blue on safari?

Some people recommend not wearing blue on safari. Apart from being a pretty noticeable bright colour, it’s said to attract tsetse flies, which are prevalent in some areas of southern Africa and can deliver a nasty bite and spread disease. They are also thought to prefer black (another reason not to wear it).

That said, my light down jacket is bright blue, and I also took a blue t-shirt and a pale blue cardigan to Kenya, and I wore all three with no problems.

Read more: An Epic Uganda Itinerary In 2 Weeks

What to pack for safari: the author on safari in Botswana

What to wear on safari evenings

Most people like to dress up when they go on holiday, so you might think about throwing a few glamorous dresses, high heels or some party shirts into your suitcase.

But you probably won’t wear them. Even in the luxury camps, most people really don’t dress up for dinner, for four main reasons:

  • At night it’s a good idea to cover your arms and legs to avoid insect bites, so floaty skirts and strappy tops are a bad idea.
  • It can get quite chilly at night, so you’ll probably be more comfortable in trousers and a fleece anyway.
  • You’ll be tired after a long day and an early start; you’ll probably find you can’t be bothered to dress for dinner as you’ll be going to bed soon afterwards anyway.
  • Walking round camp after dark you may run into snakes or spiders, and paths can be muddy and uneven, so high-heels are a definite no-no.

When I was in Botswana in December (the height of their summer) it was still 30+ degrees (86 F) in the evening, so I wore lightweight trousers or a long casual dress and then liberally coated myself with insect repellent. In Kenya in September it was a bit cooler, around low 20s (70 F), so I wore trousers, a t-shirt and a light cardigan, and had my jacket handy for later in the evening as the temperature dropped.

What to wear on safari: the author wearing a loose-fitting sundress for hot afternoons around the camp

Is it OK to wear jeans on safari?

It’s perfectly fine to bring a pair of jeans for the cooler evenings, especially if you’re travelling in winter when you know it will be chilly at night.

However jeans aren’t recommended for game drives as you’ll probably be too hot in them during the day, and if you need to wash them they’ll take ages to dry.

As a general rule I wouldn’t take jeans on safari but instead bring lightweight trousers. The convertible zip-off ones that turn into shorts are especially good as you can have long pants for cold mornings and safari walks, and convert them into shorts once the day’s warmed up.

Pro tip: Whatever you choose to bring, make sure you have some ‘room to grow’! The food on safari is usually really good and you won’t be doing much exercise, so stretchy waistbands are a good idea!

What to pack for safari: the author wearing a black t-shirt and grey zip-off trousers in front of a safari car

Can you wear leggings on safari?

Yes, absolutely. Leggings are a great thing to bring on safari because they’re lightweight, wash and dry easily, are comfortable, and protect you from bugs and the sun. Just stick to neutral colours and leave the snazzy activewear designs at home!

I always pack a pair of leggings for safari – and if there’s a gym in the hotel then I can also use them for a workout!

What to pack for safari: bring gym kit if you like to exercise, just in case

What are the best shoes to wear on safari?

As I mentioned above, high heels and smart shoes are definitely not the thing to bring on safari. For game drives it’s fine to wear sandals or light sneakers, and for safari walks you want closed-toed comfortable walking shoes.  You definitely don’t need to buy special safari boots, no matter what the sales people might say.

If your lodge or hotel has a pool, you might want to bring some flipflops (also handy to have for walking around in your tent at night, or for nipping to the bathroom block if you’re staying in a campsite).

Can you wear trainers on safari?

Yes, absolutely. I always pack a pair of Asics Gore-Tex trail trainers that I wear for exercise, when it’s muddy or raining, and for walking or hiking. On game drives and boat cruises, and for walking around the camp in the evening, I have a pair of Skechers Go-Walk sneakers that are super comfortable and easy to slip on and off.

Read more: Kenya Vs Tanzania: Travel Experts Decide

I figure if zebras can wear strips on safari, then so can I!

What to pack for the beach in Kenya or Tanzania

Many people like to combine their safari with a few days on the beach, perhaps in Zanzibar in Tanzania, or at Diani or Vipingo in Kenya .

Here’s where you will get the chance to dress up a bit – as if you’re staying in a nice hotel or beach resort destination, there will definitely be opportunities to put on a strappy dress, holiday shirt, or some sparkly sandals.

If you’re planning to hit the beach for a few days at the end of your trip, you’ll definitely want to throw in one or two nice evening outfits. And don’t forget swimwear and a beach cover-up too!

Safari packing list: a woman in a green dress sits on a bed in a boutique hotel in Kenya

Can you wash clothes on safari?

This is a very important question, and the answer is yes! Almost all safari lodges and camps offer a laundry service and most of the time it’s included in the price of your stay. So you can wash your clothes as often as you like at no extra cost – which means you really don’t need to bring huge amounts of luggage as you can wash and re-wear your clothes several times.

Note that in many places the laundry is done by hand by the hotel staff, dried out in the sun, and ironed using an old-fashioned coal iron. This is yet another reason not to bring anything too delicate or precious, as there’s a small chance it may get damaged during the laundry process.

On safari in Africa you can wear comfortable, casual clothes for almost everything

What sort of underwear should I bring for safari?

Ladies: remember that you may spend many hours bouncing around over unsealed and bumpy roads in the back of a safari car. Being quite an athletic build, this is not something that’s ever bothered me, but I’ve been reliably informed by more curvy girls that a sports bra can be a life-saver in this situation. So if you’re particularly susceptible to bouncing, bring sports bras!

It’s also important to note that the people who handwash your clothes are usually male, and for cultural and hygiene reasons they won’t wash women’s underwear. Ladies will need to bring a small amount of hand wash (though sometimes laundry soap is provided) and wash your own pants and bras in the basin. For this reason it’s a good idea not to bring anything too fancy or delicate: lightweight, quick-drying microfibre underwear is best.

Read more: Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda: A Breathtaking Wildlife Adventure

Food on safari

Other things to pack for safari

Of course, packing is not all about clothes. Here are a few other things you won’t want to forget (more in the complete packing list below):

Camera, spare batteries, chargers, plug adapters

Can you imagine going all that way on safari on the trip of a lifetime and then forgetting your phone charger or camera? I know, I’d die!

So definitely make sure you pack all your gadgets, and all the cables and plugs you’ll need to make them work! And then bring spares!

Often hotel rooms and safari tents only have a limited number of plug sockets, so if you have loads of gadgets, it’s a good idea to bring a multi-socket splitter. I recommend one with surge protection : power cuts can happen frequently and if there’s a surge when the power comes back, your devices can get fried. This happened to me the night before my Tanzania safari , so now I’m extra careful!

Inside a luxury safari tent, Kenya

Medication and toiletries

Most of the places you’ll be staying will be out in the bush, with limited access to shops. Make sure you bring all the toiletries, medicines and personal items you’ll need, as once you leave the airport, opportunities to replace anything that’s missing will be very limited.

Do you need malaria tablets for safari?

Large parts of Africa have malaria, including popular safari countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, so it’s very likely that you may need to take malaria tables on safari. I usually take doxycycline which is cheaper than malarone, but may not be suitable for everyone so speak to your pharmacist or travel clinic.

You can check the malaria risk for the country you’re visiting, as well as any other vaccine requirements at the Travel Health Pro website here .

Some countries also require you to have a proof of yellow fever vaccination – you can check if this is needed on the website above as well. For example, places like Kenya and Tanzania won’t let you in without proof of vaccination if you’ve spent time in a yellow-fever-risk country before arriving. If you have already had your yellow fever jab, make sure you pack the certificate!

A couple surrounded by lions on safari in Botswana

What to wear for safari in Tanzania

If you’re planning your safari in Tanzania or Kenya as part of a trip that also involves climbing Kilimanjaro (or any other mountain), then check out my essential Kilimanjaro packing list here .

Best suitcase for safari

This is important, so pay attention! Many safaris involve internal transfers by tiny plane or even helicopter. They all have pretty strict packing rules, with a maximum of 15 kg weight per person and no hard-shelled suitcases allowed. Luggage must be soft sided, and don’t overpack! You shouldn’t need to anyway, since you can wash everything when you’re there.

Wheels are OK as long as it’s a soft bag, so I recommend a soft holdall with or without wheels, or a wheely backpack like the one I have and love . This one came to Kenya and Botswana with me with no trouble at all.

Read more: Nature Vacations: 25 Amazing Places For An Outdoors Adventure

A small light aircraft used for internal air transfers in Botswana

Packing for safari for photographers

If, like me, you’re travelling with 15 kg of camera gear, don’t stress. The little internal plane operators are used to photographers and will let you put your backpack of gear at the back of the plane. I travelled with 15 kg of hold luggage and another 15 kg of camera gear around Botswana and Kenya, and it was never an issue.

There’ll be more on safari camera gear in a separate post, coming soon!

Meanwhile, for safari photography tips, check out 40 Safari Photography Tips For Stunning Wildlife Photos .

A photographer takes pictures of elephants on safari in Kenya

What should you NOT take on safari?

Now I’ve told you all the things you should bring on safari, here are a few things it’s a good idea to leave at home.

Perfume: No one in your safari car will thank you for dosing yourself liberally with Eau de Whatever, and if you wear a very strong scent it may even allow animals to detect you sooner and run away faster.

Hairdryer: Many safari camps run on solar power and cannot support a hairdryer. Those that can (if they’re on the grid, or running off a generator), will usually provide one that’s suited to the electricity supply. As I said, no one really worries too much about their appearance or cares about what your hair looks like on safari anyway.

Camouflage clothing: This might surprise you, but wearing military-style camo print clothing is a no-no in many African countries, where it’s associated with the military. It’s actually illegal to wear camo gear in Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Another group photo to help you decide what to pack for safari

Plastic bags: Disposable plastic bags are banned in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. You should be fine with the little zip-lock one for your liquids on the plane, and I’ve used reusable plastic packing bags many times with no problems, but try to keep plastic bags to a minimum or you may get a fine.

A drone: Unless you have special permission, drones are not allowed in most lodges and African National Parks.

Expensive watches, jewellery, and other valuable items: This doesn’t just apply to African safaris but to all travel. Jewellery can easily get lost, damaged or stolen, so if you care about it, leave it at home.

A hard-shelled suitcase: As mentioned above, all safari companies ask you to bring a soft bag or at most a wheeled soft holdall , as these are much easier to pack into the small luggage spaces on planes and in cars. You will not be thanked if you bring rigid-sided luggage.

Getting ready to load our backpacks into the safari cars

Where to buy safari clothing

For the most part, you don’t need any specialist clothing for safari. You can wear your own normal clothes. However, there are some great companies that do excellent clothes for travel, in suitable colours, and made from practical fabrics that are sweat-wicking, comfortable and don’t crease.

My favourite brands for travel clothes are The North Face , Patagonia , Rab , Mountain Equipment , Arc’teryx and Craghoppers , and my favourite places to shop in the UK are Ellis Brigham and Cotswold Outdoor , which stock all these brands at competitive prices, have high-street stores where you can get advice and try stuff on, and often have good end-of-season sales too.

T-shirt from Mountain Equipment and convertible shorts from North Face

What to wear on safari: my Africa packing list

So now we’ve gone through the details, here’s what I would pack for a 10-day or two-week safari in Africa.

What to wear on safari: Clothes

  • T-shirts in neutral or earthy colours x 5. The green t-shirt in the photo above is by Mountain Equipment . I love it so much I bought three!
  • Long trousers x 1 pair. I really like my lightweight ones from The North Face .
  • Shorts x 1 pair.
  • Convertible trousers that zip-off into shorts, or a second pair of shorts . North Face and Craghoppers both do good convertible trousers for men and women .
  • Leggings . I’m a big fan of Sweaty Betty.
  • Long-sleeved shirt for covering up in bright sunshine.
  • Lightweight jumper or cardigan for chilly evenings.
  • Lightweight jacket , fleece or mid layer for cold nights. I have a fleece from Arc’teryx and a mine is a Nano puff from  Patagonia .
  • Waterproof jacket . I have two, a lovely Zeta LT by  Arc’teryx  and a packable Meridien jacket by  Rab .
  • Dress or smart shirt for the evening if you’re going to a city or the beach (x2). For packable jersey or lightweight viscose dresses I love Boden , Sugarhill Brighton and Joanie Clothing .
  • Gym kit – if you think you’ll need or use it. But many safari camps don’t have fitness equipment and you can’t go for a run in the bush or you might get chased by a predator!
  • Sports bras or comfortable wireless bralettes x 3.
  • Underwear x 7. If you’re staying for longer you’ll need to handwash. I recommend something quick-drying and non-delicate like these microfibre ones from M&S .
  • Swimwear . I get cute bikinis and swimwear from M&S , Next , or Pour Moi .
  • Sarong or cover up (if you’re spending time on the beach)
  • Sandals or flip flops . I love my walking sandals by Teva .
  • Trainers or walking shoes for exercise and walking safaris. Mine are Gore-Tex trail trainers from Asics .
  • Soft sneakers for walking round the camp, game drives and boat cruises. I’m a big fan of Skechers Go Walks .

Pro tip: if you’re going to the beach and plan to do a lot of snorkelling, pack a rash vest or t-shirt to swim in. The sun is super strong and we all got very burnt even though we were wearing Factor 50!

What to wear on safari: layers and neutral colours are best

What to pack for safari in winter

If the forecast is for cold weather, I would add:

  • Another long-sleeved top or baselayer .
  • A warmer, packable insulated jacket .
  • A pair of jeans.
  • Beanie hat.

What to pack for safari: Accessories

  • Baseball cap or hat. My cap is this one this one by Buff and I really like it.
  • Scarf or buff to keep dust off (and you can dip it in water to cool you down on very hot days)
  • Headphones or ear buds (for the plane), you won’t need them on the actual safari! I have these ones which are pretty good and much cheaper than Apple ones.
  • Eye mask and ear plugs (if you’re a light sleeper).
  • Camera, batteries, memory cards and charger
  • Charger cables for all your devices
  • Portable phone charger. Mine is this one from Anker .
  • Plug adapter for the country you’re going to, or a universal plug adapter
  • Plug splitter or 3-way adapter with surge protection
  • Refillable water bottle (though some safari companies provide them, so check). An insulated water bottle will keep your water colder for longer on hot days.
  • A padlock for your luggage to protect you from airport thieves

Three people posing for a photo while on safari in Botswana

Safari packing list: Toiletries

As well as all your usual toiletries and medications, don’t forget:

  • Suncream. I swear by  Riemann P20  because it’s hard wearing and you only need to apply it once a day. Or for the best face SPF you will ever find, that’s non-greasy and non-orange (!), I love  this one from the Body Shop .
  • Insect repellant (though this is often provided in camp).
  • Malaria tablets ( check to see if these are required in your destination )

Pro tip: Luggage goes missing more and more frequently these days, so pack your medication or anything else vital in your hand luggage.

Hopefully this post has helped you figure out what to wear on safari

Where to next?

If you liked this post, why not try some of my other safari and Africa posts?

  • Leroo La Tau In Botswana: See The Incredible Zebra Migration
  • Uganda Animals: The Amazing Wildlife of Uganda
  • Ol Doinyo Lengai Tanzania – Climb the Terrifying Mountain of God
  • Entebbe Zoo – Uganda’s Wildlife Education Centre
  • An Epic Uganda Itinerary In 2 Weeks

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What to Wear on Safari: Quick Guide to Safari Colours

What to Wear on Safari: Quick Guide to Safari Colours

One way to celebrate safari is by wearing made-for-purpose safari clothing in Africa.

If you have booked your trip to Africa, how you should dress for a safari will be an important part of your travel plan. When planning what to wear on an African safari, colour is one of the most important considerations. This quick guide to safari colours should assist with what to wear on safari.

SAFARI PACKING TIPS: COLOUR

What colour should you wear on safari? We recommend neutral safari clothing for your African travels. This includes shades of khaki, brown, beige/tan, and green. These colours blend in well with the bush and are best-suited to safari travel for a few important reasons.

WHY DOES THE COLOUR OF YOUR SAFARI CLOTHES MATTER?

Game-viewing By blending in with your surroundings, you enhance your game-viewing. Watching wildlife behaving naturally is the best way to see Africa’s spectacular fauna. The colour of your clothing can potentially scare off or disturb your sighting – something you want to avoid.

Activities Don’t miss the chance to experience the bush in as many ways as possible. For game drives and self-drives, dress the part to make the most of any opportunity to go on a short walk. For walking safaris and other active safaris , the colour of your clothing matters for your wildlife encounters and can contribute to the quality of your sightings and, in some cases, your safety.

Made for safari Exploring the bush can be gloriously dusty and dirty. Shades of khaki have long been worn by safari-goers for not showing up dirt as easily as other colours.

When in Africa One way to celebrate safari is by wearing made-for-purpose safari clothing in Africa. With fashionable safari clothes for women and men always being in style, you can add a touch of safari to your wardrobe back home too.

Want to know exactly what to pack for a safari? Use our free customisable safari packing list tool to create a travel checklist of what to take on safari.

safari fine clothing

WHAT COLOURS SHOULDN'T YOU WEAR ON SAFARI?

Blue and black Black and blue stand out in the bush, but there is another reason to avoid wearing these colours on safari. If you are travelling to an area with tsetse flies, this attracts the dreaded fly – an insect with a painful bite – so much so that fly traps are made from blue and black fabric.

Can you wear white on safari? White stands out more than any other colour in the African bush and so isn’t suitable for safari activities. That said, slipping into a white shirt for dinner in the evening is a great feeling. Shop men's and women's white shirts .

safari fine clothing

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Safari Shoes: Quick Guide to Safari Footwear

Safari Shoes: Quick Guide to Safari Footwear

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Travel Fashion Girl

Best Women’s Safari Clothing for Africa Overland Travel

Africa Packing Lists , Packing Lists , Travel Packing Lists

safari-clothing-packing-list

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Planning a safari or overland tour through one of Africa’s incredible game parks? This is the best womens safari clothing for your trip. Read our complete guide to find out exactly what to wear on safari!

Women Safari Clothing

Table of contents.

An African safari is one of the most exciting trips you can take as a traveler. Roughing it in the wilderness surrounded by the Big 5 is truly a thrilling experience. There are several things to keep in mind when you choose safari clothing for this type of adventure.

How should I dress for an African safari?

The focus of your safari attire should be on comfortable safari clothing in neutral colors and light fabrics. If it’s not something you would feel comfortable wearing something on an overnight flight, it’s best to keep it out of your safari gear.

Safari clothes for Africa should be relaxed, so you can enjoy the experience to the fullest. The drive time on overland trips can vary anywhere from 6 to 12 hours each day. Making comfort key on those long-haul journeys — the distances in Africa are massive!

Expect your safari clothing to be covered in dust and keep in mind that you won’t have much time to do laundry. Your safari clothes should feature synthetic fabrics that are hard wearing, quick-dry, easy to wash, and won’t show dirt or dust.

What to Wear on Safari

When it comes to options for what to wear on an African safari, womens travel brands tend to feature technical fabrics focusing primarily on khaki and olive colors. But unless you’re planning to live in the bush or are taking a Gorilla trekking trip to the jungle, it’s likely that this type of clothing isn’t necessary.

The majority of Africa safari tours will see you viewing animals within the confines of a vehicle, whether a giant overland truck or 4×4 car. This means that the khaki safari shirt or safari pants that you purchased will tragically go to waste.

safari fine clothing

Safari Clothing Essentials Packing Guide: An Overview

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of your clothing options, let’s take a look at an overall view of what your safari gear for your travel capsule wardrobe should consist of. Here’s a quick snapshot of the amount of what should be on your bag when you’re planning what to wear on an African safari.

TFG Recommended Clothing List

4 sleeveless or short-sleeve tops 2 long-sleeve tops 1 dress or skirt 4 pants 1 shorts 1 windbreaker jacket 1 fleece or warm jacket 1 swimsuit 3 bras (sports bras are recommended) 3 socks 7-10 underwear 1 jacket 1 scarf 1 sunglasses

TFG Recommended Shoe List

1 pair comfortable sneakers 1 pair flip-flops

What is the Best Women Safari Clothing?

Whether you’re looking for what to wear on safari in Kenya or are camping in the Serengeti, you need the best of the best when it comes to your safari clothing. Our selections offer you a nice range of safari pants, tops, dresses, and even safari jackets. That way you can be confident and comfortable on your jaunt in Africa!

Best of all? You can avoid the head-to-toe khaki safari outfits that somehow became the must-have on an African safari. Here are some realistic clothing pieces you’ll love carting along with you:

womens-safari-clothingwomens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-3X: Eddie Bauer Resolution T-Shirt 

Best Safari Shirts for Women

As you plan what safari clothes to pack, make sure to bring a variety of tops and include sleeveless tanks, short sleeve tees, and long sleeves that you can layer!

The best safari shirts for the day time and warm weather are sleeveless or short sleeved breathable, moisture wicking tees in neutral colors.

For really hot days or to layer underneath warm items if cold, add a couple of casual tees. These also will be beneficial for those long safari travel days (read more on this in the Pants section below).

Stay cool with these moisture wicking shirts !

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-4X: Smartwool Merino Short Sleeve

Merino wool tops are some of the best safari shirts because they are both practical and can be re-worn without washing. This is particularly important on longer safari trips when you won’t have access to laundry for extended periods of time.

However, If you plan to hand wash your merino wool tops you’ll have to wait until you spend two or more nights in one location to allow time for the clothes to dry. This is why either quick-dry or long-lasting items are the best as safari clothes.

While merino wool is more expensive, you can get away with bringing just a few tops and then re-wearing them every few days. This is key for packing light!

Merino wool Icebreaker tops like these have a higher price point but are excellent for safari trips because they’re practical and you can rewear them (for weeks) without washing.

Learn more about how to hand wash while traveling !

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-XL: Icebreaker Merino Women’s Siren Tank

If you are traveling in hot weather, you might prefer a sleeveless top like the Icebreaker Merino Women’s Siren Tank  one pictured above (perfect safari shirt). Like the short sleeve tops, the ideal fabrics are from performance brands with quick dry 100% cotton, merino wool, or synthetics.

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-XXL: Columbia Cades Cape Tank

If you’re looking for a sleeveless safari shirt that’s less body hugging, then one like the Columbia shown here is perfect.

A sleeveless top not only helps to keep you cool on your safari days, but it can also be dressed up when you’re visiting the city! Pair it with a cute skirt and you have an instant evening outfit. Double-duty top!

Plus, it also looks the part of an African safari shirt!

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-3X: Columbia Quick Dry Sun UV Protection Convertible Long Sleeve

For the sunny days you’ll want to bring one light but practical womens long sleeve safari shirt to protect you from the sun’s beating rays. This will be a piece you’ll want to re-wear, so we advise choosing a quick dry fabric so that when you wash it, it will dry relatively quickly!

The dark khaki convertible womens long sleeve safari shirt (pictured above) is not only quick dry, but it’s specifically designed for UV protection. Plus, with it being convertible you can make the sleeves longer and shorter based on your preference.

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Columbia Silver Ridge Lite Long Sleeve : Amazon | Columbia (Sizes XS-3X)

Can you wear grey on safari? Grey is a great color choice for safari clothes along with other medium to dark neutral colors like khaki. These colors are good choices due to the fact that your clothes are likely to collect a lot of dust, especially the ones you use for the outer layers, and the darker neutral colors are able of masking it.

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-XL: Unbound Merino Long Sleeve

When you’re planning what to wear on a safari, make sure to bring at least one warm long sleeve or thermal top . You should also include a long-sleeve blouse you can use to cover you from the winter sun and to wear in the cities.

Depending on the time of year you’re headed on your safari and the region in Africa that you’re going to, you might need to add a few extra long sleeve tops to your safari wardrobe to layer at night. It can get pretty cold!

Safari Packing Tip : You’ll want to keep your safari attire as light as possible. To keep your packing light, make sure to include six to eight safari shirts. Any more and you’ll be overpacking!

Best Safari Pants for Women

When you are actually on a safari, you are much more likely to be going inside of a vehicle — walking safaris aren’t the norm. Being inside a vehicle allows for the undisturbed observation of the wildlife in a natural setting. Perfect for safari adventurers!

Of course, it’s best not to assume. So if you aren’t sure that you’ll be in a vehicle, double-check with your tour operator (if you have one).

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XXS-XXL: Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

It might surprise (and excite you) to find out that some of the best pants for safari are leggings. Seriously! This is specifically the case when you are taking a driving safari tour, NOT if you are getting out of the vehicle and walking in the bush.

Leggings are the perfect safari pants choice for comfort. Avoid choosing thick fabrics that will take too long to dry if you are hand washing them.

Leggings are also great for travel days. If you’re looking for leggings to take on your safari, TFG readers voted for the best leggings for women , so you’re bound to find a pair you like! We also really love these leggings from Zella (which are also available in plus size ).

Leggings are the most comfortable, packabe safari pants. So they’re definitely a good choice to wear on safari. While you can easily wear a pair of black leggings when you’re inside the vehicle, you might want to consider a lighter color to wear outdoors by the campfire (you’ll thank us later).

Safari Packing Tip : Make sure to choose a legging color that you can easily re-wear in-between washes!

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-XL: Scuba Mid-Rise Pant

If leggings aren’t your thing, a good alternative is casual joggers. Lululemon — a much-loved brand by yogis and travelers alike — makes a great pair of chic joggers which are great safari pants. They also make some pretty nice leggings too! 

The travel-friendly fabric in these safari pants makes them easy to clean and de-wrinkle. Plus, with four-way stretch and a drawstring waist, you can wear them comfortably on the longest of overland safari rides!

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes 2-24: Amazon | Columbia  |  Zappos

When you first think about what to wear on African safari, you might imagine an outfit consisting of a khaki button down shirt and convertible trousers. But generally speaking, convertible pants are not a necessary item to add to your safari attire (unless they make you comfortable and confident, that is).

We recommend a modern-yet-functional pair of travel pants like Saturday Trail Pants by Columbia . Not only are these safari pants versatile, but more importantly they’re comfortable! They also pack light, dry quickly and don’t stain easily — what more are you looking for in your safari pants?

As an added bonus, they have a stretchy pull-up waist band that’s sitting down for long periods of time. It’s also easy to remove for quick bathrooms stops on an overland trip.

Here are 16 best hiking pants for women that are lightweight and practical!

womens-safari-clothing

Shop prAna Halle Pant: Amazon | prAna

If you’re looking for both more traditional and budget-friendly safari pants, these prAna travel pants are for you! Both safari pants are ideal for walking safari tours or trips that will incorporate both extensive time outdoors and inside a vehicle.

If you are going to be trekking through the bushes, we highly recommend making technical womens safari clothing part of your wardrobe.

When you’re planning on what to wear on safari, make sure you always pack a pair of safari shorts! Safari shorts are casual and easy-to-wear on hot days.

You might also want to consider including a breezy long skirt or sarong. Both make it easier to “pop a squat” on the side of the road without baring it all to your tour mates!

Travel Tip : There aren’t usually bathrooms along the long roads, and stops are typically infrequent.

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes 26-40: Levi’s Classic Straight Jeans

Can you wear jeans on safari? Jeans are a must, especially if you’re traveling in the winter! Sometimes the best women’s safari clothing isn’t necessarily the most technical travel gear. Jeans are not only practical, but they’ll provide you with warmth disguise dirt, and also give you a bit of style if you make a top in a major city like Cape Town!

But make sure not to hand wash your jeans! They’ll take way too long to dry. Denim is practical because you can re-wear it constantly without washing it. Denim designers make them specifically for multiple uses, and it’s one of the main reasons that modern travelers pack jeans. Jeans are a must-have when it comes to what to wear on safari !

You’ll also want to have a comfortable pair of pants that you can wear around the campsite at night.

Safari Packing Tip : Make sure you’re packing light. You should need no more than 5 pairs of safari pants.

Best Safari Dresses

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Columbia Freezer III Dress: Amazon | Columbia (Sizes XS-3X)

A dress may sound like the exact opposite of safari clothing. But, it’s always good to have at least one dress that you can sport on the beach in Zanzibar or wear out to a nice dinner at Victoria Falls.

The best safari dress is a little black dress that you can dress up for restaurants or a fun night out in the city. This one by Columbia features wicking, cooling, and sun protection fabric. Plus it’s available in sizes up to 3XL.

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes S-3X: Riviera Sun Tie Dye Summer Dress

When it’s hot, a loose and lightweight safari dress is also ideal for those long overland trips. In fact, dresses are more practical than pants — especially when you need to stop on the side of the road for a quick bathroom break in the bush along with your fellow tour mates!

When it comes to picking the best safari dress, choose something both versatile and comfortable. When it comes to choosing what to wear on safari, you’ll want a dress that can be worn on the beach and doubled for dinner and night on the town!

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-3X: WEACZZYLoose Trapeze Dress

If you aren’t a person that’s comfortable in dresses, you simply don’t like them or you’re going to be traveling when it’s colder, a long tunic top that covers your backside cans also do the trick for those safari roadside bathroom stops.

Long tunic tops can be versatile just like a safari dress — you can wear it in the camp after a shower, on the beach over your bathing suit, loosely over a comfy pair of safari pants or tick it into your shorts for a cute but casual safari outfit!

womens-safari-clothing

Shop One Size: ToBeInStyle Strapless Dress

REALLY IMPORTANT TRAVEL TIP : WHEN PLANNING WHAT TO WEAR ON SAFARI, AVOID ROMPERS. ESPECIALLY ON AN OVERLAND TRIP FOR TRAVEL DAYS . YOU DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO PULL OFF YOUR ENTIRE ROMPER TO USE THE BATHROOM ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. NOT COOL .

If you’re something that has the same comfy and lightweight feel as a romper, opt for a strapless sundress like the ToBeInSty Strapless (seen above). You can wear it as a safari dress during the day for those long safari travel days or layer it over your leggings if it gets cold outside.

A strapless dress can also be worn as a safari skirt. Simply pair it with a cute top and dress it up with some jewelry that you find at a local shop during your travels!

Remember to avoid choosing bright colors on a safari so you don’t draw attention away from the safari (or frighten away any animals!). But if you pack bright colors in your safari wardrobe, you can wear them on travel days when you’re not on a game drive.

If you’re looking for maximum versatility, one of these convertible travel dresses might be perfect for your safari attire!

Best Safari Clothing for Cold Weather

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-XL: Terramar Silk Undershirts  |  Terramar Silk Thermal Pants

Contrary to what you might think, it does get cold in Africa. That means that layering your safari clothes is key to surviving those cold African days. We’ve previously written about how to layer for cold weather , we’d highly recommend you take a peek before you start packing!

Regional climates in Africa vary throughout the season, so be prepared to encounter both hot and cold temperature. Make sure you always check the weather forecast before you go so you’re dressed right!

If you happen to be traveling during the cold season, from May to August, you might want to consider packing a set of thermals for women  with your safari clothes so you can stay warm. You can wear them up to two weeks (or longer) without having to wash them!

Safari Packing Tip : For maximum warmth, pack one set of merino wool thermals. Especially if you’re camping in the winter!

Best Women’s Jacket for Safari

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-3X: Columbia Womens Arcadia II Rain Jacket

As you’re preparing your safari clothing checklist, make sure you pack a good jacket for safari. The roof and windows of some safari vehicles are open as you drive around the parks. With those open windows it can get quite chilly both at dawn and during night drives.

When you’re looking for the best jackets for safari, you should look for a good, quality jacket that can also serve as a windbreaker. You’re sure to feel a chill in the air with an open window first thing in the morning!

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Columbia Full Zip Fleece Jacket: Amazon | Columbia  (Sizes XS-3X)

A travel fleece or rain jacket for safari are most needed when you’re doing an African overland trip that crosses various countries. When deciding what to wear on safari, make sure you don’t underestimate how cold it could get in Africa on your trip!

While it might be hot and sunny during the day, when the temperature drops at night you’ll be glad you packed a rain jacket and fleece in your safari clothes. TFG has a list of the best windproof jackets and fleece jackets for your travels.

When you’re packing your safari wardrobe, make sure you pack both a windproof jacket and a merino wool or fleece jacket for safari clothes.

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Columbia Switchback Jacket: Amazon | Columbia (Sizes XS-3X)

Remember to choose neutral tones for your safari clothing. This is especially the case for items that are highly visible such as your jacket for safari.

Trust me on this one. If you’re head is hanging out of a vehicle at 5:30am, you’ll feel the crisp morning air and wish you had a warm jacket — it happened to me!

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-XXL: Style & Co Safari Jacket

For a stylish jacket for safari option that you can wear as part of your safari outfit, the Style & Co Safari Jacket is both chic and practical. When it comes to choosing a jacket for safari that’s neutral, easy-to-clean and will hide the dust, go for the grey, khaki, or olive green color!

Best Safari Shoes

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Merrell Moab 3 Shoe: Amazon | Zappos

Now that you’re packed and ready with your safari clothing, it’s time to plan your safari shoes! This is probably going to be much easier than you think!

We recommend taking only two pairs of shoes. When it comes to picking those safari shoes, go with a pair of sneakers and flip flops (for camps, shower, and beaches). Your sneakers should be something comfortable you can wear on the truck, for occasional safari walks, and at the campsite at night if it’s cold.

However, if your safari itinerary includes walking safaris, you’ll need substantial sturdy safari shoes. For multi-day treks through the jungle, you’ll want to bring sturdy hiking boots . But for the occasional day trip, regular all-terrain sneakers or hiking shoes will work as safari shoes.

Ideally, you’ll want your safari shoes to be waterproof and easy to clean in case they get muddy or otherwise dirty.

womens-safari-clothing

FitFlop Iqushion Super-Ergonomic Flip-Flops

Flip-flops may seem like a random item to add to this safari packing list. But it’s nice to air out your toes if you’ve had them in sneakers all day. Flip-flops are also great safari shoes as they’re convenient to wear in camp showers. And don’t forget about the beach!

Not a big fan of flip-flops? Try one of these slip-on beach sandals as your second pair of safari shoes instead. Throw in a pair of cute ankle boots or stylish slip ons if you’re traveling in Cape Town .

But make sure not to add too many shoes to your safari wardrobe!

Best Safari Socks

womens-safari-clothing

Darn Tough Crew Socks

Whether you need to pair your socks with safari boots or sneakers, make sure they are moisture wicking socks ! This is particularly important so you can keep your sock numbers down.

I know we’ve mentioned merino wool a lot, but just as with the rest of our suggested safari clothing, merino wool socks are perfect to pair with your safari shoes because you can rewear them multiple times without having to wash them.

womens-safari-clothing

Kirkland Signature Trail Sock

Several TFG readers agreed that Kirkland’s merino wool socks are a great pick to add to your safari wardrobe. One reader says, “I wash them in cold water and hang them to air dry, but they have held up really well and keep my feet warm, too.”

If you’re camping, you can bring a pair of Kirkland socks (like the ones shown above) to keep your feet warm at night. If you choose dark colors or prints they won’t show the dust as easily.

Best Bras and Underwear for Safari

womens-safari-clothing

Panache Underwire Sports Bra

Last but not least for your safari travel checklist, make sure to pack a good sports bra for the bumpy journey! Vehicles in Kenya, and other countries, often cover all terrains including deeply rutted roads and huge potholes.

Make your ride more tolerable by wearing a sports bra whenever you are being transported. Also, take some motion sickness meds beforehand if you are prone to car sickness.

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Sizes XS-XL: Icebreaker Siren Merino Wool Bikini

Also, quick dry travel underwear helps you easily do laundry without having to wait ages for it to dry!

Because you may be moving locations every night, you won’t have much time to wash your safari clothing, so it’s best if you bring fast drying fabrics or clothing you can re-wear easily.

Safari Travel Tip: Most of the time, you’ll be popping a squat on the side of the road, so a female urinary device or even a flowy skirt might be helpful if you’re not crazy about the idea of flashing your goods. Don’t forget your antibacterial hand wipes!

Other Safari Gear

womens-safari-clothing

UPF 50+ Sun Protection Quick Dry Baseball Cap

TFG has a great post on what to pack for African safari tours that we’d highly encourage you to check out so you know what other safari gear you’re going to need on your trip!

To go along with your safari clothing choices, you’ll need a few accessories.

Hats are great because they can help shield you from the sun and hide unwashed hair. But while hats are a definite must, but that doesn’t mean they have to be unattractive.

When it comes to your hair, you will want to keep it covered and pulled back in a ponytail or bun so it doesn’t get tangled in the wind and full of dirt from the road. We have a few suggestions for some hair accessories that will help keep high maintenance hair on the down low during your safari tour.

womens-safari-clothing

Compass Rose Secret Bra Wallet

Sunglasses are also a must-have, they offer shade and protection from the sun which is really important considering how close to the equator you’re going to be! A few other safari necessary accessories include a bathing suit and scarf.

Don’t be a target for unwanted attention. When you choose what to wear on safari, make sure you don’t dress too flashy or showy. Make sure you don’t bring any of your expensive jewelry and leave your designer handbags at home (or another safe place).

Finally, conceal the majority of your money and extra credit cards for extra safety. This bra wallet is a great way to do that!

We’ve got some great anti-theft tips for you so you can protect your valuables during your safari travels.

Essential Packing List for Safari

womens-safari-clothing

Shop Osprey Fairview 55L: Amazon | Osprey

Which luggage should I choose for safari?

When it comes to choosing luggage for safari, check out the Osprey Fairview 55L . It’s kind of perfection.

I found it easier to lug a soft bag than a suitcase, as everyone’s gear gets piled up under the truck. I personally use it with the Compass Rose packing cubes to stay organized and fit in everything!

Don’t worry so much about the baggage weight. My bag never goes over 30 lbs using the guidelines suggested on the site. If you aim to pack light, you shouldn’t be overpacking!

womens-safari-clothing

Left:  Compass Rose Medium Packing Cubes  (13″ x 8.5″ x 2.8″) | Right:  Compass Rose Slim Packing Cubes  (13″ x 5″ x 2.8″)

Should I use packing cubes on safari?

Yes! You should definitely use packing cubes on safari. Packing cubes will help keep you organized, keep your bag light, and help you avoid over packing.

Many readers use our packing cubes for this task. The  Compass Rose Packing Cubes  are now offered in two sizes: slim and medium. The  slim size cubes  measure 13 x 5 x 2.8, and the  medium size cubes  measure 2.8 x 13 x 8.5. Both fit an international carry-on suticase and can help you organize and compress clothing items. The medium sizes is great for bulkier items.

Watch this video to learn how to pack light thanks to packing cubes!

womens-safari-clothing

pStyle Urinary Device

What should I pack for toiletries on safari?

When it comes to what you need to pack for toiletries on safari, there are a few things you’re definitely going to need.

You definitely will want to have a female urinary device , because the only bathroom breaks you get are in the bush. Finding adequate coverage can be a challenge, so you might also need to get comfortable with flashing your bum at other women on the trip!

You’ll want to bring a travel towel so that it can dry quickly when you’re constantly on the go. You should also pack any prescriptions you might need along with mosquito repellent … don’t forget that! And while it’s not exactly a toiletry, you’ll want a collapsible water bottle , too!

If you’re going to go the carry-on only route, make sure you cut back on your toiletries. It’ll help with TSA if you put all of your liquids in a Ziploc bag, following the 3-1-1 rule !

Learn all about packing toiletries with this guide !

womens-safari-clothing

Travelon Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag

What should I take for a purse on safari?

You’ll want to choose a bag that can fit into your carry-on when it comes to the perfect purse for safari. TFG recommends taking a crossbody travel purse with anti-theft features like the Travelon Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag bag or other similar purse.

See our picks for the best anti-theft purses for travel .

womens-safari-clothing

Lewis N. Clark Deluxe Neck Stash

What anti-theft accessories do I need on safari?

We recommend you make sure your purse is built for security. Other great anti-theft accessories for safari might include a secret bra wallet , neck wallet , or even a money belt.

Read about popular anti-theft accessories !

womens-safari-clothing

International Travel Adapter

What electronics do I need on safari?

A headlamp will be a lifesaver when it comes to camping at night during your safari.

A few other things that might come in handy include a travel adapter , portable battery charger , and your headphones . Plus, if you’re planning on taking any pictures, you’re going to need your camera and gear!

Printable Travel Checklist

womens-safari-clothing

Don’t forget to download the TFG Printable Travel Checklist

The Dos and Don’ts of Safari Clothing Packing

Packing for your African safari can seem overwhelming, so let’s finish off by going over our main dos and don’ts when it comes to getting together your safari gear and planning your safari attire!

What should you not wear on safari?

What you shouldn’t wear for an African safari depends highly on the actual trip type that you’re participating in. An overland trip that touches on a variety of countries is going to mean different must-haves from a short safari to Kruger Park that’s smack in the middle of a longer trip.

If your African safari trip is long, you’re going to want to focus on making comfortable, practical safari clothing a priority. But if you’re headed on a short three-day trip, you can definitely get by with wearing regular clothes.

But for both trips, we highly recommend that you DO NOT wear a romper on a safari — three days, seven days or otherwise. We know that we’ve mentioned this before, but it’s such an important note that we want to talk about it in a little more detail!

When you’re on an overland safari trip, it’s common place to simply pull over on the side of the road to go to the bathroom — in public — as there really aren’t bathrooms along the way. The reason why we stress that you shouldn’t wear rompers is due to the fact that going to bathroom in a romper means taking all of your clothes off to go to the bathroom.

While you might be able to find a somewhat “discreet” spot in the pushes to pop a squat, you’ll still be pulling off your entire romper in public and it’s much harder to attempt to conceal the top and bottom half of your body at the same time. It’s much easier to focus on covering your backside.

We know you’ll thank us for this advice later!

womens-safari-clothing

What colors should you wear on safari?

As exciting as it is to experience nature in its rawest form, you don’t have to immerse yourself to the extent that your safari clothing completely blends in with the foliage and desert itself. We can leave that for the Hollywood movies!

With that in mind, the best colors for safari clothes include:

  • Olive green

A tip for picking the best color for your safari clothing is to go with colors that are inspired by nature. Measure your clothes with the image above, if they’re in the same tone, intensity and relatively the same color they’re good to go. You’re looking to blend in, but you don’t have to look like Crocodile Dundee or wear full tactical gear!

What color should you not wear on safari?

If you’ve done your safari clothing due diligence, chances are you’ve come across something that tells you not to wear bright colors. It seems like a strange request, but it’s recommended that you choose neutral colors because you don’t want the animals to see you — if they do they might be scared off!

Stick to neutral colors but avoid white because your safari clothes are bound to get very dirty, especially if you’re camping, and white will show it all!

Can you wear black on safari?

Wearing black on safari is not recommended. Black clothing attracts mosquitoes, and you’ll want to avoid that as much as possible to keep your trip its most enjoyable!

If you do end up bringing some black pieces, keep them to a minimum and opt for lightweight fabrics wherever possible!

womens-safari-clothing

What are your tips on choosing the best womens safari clothing? Share and comment below!

For more Africa packing lists, please read:

  • What to Pack for Safari: South Africa to Zimbabwe
  • What to Pack for Africa: Safari and Beaches
  • Africa Travel Packing Tips
  • 10 Essential You Absolutely Need for Safari

Suggested Travel Resource:

  • Lonely Planet Tanzania
  • Lonely Planet South Africa
  • Lonely Planet Africa on a Budget

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63 comments.

Amy Sankaran

I’m going on a safari next week, and the packing list looks like it would be a lifesaver, but I’m getting an error that the page is unavailable when I click on it. Anything I’m missing? Thanks!!

Alex

Hi Amy, I am so sorry about this. Please can you email us at [email protected] so we can send it over to you.

Have a wonderful time on your Safari!

Linda Biche

On August 2, 2022, Just got back from South Africa; Cape Town, Cape Winelands, then off to safari at Kruger; Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; Botswana, Okavango Delta! It was a great 12-women trip, Women, Wine and Wild. I researched and looked at this site for everything from suitcases, carry-ons, cross-body bags, packing, lists of clothes, shoes, jackets, underpinnings, toiletries, hats, scarves, etc.; for varying types of travel, city, winelands, safaris, and Travel Fashion Girl came through on all fronts – I was ordering things left and right even in the last few days and got it all together and had the most wonderful trip. I may have taken a little too much, but I really used most everything I brought so it all worked out. But as they say, less is more; I wouldn’t bother even with a little heel for dinners out if it’s only a few night in a city. I wouldn’t take as many pants as those can be interchangeable pretty easily, especially if you bring a few blouses/tops. For chilly mornings or evenings, a lightweight puffer jacket was perfect. And scarves are perfect to help mix it all up and really be able to wear the same things with different scarves. TFG is an amazing place to go for everything travel; I love it!

Courtney S

Just got back from our 3 week honeymoon on safari in Kenya and Tanzania including a week in Zanzibar – these packing lists from TFG were so helpful for knowing what to expect and helping to minimize how much luggage to bring. Definitely recommend carry on backpack for this trip to fit in the small trunks of the land cruisers and for small airplanes (we took one with only 12 seats!)

Tracy

This recommended packing list was just what I needed for a 10-day safari in Tanzania.Thank you 🙏

Someone recommended we take soft travel bags to fit onto the small airplanes which I would NOT do again. Due to their weight, it made the grueling trek through airports a painful experience 😣 Instead, we would have preferred rolling, carry-on luggage. My two-cents, but unless you travel lightly, soft bags aren’t the way to go for this type of trip. Anyone else?

Thank you for sharing your own feedback with us Tracy, this is really helpful to know. Hope you had an incredible time!

It was an incredible time, thanks Alex! Would love to go again 😀

Keri

Loved this packing list! I only went on a two day safari but this was immensely helpful with helping me choose the right clothes to pack for a conference plus my safari outing.

Julia Carling

We’re just back from a Safari in Zimbabwe , Botswana and Zambia And I found previous posts on Safari clothing on this site invaluable! And def no all in ones ! We stopped for loo breaks whenever needed and took it in turns to go round to the back of the truck so it was totally private and discreet! I took very thin summer dresses for the middle of the days and was really glad of these . And we definitely needed warm things for early morning … I had a cashmere snood I was so thankful for … I could pull it up over the back of my head . Also silk gloves ! And it was the best holiday we have ever had !

Thank you so much Julia, so glad we were able to help you with your packing. And thank you for sharing your packing insights with us, these are all super helpful.

So pleased to hear you had such an amazing time!

Victoria

Just came back from a trip that included: Capetown; The Winelands; Vic Falls; Chobie game drive in Botswana; self drive through Kruger; and a luxury resort/safari game drive; — oh yeah and we had a two day stop over in Doha (!) So we had temps that ranged from 50-65 degrees in Capetown/Winelands; 55-85 in Kruger, and 98-112 degrees in Doha (!)

So one big thing to consider is that the weather is vastly different depending where you go: Capetown in July is Winter, which is chilly and drizzly, can be windy and stormy, BUT because it’s their winter, it was the best time to go on Safari on the other side of South Africa, which was Great Kruger National Park, so just remember, your season might not be their season. Best safari pants I brought was North Face Hybrid Yoga/cargo pants in olive — stretchy, quick dry, had tons of pockets, but felt like leggings. Also the lululemon “Smooth Departure” packable rain coat. Ultra light, and looks good while on safari or in the city. Lastly, even if you go during a “light bug” season, I would recommend at least one Insect Shield SPF long sleeve top (that can be also rolled up) and at least two pairs of their socks. Long sleeve shirts that have SPF can keep you cooler than a t-shirt because the African sun is HOT!! And even if you come from a sunny state (Like CA, as I do) your arms can get really get burnt. Also, a first layer underlayer (for cold) can do double duty. I wore it over my bathing suit while I was going into Devil’s Pool (Victoria Falls), and it really saved me because the water was COLD!! Because it was dry-wicking, it dried almost immediately. Also, just a note: our safari guides would NOT have recommended wearing that bright turquoise jacket that’s pictured in the photo (especially on a walking safari) — maybe it was more “neutral” looking in real life?

Hi Victoria, thank you for sharing your trip report with us and all your great travel tips! This is really helpful. Hope you had an incredible time on your trip! ?

Mari

Thank you for the advice! I am looking to travel to Togo, Africa at the end of January 2020 for roughly 2 months. I think the best take away for me I hadn’t really considered is laundry and drying time! I tend to get hot, sweat a lot and very easily. I will let you know how it goes!

Hi Mari, so pleased you found this atricle helpful. Looking forward to reading how you get on. Have the most incredible time! ?

Jody Puryear

Hello, we are going to Ezulwini Lodges in the middle of March. I have struggled over what to wear and what essentials I should take. I have loved reading all of your comments over the years and am finally taking a 7 night trip there. We are also going to spend 2 night in Maritime Bushveld Estates. Any thoughts on attire?

Hi Jody, thank you for your lovely comment, so pleased you enjoy reading our blog!! 🙂 For other tips to help with your packing for your safari, have a read of this article: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/what-to-pack-for-african-safari-tours/ You may also find this article interesting, its about how one TFG reader packed carryon for her African safari and how she also was able to keep the weight to below 10lb: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/safari-packing-list/ Also our readers have the best advice and tips, so I have gone ahead and posted your question on TFG’s facebook page. Keep your eyes out for our readers replies from Wednesday: https://www.facebook.com/TravelFashionGirl/ Hope this helps. Have an incredible trip!!

Hi Jody, here is the FB thread with our readers replies to your question: https://www.facebook.com/TravelFashionGirl/posts/2240284559328533 Hope this helps! 🙂

Tracy

Thanks so much for sharing this Alex! It’s really helpful . Well, I’m going to Tazania in mid of December. Plan a week in there, there are 2 days will be soft hinking with group. Any tip of packing for specific December weather. Please advise! Thanks in advance,Tracy

Maria

What shades of blue need to be avoided? Just dark blue or also aquamarine/baby blue and royal blue? How about lavender? Thx!

Janice Woeste

thank you for this very inclusive list. I appreciate all the work and effort to provide this resource.

Megan

YES it gets COLD, even in summer! Keep in mind that some local flights out into the bush have a weight limit on luggage so double check on this- they’re strict! Also, some safari’s do laundry daily so that helps cut down on what you need. I survived a 2 week trip with 2 pairs of leggings, 1 hiking pant from Athleta (cute!), 1 pr of shorts, 5 shirts, (mix of button ups, tanks and athletic type t’s) a fleece and a windbreaker. Don’t overdo the shoes either! One pair of sneaker types and one pair of sandals is fine!

alex

Great tips Megan, thanks!

Emily C

Great article! Having lived in Africa for the past nine years, I might also advise against wearing shorts. Most of Africa is significantly more conservative than many Western countries, and the only people I ever see in shorts are the tourists and, at times, wearing anything cut above the knee can attract unwanted attention from males- an unfortunate but true reality

Hi Emily, thank you so much for your comment! Thank you for sharing your travel advice 🙂

LAURIE C ALLEN

Hi Alex, Emily’s comment about shorts also might include strappy tank tops and leggings. Your comment about wearing sports bras was right on. Safari trucks have lousy shocks and you will be bounced around. A scarf is useful for keeping dust out of you eyes and mouth.

Mary Samson

This really helped me on my recent trip to Kenya and Tanzania. Thank you! 😊

Linda

Love your posts! What kind of shoes do you recommend? Are light nike trainers enough or do you need sturdier shoes that are waterproof? I am going on an overlanding trip to South Africa, Namibia and Botswana in July, not to many walking safaris scheduled. Thanks!

I found my regular cross trainers worked well as we only had one walking safari. A few more tips here: https://travelfashiongirl.com/what-to-pack-for-african-safari-tours/

Anne Gow

We are going to Tanzania Zambia staying in lodge accommodation at the end of November,we are on the older side but are fairly fit. What clothes should I take..?we have a black tie do to attend in Zambia.I like clothes with sleeves

Try this: https://travelfashiongirl.com/what-to-pack-for-kenya-and-tanzania/ and https://travelfashiongirl.com/what-to-pack-for-africa-serengeti-zanzibar/

Judy

We are going to Cape Town for 4 days then winery for 4 days, safari for 5 then victoria falls. Will it look silly if I wear kaftans for dinners? And what about days for shopping and touring in towns? I can’t imagine having only a carry on and not a variety of clothing.

If you’d normally wear kaftans to dinners at home then you should wear them while you’re traveling too 🙂

Emmy Scammahorn

No blue clothing, as it (like black) attracts mosquitos. Bring decent underwear, something you won’t be embarrassed for camp staff to wash by hand, as I found one fellow doing. You’ll wear the long-sleeve shirt in the jeep during the afternoon so you don’t get sunburned. Unless you’ll hike, closed-toe sandals are good for everything. I wore clogs for the plane and around camp. Glad I brought a fleece jacket for cold mornings. I brought older clothing and left it. In Tanzania, I left sneakers with a camp staffer who was extremely grateful, even though they were one size too big for him. To my safari driver went my bathing suit and robe (someone will wear them), fleece jacket, and old Tevas. I suggest a headlamp, which you may need (tents and hotels were short on light).

Thanks for your feedback Emmy, great tips!

Midori

I would add one trash bag to the packing list. In the morning game drive on our last day of the safari, it rained cats and dogs on us, and we got soaked (we all had rain ponchos on but they didn’t help much). Thankfully, someone had trash bags to spare, so we could put the wet clothes in the bag and put in the luggage without everything else getting damp.

alex

That’s a really great tip Midori! thanks for sharing!

Jo

Is there a printable safari packing list so I can have it with me shopping, in my closet and when I am actually packing? Thanks

No printable option, maybe take screenshots of this post to help? Happy travels!

Cathy Blackwell

I have been to Tanzania (with way too many clothes) and am heading back to Africa for a trip to Cape Town, Namibia, and Victoria Falls. Your packing list suggestions are very helpful as I tend to grossly over pack! Thank you!!!

Travel Fashion Girl

Thanks for reading Cathy! Sounds like you have an incredible trip planned! We are happy that you have found the packing suggestions helpful! Less stuff is less stress! Happy travels!

Cynthia Tilford

Great tips! What size bag did you pack? We’re going mid-July for 3 weeks, and will be spending several days on Mauritius at the end of our trip, so I’ll need to take a few things to dress up a bit.

Hi Cynthia, glad you like the post! This was before I traveled carryon only so I had a 65L backpack. However, I was on a round-the-world trip and had been traveling for nine months before I got to Africa.

Currently, I would never travel with anything larger than a 22″ or 46L suitcase since that’s what I use on my long-term travels now 😉 All the luggage styles Ive used throughout the years can be found here: https://travelfashiongirl.com/best-osprey-backpacks/

This post will help you downsize your suitcase as much as possible: https://travelfashiongirl.com/10-step-packing-guides/10-step-guide-to-packing-in-one-suitcase-for-any-trip/

You can find more tips here: https://travelfashiongirl.com/africa-packing-lists/

Have a great trip!

jennifer

Can you tell me the name of the hiking shoe in the above pic? Thanks

Hi Jennifer, the shoe is the Merell Calia found here http://amzn.to/1Abb4Js

For more ideas, please take a look at: https://travelfashiongirl.com/best-hiking-boots-for-women/

Jennifer

Could you tell me what brand of hiking shoe is shown above? Thanks

Kate Grissom

Just got back from an Africa safari, and here is my recommendations: 1.) Take Sunscreen! I burned one half of my face sitting in the safari vehicle one day…so I switched sides to burn evenly the next. 2.) A hat would help combat problem #1. 3.) Don’t waste space on hair dryers or makeup etc. No one in the bush cares. 🙂 Bring soap, shampoo, toothpaste and call it done. 4.) I only brought hiking tennis shoes. I longed for a pair of flip flops on the long days in a car. 5.) It can get quite chilly at night. Bring long pants for sleeping if you are staying in a tented camp. I was on my honeymoon so pajama’s wasn’t a top priority when packing…wish it had been! Lol! 6.) Bring a clean outfit for the plane ride home and put it aside. Coming out of the bush after a week of bucket showers you feel dirty enough. 7.) Last and most important: Don’t pack anything that resembles food in a tented camp. I had a granola bar in my bag and we had a honey badger break into our tent while we were gone. It ate the granola bar, chewed up all my underwear, and then took a big poop in my husbands suit case!

Great tips Kate, thank you! Hope you had an amazing experience 🙂

Stephanie

At least one knee length skirt or dress is a must if you are going to be exploring outside of the parks at all. A sarong also goes a long way and I have a nice knit hat I alway bring along in the winter. Also, the first time I traveled to Tanzania I made the mistake of thinking I would only need camping gear and spent the whole time wishing I had a cute top with me. I highly recommend bringing an outfit you can wear to dinner or a club. Overall, great tips! Thanks!

Great add! Thanks 🙂

Georgie M

Thank you so much for this post! I have been searching everywhere for something like it and it’s perfect! I’m off to fashionable Dubai & Iran after overlanding in Africa, so I’m trying to figure out a way to keep my suitcase light AND have enough clothes that are fashionable and practical! I reckon a few colourful scarves may be the way to go, and one long black skirt as well as the above.

That sounds about right! You can always buy a few new things upon arrival. This post might also be helpful: http:/travelfashiongirl.com/how-to-dress-for-conservative-countries-modest-clothing-essentials/

Sue

I am not sure if you have already gone trekking or not, but I might consider changing your black skirt to tan, beige, grey or even light pink. I spent two years in and out of Dubai and Afghanistan….you will constantly be trying to clean your black skirt, the sand is more like a talcum powder and sticks to everything, also the dark colours are hot! You will definitely want something feminine/girlie though and the scarves are an excellent idea! Have a wonderful time! 🙂

great tips!

catherine

I love all your posts! One question, do the outfits go in addition to what you will be wearing or do you wear one of the outfits in the photos? Thanks!

Hi Catherine! Sorry, which outfits specifically? Thanks for commenting 🙂

Ilona

I think she means are the clothes pictured above ALL of the clothes for the trip, as in, are the clothes that you would be wearing on the way there and back included in the picture.

yes they are

Vanessa (@Turnipseeds)

As always, love, love, love the lists! In all parts of Africa, it’s best to always err on the side of modesty and cameo prints should always be avoided. On safari, it would be worth spending the extra money for clothing that is sunscreen rated/treated with bug repellent.

Thanks Vanessa!

Julia

Love that you show a sports bra – those African roads can be amazingly bumpy!!

Yes and painful without support! Ouch!

Lorette

I always bring gloves with me when I’m in Africa. The morning game drives are always cold.

Oooh that’s true! Forgot that one…thanks for the reminder 🙂

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safari fine clothing

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Safari Clothing Guide – What to Wear on an African Safari

safari fine clothing

Nothing quite compares to seeing animals in their natural habitat, and given that safari conditions can vary widely, it’s very important to bring the right gear with you on safari. Prior to my trip, I made a list of what to pack for an African safari, so use the list below as your safari clothing guide.

You may also like: The Ultimate Beach Bucket List

Safari clothing

Since many animals are nocturnal or are most active when the sun is less intense, safari game drives typically occur during dusk and dawn. Due to sunrise and sunset game drives, bush walks, and even night game drives in the rain, I packed a variety of clothing from windbreakers to water-repellant pants.

Safari clothing packing list

While on safari, clothes that are light in weight and light in color are best. You don’t actually need a lot of clothes, and you should choose clothing that you can wear in layers.

Safari Clothing - What to Pack for an African Safari

Depending on your safari duration, it’s best to stick to three to four days worth (i.e., one safari outfit per day) of safari clothing and launder the clothes every few days.

To ensure you have all the essentials, here are some must-have items to pack:

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  • Waterproof, lightweight jacket. The North Face Women’s Osito Triclimate Jacket is very versatile and offers many options for different weather conditions. For one, it’s waterproof, which is a must. Second, it incorporates a fleece, which is one of the other items I recommend, as sometimes, especially at night, it’s good to have an extra layer of warmth. You can either buy the Triclimate Jacket or The North Face Osito Jacket (fleece) separately.
  • Poncho. Typically, safari camps have ponchos for guests to use. However, given that they are easy to pack, it’s safe to bring one with you, such as the Anyoo Waterproof Rain Poncho Lightweight Reusable Hiking Hooded Coat Jacket .

Poncho on safari - Safari Clothing Guide

  • Lightweight sweater. If you want variety and a little more style in the clothes you wear, opt for a lightweight sweater that you substitute for a fleece. Tommy Bahama offers some of my favorite travel wear.
  • Light-colored, long-sleeve shirts. My favorite brand for outdoor and activewear apparel is Columbia. The attention to detail and insulating properties of their clothes make them so easy to wear. The Columbia Women’s PFG Bahama Long Sleeve Shirt and Columbia Women’s PFG Zero Long Sleeve Shirt are both quick-dry and offer a variety of colors.
  • Soft stretch-cotton camis. When dressing in layers, Hanes Women’s Stretch Cotton Cami is very comfortable and are an important layer of clothes for outdoor activities. If you are a person that sweats a lot, you should also consider the Under Armour Women’s Rest Day Cami Shirt .
  • Water and stain-repellent pants . Bring two to three pairs of pants such as Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail Ii Convertible Pants , which are also convertible to shorts.
  • Dressy outfits. Though not necessary, packing a few dressier outfits for the boma dinner will add a little pizazz to your experience. A boma is an open-air place that is enclosed within a wall of tall reeds, where guests gather for a candlelit outdoor dinner, typically with a fire pit, too. It’s a very intimate setting in which many guests wear nicer apparel. A few of my favorite brands for such an occasion are: J. Crew , Ralph Lauren , Anthropologie , and White House Black Market .
  • Swimsuit. Most luxury safari lodges have either a private or public pool and a small spa, so you should definitely bring a few swimsuits so you can take a dip in the pool. J Crew is one of the best brands for stylish yet comfortable vacation swimwear.

Shoes and accessories

  • Moisture-wicking socks. I love Dickies Women’s Dritech Advanced Moisture Wicking Crew . They are engineered for air circulation and moisture control and have arch support.
  • Waterproof hiking boots. KEEN Women’s Voyageur Mid Hiking Boot is a durable option for a variety of safari conditions. You should also bring a pair of flip-flops and casual shoes.
  • Safari-style Hat. I like Columbia’s Unisex Bora Bora hat , which features UPF 50 protection, a sweat-wicking headband, and a mesh vent panel.
  • Sunglasses. Ray-Ban’s Rb4440nf Blaze Wayfarer Sunglasses have offer a futuristic style of one of the brand’s iconic shapes. In addition, the polarized lenses help to reduce glare, which is something to consider during while bird watching, on bush walks, or observing animals in trees.

Safari equipment

  • Binoculars. Bushnell is my got-to brand, and the Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binoculars are the perfect pick for the varied conditions of an African safari.
  • Backpack. The Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack is a great option for safari outings. It’s multifunctional compartments and lightweight design allow you store items you might need, including snacks, water, and binoculars, and small accessories and clothing.
  • DSLR Camera. I love Nikon cameras for their exceptional quality, and the Nikon D5600 DSLR has all the features you’ll need, including WiFi and Bluetooth. While on safari, renting a supplemental lens, from companies such as Borrow Lenses , for up close shots is highly recommended.

Where to stay near Kruger National Park

My safari experience in South Africa took place at the luxury Sabi Sands Game Reserve, a private game reserve with more than 20 luxury lodges adjacent to Kruger National Park.

Situated on a prime location on the Sabie River, one of those lodges, the Lion Sands Game Reserve , was my safari oasis. Lion Sands offered the ultimate glamping experience featuring luxury tents, exciting game drives, sundowners on the savannah, and boma dinners under the stars.

Have you been on a safari before? Would you add any items to our safari clothing list?

safari fine clothing

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Safari Outfit Ideas to Pack When You Finally Take That Dream Trip

By Mara Balagtas and Andrea Whittle

Herd of African elephants walking through Acacia trees in Amboseli National Park Kenya

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Packing for a safari is a science: You need to be prepared for changing temperatures, high sun, and plenty of dust, as well as cocktail hour and a dip in the pool—and all of your safari outfits, plus toiletries and gear, have to fit in a soft-sided duffel with a strict weight limit. We polled our resident experts and trusted specialists for safari outfit ideas, whether you're staying in a luxe tented camp on the Okavango Delta in Botwsana or traversing the Sabi Sands game reserve in South Africa . Note that most safari outfitters will provide travelers with an itemized packing list, so check with yours about specifics (as well as any vaccines or medications you might need) before you go.

Getting there

Most safari camps are only accessible by small propeller planes, which don’t allow hard-sided luggage. Pack everything in soft duffels that can be easily tossed into the back of the plane or the back of a Land Rover (weight limits are strict, too, so make sure you check with the outfitter before you go). Our advice: bring along some low-tech entertainment and have your camera handy for the views. Go Pro's Hero 9 has built-in tech to help keep any footage you shoot looking steady, making it perfect for bumpy rides.

Image may contain: Clothing, Apparel, Shirt, Home Decor, Human, Person, Linen, and Sleeve

On a game drive

Specialists disagree on the details, but you’re generally advised to avoid red and white clothing (as well as anything Day-Glo) while on game drives because it can attract insects or make you more visible to certain animals. Instead, go for clothing in shades of khaki, brown, and olive, which help you to blend in with the environment and hide dust and dirt, and pair it with some sneakers with a decent tread (on most safaris, you don’t need serious hiking boots). You’ll also want to pack plenty of layers since it can be chilly in the early morning, and blazing hot a few hours later. Don't forget a hat to help keep your skin protected under the harsh midday sun.

Image may contain: Clothing, Apparel, Human, Person, Standing, Suit, Coat, Overcoat, Shirt, Sleeve, and Long Sleeve

Around camp

You’ll want casual, cozy clothes to wear while you’re lounging around camp in between your daily excursions. A durable sandal with some grip will work just fine, and don’t forget a bathing suit —many lodges or tented camps have gorgeous pools.

Image may contain: Clothing, Apparel, Pants, Human, Person, and Tights

Safari chic dinner

Some travelers like to have a more dressed-up option for cocktail hour and dinner back at camp—think flowy, breezy dresses, flats that can withstand a little dust, and a warm scarf to wrap yourself up in. Jumpsuits are a great option since it eliminates having to pack both tops and bottoms for evenings. In terms of accessories, leave any really blingy jewelry at home and opt for a more simple, pared down look.

safari fine clothing

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What to Wear on Safari

AFRICA TRAVEL

Stylish outfits for an African safari adventure, using versatile basics

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 When I booked a dream trip to Africa , the thought of planning what to wear on safari was daunting. It was my first trip to Africa and I’d be flying between safari camps in Botswana on little bush planes. That meant strict luggage limits; I had no choice but to pack light.    

In the past, I’ve traveled light by creating capsule wardrobes — picking clothes in colors that mix and match to create many outfits, but fit in a small bag. I decided to use the same approach for my African safari attire to create simple safari style.

What to Wear on an African Safari

Safari Style Capsule Attire with 15 pieces: jacket, shirts, pants, romper, hat, glasses and scarf all in shades of khaki, tan and brown. Also pictured are ankle boots and sandals, a sun hat and sunglasses.

African Safari Outfits - Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

My safari was a 6-day adventure in Botswana and I visited in March, toward the end of the Southern Africa summer, also known as green season. At this time of year, the nights weren’t as cold as during winter, but still chilly. And daytime temps went as high as 100 Fahrenheit! So I had to dress for both hot and chilly temps. 

If you’re like me, the 5:30 am wake-up for the morning game drive will feel very early. You’ll want getting dressed to be as simple as possible. So  I chose a palette of neutrals — green, tan, beige and brown. That made it quick and east to get dressed; everything worked with everything else. My only patterned piece was a little scarf.

Deciding what to pack was also dictated by luggage limits — mine was 20 kg. In East Africa the weight limit can be as low as 15 kg; check luggage limits with your safari outfitter. Also, luggage should be a soft-sided bag. More on that below. 

A giraffe stands among trees in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in Botswana.

TIP: Bring a daypack – it allows you to pack away your warm layer when temps rise. I also kept sunscreen, bug spray, camera, binoculars, and a water bottle in my pack.

An African Safari Packing List

A safari packing list will vary depending on the destination and time of year. East Africa is closer to the equator, so it is warmer year-round, while temperatures vary more widely in Southern Africa where their winter brings cold nights. 

In Botswana in March mornings were cold and we did have some rain so I was grateful for my layers: a cotton utility jacket, a raincoat, a light puffer jacket and a wool scarf-wrap. 

The length of your trip is less of an issue as most safari lodges have laundry facilities. Inquire about laundry access with your travel agent or safari outfitter. I had laundry done once on my safari.

This safari attire packing list  may be more than you need. But it covers everything you may want. You can tailor it to your trip.

  • 2 pants (green and beige)
  • 1 short utility-style dress
  • 1 one-piece shorts romper
  • 1 long-sleeved linen shirt
  • 1 short-sleeved shirt
  • 2 tank tops (beige & white)
  • Cotton Utility Jacket
  • Light puffer coat
  • Swimsuit & Cover-Up
  • Socks & underwear
  • 1 accent scarf
  • 1 light wool scarf wrap
  • 1 wide-brim hat
  • Camera Equipment

A pair of brown ankle boots are pictured, stained with mud and bits of grass. The are set on a wood floor with rattan furniture in the distance.

What Shoes to pack for a Safari

For footwear I took two pairs: a pair of boots and sandals. I wasn’t sure about my decision to go with boots instead of runners but it was the right call. We had beautiful sunny days but also heavy rain and mud. Sandals were ideal for hot afternoons (up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and I wore them on game drives a couple of afternoons. Sunglasses, a hat, and a daypack were my other safari essentials.

Susan Heinrich is dressed in a safari-style utility dress and sandals in a charming lounge with African decor.

Is There a Safari Dress Code?

Helpful Guidelines for Safari Style

  • Although game lodges don’t tend to have official dress codes, many lodges prohibit any clothing with a camouflage pattern. Also, avoid blue as it can attract tsetse flies.
  • Neutrals are ideal — they are easy to mix, match, and you’ll blend with the landscape.
  • Bright colors can scare animals away, so leave it to the zebras and giraffes to make the design statement.
  • With temperatures fluctuating dramatically, you will need layers, including warm layers. This is more the case in Southern Africa in winter. I brought a down jacket and I needed it. Don’t think Africa will only be hot.
  • Safari lodges typically have rain ponchos for all guests, but I suggest you bring your own lightweight raincoat. It’s a convenient layer to have.
  • Bring long pants! They are ideal for early morning drives and to protect against bugs. I also wore pants to dinner. 
  • Some vehicles have open tops so you will want a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. A chin strap is helpful to keep hats from blowing off.
  • Most safari lodges have a swimming pool, so bring a swimsuit and coverup.
  • There is no need to bring anything fancy for evenings as African safari lodges tend to be casual. That said, it’s nice to change out of what you’ve worn all day.
  • Suggested safari footwear: Boots or closed-toe shoes for protecting your feet, and sandals for when it’s hot.

Susan Heinrich stands with her camera with the sunset beyond while on safari in Botswana's Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. She wears part of her safari wardrobe: rust shorts and a beige linen utility jacket.

African Safari Outfits- Daytime

During my 6-days on safari, I wore pants and at least two layers on top for the morning game drive then changed into shorts in the afternoon when temps jumped into the high 90’s Fahrenheit. Especially if you are lounging in a swimsuit during your downtime, count on the possibility you’ll change a few times during the day.

For this reason, I traveled with packing cubes which I loved. They act like drawers to keep things organized, which is especially helpful if you stay at multiple game lodges, as I did. You won’t have to unpack and pack up everything with each new lodge.  

zebras in a beautiful grassland in Africa

What to Wear on Safari in Evenings

Safaris are casual, so bringing fancy items to wear to dinner is unnecessary. Still, I like to change into something a little nicer for the evening. Because it was chilly and I was trying to avoid bug bites, I always wore long pants in the evening, typically pairing those with a long-sleeved shirt and my sweater wrap. I also had a cute linen utility jacket that I wore to dinner. I simply added a necklace to jazz up my outfit.

Everything I brought had to work well with multiple pieces. A long-sleeved cashmere sweater would also be a nice option for the evening, especially if you are on safari in the Southern Africa winter. 

Susan Heinrich sits at a lunch outdoors at Leroo la Tau safari lodge, Botswana wearing an African safari outfit, brown linen short, tan pants and brown safari-style boots.

African Safari Wardrobe: Start With What You Have

My number one tip for creating any capsule wardrobe is to try everything on ahead of time. That’s the only way to know what works with what. And start with what you already have. With the pieces I already had in my closet, I bought just a few new items for my safari wardrobe. Below, I include all the key clothing items I brought. If they are no longer available, I’ve listed something similar from a brand I own, even if I don’t have that exact piece. 

I try to focus on brands that are striving toward sustainability and I prefer to buy clothes that will last and I’ll enjoy for years to come. Because I travel often, things need to hold up well and easily mix and match in capsule wardrobes. I focus on well-made essentials rather than trendy items. I’d rather spend a little more and purchase less.

About 20 clothing items including pants, shirts, shorts, and other travel items spread out that combine to create a capsule wardrobe of African safari outfits.

Pants to Wear on Safari

I recommend choosing two neutral-colored pants for a safari wardrobe — tan, brown and khaki green are all great choices. I brought three pairs of pants and in hindsight, could have managed with two, especially given I had access to laundry services. 

I took quick-dry travel pants from Athleta which I love (pictured above). They are very lightweight and don’t wrinkle — ideal when it was hot, but I wanted my legs covered.  Mine are from a few years ago; the Endless High Rise Pant in green and the Brooklyn Utility Pants in tan are most similar to mine.

You could also go with a cotton utility pant such as the Utility Barrel Pant by Everlane. The cocoa color would be a great safari pant. Or the Refined Utility Pant by Banana Republic. 

Safari Shorts

Because it was so hot in the afternoons, I was grateful to have packed shorts. I wore them on an afternoon game drive and lounging around the safari lodge between outings — relaxing on my verandah or taking photos. Mine are several years old. Comfort is crucial on safari, as you sit for long periods in the jeep. I suggest the Trekkie North Bermuda Short ; it’s a great mid-length and lightweight. I love that it has zippered pockets. Available in sizes 0-24.

If you prefer a shorter style look at the Easy Short by Everlane  or the European Linen Shorts by Quince. 

Susan Heinrich leans against the side of a small 6-seater airplane while on safari in Botswana. She wears a beige linen shorts romper and is holding a hat.

One-Piece Romper

A one-piece romper seems like the perfect safari style —easy and cool. I found mine in South Africa just before I left for Botswana and I was glad I bought it. It was great for hot weather lightweight and I could keep the waist loosely tied to allow air flow.

My style is a small brand I had never heard of, but here are similar options: Athleta’s Brooklyn Utility Romper, the  Short Jumpsuit in Cotton Twill by Alex Mill, or Anthropologie’s Kit Utility Romper. And for a splurge, and classic Out of Africa vibes, look at Frame’s Utility Short Jumpsuit in Khaki Tan .

You could choose this instead of the shorts if you want to pack one less item.  

Susan Heinrich stands in an open grassy landscape in Botswana holding a glass of white wine. She is on safari enjoying the traditional sundowner drink, with the sun setting behind her.

Safari Style Shirtdress

Yes, I could have gotten by without this shirtdress, but it was nice to have. I wore it on two very hot travel days in Africa. And its classic safari style was nice for the photos we took while enjoying our sundowners. (Sundowners are a highlight of any day on safari; a classic refreshment such as a gin and tonic is enjoyed while marveling at the beauty of the landscape, and reflecting on the day’s adventures.)

Mine is from Banana Republic; I’d had it for a while. I am trying to support more diverse brands that prioritize responsible manufacturing, and Banana Republic isn’t there yet. But they do an excellent job of safari style. This similar style, the  Twill Utility Shirtdress , captures the same look that says I take exploring seriously. J.Crew Factory has a nice option in olive green, the Utility Mini Dress. 

Susan Heinrich in a safari jeep holding a camera. She's in Botswana in the Magkadikgadi Pans National Park.

Long-sleeved Shirt

A lightweight long-sleeved shirt is a cornerstone of your African safari outfits; either cotton or linen work well.  I wore mine day and night, on its own and layered. I chose a dark brown linen shirt, but a khaki green or tan would also be the perfect safari staple.  

This is a classic piece you will wear again and again, not just on safari. You may well already have one in your closet. If you don’t, mine is by the Gap, similar to this Linen Boyfriend Shirt.  For an investment piece, I love the Britt Linen Shirts at J. McLaughlin.

For a budget-friendly option look at the Quince European Linen . I own it in white and it’s great quality.The “washed olive” color would be great for a safari. Everlane’s Relaxed Linen Shirt . is another mid-priced option. 

Susan Heinrich sits in a boat on an African safari dressed in green pants, a white shirt and a scarf and sunglasses. She is in the Okavango Delta with water and papyrus plants beyond.

Short-sleeved Shirt

Some people will say to avoid wearing white on safari as it can appear bright and startling to animals. And this is good advice. But I already owned a short-sleeved utility shirt in white, so I decided to bring it rather than buy another one. Mine is a few years old but any comfortable cotton short-sleeved shirt will work well to create your safari outfits. This one is similar and comes in a lovely green: Loft Utility Dolman Shirt.   Quince’s Vintage Wash Tencel Camp Shirt comes in several colors, and is lightweight and wrinkle resistant — great for travel. 

A khaki green safari-style utility jacket

Safari Style Utility Jacket

I bought my linen utility jacket fifteen years ago, but it had sat quietly at the back of my closet for the last ten. I rediscovered it w hen I went through everything I had that might be considered safari attire.

That’s why I always recommend looking through your closet, before you buy anything. You may find some gems, which allows you to invest in a few quality pieces, instead of having to spread your budget across an entirely new wardrobe.

I love utility jackets — they can be styled with jeans, trousers, and skirts, and work long after you return home from your safari. 

My current favorite is this one from Quince, The Chore Jacket. It’s lightweight and only $60. The colors tobacco or olive would both work really well for safari style.

L.L. Bean has a nice selection of women’s jackets that could work for African safari outfits. In particular, you might consider the BeanFlex Short Utility Jacket .

Another cute option would be a bomber-style jacket.

A camel colored cashmere poncho wrap over a t-shirt. Ideal travel essential or capsule wardrobe item.

Lightweight Wool Scarf/Wrap

A wool wrap is one of my favorite travel essentials. Even if I am going somewhere warm, you never know when you might need a layer on a chilly evening, or in air conditioning. And they are perfect to carry on the plane which is usually, brrrr. Mine is several years old, but this wardrobe staple is available from many brands at various price points. 

I love the Mongolian Cashmere Wrap by Quince and it’s well-priced. I own their cashmere crewneck sweater and the quality is great. It comes in eight colors.  J. Crew also has a nice option (and it often goes on sale) the  Cashmere Wool-Blend Poncho.

Susan Heinrich steps off of a boat in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, with the sun rising beyond her. Her safari outfit is a pair of green pants, a green rain jacket and brown safari boots.

Rain Jacket

I’d say a rain jacket is not entirely necessary because safari lodges will have ponchos available for your use, as I mentioned. That said, I was happy that I brought a rain jacket. It was the perfect lightweight layer on an early morning walking safari (pictured above) and was less cumbersome than a poncho.

My raincoat was light enough to keep in my daypack, so I had it if needed. Mine is by Sierra Designs and several years old. This RainOut Sutro Trench by Athleta is similar. I own many Athleta pieces and am a huge fan of this brand!

For a cute bomber style I suggest Athleta’s Jetset Bomber in grey.

Susan Heinrich wears a favorite travel hat while sitting in a safari jeep on an Africa safari in Botswana. She is also wearing sunglasses and a beige linen romper. She has her hand raised to holding the back of her hat.

Wide-Brimmed Hat

I both own and wear many hats 😉 but I did purchase a new hat to wear on safari. I chose the Laguna Drover Hat   from Tommy Bahama. (The brand is Kooringle of Australia.) It was perfect. Our safari jeeps always had a roof that offered some sun protection, but note that this is not always the case.  Because I was using a large DSLR camera, a slightly smaller brim was more practical. Technically this is a men’s hat, but the smaller of the two sizes (M/L) fit perfectly. Tommy Bahama has a great online selection of women’s hats .

Susan Heinrich rides in a safari jeep with green Warby Parker sunglasses on.

If you wear corrective lenses, I recommend investing in prescription sunglasses for your African safari. Not having to put my contact lenses in at 5 am was a dream.  My go-to for prescription glasses is Warby Parker and the style I purchased is The Beale , in the color Rosemary Crystal — a very pretty green.

My prescription sunglasses are single-vision, but you can also get them with progressive lenses. And all their sunglasses can be purchased without a prescription as well.

If you don’t have a Warby Parker near you, the website has virtual try-on technology using your computer camera, or you can order several pairs online to be shipped to you, and decide which you like. I own three pairs of prescription glasses from Warby Parker, two eyeglasses, and now my “safari sunglasses”. I highly recommend them — great quality products and service.

Feet in African safari boots with a bush plane beyond in a muddy landing strip in Africa.

Boots for an African Safari

I almost didn’t bring these boots and they turned out to be the most essential thing I wore in Africa. Keeping my feet protected and dry was crucial. We had rain, and lots of mud. If I had been wearing runners they would have been a mess. My boots are the Betsy by Born, purchased last year. As of now they are sold out but I will watch for a similar style by them.

Meanwhile here are some great options: I love the rich caramel color of the Frye Veronica boot available at Nordstrom. A classic and chic safari style by a heritage brand.

And you can never go wrong with a pair of Blundstones; they have a nice safari style boot with a substantial sole — Blundstone Lace-Up Boots.

A woman from the waist down wearing linen shorts; her feet are pictured in a pair of Nisolo Flatform Sandals. She is at a safari lodge.

My sandals are by Nisolo, they are the Go-To Flatform Sandal in almond and come in several other colors. They were perfect to wear on safari — comfy and lightweight to pack. And I liked that the platform kept my feet a little elevated from the ground. They work equally well with shorts and a sundress. Note, these run small, I sized up half a size. 

Nisolo is an environmentally conscious brand and a Certified B Corp. Their artisanal shoemakers in Peru are paid a living wage. 

A black soft-sided duffle bag with the words Eagle Creek printed on the side.

Soft-Sided Luggage for Safari

For my safari, I borrowed a soft-sided bag that dates to the 80’s; I can’t even find the brand. But I own another travel bag by Eagle Creek and it’s terrific, so I can recommend them if you need soft-sided luggage. The Eagle Creek No Matter What Duffle would be great for a safari; it’s lightweight and water-resistant. Choose between the 60 and 90-liter capacity, depending on your weight limit and how much you intend to bring. Available in several colors.

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A baby zebra stands looking at the camera; its stripes are chestnut rather than black of an adult zebra.

And just like that, we are all packed for an African safari. Well, at least we have a better idea what to wear on safari  — from there, packing should be a snap. I hope you have a truly magical time on your African adventure, or embracing safari style at home — almost as fun!  You might enjoy reading about my Botswana Safari Adventure in  Leroo La Tau Safari Lodge . 

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10 Responses

Thank you SO much for this post, it was exactly what I was looking for! I’m a solo 52yo Aussie living in Canada & heading to Kenya in Jan 2025 (meeting up with a group of strangers for the safari) & so I’m trying to learn as much as I can & prep. So thank! Especially for giving links too, makes life so much easier.

Now I will also read some of your other content.

Hi there! Thanks so much for reading. Have an incredible trip to Kenya!

Love your safari style! I’m going on safari in Kenya/Tanzania in late June/July 2024 and this was extremely helpful. The visuals and recommendations are great.

Thanks Dani. Have an incredble trip to East Africa!!

I love your safari style! Thank you for all of the helpful tips! I am going on two day trip safari’s in Kenya. I wanted to ask if you have a recommendation of a crossbody bag to bring on my day trips. I’m not sure how much stuff I will need to bring for the day. Also which jacket would I bring for the day. I see you packed a few different ones for your trip.

Hi Krystal. How exciting! Kenya will be incredible. I used a small backpack as my day bag as I wanted it to hold a coat, hat, suscreen and jacket. As for what coat it depended on time of day. Mornings were cold so I brought my down-filled jacket. It was a lightweight one that packed up in a small bag, but was quite warm. In the afternoon I brought my raincoat in my bag (just in case as it was rainy season) and I usually wore my light cotton utility jacket with a tee underneath in case I got hot. With most safaris, you go back to the lodge midday to relax, so you can change your clothes and your jacket. For example, I always wore long pants in the morning but wore shorts in the warmer afternoon. Hope that helps ! Have a marvelous trip!

Hi Susan. I stumbled upon you and so glad I did! Thank you for all the info and detail and putting in the links for some of the items, really helps understand what you are recommending. Going in August, Kenya/Tanzania, so will be hotter than your trip. Trying to decide if Bludstones still needed (?) or if a hiking shoe/sneaker type could work since won’t be too muddy. And, you are brave in dresses and shorts! I am already anticipating all the bug bites coming my way!

Hi Jackie. Yes, bug spray is necessary although I didn’t find it too bad. I would definitely bring shorts to change in to between game drives. Based on what you are saying I think a sturdy sneaker with a good sole or hiking shoes will be fine. Have an incredible trip to East Africa!

Hello, Thank you for your great post. You say that luggage should be soft sided, but never say why; is this a requirement of airlines, or safari providers, or just more practical? Thank you, Suzanna.

Hi Suzanna. Yes, the safari operators prefer it because it usually gets placed directly inside the little planes, rather than a luggage hold, so it can more easily fit with the other luggage when it’s soft-sided.

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The story of Guy Burgess in Moscow and the best historical movie ever made for lovers of fine Englis

  • Thread starter kennethpollock
  • Start date Apr 20, 2012
  • Men's Style

kennethpollock

kennethpollock

Senior member.

  • Apr 20, 2012

The story of Guy Burgess in Moscow and the best historical movie ever made for lovers of fine English clothing and shoes. It is funny too. It helps if you are familiar with the Philby, Burgess and McLean MI-5 spy scandal of the 1950s.  

Ianiceman

I've been saying for ages there's a great movie waiting to be made about this story. They touched on it I think, or at least the origins, in 'Another Country' but I've never seen it. My Uncle was Marcus Lipton MP, who called out Philby in the House of Commons (the only place where you are exempt from slander). He was shouted down at the time, but vindicated later when Philby did a Captain Oates and nicked off to Russia to drown himself in a bottle.  

Ivon

Chariots of Fire and the Brideshead Revisited miniseries had a huge impact on my tastes in clothes. No occasion to ever wear one, but I still want a regatta blazer to this day.  

comrade

Distinguished Member

kennethpollock said: The story of Guy Burgess in Moscow and the best historical movie ever made for lovers of fine English clothing and shoes. It is funny too. It helps if you are familiar with the Philby, Burgess and McLean MI-5 spy scandal of the 1950s. Click to expand...

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    Safari clothing packing list. While on safari, clothes that are light in weight and light in color are best. You don't actually need a lot of clothes, and you should choose clothing that you can wear in layers. Depending on your safari duration, it's best to stick to three to four days worth (i.e., one safari outfit per day) of safari ...

  18. Safari Outfit Ideas to Pack When You Finally Take That Dream Trip

    A durable sandal with some grip will work just fine, and don't forget a bathing suit—many lodges or tented camps have gorgeous pools. Lunya Restore pocket leggings $98 at Lunya

  19. What to Wear on Safari

    I had laundry done once on my safari. This safari attire packing list may be more than you need. But it covers everything you may want. You can tailor it to your trip. 2 pants (green and beige) 1 shorts. 1 short utility-style dress. 1 one-piece shorts romper. 1 long-sleeved linen shirt.

  20. Safari Pearl

    Send An eGift Card - Check Your Gift Card Balance. Safari Pearl. 660 W Pullman Rd. Moscow, ID 83843. Monday - Saturday 11:00 am - 7:00 pm. Sunday Noon - 5:00 pm. 208-882-9499 - [email protected]. Map it! Safari Pearl, your one stop shop for comics, games, costumes, and more!

  21. Safari Pearl moves into new location

    Moscow comic book and game shop Safari Pearl has moved from its longtime location and now operates on 660 W. Pullman Road.Kathy Sprague and Tabitha Simmons,…

  22. 11 Spring 2024 Fashion Trends You Can Shop Right Now

    Sea. Bethany feather-trimmed midi skirt. $425. NET-A-PORTER. SHOP THE MOST WANTED LIST. The defining spring 2024 fashion trends have officially landed in stores. Shop Vogue's edit of the key ...

  23. Safari Pearl

    Safari Pearl, Moscow, ID. 2,536 likes · 39 talking about this. Safari Pearl has everything you need to bring out the super-hero, pirate, or monster...

  24. 11 Spring 2024 Fashion Trends That Define the Season

    Sheer Delights: Diaphanous White Dresses. The white dress, in various levels of transparency, is a key spring 2024 fashion trend, one that manifests designers' quest for a feeling of lightness ...

  25. The story of Guy Burgess in Moscow and the best historical movie ever

    The story of Guy Burgess in Moscow and the best historical movie ever made for lovers of fine English clothing and shoes. It is funny too. It helps if you are familiar with the Philby, Burgess and McLean MI-5 spy scandal of the 1950s.