Ultimate Safari Clothes Guide: What To Wear On Safari In Africa

CameronAfrica, Destinations, Gear, Recommendations, Safari1 Comment

Safari Clothes for Africa

Safari clothes are a serious affair in Africa. Yes, it is a bit “old-fashioned,” but fashions like the proper safari outfit never die. Unlike, certain parts of the world you won’t be laughed at if you show up in all khaki on a game reserve. In fact, there is even a South African brand dedicated to safari fashion offering only khaki garments.

While we are not seasoned guides we have spent six months of our lives in the bush. In those six months, we have been on safari in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. We have been on safari in all of the major parks of Southern and East Africa and put our favorite clothes to the test. It’s a ridiculous amount of time on safari and we’ve even made a list of all of our favorite spots to go on a safari.

It’s unlikely the safari clothes you wear will have to hold up to a year of non-stop safari. However, we have a serious addiction to find and test the best garments on the market. We have put all that safari knowledge to the test. In this article, we can dispel some of the myths about what to wear on safari and back it up with solid packing advice. Let’s get down to some expert advice on what to wear in Africa and where to buy safari clothes.


Table Of Contents


The Basics of Safari Clothes

What clothes to pack for a safari?

You don’t need an endless collection of safari clothes in your luggage. We’re big fans of versatility and minimalism. As people tend to overpack for their safari which becomes a burden.

On safari, you are traveling to the wilds of the African bush a full wardrobe of clothes is unnecessary. In addition the common form of transportation is a small Cessna bush plane so a heavy suitcase of clothes is not going to fly.

We break down the clothes that help you look the part, but any safari expert will agree there is no set dress code or safari outfit.

Safari Clothes - What To Wear On Safari Ruasha


Where to go on safari?

The first decision in packing for a safari is where you’re headed on safari. Africa has a very wide range of landscapes, vegetations, and climates. You should pack for where in Africa you’re headed, that’s pretty straightforward.

We have another post on the best destinations to go on safari along with our favorite parks, camps, and lodges. While you’re at it you can read up on our favorite safari animals to see while traveling.

Africa’s Best Safari Destinations


What season to go on safari?

Weather plays a large role in what you wear.

Most African climates do not have your standard four-season climate. Here it is mostly dry and wet season, especially in Eastern Africa. With dry season can come heat in East Africa; however, dry season in Southern Africa means that it’s going to be cool in the evenings and mornings.

Then it flips.

Rainy season in East Africa brings cooler weather patterns and perpetuates a constant spring-like weather in Tanzania and Kenya. While rainy season in South Africa can coincide with its hottest months.

The basic gist is if it’s dry season we suggest khaki, brown, and tan. If it’s rainy season time to bust out the browns and greens. Just please no leopard print, okay maybe a little.


What to wear in Southern Africa?

In Southern Africa, the climate varies across the region. Summers can be blisteringly hot while winters are freezing in the back of a game vehicle. Many visitors show up in the winter thinking they’re going to be in the hot bush only to find zero degree weather in an open vehicle. Yikes!

The key to a comfortable safari outfit is layers. We often pack and wear layers to adjust to the wide range of temperatures you can experience on a typical day. While the morning can be freezing in arid locations like Botswana by midday it can be hot, layers will save you.

Packing list for Southern Africa

What Safari Clothes To Wear Zambia

What to wear in Central & East Africa?

Here the weather is more temperate year round. It is often referred to as the “never ending spring.” However, morning game drives can still be chilly so convertible pants and a light jacket are great options.

Always come prepared for rain given the time of year. We’ve been caught in a number of the famous thunderstorms of Africa, including a flash flood in Tanzania!

Packing list for Central and East Africa

Safari Clothes

Safari Shirts and Tops

The perfect safari shirt will make all the difference in being comfortable throughout the day. A synthetic shirt will give the most practicality, while cotton shirts tend to have a more timeless look. The cotton can also provide a nice base for warmth on a cold morning or cool evening.

Synthetic has its own advantages mostly related to quick drying, stain resistance, and keeping cool. Below is a collection of some the best safari clothes we’ve found on the market.

In the end, this is meant to be used as a guide about what to look for; what is the best fit for you may be something not included on this list. We’d also suggest you check out our post on safari shirts.

Men’s Safari Clothes: Shirt

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge 2.0 Long Sleeve Shirt

This Columbia long sleeve shirt looks great and is well constructed. Made entirely from a nice blend of synthetic materials it allows for quick drying and ventilation in the hot sun. A long sleeve shirt like this allows for greater comfort moving from chilly mornings into hot days.

The functionality of the shirt is great with a rear vent on the back for heat management and double breast pockets for storing gear or small items. It can be tough to find good technical shirts sometimes, but Columbia has some great options.

Columbia Silver Ridge


Arc’teryx Skyline Shirt

Safari Clothes - Arcteryx Safari Shirt

Arc’teryx is well known for making some tremendous technical clothing. It’s all built for being active whether that’s hiking or going on a safari. It’s a lightweight shirt made from polyester fabric that resists wrinkles, dries quickly for comfort, and wicks away sweat from the body. My only gripe would be that color options tend to be a little dark, but they’re still nice neutral earth tones and the technical features do a good job at temperature management.

The front breast pocket is great for a small tube of sunscreen, bug spray, or a camera lens cap. For me it’s the cut and technical capabilities of the shirt that make it a slam dunk choice. It comes in both long and short sleeve option so take your pick.

Short Sleeve OptionLong Sleeve Option


Simms Guide Long Sleeve Shirt

Safari Clothes - Simms Guide Long Sleeve Shirt

Simms is a company dedicated to fishing and makes some fantastic technical clothes and shirts. The shirt is a blend of polyester and nylon which results in a lightweight shirt that has a soft and supple feel. It has fantastic moisture control that is helpful in humid environments. With the technical clothing that has UPF protection and long sleeves it’s perfect for covering your skin from the harsh African sun.

What I love about this shirt are the zippered breast pockets which is perfect for storing sunscreen, chapstick, utility tool, or your camera lens cap. Then you have the classic styling that extends to a wide range of environments and can look good on a bush walk or sitting down to dinner.

Simms Guide Long Sleeve


Patagonia Farrier’s Shirt

 

I just added this new shirt to my safari wardrobe and love it! I love Patagonia clothing so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. They make some of our favorite products and they are a large portion of what we wear. To top it off all of my clothes are still in great condition with plenty of wear.

The safari shirt has a great material blend of hemp and recycled polyester. It feels soft to the touch, but the hemp gives a weight to the fabric that will stand the test of time and the bush. The weight is perfect for spring conditions but will be a tad hot for summer in Southern Africa.

Patagonia Farrier Shirt


Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt

Safari Clothes - Shirt - Mountain Hardwear

 

This is a fantastic safari shirt for hot weather and it was one of my favorite safari shirts for hot weather with sun protection. I wanted a shirt that offers protection from the African sun and while keeping me cool in the heat. This shirt knocked it out of the park. It has a nice cut, feel, and love the design of the collar which has a hidden extension to cover your neck when flipped up.

Canyon Shirt on BackcountryCanyon Shirt on REI


prAna Merger Long Sleeve Shirt

We’re pretty loyal to a number of brands that have proven reliable over the years and prAna is a personal favorite. Their newest men’s shirt the Merger is perfect for Southern Africa in the cooler months.

It’s a hemp and recycled polyester blend that feels warm and soft while retaining technical capabilities that we look for in a safari shirt. I love to great features in this shirt the first one being button flaps to roll up your sleeves when the temperatures rise. However, the stand out is the side hip pocket for stashing away something while in the back of safari vehicle.

We love natural fibers like hemp that offer technical features while providing a nice organic feel to them. It also helps that hemp is sustainably produced material, so for the eco conscious travelers this would be a great choice. It’s Fair Trade Factory certified!

Shop Men’s prAna


Dickies Men’s Short Sleeve Work Shirt

Look I’m not going to lie and say Dickies are known for style because they aren’t. They are a working man’s shirt. The shirts are meant to stand up wear and tear, yet look presentable.

Which, is exactly what you want out of a good shirt on safari. They’re hard to stain come in all manner of colors and sizes. Furthermore, with short sleeves, pockets, and synthetic materials this shirt is a winner.

Dickies Work Shirt


African Bush Shirt

Tag Safari makes excellent shirts for a safari. All their products are made in Zimbabwe by locals so you know their African bush shirts are about as authentic as they come. With two chest pockets, two chest security pockets, a button down collar, and safari tabs there are a lot of bells and whistles on this classic mens safari shirt.

The whole shirt is double stitched so you know that you are getting a rugged piece of clothing. Tag Safari is known for their great products. I love their mission to help “Africa through trade, not aid.” Check out more of their products on Amazon!

Short Sleeve OptionLong Sleeve Option


Hanes Sports Men’s Cool DRI Men’s Performance Tee

You don’t always need some safari garbs to enjoy your time and be comfortable. That’s where some great comfortable t-shirts come in handy.

I’m a big believer in Hanes and always opt for solid colors over graphic tees. I also love a simple classic cotton T-shirt or a performance fabric that handles sweat and the sun.

Hanes Tee Shirts


Women’s Safari Clothes: Shirts

Columbia Sportswear Bahama II Long Sleeve Shirt

This shirt pretty much checks off every box when it comes to good safari wear. Design built for anglers, but that makes it a perfect fit for the African Bush. The shirt offers UV protection, it’s lightweight, quick drying, it has a vented back, and front pockets.

Loaded with features such omni-wick moisture management, antimicrobial treatment, and strategic mesh vented panels this shirt perfect for a safari. Columbia is one of our favorites when it comes to shirts as they make affordable and well designed clothes.

Bahama II Long Sleeve Shirt


Orvis Open Air Casting Long Sleeve Shirt

For women, this is my personal favorite for the style. The shirt is lightweight and breathable with solid sun protection and other technical features. The Open air has vented panels on the back, mesh panels, and mesh pockets that keep you cool particularly when you’re sitting in the back of a safari vehicle.

If you’re still feeling hot you can roll up the sleeves and secure them with stylish tabs. Then with two front breast pockets, you have the functionality we like with a great safari shirt. More than anything it’s a technical safari shirt with a great look.

Orvis Open Air Casting


Columbia Women’s Tamiami II Long Sleeve-Shirt

This shirt pretty much checks off every box when it comes to good safari wear. It’s more or less the better looking version of the Bahama as it looks sharp with clean lines and a flattering cut. Design built for anglers, but that makes it a perfect fit for the African Bush. The shirt offers UV protection, it’s lightweight, quick drying, it has a vented back, and front pockets.

Loaded with features such omni-wick moisture management, antimicrobial treatment, and strategic mesh vented panels this shirt perfect for a safari. Columbia is one of our favorites when it comes to shirts as they make affordable and well designed clothes.

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REI Co-op Sahara Pattern

It’s all built for being active whether that’s hiking or going on a safari. This lightweight shirt from REI is made from polyester fabric that resists wrinkles, dries quickly for comfort, and wicks away sweat from the body. It has a number of pattern options which help break up the monotony of khaki, green, and white.

The front breast pocket are great for a small tube of sunscreen, bug spray, or a camera lens cap. For me it’s the cut and technical capabilities of the shirt that make it shine such as UPF protection, long sleeve cuffs, underarm panels to reduce odor, and a spandex blend for easy movement.

REI Co-op Sahara Shirt


Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt

 

Canyon Shirt - Safari Clothes Womens

This is a fantastic safari shirt for hot weather and it was one of my favorite safari shirts for both men and women that for hot weather and sun protection. I wanted a shirt that offers protection from the African sun and to keep me cool in the heat.

This shirt knocked it out of the park. It has a nice cut, feel, and love the design of the collar which has a hidden extension to cover your neck when flipped up.

Canyon Shirt on Backcountry


Royal Robbins Expedition Dry Long Sleeve

Safari Clothes - Expedition Dry Long Sleeve

This shirt is a great safari shirt as it is built for tropical and hot weather. It’s designed with 100% polyester and offers UPF 40+ protection while remaining light, quick dry, and flexible.

It has some great features for a safari shirt too with thermoregulating mesh to keep you cool and two front breast pockets for storage. As an added bonus this safari shirt it’s a great travel shirt in developing nations as it has a hidden pocket to secure your valuables like a passport or smartphone.

Expedition Dry Long Sleeve


prAna Foundation Short Sleeve V-neck

Safari Clothes - Prana Foundation Shirt

Not every item in your pack has to be outdoor wear. Simple clothes like a classic T-shirt or V-neck are great staples to bring in your pack. This shirt from prAna is super lightweight and breathable. It’s probably the most comfortable shirt you’ll ever wear as it’s made from a new sustainable material called Lenzing Modal.

The material is made from spinning natural cellulose that comes from various trees. Our only complaint would be in regard to longevity of the shirt due to its lightweight nature, you can easily snag this shirt if not careful

prAna Foundation V-neck


LE3NO Women’s Lightweight  Sleeveless Military Anorak Vest

Functional, lightweight, and comfortable with a whole bunch of pockets. Easy Addition to the list of best safari clothes.

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Safari Pants And Bottoms

Pants should be bought with activity in mind. If you’ll be doing bush walks, light pants will be much more practical than a pair of shorts. Bottoms should also have a little give, new outdoor gear has synthetic materials built into to provide strength and give. So, when you’re hopping into the back of a safari vehicle your pants don’t rip.

Shorts also should not be feared. Most safaris are very easy going affairs riding around in the back of the vehicle so the protection of long pants is unnecessary. Whatever you pack you should bear in mind the location, time of year, and activity level.

Mens Safari Clothes: Pants

5.11 Tactical Men’s TacLite Pro Pant

5.11 specializes in tactical gear and makes some seriously great products. These pair of pants are comfortable, practical, tough, and look great. It ticks off every box for what I’m seeking in safari clothes.

5.11 Tactical Men’s Pant


Carhartt Rugged Flex Upland Field Safari Trouser

Best Safari Pants

These pants were built for the modern day adventurer so they’re more than ready for an African safari. These safari trousers are great for those going on a gorilla trek of doing some bush walks.

They come with a slew of well thought out features that are sure to last a lifetime. Easily the best pants on this list, but also the most expensive.

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Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

Safari Pants Clothes - Silver Ridge

Whatever these pants lack in style they make up for in practicality. Made from a synthetic material they offer UV protection, convertible, and vented for comfort. The material is great for fighting moisture and dirt/dust when our in the bush.

Pants like these are particularly helpful if you’re gorilla trekking as the jungle is extreme humid with lots of low lying plants where proaction is crucial.

Silver Ridge Convertible Pants


KUHL Revolvr Pant

Safari Pants

I love the Kuhl brand. They make quality products that last years and these pants are no different. Great on safari or even a day at work back home these safari pants are both comfortable and professional.

Thanks to a durable cotton blend fabric with just a small hint of nylon these pants will get you through any bush walk in Africa and won’t rip easily. They have reinforcements at the cuff and you can wear them with a nice pair of safari boots or even with flip flops for a more relaxed look during downtown. All the pockets are designed to hole phones and even a small safari camera.

Kuhl Revolvr Pant


Patagonia Men’s Field Hacking Pants

These pants were built for the modern day adventurer so they’re more than ready for an African safari. The pants are great for those going on a gorilla trek of doing some bush walks. They come with a slew of well thought out features that are sure to last a lifetime. Easily the best pants on this list, but also the most expensive.

Patagonia Field Pant


prAna Brion Pant

Best Safari Pants for Africa

These pants provide more stretch than most of the others on this list making them great for sitting in the back of a safari vehicle or on a bush walk. They are made with nylon fabric with spandex material and have a quick drying technology.

These pants are what you want if you are after a slim fitting pant that can still accompany you to work or on a hike up the mountains when you are back at home.

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prAna Vaha Pants

Safari Clothes Pant - Vaha Pant

These aren’t the pants you want to go on a bush walk on, but they are great for nights for the fire and for being completely relaxed. Comfort and stretch are where these pants excel.

They are great for feeling free and also for wearing on the African coast after your safari is over. Hemp and recycled polyester give the pants breathability, quick dry, and odor-fighting qualities along with being a heck of an eco-friendly product.

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Bathing Suit

It really all depends on where you’re going, but Africa has some of the best beaches in the world. Not to mention some stunning hotels, rivers, lakes, lodges, and waterfalls all present the ability to go for a dip.

One of the biggest travel regrets is missing out on something. We almost always carry a spare bathing suit even on a safari. There are also plenty of great beach lodges that make for a wonderful and relaxing end to be a busy safari. You can read about the best hotels in Zanzibar or Diani Beach!

Find A Bathing Suit!


Womens Safari Clothes: Bottoms

prAna Women’s Convertible Pants

Safari Pants - prAna Convertible

The pants are constructed from a sturdy material that offers stretch, providing solid comfort. It’s the pair of pants Tasha went with and she loves them. With detachable legs, these pants also turn into shorts. These pants are a great option. And they don’t look too bad either!

prAna Convertible Pant


Columbia Sportswear Women’s Saturday Trail Pant

Safari Clothes - Saturday Trail Pant

The design of these pants is almost a carbon copy of the prAna pants above. Tasha has tried both these pants and found that the prAna Halle pant fits her better, but she also has short legs. We’d recommend trying both pants out or looking at the color options and going with your preference.

Color options are of greater variety with the Saturday Trail Pant. However, you should expect all the same features such as roll up capri, security pocket, and a button fly. These pants are great for traveling since they’re lightweight, look good, and versatile.

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The North Face Paramount II Convertible Pant

These pants are built for hiking, climbing, and pretty much anything adventurous. They are made out of stretchy, DWR water-resistant fabric, providing durability. On top of that, they have UPF 30 sun protection which can be necessary if you are caught out in the hot African sun for too long.

I absolutely love that these pants either roll into a 3/4 length Capri fit or zipper off to a pair of 5-inch safari shorts. Like most of the safari pants on this list these aren’t just good for an African safari, they’ll keep you going in the mountains or even traveling through new cities as well.

North Face Paramount II


Royal Robbins Women’s Discovery Pencil Pant

Safari Clothes - Discovery Pant Royal Robbins

The pants are nylon and are available in the right colors. They have a mesh waistband, a snap button, and deep pockets. This makes them the perfect pants to wear on a safari.

The nylon blends keep you cool while protecting your skin from the elements and bugs common on a safari. The fit of these pants allows them to avoid that ugly baggy hiking pant look.

Discovery Pencil Pant


Women’s Patagonia Fitted Corduroy Safari Trousers

Best Travel Pants

These are some of my all-time favorite pants. The first pair I literally wore them until the pants disintegrated. That doesn’t mean they’re not a great build quality I just wore the same pair every other day for two years straight – if not more!

The pants are made from organic cotton. What’s great about corduroy is the natural stretch of the textile. You can only buy these pants direct from Patagonia’s website or one of their stores. If you like corduroy you’ll love these pants, if you don’t like the feeling of corduroy then definitely give these a skip.

Patagonia Fitted Corduroy


prAna Women’s Regular Inseam Halle Pant

Safari Clothes - Halle Pant prAna

These are my go-to for women’s pants. The extremely versatile pant is prepared to tackle the city, bush, or mountains with no problems.

A great feature about these pants is its convertible feature, the pants are designed to roll up into capris – perfect for hot days. These lightweight pants also occupy minimal space in your suitcase. We consider these the very best travel pants for women.

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Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail Shorts

You can’t only wear pants on a safari unlike you’re looking to have a heat stroke in certain environments. A good pair of outdoor shorts with some stretch and quick dry qualities will do. These pants are nylon and have mesh pockets.

Saturday Trail Shorts


Women’s Safari Clothes: Dresses

prAna Cantine Dress

Safari Clothes - Prana Cantine Dress

I love to wear dresses while on safari. They are perfect if you are wondering what to wear on safari evenings. My favorite dresses that look nice, but are still made for active women are made by prAna. I’ve traveled all over with their Cantine dress and can attest to it’s durability.

prAna Cantine Dress


REI Co-op Aoraki Travel Dress

This lightweight and stylish safari dress is a great choice. The REI Co-op Aoraki travel dress will keep you cool in the sun with lightweight fast drying fabric. It’s also great as it will dry overnight after a quick wash along the in your wash basin.

The outer layer of fabric is treated with (DWR) so if you get caught in a rain storm the dress will handle the moisture well. The zippered pocket is also great to stick a small tube of sunblock or lip balm.

Check Prices Here!


Patagonia ReCircle Dress

Safari Dress Patagonia

We love Patagonia and love that their always looking to reduce their impact and improve the supply line. This dress is designed from a new lightweight eco-friendly material called TENCEL. The material is more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk, and cooler than linen all while being made from a closed loop system. It’s a slam dunk in our books for eco-conscious travelers.

Check Prices Here!


Safari Boots

A good safari boot is the one thing that is a must when it comes to safari wear and bushwalks. Sure you can dress up in khaki, leather, leopard print, and dark green, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter all that much about what you wear on safari if you don’t have the shoe.

Men’s Safari Clothes: Boots

Chippewa Apache Boots

These are probably my favorite pair of boots I’ve ever owned. I spent some time looking for the perfect boot brand and came across Chippewa. They make gorgeous leather boots and they’re all made in the USA. Which, for me, means supporting my own nation and it brings a level of quality when not mass produced cheaply.

The boots are made of thick soft leather, strong stitching, and they’re extremely comfortable. These boots are tough and perfect for both a safari and life in general. As a tip I’d pick up some leather treatment to protect the boot and add a level of water resistance.

AmazonZappos!


Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger

Red Wing comes in a close second for boot brands in my opinion and they’re also made in the USA. These boots are both functional and stylish. Designed with quality materials and solid craftsmanship. Red Wing’s Heritage Iron Ranger’s have a high ankle and steel toe for great protection beyond the bush.

If I was considering a serious self-drive safari into the deep bush I’d go for a pair of steel toe boots. What I love about these boots and the Apaches are they are some of the best damn boots in terms of style, quality, comfort, and longevity. You can’t go wrong with a classic. Now all you need is a hat and a good camera for safari.

AmazonZappos!


Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II

Not all boots are about the style. These Columbia boots are about practicality and comfort. The Newton Ridge Plus is a blend of leather and synthetic materials good for breathability and waterproofing. Synthetic safari boots may not have the classic look, but they weigh less and have more flexibility than the more expensive leather boots. In fact, most safari guides these days opt for the new style of boots due to their practicality and comfort. With a low price point, these boots are a clear winner.

AmazonZappos!


Women’s Safari Clothes: Boots

Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger

I wish Chippewa had a greater option of women’s boots. However, Red Wing does the job with the Women’s Iron Ranger. You know how you know these boots are classics? They look great on both Men and Women. They’re rugged, chic, and sexy on both sexes. To me, it all comes down the superb leather they use to construct their boots. When you buy a classic pair of boots like these you’re making an investment in your feet.

AmazonZappos!


Dr. Marten’s Pascal Combat Boot

The Pascal Combat Boot has been a fashion staple for decades now. Combined with both a classic combat boot look, solid design, and comfort these boots are great for a bush walk. A large selection of styles and colors ensure you can choose whatever suits your mood. After all, women’s safari clothes do not need to be all khaki and leather. The long history and great build quality mean the boots should also hold up against the elements. I wouldn’t recommend them for a hard adventurer, but they’re more than enough for the average safari.

AmazonZappos!


Merrell Women’s Moab Ventilator 2 Mid

These aren’t the best looking shoes in the world, but they’re nowhere near a pair of crocs. Tasha spent months trying on different hiking shoes and finally settled on the Moab Ventilator and has been wearing them ever since. They are well constructed and have held up well over the years.  The Moab’s are well padded, comfortable, and for about a $20 different you can get the Gortex version (waterproof). Boots like these are great for people who need comfort and looking for a good hiking boot.

AmazonZappos!


Safari Accessories

Buff Headband

We both travel around with buff headbands and they’re some of our favorite travel accessories that we’ve recommended a handful of times. They’re great for keeping sweat out of our eyes on a hike. Or in dust out of your face when riding down a dusty road, which you’ll need on Safari. They offer sun protection, can act as a scarf, and a whole bunch of other things. Buy one and fall in love with it.

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Grayl Ultralight Water Bottle

It’s not advisable to drink the tap water in most of Africa. We previously used the Lifestraw Go for all those times during our travels when the water is questionable. However, over time we became annoyed with the water bottle as the filter aged and clogged. Plus the bottle leaks when it is on its side.

We now switched to the Grayl Ultralight Purifier. It’s a more simplistic design than the Lifestraw that is more effective and does not leak. Most importantly it is a purifier, not a filter. The Grayl water bottle system purifies water vs. filters which removes viruses and virtually removes all threat of waterborne illnesses.

Grayl Ultralight Water Bottle


Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Booney Sunhat

You spend a lot of time outside on a safari. We often fall into the category of people who do not take sun protection seriously enough. Yes, we wear sunblock on the beach, but outside of that, it’s not something we regularly think about. The time you spend outside adds up.

On our first safari, I ended up paying for it with a nice sunburn on my neck and face because I didn’t even think about it. Mind you that was in the winter… Do yourself a favor and invest in sun protection. If it’s not a hat, at the very least wear sunblock. Even the game rangers we meet wear hats and sunblock. The full safari dress does serve a purpose.

If you want to get a more in-depth look to safari hats you can check out our post detailing the best hats on the market.

Bora Bora Booney HatThe Best Safari Hats


Nikon Monarch 5 8×42

Another phenomenal mid-range option for your safari viewing is the Nikon Monarch. Nikon has long been a reputable name in the field of binocular manufacturing, and the Monarch is an excellent example.

The 42mm lens diameter allows for excellent low-light viewing, while the body itself is built for extreme use – sounds perfect for a safari, doesn’t it? Rubber armored body and entirely waterproof, this pair will hold up to the elements as you dive into the wilderness.

What’s more, the Monarch offers a very long eye-relief (the distance from the viewing lens to your eye), which maximizes eye comfort for extended viewing and is perfect if you wear glasses.

Check Prices Here!Best Safari Binoculars


Patagonia Black hole Duffel Bag

Have we mentioned that we love Patagonia before? We’re avid fans of the companies products and it’s likely anyone who’s big into outdoor adventure sports is loves them too. The Patagonia Black Hole bag is one of the largest of the Patagonia brand and perfect for a safari bag.

The bag can pack down small when empty so it’s great to stick in your bag. It was also plenty easy to stuff and organize, thanks to the large U-shaped zipper and two mesh pockets on the top flap. It’s also super lightweight an important aspect when you have strict weight allowances on bush planes.

Patagonia Black Hole


Safari Clothes - Baobabs in Ruaha National Park


Elements of Good Safari Garments

There are a couple key elements to look at with each piece of safari clothing. While you may picture yourself as an adventure seeker, you should keep in mind that you are a guest and your safari guide will handle the nitty-gritty.

Unless you’re driving across Africa like us, you’ll be safe. The clothes you pack should be for comfort, not some rugged adventure. If it doesn’t feel comfortable you may as well leave it at home.

Safari Clothes - What To Wear On Safari In Mana Pools

Classic safari style in Mana Pools

Versatility

You’ll want to pack light. The days are often busy so multiple wardrobe changes aren’t really in the mix. Solid clothes that are casual, yet stylish enough to wear to dinner in a lodge over a five course meal.

Versatility can include the right material, fit, and functionality. For example, a good long sleeve shirt can keep you warm in the morning, but cool during the day in a way that short sleeve or tee shirts fail.


Durability

This one is key. Africa can be hard on clothes even on a short trip. Climbing in and out of a safari vehicle can easily rip a weak pair of pants or shorts. Look for clothes for Africa that stretch a little.

You also have a lot of dust and sun exposure. If you’re involved in conservation efforts, on a walking safari, or spending anytime outside of a game vehicle you need some decent safari clothes that will hold up to the elements. The best way is often to stick with solid name brands that we trust when ordering online or to shop in your local store, although that can be difficult with limited selections.


Material

With a safari, you’ve come to see nature and that’s just what you will encounter. So, your clothing needs to be well suited to the environments of Africa. When it comes to our outdoor wear we go for solid natural materials like hemp, linen, leather, or wool.

Manmade materials such a nylon or polyester are other great options as they are excellent at moisture management and protection. The only material we’re not massive fans of is cotton, but it’s often the softest and warmest material while with great value. I always read the tags and materials on outdoor apparel before I make a purchase and consider it’s intended purpose.


Practicality

Things like having pockets can make or break good safari wear. Where else are you going to stash things like lip balm, sunscreen, or even a pair of binoculars?

The day to day wear of clothes is the most important part because if you feel uncomfortable in the bush you’ll likely end up looking ridiculous. You aren’t walking the runways of Paris, but spending time in the bush. Care about your look, but not too much.


Camouflage

Safari clothes should blend in with the environment. You should wear beige, green, and brown colored clothes. They are the staple colors of safari wear because they blend into the environment and can provide a better game viewing experience.

While wearing bright colors such as red is said to scare off animals, and make you stand out. This may or may not be true, only the animals know for sure. Of course, the Maasai Warriors in Kenya and Tanzania have been wearing red for centuries!

That being said neutral colors do a great job at hiding dirt and dust which there will be plenty of on a drive or walk through the bush. White clothes aren’t going to stay white very long and dark colors are believed to attract tsetse flies. Trust us you do not want to become familiar with tsetse flies!

For example, when gorilla trekking it advised to wear long pants and greens. When on foot it is always advised to wear colors that blend well into the environment and a good pair of safari boots.


Tips On Safari Clothes

  • First and foremost, you do not have to wear any special safari clothes. The majority of time on safari is spent in a vehicle where clothes choice does not matter much.
  • Attempt to blend in. Remember to wear a safari outfit and clothes suited for the environment.
  • Don’t wear animal prints or some ridiculous getup. You’re not bushwacking through the African jungle. This isn’t Jumanji. You’ll spend the majority of your time in the back of a vehicle. So, wear comfortable clothes that will not stain from dirt, offer sun protection, and are comfortable from the heat or cold.
  • Mind the weather. It can get really really cold in the back of a game vehicle in Africa early morning or at night. Make sure to pack a nice jacket. I didn’t recommend any here – anything that breaks the wind should do.
  • DO NOT wear blue in Eastern Africa. The color blue attracts the Tsetse fly, and this is not a myth.
  • Don’t overpack. You only need a handful of shirts and pants. You are in the African bush, there is no need for multiple wardrobe changes. However, it goes without saying to always pack ample underwear and socks.
  • Keep it relaxed. At five star lodges in Africa, things are still casual.
  • A good pair of sunglasses will save your eyes from staring at landscapes all day.
  • Make sure to pack in layers. It will go from cold in the morning to hot at night and then back to evening time.
  • Bring a light rain jacket depending on the season. Most Safari companies and lodges come prepared in this aspect and will provide their guests with nice thick ponchos, but if you’re doing it on your don’t forget a rain jacket.
  • Pockets. We love clothing with pockets to carry sunblock, chapstick, flashlight, camera, or binoculars. It’s better than having to juggle around a bag. We already have our safari cameras to contend with in the back of a game viewer.

Clothing Brands We Recommend

Where to buy safari clothes? It’s pretty tough outside of South Africa to find a store that carries safari clothes. I would recommend you shop online. At the end of the day, we like to choose quality. A good safari outfit is versatile, long lasting, and timeless. Spending the extra dough to buy decent brands is almost always a good idea. One of the best brands in our opinion is Patagonia.

  • Patagonia – If you’ve read any of our other packing guides you’ll know we love this brand. They make great quality clothes that hold up.
  • REI – This is one of our favorite stores! There may be no REI safari clothes specifically, but you can find a great number of products that will serve you well in the bush.
  • Columbia – This is a great outdoor company with affordable products. We tend to like Patagonia more, but the brand costs significantly more for a slight improvement in quality. {Shop the brand here!}
  • First Ascent – You can’t find this brand in America, but if shopping in South Africa they make some great quality clothes.
  • Royal Robbins – Specialize in outdoor and travel gear making some perfect safari clothes. {Shop the brand here!}
  • prAna – They’re a closer runner up to Patagonia for style and quality when it comes to outdoor apparel.

Safari Clothes


THANKS FOR READING!

Hey, we’re Cameron and Natasha — We’re the head writers and creators of The World Pursuit. Over the last five years, we’ve traveled around the world. Let us send you some great tips and inspiration straight to your inbox every month.

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One Comment on “Ultimate Safari Clothes Guide: What To Wear On Safari In Africa”

  1. Cameron & Natasha! EXCELLENT site! Lots of great info! We’ll be heading from the US to Kenya and Tanzania in August to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary (not as old as we sound!) along with our adult daughter and 11-year-old granddaughter (who will celebrate her 12th birthday in Tanzania!) My husband and I visited that region 47 years ago and have always wanted to return! I’m sure we will find it to be quite a bit different now. My granddaughter is psyched to go safari clothing shopping! Typical adolescent. So totally looking forward to this very special family time in a very special place….Warm regards, Hope

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