In search of the best safari jacket? We’ve been on countless safaris and visited lodges all over the African continent from South Africa to Kenya and literally everywhere in between. On our first trip, we showed up with a hodgepodge of clothes that were not suited for the bush and had all the wrong colors.
A good safari jacket should be bought with activity in mind. If you’ll be doing bush walks while on your safari, a lightweight safari jacket will be much more practical than a heavy-duty one. However, if you are traveling at high elevation or during Africa’s winter months when nights get cool, consider a decently warm safari jacket. It’s also important to purchase a safari jacket with a few pockets so that you can stash your goodies.
Whatever you pack in your safari bag you should bear in mind the location, time of year, and activity level. Keep in mind that you really only need one good safari jacket in your luggage, and hopefully this list will help you narrow down your choices.
The Best Safari Jackets for Women
Orvis Pack-And-Go Travel Jacket
This adorable mid-thigh safari-style jacket is both wind and water-resistant has a stowaway hood and loads of space and hidden pockets. It’s a stylish travel jacket that works for a wide range of destinations and would feel right at home in some of Europe’s most beautiful cities. A number of color options provide versatility while on safari.
The fit is very complimenting, cinching at the waist, and the colors are fairly muted, making this jacket the perfect pairing to almost any outfit! The polyester blend also resists wrinkling, which is excellent, because it comes with its own stuff sack so you can pack and go.
KUHL Lena Jacket
I love Kuhl products and this safari jacket is no different. This jacket is packable, lightweight, and perfect for all sorts of travel – not just on safari.
The zippered chest and hand pockets provide storage for any extra goods you’ll need on safari and there is also a hood that zips into the collar. This safari jacket also has an internal drawcord at the waist to cinch it in and make it more fitting.
Johnny MBJ Women’s Safari Jacket
This stylish jacket is a great deal for less than $40. It’s not a burly jacket or high quality, but the cotton jacket is perfect for cooler temperatures in Africa. Sleeves roll up for some versatility with the style and convenient temperature management in warmer weather.
A number of pockets provide nice space to carry any essentials and the removable hood is practical. Those pockets are plenty deep enough too for things like a pair of safari binoculars, sunglasses, and chapstick.
KOGMO Military Anorak Safari Jacket
A military-style anorak is an excellent choice for your safari jacket. This one has a multitude of color options to choose from, but we recommend the classic khaki color.
It’s a nice cut that is flattering on most shapes and has a drawcord waist adjustment for a slimming fit. As it’s a light cotton jacket it’s perfect for the more mild temperatures in Africa and you can layer it with a sweater for chilly days.
KUHL Generatr Jacket
Kuhl makes some of the best safari clothing for women! The jacket is lined on the inside with flannel which is perfect for early mornings or late nights when the weather is chilly. I love how stylish this jacket is, meaning it will not only look great on safari, but also in every day life! It comes in a few different colors but Gun Smoke is my favorite for an African safari.
The Best Safari Jackets for Men
Orvis Heritage Field Jacket
The Orvis Heritage Field jacket is a great safari bush jacket for men and goes great with any safari hat. This jacket is one of their best selling products for a reason. As stylish as it is functional the jacket is built to last you a lifetime.
Dry-waxed cotton canvas makes for a tough jacket that will fight away thorns and repel water. Honestly, it’s perfect for bush photos to show to your friends when you get back home from your trip.
Wantdo Men’s Cotton Safari Jacket
This cotton shell safari jacket is a stylish choice that is an affordable option for men. It’s a really sharp looking jacket with a military style collar and cut. With a number of pockets it has everything a man needs for essentials on safari.
Madda Fella Deck Jacket
This is a heavy canvas-style safari jacket that is durable yet equally stylish. We just got our hands on this one and love how it looks in the bush and also just around town.
Madda Fella makes quality gear and this jacket is no different. The deck jacket is made out of 100$ oil washed cotton creating that rugged safari look. It had four exterior pockets and one interior.
All are large enough to carry electronic essentials that you may need. The top two breast pockets are secured with a snap button.
Kuhl Burr Men’s Safari Jacket
This jacket is ready for anything Africa can throw at it! Safari? Fishing? Camping? Hiking? The Kuhl Burr Jacket is built out of microfleece-lined cotton canvas on the outside and on the inside is just as comfortable.
This jacket has multiple zippered compartments including one on the inside for passports and a phone.
Fjallraven Raven Bush Jacket
Fjallraven is another brand that I absolutely love! They make quality products that will last for years and years. The Raven jacket just looks like it was made for safari – doesn’t it!?
It’s stylish enough for any safari photo you’ll be in, but will also look great on the trails back home. It’s made out of G-1000 eco fabric that is made to repel light rain and resist wind should you be traveling Africa in the rainy season. It has plenty of pockets and even a roll and stow collar.
Patagonia Lightweight Hemp Coaches Jacket
This is a great lightweight safari jacket option for men made of soft lightweight organic cotton and hemp. This would be a great option if you are traveling to Africa in the dry season and it’s not going to get super cold at night. This jacket also has a drawcord bottom and elasticized cuffs to keep the wind out.
KUHL Kollusion Safari Coat
As mentioned above, I absolutely love Kuhl products and the Kuhl Kollusion jacket is why. It’s rugged and made for a safari or just everyday wear around the world. It’s stylish yet durable and is one of our favorite jackets for travel.
This jacket has a rollaway hood and is waxed with PU coated fabric in case it rains or snows. The jacket has numerous pockets to stash your hands for warmth or other items you’ll have in Africa.
Elements of a Good Safari Jacket
There are a couple of 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 its intended purpose.
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.
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 have 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 safari shirts and safari 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. Even 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.
Book A Safari in Africa
Traditionally if you wanted to book a safari you’d have to go to a travel agent and have them book your safari for you. They made suggestions for camps and lodges then presented you with a large bill. Most of the industry still operates in this fashion.
However, Timbuktu is a new platform that allows you to select the lodges you’d like and see the pricing per day that way you can select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you through booking your safari. With experts on staff, they can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details much like a travel agent.