On my first safari, I had no idea what to wear. Now with over 100 safaris under my belt, I feel I know exactly how to put together a fantastic safari outfit for women.
Whether it’s your first safari or your tenth, you want to make sure you pack the right things for your trip. This means items that are not only cute and stylish, but also comfortable, durable, and lightweight.
From safari dresses to safari pants here are my favorite items to make the perfect safari outfit.
The Complete Safari Outfit (From Head to Toe)
Safari Outfit Item 1: Safari Shirts
I would recommend at least three safari shirts with you on your trip with at least one of those a long sleeve, insect repellant shirt. Here are a few suggestions to start your safari outfit off right.
Columbia Tamiami II ($48)
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 as 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. Its negatives are a more loose cut and outdoor style as it has a large vented back and large front breast pockets.
Orvis Open Air Casting ($89)
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.
REI Co-op Sahara ($59)
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 pockets 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.
Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt ($65)
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.
prAna Foundation Short Sleeve V-neck ($45)
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.
Safari Outfit Item 2: Safari Pants
Pants are an essential part of a safari outfit for women. One pair of women’s safari pants are great; however, two will safari pants for women ensure that you won’t have to do any washing on your trip. I personally have the prAna Halle pants and have had them for almost three years now without issue. It’s almost impossible to stain them, they roll up into capris when it’s hot, and they are water-resistant.
prAna Women’s Halle Pant ($85)
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 bushwalk. They are made with nylon fabric with spandex material and have a quick-drying technology.
Similar to the men’s Brion the Halle is a blend of nylon and spandex that has great moisture and temperature management. They also look pretty good as everyday pants that can go anywhere in the Mud and Dark Khaki colors.
They’re a functional pant that is designed as a climbing pant so they have superb flexibility. Although, they’re flexible do not mistake them for being loose and sloppy looking.
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. They also happen to be some of the best travel pants.
Women’s Patagonia Corduroy ($89)
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.
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants ($70)
I literally live in loose free-flowing pants when I’m at the beach, but they are perfect for safari too. My new favorites are made by The North Face.
Their Aphrodite pants are made out of nylon and polyester while offering 50+ UPF protection. They are perfect for a laid back safari as they are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. Don’t count them out either as they’re a nice blend of technical hiking and laid back pants.
Safari Outfit Item 3: Safari Shorts
It gets HOT in Africa, especially in the middle of the day. I would recommend bringing at least one pair of safari shorts to stay cool. I prefer a nice pair of shorts that are practical yet stylish.
Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail Short ($45)
The Columbia brand is always good for affordable outdoor wear. These trail shorts are perfect for a safari in Africa as they provide UPF 50 sun protection and insect repellant. Their stretchable fabric makes them ideal for sitting in a safari vehicle for long hours throughout the day.
Even though these are safari shorts they are still fashionable enough to wear to dinner and other activities that revolve around your safari. The best part about these shorts is even after your African safari experience you can take them home and they are perfectly acceptable to go trail running, hiking, or errands around town.
prAna Women’s Tess Shorts ($59)
In case you haven’t heard prAna is my absolute favorite brand of clothing. Almost every day there is something on my body made from prAna, so it’s no surprise that I am recommending their Tess Shorts. Their Cargo Green color is great for bush walks and game drives around Africa as it blends in nicely to the environment.
What I love about prAna is the material they use, an organic stretch woven canvas. These safari shorts have both front and back and stretch with you. I’ve noticed with most prAna products their sizes run a little big so it may be worth ordering a size down if you are unsure.
Title Nine Clamber Shorts ($69)
I just got my hands on these safari shorts and love the stretchy waistband on them. They are super comfortable especially if you’re going to be sitting a game viewing vehicle for hours on end.
They are made by Title Nine one of my favorite brands for women’s clothes. The Clamber is made of MoxieFlex abrasion-resistant fabric and also good for all hiking, trekking, and scrambling.
Safari Outfit Item 4: Safari Vest
Safari vests are great if for storing little items on you in all the pockets. They are especially useful for walking safaris.
Columbia Women’s World Trekker Vest
Columbia makes some of the most affordable outdoor gear on the market. This safari vest is 100% nylon and has insect shield repellant. With only five pockets it’s not the most utility vest on this list, but it is functional and can hold your belongings on the inside of the vest and out. With a tie waist for adjustment, the vest can still look cute and fashionable in all your safari photos.
Makeitmint Fashionable Safari Vest
I love the makeitmint collection because they offer so many colors. These cute vests make not be the most practical, but if you are looking for a stylish safari vests this is a great choice. So if you are just looking for a cheap safari vests this may be what you want! This vest has four pockets and zippers on the front to stay organized. It’s great to pair with a khaki skirt and some safari boots while in Southern Africa on a cool day.
Safari Outfit Item 5: Safari Dress
A safari dress is great because it can be a one piece safari outfit for ladies. I like to bring a few dresses on safari for meal times and for times out of the game drive vehicle. Also – they are perfect for photos and ideal for living out your safari movie.
Arc’teryx Contenta Dress ($89)
I love Arc’teryx products and this dress is no exception. With UPF 45 sun protection this dress is great for a safari with two hand pockets and even a hidden zippered security pocket. This dress is made out of polyester fabric meaning it is quick to dry and doesn’t wrinkle easily. What I love about this dress is how sophisticated it looks on safari. Perfect to have on while drinking a sundowner or at dinner.
prAna Cantine Dress ($85)
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 safari dress and can attest to its durability.
prAna Perry Midi Dress ($78)
Made out of Lenzing modal fabric to keep you breathable while being friendly to the environment the perry midi dress is one of the only safari dresses on this list that is mid-length.
Its waistband keeps the dress well fitted and stylish while keeping you cool on those super hot African days. You can’t see it from the photo but there are also two side pockets to stash away goods or just keep your hands in while relaxed.
Marmot Josie Safari Dress ($69)
The Marmot Jose will make any safari outfit complete. It’s made out of 95% nylon and 5% elastane and is lightweight, and extremely easy to pack up. The dress is airy and quick-drying, exactly what you need for adventures out in Africa. My favorite thing about this dress is that it protects from the sun with UPF 50 blocking harmful rays.
United By Blue Pinnacle Commuter Dress ($98)
While it looks just like a dress, it’s also possible to make these into more of a romper with an elastic hem closure in between the legs. This dress is 98% organic cotton and 2% spandex which allows for a little stretch. United By Blue is one of my favorite sustainable brands! For every product sold United By Blue removes a pound of trash.
Patagonia Fleetwith Romper
I know this isn’t a dress, but it looks just as fashionable and amazing as the Railay stretch dress listed above. This full-length romper is made from 91% recycled polyester and 9% spandex blends. The material is stretchy, quick-drying and resists wrinkling. The tank straps are completely adjustable for a customized fit and it’s got two pockets to hold onto small items.
Women’s Fleetwith Dress
Pretty much the exact same us the romper above except it’s in dress form! A really cute staple to make any safari outfit cute and comfortable!
Safari Outfit Item 6: Bathing Suit
One of the biggest travel regrets is missing out on something. I always have a bathing suit even on a safari. Some safari lodges have pools to relax in during the day when you’re not out on a game drive. 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!
Safari Outfit Item 7: Safari Jacket
I would say no matter what season you go on safari you should at least bring a warm fleece jacket (maybe even a down jacket) with you just in case it gets cold (which it probably will). However, if you want something a bit more stylish for warmth and photos I would recommend a nice safari jacket.
KUHL Lena Jacket ($169)
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 jacket also has an internal drawcord at the waist to cinch it in and make it more fitting.
REI Co-op Down Jacket ($99)
REI has designed a great jacket that is perfect for casual use and cool climates even on safari. It’s a down jacket that only costs $100 which is about as inexpensive as they come. The jacket is incredibly lightweight at only 10.2 ounces and packs up well. Warmth is its only downfall, but the 3 ounces of 650-fill-power down will keep you warm in cool climates.
When it comes time to move to the next destination the jacket packs up into the left pocket and occupies minimal space in your luggage. A nylon shell is lightweight and has some water-resistant capabilities. It has a water-repellent finish that should handle light rain, snow, and wind.
If you’re looking for an affordable no-fuss jacket that will be able to handle travel, light winter sports, and cool days then this is a great choice. It’s a lightweight down jacket that’s under a $100, really tough not to love that price point. If you want to learn more about down jackets we break down our favorite packable down jackets here.
Safari Outfit Item 8: Boots and Shoes
You’ll be sitting in a car for most of your African safari. I actually wear flip flops quite a bit unless I am going on a bushwalk in which good women’s travel shoes are needed. You don’t want to have to run from a buffalo in bad shoes (joking)!
I would suggest bringing at least one pair of durable sandals (I personally have had my Rainbow sandals for five years and counting), and one good pair of women’s safari boots.
Danner Mountain 600 ($180)
If it’s looking like you might need something a little heavier than the standard shoe, then take a close look at the Danner Mountain 600 Boot. Danner has been building boots since 1932, and in that time they crafted some of the footwear for the U.S. Marine Corps, so you can bet they know what they’re doing.
The Mountain 600 is a perfect balance between performance and aesthetics. You’ll have a rugged boot that can take anything you throw at it, but appear like you’re wearing stylish leather city kicks. They are completely waterproof and feature a comfortable, shock-absorbing midsole, perfect for a few trail adventures during the day, then heading back into the city for the evening. The more rugged construction also means a longer break-in period, so wear them around at home before you take off.
Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger ($329)
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.
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
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.
Blundstone Leather Boot ($229)
For a stylish women’s boot, these are a solid go-to for safari. It has great tread, insoles, and strong arch support which makes much more than a stylish boot for women. Not only can these boots feel comfortable in a more formal or stylish event, but they’re equally at home on a ranch or going for a walk in the woods. An EVA footbed with special technology in the heels ensures all-day comfort.
The boots are made of thick soft leather, strong stitching, and they’re extremely comfortable. I love the slip-on fit and the pull tabs make it easy to put on and take off. As a tip, I’d pick up some lleather treatment to protect the boot and add a level of water resistance. Altogether they’re a tremendous safari boot for men.
The North Face Ballard Lace II ($119)
I love the look of the North Face Ballard. These aren’t good just for safari, but they are also very stylish and go well during any season. The Ballards are made out of durable coated canvas and leather uppers.
They are great for walking for long periods with their OrthoLite footbed and blown rubber sidewalls. These boots are durable enough to last for years and have rust-proof hardware.
Safari Outfit Item 9: Safari Hat
You don’t want your skin ruined from the harsh African sun. A safari hat is not just about fashion, but function as it keeps the sun off your face. Since Africa is split into at the equator expect strong UV rays. No accessory is better suited or more fashionable than a hat on safari — it just feels right and never out of place.
Filson Tin Packer Hat ($70)
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.
This is a great go-to all-around safari hat for women. Filson makes a great product and that is no exception with the tin packer hat. It’s water repellent and wear-resistant so it will last for many years.
Dorfman Pacific All-Season Crushable Hat ($54)
Oh my, I love this safari hat for women. It’s made out of wool felt, and is an all-around great looking olive green stylish safari hat. The style is similar to a fedora with a very Western vibe. It looks great and the price point isn’t bad either.
The best part about it is that for such a good looking had the material still allows you to crush the hat to fit inside your luggage. Because no one likes to have to wear their hat home on a 15-hour flight. Once you take it out of your luggage it snaps right back into shape!
Outback Trading Co. Kodiak Oilskin Hat ($50)
This is the perfect hat for those going into the Outback, or the African bush, and want a durable hat to complete their safari outfit. Like other safari hats this one is made out of cotton. The cotton has been treated with oil making meaning it is water-resistant.
So when you get caught in a thunderstorm you don’t need to worry about the safety of your hat or getting uncomfortable. It’s a stylish hat and probably one of my favorites on the list.
What To Look For in a Good Safari Outfit
I wouldn’t recommend dirt cheap safari clothing. African elements can be especially tough on clothing so you will want to make sure you are getting quality clothing. The key things to avoid are fast fashions companies, brands such as H&M, Zara, or Forever21. Good quality clothing uses more robust fabrics, smart design (gusseted and articulated panels), and double stitching.
One of the first ways we pick out fashion and outdoor wear is to look at the material used in the pants. Even in a store one of the first things we do is check the tags to see the materials used because it will speak to the quality and performance more than any marketing ever will.
Lightweight, synthetic, quick-dry clothing is great for Africa. Synthetic fabrics have great durability, quick-dry properties, stretch, comfort, and strength. However, the downside to nylon and polyester is that they are petroleum-based products and support the “dirty industry.” However, they are plastic-based products so it’s possible to find recycled nylon materials in clothing.
There are a couple of synthetic materials to avoid, most notably Rayon. It can be billed as a “natural” product because is plant-based. However, when manufactured it releases a lot of toxic chemicals that are horrendous for the environment. It may feel soft to touch at first; however, it’s difficult to clean, prone to stretching, incredibly weak, and it often pills. This often found in cheap fashion.
Our favorite synthetic material is Nylon with an obvious reference to the recycled version of the product. We love GORE-TEX for rain jackets, but it should be noted that is simply a robust layered Nylon material with Polyurethane.
There is a number of natural materials used in outdoor clothing we love to see such as hemp, cotton, wool, and linen.
Everyone is familiar with cotton and it is a great product for its value, durability, comfort, and warmth. However, it does a poor job at moisture management. This means it’s slow to dry when hand washed on the road, poor for sweat management, and can make you cold in wet environments. Also, if possible opt for organic cotton as regular commercial cotton accounts for around 90% of all insecticides used in farming, so it actually makes a massive impact.
Cotton is not our favorite, instead, we’d recommend going for hemp, wool, or even linen. I love hemp for natural material and wish that it was used more in the fashion industry. It’s durable, handles moisture well, breathes, and feels really great to touch.
Wool is a favorite of many and for good reason. It’s one of the best materials out there for handling moisture and providing warmth. However, it’s also pretty pricey and it’s easy to spend over $100 on a shirt.
The brands on this list best for their use of sustainable organic materials are prAna, Patagonia, Fjallraven, and Filson. They all make high-quality products and share a passion for our environment. Patagonia has long led by example demanding suppliers to meet their controls and inspections.
Avoid having a jumbo suitcase and pack clothing that can be interchanged with different safari outfits for women. I particularly like having one long skirt or dress, one pair of shorts, and two pairs of pants which all go well with some plain colored shirts. This is particularly important if you plan to take bush flights where you are limited to 15kgs of luggage.
Black yoga pants with no pockets are wonderful, just not on safari. Always keep in mind how practical something is. 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!
Tips on Choosing a Great Safari Outfit
I love greens, beige, and khaki just as much as the next wannabe Merryl Streep in Out of Africa. However, the truth of the matter is you will spend a lot of time in a car while on game drives in Africa. Wearing these colors help you blend in and don’t bake your body under the hot African sun, but in the end colors don’t matter.
Avoid Dark Blue
The dreaded Tsetse fly is said to be attracted to dark blue colors. Avoid dressing in these colors unless you want to become a target.
Layering is essential to create a great safari outfit. Game drives usually start early and end late when it is cold. In the middle of the day temperatures can soar, so shedding some layers will save you a heat stroke. Always make sure to check the weather for the season you are visiting Africa. It’s not one big giant hot continent.
Safari Clothes Not Required
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.
Don’t Forget a Jacket
Is it the rainy season where you are heading? Make sure to take note and pack for wet days if it is. I make some suggestions in this post on great lightweight safari jackets for travel. A cute safari jacket can really pull together a safari outfit.
Just because you are in Africa doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish. For some style is important so make sure to pick out a safari outfit that really goes well together.
Safari Outfit Accessories
You’ll need a good safari bag to carry and pack all these women’s safari clothes into. If you’re going on safari chances are you may be taking a bush flight or two. I would recommend packing light as most of these small plans severely limit you on weight.
We have been on flights where we are only allowed 15 kg’s a person and some flights that allow us to have 25 kgs. Make sure to only pack what you need.
Polare Genuine Leather Weekender Safari Duffel ($160)
I like Polare Bags for their supreme quality. I break down some of my other favorite safari bags here.
This 23″ bag is stylish, strong, and made of cowhide. If you think it looks great in the photos, just wait until the product ages a bit! This bag is beautiful for both men and women on safari and at less than $200 the price is great too!
Saddleback Front Pocket Daypack ($550)
They only use sturdy materials on their bags including full-grain leather, pigskin lining, and marine-grade polyester thread. The lower back section is padded with Neoprene and the shoulder straps are completely adjustable. No, this bag won’t hold all of your luggage but is perfect for an overnight bag or as a carry-on addition to your main luggage. We also choose this bag as our go-to for safari bags!
Saddleback Leather makes some of the best quality backpacks – hands down. Their leather backpacks are the best daypacks on the market and we don’t travel anywhere without them. They aren’t cheap by any means, but they are quality. Saddleback Leather ensures its products with a 100-year warranty.
Herschel Classics Little America Daypack ($99)
You’ve definitely seen this daypack before. When we lived in NYC these bad boys were all over of the streets and Tasha carried a green one. Herschel makes a classic backpack with styles from mountaineering bags back in the day.
They have a classic look and it’s a simple backpack. No this isn’t a heavy-duty travel daypack meant to tackle mountains, but with a great look and affordable price, we’ll take it. I appreciate the features such as the drawstring top while the polyester exterior does a decent job at water repellency and durability.
Buff Headwear ($15)
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.
Grayl Ultralight Water Bottle ($59)
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.
Polarized Sunglasses ($129)
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun when you’re traveling. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones. Added bonus polarized sunglasses help with contrast and spotting wildlife.
It can be really dusty in the back of a game vehicle. Then much of East Africa sits on the equator which means UV rays are much stronger so eye protection is super important.
You will 100% be able to buy this from the local women around Africa, but if you want one before you land here is one that I love.
Sarongs are great for just about anything – covering up at the beach, drying off after a shower, or just looking cute as a skirt. It’s even common for men to wear them at night when relaxing.
Keep in mind that Africa is conservative in its dress so it’s best to have a decent length in the sarong.
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling to the around Africa as you’re close to the Equator. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the African sun and it can be very hard to find in grocery stores in Africa (and when you do find it the pricing will be insane).
We highly recommend getting an eco-friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals. They’re mineral based and usually only cost a few dollars more to help protect our oceans. If you’re not going to swim in the ocean just go with a reliable name brand.
Must Have Electronics for Your Safari
Camera with Telephoto Lens
If you can swing the money and are going on an African safari I would highly recommend investing in a proper camera. Those lions don’t look quite as majestic on an iPad. See all our camera gear below.
Camera Gear We Use
- Fuji X-T3 – Main Travel Camera // (on B&H)
- Fuji X Series Lenses
- Sony RX100 V // (on B&H)
- Fuji X-T20 – Backup Camera // (on B&H)
- GoPro Max // (on B&H)
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone // (on B&H)
- Lowe Pro Whistler 450
- Peak Design Camera Sling
- Peak Design Travel Backpack
- Peak Design Clip
- Rode Video Mic – For Vlogging
- For Cinematic Shots: Zhiyun Crane V2
- Peak Designs Travel Tripod
- For Storage: LaCie Rugged 4TB USB-C
- For Editing: Macbook 15″ Pro Retina
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 ($250)
A great safari accessory tot have is a pair of safari binoculars. 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.
We live in a digital age and I hate to say this but…our phones are our lifelines in Africa. They are our maps, our news sources, our online social lives, and yes they are even used as our telephones to get around.
We always get a local sim card when we get to a new country and top it up with data and airtime so that we can call the local numbers in case of emergencies.
One of the last things when considering what to pack when visiting Africa is an adaptor.Most of Southern Africa uses the plug M. We arrived in Johannesburg without this adaptor and were stuck venturing around the city at night looking for one (not ideal).
I would recommend getting a good one on Amazon before arriving. The further north you go the more you will see the British “type G” plugs, which we also have on stock.
Medication For Malaria
Many people think that malaria is similar to the flu and isn’t that serious – this is not the case. Malaria is very serious and if not treated can even lead to death. Do your research and determine if you are traveling to a malaria zone on your African trip. Time of year and location will determine if you are in a malaria zone. Not everywhere in Africa means malaria. We traveled there for a year and only took malaria medication for two weeks in Malawi.
Most of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and much of Northern Africa are not affected by malaria. Malaria is a vector-borne illness and spread by mosquitos, and mosquitos require water to live and reproduce. The result, it’s very rare to find Malaria in arid climates.
My advice is to wait until you land in Africa to get your malaria medicine, it is cheaper and I find the information to be better than Western doctors who can barely tell you what the symptoms are. If you don’t have the time to get medicine after you land in Africa then make sure you have enough for your entire trip before you leave.
There are two different types used for malaria prevention, Malarone and Doxycycline. It’s best for those on a short trip to take some form of malaria prevention as both come with their own batch of side effects. In our last year in Africa, we took prevention for about two weeks while Malawi because of its high risk. It’s also worth picking up the treatment over the counter if you can when you land in Africa (Mozambique and Malawi sell it OTC).
If you forget medicine at home, don’t panic! Pharmacies are located in many of the towns and cities around the continent.
- Diarrhea Medicine
- Aspirin or Ibuprofen
- Antiseptic cream
- Calamine Lotion
- Mosquito repellant: Can also be found at any supermarket in Africa, but most safari lodges will have some.
General Tips On Packing For Africa
Here are a few things to remember before you go on a shopping spree for your trip to Africa.
- Be sure to note what time of year you are traveling to Africa. The rainy season in Southern Africa varies greatly from the rainy season in Eastern Africa. If you are traveling during the rainy season a rain jacket is essential.
- I like to travel around Africa clothes made from synthetic materials, linen or hemp as they dry fast and fight stains. You’re often faced with very humid climates and it’s easy for clothes to get funky.
- Dark shades of blue attract the dreaded tsetse fly, which is found throughout parts of Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and other general pockets of Africa. So it’s best to try and avoid this color.
- You’ll be able to find local clothing in many villages on the side of the road. The most common wear is a type of Batik print for women, you’ve seen those vibrant women before! It’s actually Asian in origin, but it’s hugely popular through Sub-Saharan Africa and easy to find everywhere.
- If you need new shirts or pants, big cities are your best bet for Western-style clothing. Outside of a few tourist hot-spots where you can find nice gift shops.
- You’ll always be able to find local women who will wash your clothes for you. For a small fee, they will hand wash, hang dry, and many times iron your clothing for an affordable price. It’s a great way to support local families as women can do the work at home. I highly recommend seeking them out. We do so by asking our accommodation staff for recommendations, many times it was one of their close relatives who did it for us.
- Most high end safari lodges will wash your clothes for free.
- Most safari lodges will have things like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and bug spray so there is really no need to bring those items.
Hope this list inspires you to create an awesome safari outfit, and above all enjoy your safari!
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Africa Travel Tips
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- Your Guide To Mana Pools, Zimbabwe
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