Safari outfits, especially for men can be tricky to put together. You obviously want your safari clothes to have practicality, but still look like you belong in the bush.
We love going on safari. Over the past five years we have been on over 100. While the safari animals and landscapes are the highlights of the show, we still like to look like we hopped straight out of a safari movie and have some fun while traveling Africa.
From safari shirts to safari bags we’ve put together endless options for a great men’s safari wardrobe. Let’s dig in.
Complete Safari Outfits for Men
Safari Outfits for Men 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.
Columbia Tamiami II ($48)
This Columbia long sleeve shirt looks great and is well constructed, perfect for any safari outfit. 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. It’s affordable, performs well, and looks pretty good so it’s a great option for safari clothing.
Arc’teryx Skyline Shirt ($99)
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.
Simms Guide Long Sleeve Shirt ($89)
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 are 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.
Patagonia Farrier’s Shirt ($89)
I just added this new shirt to my safari outfit 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 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.
prAna Merger Long Sleeve Shirt ($85)
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.
The shirt is made from 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!
tasc Performance Carrollton T-Shirt ($38)
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. Tasc shirts made with organic cotton, bamboo viscose, and spandex. The result is an extremely comfortable shirt that will hold up for years.
I’m a big believer in a classic t-shirt 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.
Safari Outfits for Men Item 2: Safari Pants
Pants are an essential part of a safari outfit for men. You’ll want a solid pair of pants especially if you plan on going on bush walks for sunrise.
prAna Stretch Zion Pant ($79)
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.
If there is one pant I throw in my bag for any trip it’s the prAna Stretch Zion. The pant 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.
Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pants ($60)
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 extremely humid with lots of low lying plants where protection is crucial.
REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Up ($59)
REI is easily one of our favorite companies when it comes to outdoor and travel gear. They also make a large number of products that are of great value. For example, their Sahara Roll-Up Pants designed for adventure travel, or perfect safari pants.
The Sahara is definitely for a more active traveler on a trip to Africa or South America, and we love the Nylon blend with dual cargo pockets. The fit is still great as they’ve taken note of many of the manufacturers above and the general trend of more stylish pants.
KUHL Silencr Pants ($85)
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. These softshell pants deliver technical performance yet look great.
The polyester pants use a thick fabric that stretches and moves with your body. These pants will get you through any bushwalk 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.
5.11 Tactical Men’s TacLite Pro Pant ($50)
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 pants.
The fabric feels a bit stiffer than the prAna Brion above, but that lends to their durability. I loved these pants when we were in the bush on our own as they had padded knees, double stitching for strength, and plenty of pockets.
Filson Oil Finish Single Tin Pants ($195)
These pants were built for the modern-day adventurer so they’re more than ready for an African safari. Thick canvas and brass fittings deliver unparalleled pants in terms of style and quality.
These water repellent pants are durable and made from an oil finish Tin Cloth. The heavy canvas is sewn together using a sharp-looking double seam.
Safari Outfit for Men 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 – they are necessary to any safari outfit.
Mountain Hardware Men’s AP Short ($69)
Mountain Hardware has been making rough and ready clothing for the extreme adventurer for years, and they sure do it well. The AP short embodies this dedication to durability by producing a rugged canvas fabric that is both durable and stretchy.
The stretchy aspect of these shorts will keep them nice and comfortable as you’re climbing in and out of a safari truck. Yet the nylon and cotton blend will also hold up to the rough environment and some abrasion.
We also like how, despite their tough build, these shorts are still stylish enough for relaxing evenings at a lodge or in camp. Mountain Hardware also produces these shorts in a wide range of colors, so you can perfectly match your wardrobe to the season at your destination.
Marmot Arch Rock ($59)
Yet another tough little pair of shorts comes from the mountain masters at Marmot. The Arch Rock short follows our trend of abrasion-resistant material that will hold up to constant motion in tough environments, and remain comfortable for the entire time.
The breathable, UPF 50 protected shorts also come with a zippered thigh pocket and gusseted inseams for increased mobility. This particular short is also Bluesign approved, meaning that it is manufactured through sustainable textile manufacturing.
Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts ($45)
Columbia’s Silver Ridge Short is a classic staple and an excellent balance between function, fashion, and price that can be the perfect sidekick for your safari.
These shorts also feature a DWR finished to support water repellency during those wetter days. Additionally, they also support UPF 50 sun protection to assist in the hotter and sunnier occasions.
A two cargo pocket on the thigh helps keep gear where you need it during longer days, while the nylon material allows for a nice stretch on your adventures. All in all, a solid choice for your safari adventures that won’t break the bank either.
prAna Stretch Zion ($68)
These tough shorts by prAna are built expressly for tough activity in the heat. They feature a phenomenal moisture-wicking finish to keep you nice and dry if the sweat valves get turned on. The material, in turn, is quick-drying nylon that will help prevent moisture buildup.
The short goes even further in temperature control and includes built-in ventilation on the inseam. The reason? Well, let’s be real, whether you’re sitting in a safari jeep or working your way through the bush, things get toasty and a little extra ventilation is always appreciated.
Throw in UPF 50 sun protection and a highly abrasion-resistant material in addition to its fantastic heat control, and you have a short that earns a place in our top 10 list without even breaking a sweat.
Schooner Boat Short ($75)
Sure these Madda Fella shorts may be labeled a “boat short,” but I actually think they are perfect for safari. They are lightweight and come in a kale green color that I so rarely see on safari. It might not be what you typically wear on safari, but there aren’t really any safari rules.
They are made out of 100% microfiber polyester and quick-dry fabric with a really soft feel that is great against the body. super-soft feel
It has two side pockets and two back pockets to store everything. The best part about these is you can bring them to the beaches of Zanzibar after your safari and be good to go there too!
Safari Outfit for Men 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.
SCOTTeVEST RFID Safari Vest for Men
This men’s safari vest is good for putting over a t-shirt or long sleeved shirt while on safari. The safari vest is great for hiking, camping, fishing, and pretty much any outdoor activity you could see yourself on.
This men’s safari vest has a whopping 26 pockets on the front of the shirt with a few more on the inside of the vest. If you order off Amazon make sure to read the description as all the colors and vests are different and range in different amounts of thickness.
Royal Robbins Field Guide Vest
There’s a reason we recommend Royal Robbins all over this site – because we genuinely love the company and their products. This field vest is made with UPF 30 sun protective nylon fabric and has a whopping 17 functional pockets. 13 of the pockets are exterior while four are interior to keep valuables safe. The back of the vest has mesh pockets for good ventilation.
Craghoppers Nat Geo Nosilife Davenport Vest
This safari vest for men was made specifically for a hot climate with UPF 50 sun protection and mesh lining to keep cool. The vest also has insect shield technology to protect against flies, ants, and midges. The insect shield treatment is guaranteed to hold up for at least 70 washes. The amount of features this safari vest has is incredible. With a sunglasses wipe, RFID blocking passport pocket, and 20 pockets (10 with zippers), this vest is incredibly functional.
HUMVEE Cotton Vest
This vest is 100% cotton and extremely durable. It has a whopping 21 pockets for wallets, a lens pocket, passport-sized pockets, and a water-resistant pocket for electronics. However, every single pocket is lined with nylon to help protect against moisture.
The back of the Humvee vest is meshed to keep cool, and there are adjustable side tabs to store keys and more valuables. Since this safari vest has so many bells and whistles it’s our top-rated choice for photographers in Africa. However, since it is cotton and durable be aware that it weighs more than the other vests here mentioned.
Safari Outfit for Men 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 for Men 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 like the ones below.
Orvis Panama Safari Jacket
The Orvis Panama jacket is a great safari bush jacket for men. This jacket is modeled after a combat uniform from 1963 so if you want to feel like you’re on an old-time safari in colonial Africa this is the jacket for you.
The fabric is exactingly replicated from the original 1963 specs only with added comfort. This jacket is a tropical weight, rugged, and breathable Japanese Panama Cloth. Honestly, it’s perfect for bush photos to show to your friends when you get back home from your trip.
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 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 og 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.
Safari Outfit for Men 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 boots 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 men’s safari boots.
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.
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.
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 ($130)
Merrel is a great boot brand. They specialize in hiking shoes so you know your feet will be comfortable for walking long distances. The boots are a blend of leather, textile, and synthetic. They are waterproof, comfortable, rubber soles, and high ankles.
The soles themselves are specially designed to grip so in muddy or wet conditions they grip. It’s unlikely you’ll ever go for a bushwalk in rainy conditions. I would suggest these boots for someone going gorilla trekking in the jungle or if you’re an avid hiker. We started off this list your typical “safari boots” that are leather and stylish. However, these are more about practicality and value.
Blundstone BL550 ($225)
For a stylish men’s boot, these are a reliable go-to for safari. The BL550 has great tread, insoles, and strong arch support, which makes much more than a stylish boot for men. 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 unique 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 leather treatment to protect the boot and add a level of water resistance. Altogether they’re a tremendous safari boot for men.
Safari Outfit for Men 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.
Panama Jack Safari Hat ($39)
This hat may not be the classic safari hat, but it still looks great and serves its purpose. A leather hat may look good on safari, but once you get to the coastline of Africa it may be time to put it away.
The Panama Jack Hat has the ability to look great on the beach and in the bush. It’s probably one of the best all-around hats on this list, and it’s rugged cotton construction means you can stick it in your bag without fear of damaging it.
Marmot PreCip Safari Hat ($48)
The Marmot PreCip is the best packable sun hat on this list, it’s also inexpensive and durable. You can take it anywhere with you and stuff it in your suitcase without ever having to worry that you will ruin the shape. This safari hat will keep the sun off your face while also keeping you dry in the inevitable African rainstorm. The Marmot Precip has a wide brim and water repellent NanoPro membrane.
It also floats in the water which will come in handy if you decided to take a dip in one of the Zanzibar beaches or while white water rafting on the Nile River. The chin strap is both detachable and adjustable, so you can store it away if it’s bothering you. It comes in five colors so you can find the right style for you.
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 men. 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 Men’s Safari Outfit
I love greens, beige, and khaki just as much as the next Robert Redfrod wannabe 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 men’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.
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 on safari. 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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. Through most of Africa seasons vary between dry and wet season, especially in Eastern Africa. In dry season comes 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 constant spring-like weather in Tanzania and Kenya. While the rainy season in South Africa can coincide with its hottest months. The hottest of this weather build just before the first rains as humidity slowly creeps up before storms cross the plains.
The basic gist in regards to safari clothes, during the dry season we suggest khaki, brown, and tan. During the rainy season, it’s time to bust out the browns and greens. Just please no leopard print, okay maybe a little.
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.
- The 13 Best Safari Pants for Men and Women
- The Best Safari Shirts for Men and Women in 2019
- The 15 Best Safari Shorts for Men and Women
- 10 Safari Bags to Consider for Your Trip to Africa
- The Best Safari Boots For Bush Walks
- How to Plan a Safari in Africa: A Step by Step Guide
- What is a Balloon Safari Over The Masai Mara Like?
Africa Travel Tips
- Read These Tips On Travel in Africa
- What to Know Before You Go To Morocco
- Namibia Travel Tips You Should Know
- Why Traveling In Africa is Expensive
- Things To Know Before You Travel To Botswana
- Read These Tips On Travel in Zimbabwe
- 12 Tips On Travel To Zanzibar You Should Read
- 20 South Africa Travel Tips
- The Best Safari Destinations To Sport Wildlife
- Your Guide To Mana Pools, Zimbabwe
- The Magic of Kafue National Park
- A Masai Mara Guide For Safari Goers
- Africa’s Safari Animals And Where To Find Them
- Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – All You Need To Know
- Inside Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve
- A Week in South Luangwa National Park