Safari outfits, especially for men, can be tricky to put together. You want your safari clothes to have practicality but still look like you belong in the bush. The tricky part is not looking like you just raided the khaki section of an outdoor store. Then show up with the tags still on your clothes.
We love going on safari. Over the past five years, we have been on over 100. While the safari animals and landscapes are the show’s highlights, we still like to look like we hopped straight out of a safari movie and had 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.
What Clothes to Pack for a Safari?
You don’t need an endless collection of safari clothes in your luggage. I’m a big fan of versatility and minimalism. When you overpack for a safari, it can become a burden. You are likely traveling to the wilds of the African bush. An entire wardrobe of clothes is unnecessary. In addition, the standard form of transportation is a small Cessna bush plane or overland truck, so a heavy suitcase of clothes will not work.
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. Let’s break down the perfect safari look for men.
Safari Outfits for Men
The perfect safari outfit for men starts with the shirt. A safari shirt will make all the difference in being in style and comfort. A synthetic shirt will give the most practicality, while cotton or linen shirts have a more timeless look. It’s tough to beat a white linen shirt, but it easily gets dirty on safari.
Organic textiles like cotton, wool, or hemp can act as an excellent base and provide warmth on a cold morning yet handle the heat of the day. Synthetic advantages mostly relate to quick-drying, anti-microbial, stain resistance, and keeping cool.
Columbia Silver Ridge
Price – $55 | Material – Ripstop Polyester
The Silver Ridge from Columbia is a perfect shirt for a safari. It comes in long, short-sleeved shirts that look great and offer excellent value. It features a nice blend of synthetic materials that allow the shirt to dry and quickly provide excellent ventilation in the hot sun. A long-sleeved shirt allows for greater comfort, moving from chilly mornings to hot days.
The shirt’s functionality is excellent, with a rear vent for heat management and double breast pockets for storing gear or small items. Sometimes, it can be tough to find good technical shirts, but Columbia has some great options. It’s affordable, performs well, and looks pretty good, so it’s an excellent option for safari clothing.
Shop For Columbia Silver Ridge Shirt
Filson Lightweight Alaskan Guide Shirt
Price – $125 | Material – Brushed Cotton
Filson makes some fabulous high-quality clothes made for the outdoorsman. The Alaskan Guide Shirt is a classic from the company that prides itself on rugged clothing made for a hard day’s work. The Alaskan Guide Shirt has some excellent weight and warmth for work on a cool day, but we prefer the lightweight version of the shirt for safari.
It has a classic look, and the thick cotton is beautiful but light enough not to be. It’s best in the cooler seasons on safari. It’s best compared to a lightweight flannel. If you want to know the cooler months on safari, read here.
Shop For Lightweight Alaskan Guide Shirt
Classic Linen shirt
Price – $79+ | Material – Linen
I like a technical long-sleeved shirt for a safari, but it’s tough to beat a classic shirt from materials like hemp, linen, or rapeseed. They look excellent and practical as they have anti-microbial properties and will stay fresh longer when you sweat. Linen is a perfect option as it has a timeless look for your trip.
Pair a linen shirt with sandals, shorts, chinos, jeans, or shoes. It will always work. Linen shirts are versatile clothing ready for the beach after your safari. It’s tough to find decent linen shirts online, but I love the quality of Everlane linen shirts. You can often score a deal, so if you stain or snag the shirt, it won’t be the world’s end.
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Men’s Safari Pants
The perfect safari pants complement a shirt and complete the look. Regarding style, it’s great to draw some contrast from your shirt. The classic color combos include a white shirt with dark brown pants or a green shirt with khaki pants.
It’s best if to keep the activity and destination in mind. Light pants will be much more practical than a pair of shorts if you plan for bush walks or jungle treks. Pants are also very functional as they provide excellent protection from mosquitos, a vital feature in malaria regions.
I prefer pants that have a bit of give, such as hiking pants, not jeans, chinos, or khakis. These performance pants utilize synthetic materials that provide reliable durability, temperature management, and flexibility. Temperature management will be critical in hot and humid environments where it’s not good to wear shorts, like in the jungle for gorilla trekking.
prAna Brion Pant
Price – $85 | Material – Nylon/Spandex
If there are one pair of pants I throw in my bag for any trip, it’s the prAna Brion pants. The pant is a blend of nylon and spandex with significant moisture and temperature management. They also look pretty good as everyday pants that can go anywhere. They’re functional pants designed as climbing pants, with superb flexibility.
Although they’re flexible, do not mistake them for being loose and sloppy looking. The paneling in the crotch allows the pants to have a slim cut with a full range of mobility. Check the similar Stretch Zion Pant if you’re looking for more outdoor-focused pants with cargo.
Brion Pants are slim-cut pants with a flattering cut along the thighs but just a tad baggy in the calves. We find the mud, sepia, and dark khaki colors look sharp for safari pants and have enough style that feels appropriate in everyday life.
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Coalatree Trailhead Pants
Specs: Price – $89 | Material – Nylon/Spandex
Coalatree creates eco-focused outdoor apparel that we’re learning to love. As far as comfort, these are among the best on this list, and the only drawback is the price. The pants material is a lightweight blend of Bluesign Nylon and spandex.
They’re super comfortable, and the combination of nylon and spandex allows them to stretch in any way you can move. The drawstring makes for an easy adjustment, and the spandex does an excellent job hugging your hips.
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prAna Vaha Pant
Price – $79 | Material – Hemp
I spend so much time traveling in these pants they’ve become one of my favorite pairs of pants ever. I now have a couple of pairs of Vaha pants. The prAna Vaha Pant is for Yoga and climbing, but I use them for anything these days. For safari, they’re great for a relaxed evening around camp or the lodge and can even double as pajamas.
Hemp and recycled polyester give breathability to the pants with quick-dry and odor-fighting qualities and being a heck of an eco-friendly product. We’re big fans of prAna, so we highly recommend checking out some of their products.
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Men’s Safari Shorts
Do not fear wearing shorts while on safari! Most safaris are very easy-going affairs that involve riding in the back of the vehicle. You don’t need pants to ride in a game viewer, and it is tough to beat shorts on a hot day!
Whatever you pack, you should consider the location, time of year, and activity level. We spend most of our time in Africa in shorts and sandals. If you want to learn more, read about more of our favorite safari shorts.
Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
Price – $45 | Material – Nylon
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 and UPF protection for those sunny days.
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.
Shop For Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts
Price – $70 | Material – Ripstop Nylon/Spandex
The Ferrosi is Outdoor Research’s take on the adventurer short. We love these pants as they deliver a compelling combination of good-looking ruggedness. The nylon-spandex blend keeps them nice and comfortable, but with enough freedom of movement for those crouching moments to snap the perfect picture or peer at wildlife through your binoculars.
The Ferossi shorts are similar to their pants and are some of our all-time favorite pieces of travel apparel for their lightweight nature and comfort. The handy zippered thigh pocket gives you a little more space for gear, while its low profile makes these shorts an excellent choice for dinner with friends or a rough day on a safari.
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Men’s Safari Vest
Orvis Performance Vest
Price – $179 | Material – Polyester/polyurethane
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better safari vest than the Performance Vest from Orvis. The vest packs a punch with fifteen pockets perfect for organizing all your essentials. Orvis designs its products for fly fishing, but that outdoor focus is also perfect for safari as they carry a ton of similarities.
This travel vest is made with water-resistant fabric and features hidden interior pockets perfect for travel documents and valuables. It also features nifty features like magnets to hold headphones in place on your shoulder.
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It 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. Plenty of fantastic beach lodges make for a beautiful and relaxing end to be a busy safari. You can read about the best hotels in Zanzibar or Diani Beach!
Quicksilver’s Amphibian Shorts are a pair of board shorts that can handle more than the beach. The material looks like tough fabric, but they’re super lightweight and durable. Amphibian shorts look like traditional shorts, not bathing suits, so they’re tremendous for beach and island destinations.
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Men’s safari Jackets
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.
Filson Tin Cloth Ranch Jacket
Price – $230 | Material – Waxed Cotton Canvas
- Non Performance Focus
This is the jacket if you want a no-frills shell jacket designed to be used and abused. The Filson Tin Cloth Ranch Jacket is for demanding work with some rugged good looks. It’s the kind of jacket that gets better looking with age. The coat is warm against a chill and can easily break the wind thanks to the heavy material.
Filson’s Tin Cloth jacket has its roots tied with loggers, ranchers, and outdoors people. It has a casual cut for work and is to be worn with layers. The amount can be both negative and positive but depends on your needs. It’s a great jacket for any wild adventure you may find yourself on worldwide.
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REI Coop Down Jacket ($99)
Specs: Product – Down Jacket | Price – $99
It gets cold in Africa, so a warm jacket can be a lifesaver. REI Co-op Down 2.0 is a down jacket that only costs $100, which is about as inexpensive as they come in the down jacket world. When REI first released this down jacket, it flew off the shelves and has been in high demand ever since. Its closest competitors in quality come in at about double the price.
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. It has a water-repellent finish that should handle some light rain, snow, and wind. We suggest more safari jackets here!
Shop For REI Down Jacket 2.0
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.
You’ll be sitting in a car for most of your African safari. I wear sandals 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.
Price – $229 | Material – Leather
These are a solid go-to and classic look for stylish safari boots. The BL550 has great tread, insoles, and firm arch support, making it much more than a stylish boot for travel. 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 feature soft leather, strong stitching, and decent soles. Plus, they’re incredibly 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 travel boot and will serve you well in everyday life.
The 550 and 585 are considered Blundstones most classic boot designs. It’s tough to tell the difference in the design because there is none. The difference has to do with the leather upper leather of the boot. 550 boots feature full-grain leather, while 585 have suede nubuck leather.
Shop For Blundstone BL550
Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger
Price – $329 | Material – Leather
These boots are both functional and stylish. They are built with quality materials and solid craftsmanship. Red Wing’s Heritage Iron Rangers have a high ankle great for protection beyond the bush.
I love these boots because 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 the safari.
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Merrell Men’s Moab 2
Price – $145 | Material – Leather
Merrell has managed to keep these boots affordable as they haven’t updated the design in years, and it’s proven to be a reliable boot. It’s not broken; don’t fix it. The boots are a blend of leather, textile, and synthetic. They are waterproof, comfortable, and have rubber soles and high ankles.
Rugged Vibram soles on the outsole provide good cushion and traction on slick surfaces. However, it’s the most significant drawback they’re not stylish boots and not what most would consider a “safari boot.”
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 with your typical “safari boots” that are leather and stylish. However, these are more about practicality and value.
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You spend a lot of time outside on a safari and a safari hat is a classic accessory. 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. 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.
Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat
Product – Sunhat | Price – $90
Tilley has long been famed for its sun protection hats. They’ve seen the world over and have seen more than a few adventures. It holds its shape, and the material has a stylish look to it. What sets Tilley apart is that they guarantee their hats for life against wear and tear.
Shop For Tilley Airflow Hat
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Binoculars
Product – Binoculars | Price – $250
Compliment your safari outfit with a pair of safari binoculars! The Nikon Monarch is a phenomenal mid-range binocular for safari viewing. 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.
Shop For Nikon Monarch 5
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag
Product – Duffel Bag | Price – $139
The Patagonia Black Hole bag is a staple for adventure travel and one of the best safari bags. 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.
Shop For Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag
Nomatic Travel Bag
Product – Carry On Daypack | Price – $279
Nomatic is fairly new to the anti-theft backpack game, only getting started after raising over 5 million dollars on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. They claim to have created the “most functional travel bag ever!” Based on their design scheme it makes for one heck of a safari bag.
However, it would be better stated that this is a business/travel backpack with anti-theft features, such as RFID protection and lockable zippers, rather than calling it primarily an anti-theft bag. This bag feels right at home traveling anywhere including on a safari.
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Elements of Good Safari Garments
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 any time 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.
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 as 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 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 will you 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 accurate 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 is 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
- Safari Clothes Are Not Required – First and foremost, you do not have to wear any unique safari clothes. The majority of time on safari is spent in a vehicle where clothes choice does not matter much.
- Blend – Attempt to blend in. Remember to wear a safari outfit and clothes suited for the environment.
- No Animal Prints – 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 by dirt, offer sun protection, and are comfortable from the heat or cold.
- It Can Get 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.
- Ditch Dark Blue – 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.
- Relax – Keep it simple at five-star lodges in Africa, things are still casual.
- Sunglasses – A good pair of sunglasses will save your eyes from staring at landscapes all day.
- Layer – Make sure to pack in layers. It will go from cold in the morning to hot at night and then back to evening time.
- Light Rain Jacket – 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.
- 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.
- prAna – They’re a closer runner-up to Patagonia for style and quality when it comes to outdoor apparel.
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 suggest camps and lodges and then present 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 to select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you by booking your safari. Experts on staff can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details like a travel agent.
Plan Your Trip to Africa
- Travel Insurance: We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen while traveling so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Travel Waterbottle: When we’re uncertain about the water supply we use our Grayl Purifier. It’s come in exceptionally handy around Africa.
- Camera Gear: Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Africa. We love the Sony RX100V for a pocket-size camera and the Fujifilm XT-4 for a professional camera. Check out our favorite cameras for Africa.
- Safari Clothes: Lightweight, beige, and moisture-wicking clothing are great for traveling Africa. See our favorite safari clothing here.
- Safari Hat: A good hat is both stylish and functional.
- Safari Bag: A durable bag is ideal for traveling around Africa.
- Safari Pants: We recommend neutral-colored pants as they’re great at hiding dirt and can match most shirt colors.
- Safari Shirt: Shirts like these are lightweight and keep the bugs away!
- Boots: While you don’t need to wear sturdy shoes every day, at least one pair of safari boots will make your trip nicer!
- Travel Adapter: You’ll need a special travel adapter for traveling Africa. Get one before you get there so you don’t pay a premium on the ground.