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. We’ve assembled great men’s safari clothing options, from shirts to bags. 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 a shirt. A safari shirt will make all the difference 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 quickly 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 day’s heat. Synthetic advantages mainly relate to quick-drying, anti-microbial, stain resistance, and keeping cool.
Columbia Tamiami II
MSRP: $50 | Material: Ripstop Polyester
The Columbia Tamiami II Shirt is a great safari shirt with various features for a comfortable outdoor experience. With its blend of Omni-Wick moisture management and antimicrobial treatment, this shirt is perfect for hot and humid climates, actively breathing and wicking away moisture for fast evaporation.
While this shirt’s loose cut and outdoor style may not appeal to everyone, its practical features make it an excellent option for those seeking an affordable, well-designed safari shirt. It’s not the most stylish shirt in the world, but for around $50, it’s an excellent value.
Columbia Tamiami II
Unbound Merino Wool shirt
MSRP – $85 | Material – Merino Wool
Our favorite t-shirts for safari and travel are from Unbound Merino. A merino wool shirt is a worthy investment and one of the best travel clothes for any trip. Despite the price, we’ve already transitioned a lot of our wardrobe to the material. Wools shirts stay fresh longer and do an excellent job at temperature management. Best of all, the heavier fabric looks better.
Despite being wool, the shirts can handle the heat surprisingly well, far better than their cotton counterparts. Performance is not as good in heat as a synthetic material like nylon or polyester, but it is far more comfortable and soft against the skin.
Merino Wool Shirt
Everlane Linen Shirt
MSRP – $85 | Material – Linen
I like to pack a technical long-sleeve shirt for a safari, but it’s tough to beat a classic shirt from a classic material like linen. It looks and feels excellent. There is no better summer shirt. Best of all, the material remains practical as the linen has anti-microbial properties and fights against odor.
Pair a linen shirt with sandals, shorts, chinos, jeans, or boots. It will always work. Linen shirts are versatile clothing that looks good and works at the beach, museum, archaeological site, or safari. It’s a classic style for a safari shirt.
It’s tough to find decent linen shirts online, but I love the quality and value of Everlane’s linen shirts. You can often score a deal, so if you stain or snag the shirt, it won’t end the world. Amazon makes some cheap linen shirts, but like most things from the company, they’re poor quality.
Men’s Safari Pants
The perfect safari pants complement a shirt and complete a men’s safari clothing. 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 to keep the activity and destination in mind. Light pants will be much more practical than 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 with 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 wearing shorts, like in the jungle for gorilla trekking, is not good.
KUHL Freeflex/Free Radikl Pants
Specs: Price – $109 | Material – Enduro Fabric / Freeflex
Kuhl’s ENDURO™ blend fabric in their men’s Free Radikl Pants is a testament to their commitment to quality and durability. We prefer the comfort of lightweight synthetic pants as most safaris occur in hot weather. These safari pants are lightweight and super comfortable.
The Free Radikl pants offer the best technical performance and style, with active stretch panels, a dedicated phone pocket, and a gusseted crotch for added mobility. However, men who prefer a slim fit may opt for the tapered option, as the regular Free Radikl cut can be a bit baggy for those with runners’ legs, like me.
KUHL Free Radikl Pants
Western Rise Evolution Pant 2.0
Specs: Price – $128 | Material – Nylon/Elastane
For those searching for versatile and functional pants for their travels, the Western Rise Evolution 2.0 Pants are a top choice. Although not explicitly designed as safari pants, they can replace any outdoor pants in your wardrobe. The ultralight tech fabric is ideal for daily errands and travels, with its breathable, stretchable, and stain-resistant qualities.
Not only are these pants practical, but they are also stylish and comfortable. The slim fit is tapered for a neat appearance but may not suit those with thicker thighs. Despite this, the lightweight fabric falls nicely along the legs, and the excellent fit strikes a balance between slim and loose.
The Dune color is great for safari wear, but it may not be practical as it shows dirt quickly. Despite this, the Western Rise Evolution 2.0 Pants are our favorite travel pants for men and a must-pack item for any trip.
Western Rise Evolution Pant 2.0
prAna Vaha Pant
Price – $79 | Material – Hemp
I spend so much time traveling in these pants they’ve become one of my favorite pairs. I now have a couple of pairs of Vaha pants. The prAna Vaha Pants are for yoga and climbing, but I use them for everything. 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 are a heck of an eco-friendly product. It’s a very relaxed and soft pant that feels like a regular pair of pants. We’re big fans of prAna, so we highly recommend checking out some of their products.
prAna Vaha Pants
Men’s Safari Shorts
It gets HOT in Africa, especially in the middle of the day. I recommend bringing at least one pair of safari shorts to stay cool. I prefer a nice pair of shorts that are practical yet stylish. For a more classic safari looks for men I recommend a shorter inseam that cuts the shorts a few inches above the knee.
I suggest pants as protection against mosquitos, but they usually come out in the evenings and at night. I wear shorts for morning game drives and daytime activities. When it comes to afternoons and sundowners, I switch to pants.
Patagonia Quandry Shorts
MSRP – $79 | Material – Nylon/Spandex
Patagonia’s Quandry shorts are classic safari shorts that offer comfort and versatility, making them great for safari adventures. We love the clean cut and subtle pocket of these lightweight men’s shorts, which also have a slimmer fit that moves well with your body thanks to the lightweight material that stretches when you do.
There are a few drawbacks to the shorts. It mainly concerns synthetic material, which can polarize a small minority of wearers. Consider looking elsewhere if you’re sensitive to these materials.
Patagonia Quandry Short
Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
MSRP – $50 | Material – Nylon
The Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts have great value and good all-around performance. These 100% nylon shorts are breathable and quick-drying, perfect for hikers and safari. With deep and easily accessible hand pockets, three large cargo-style pockets, and a zippered security pocket on the left thigh, these shorts provide plenty of storage space.
However, the Silver Ridge shorts do have some downsides. The biggest issue is the lack of built-in stretch, which can limit mobility. A gusset in the shorts does aid with bending and squatting, but we prefer more flexible fabrics to competitors. Additionally, Columbia uses more affordable materials that sacrifice quality, such as zippers and stitching. The shorts are also tight around the hips and waist when making large movements.
Despite these drawbacks, the Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts are an excellent choice for those looking for solid performance at a lower cost. They’ve been a best seller for years for a good reason.
Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
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.
Orvis Performance Vest
I always carry a spare bathing suit, even on a safari. Plenty of great beach lodges make for a beautiful and relaxing end to a busy safari. That doesn’t include the many safari lodges and hotels with a pool. We’ve even taken impromptu dips in the various rivers and natural springs. Consider a swimsuit a necessity when it comes to safari clothes for men.
Vuori makes fantastic lightweight Cruise Board Shorts in various prints and colors. They’re super comfortable, quickly dry, and the cut is perfect. We don’t like board shorts that are too long or loose, as they look sloppy.
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) just in case it gets cold (which it probably will). However, if you want something more stylish for warmth and photos, I recommend a nice safari jacket like the ones below.
Orvis Heritage Field Jacket
Price – $275 | Material – Waxed Cotton Canvas
The Orvis Heritage Field jacket is one of the company’s best-selling products and makes for a tremendous safari jacket. There is a lot to love about the jacket, but it starts with the dry-waxed cotton canvas. It provides excellent protection from the elements.
The rugged protection makes it highly versatile, as it’s tough enough to resist thick brushes and stylish enough to wear around town. The jacket is also highly functional with two snap button bellow pockets, handwarmer pockets, and one interior breast pocket.
Gusseted underarm panels provide ventilation, and a bi-swing jacket allows the jacket to move with the body. While the jacket looks great the roomy fit and subtle design choices ensure it’s ready to tackle challenging work. Quality is superb; compared to competitors, it’s an excellent value.
Orvis Field Jacket
Filson Tin Cloth Lined Cruiser Jacket
Price – $350 | Material – Waxed Cotton Canvas
If you want a no-frills shell jacket designed to be used and abused, this is the jacket. Filson’s workwear has faithfully served men for decades due to its exceptional quality. A staple of their line is the Filson Tin Cloth Work Jacket which has been in circulation since the 1930s. The rugged jacket displays a classic style that feels appropriate on city streets or a ranch.
Oil-finished canvas provides reliable protection and ages gracefully as a jacket that remains in your wardrobe for years. Most importantly, the coat can easily fight a chill and break the wind thanks to the heavy material. Its roots are tied with loggers, ranchers, and outdoorsmen, so it features a casual cut for work and layers. The cut can be negative or positive, depending on your needs. It’s a great jacket for any wild adventure you may find.
Filson The Lined Cruiser Jacket
Men’s Safari Boots
A good safari boot is the one thing that is a must when it comes to safari wear and bushwalks. Sure, you can dress up in khaki, leather, leopard print, and dark green, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter all that much about what you wear on safari if you don’t have the shoe.
You’ll be sitting in a car for most of your African safari. I wear sandals quite a bit unless I am going on bushwalk 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.
Blundstone Chelsea Boots
MSRP – $210 | Material – Leather
Blundstones are our go-to travel boots and make excellent safari boots. This boot is stylish, functional, and practical for any travel adventure. While it’s not a “technical” boot, it impressively handles moderate hikes and terrain. Style is strong, with a wide range of leather finishes to match your taste.
As they use premium leather, they require some upkeep with leather treatment to ensure longevity and water resistance. The Blundstone Chelsea Boot is a solid go-to for any stylish and practical safari adventure. We love these boots!
Classic Blundstones BL550
Merrell Moab 3
MSRP – $120 | Material – Leather
If you’re in the market for hiking boots, the Merrell Moab 3 Boots are a popular choice. They’re made of leather, textile, and synthetic materials and are comfortable straight out of the box. Plus, with Merrell’s expertise in hiking boots, you can rest assured that your feet will be in good hands for long-distance walks.
I have owned several pairs of Moabs and can attest to their quality over the years. However, one thing to remember is that these boots are less specialized. While they are comfortable immediately, the soles are soft, making them less ideal for avid hikers. However, for everyone else, Merrell Moabs are a solid choice for comfortable safari boots that won’t disappoint.
Merrell Moab 3
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 – $99
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.
Tilley Airflow Hat
Men’s Safari Bag
You’ll need a good safari bag to carry and pack all these safari clothes. You may take a bush flight or two if you’re going on safari. I recommend packing light, as most small planes severely limit baggage weight. We have been on flights where we are only allowed 15 kg a person, and some flights allow 25 kg. Make sure only to pack what you need.
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag
The Patagonia Black Hole bag is a staple for adventure travel and one of the best safari bags. The bag can pack small when empty and easily fits in a suitcase. It was also 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 essential aspect of strict weight allowances on bush planes.
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag
Nomatic Travel Bag
Nomatic is relatively 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, 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.
Nomatic Travel Bag
Smith Lowdown 2 Sunglasses
Polarized sunglasses help with contrast and spotting wildlife. It can be 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.
Smith Optics Lodown 2.0 makes excellent active sunglasses that look sharp enough to wear around a posh seaside town. For a more formal and stylish brand, we love Persol and Rayban for their timeless style.
We travel around with Buff Headwear, 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 many other things. Buy one and fall in love with it.
Grayl GeoPress Purifier Water Bottle
It’s not advisable to drink tap water in most of Africa. We travel with a water bottle that purifies water for safe drinking water. Our favorite is the Grayl GeoPress Purifier bottle. It saves money, reduces plastic waste, and ensures our water is safe and free of viruses and other waterborne illnesses.
The Grayl bottle is not only practical but also innovative in design. A press-like system effectively filters out sediment, bacteria, and heavy metals, leaving only clean and safe water. Its wide-mouth top makes it easy to drink and fill, and its sleek design fits comfortably in any bag or backpack.
Grayl GeoPress Water Purifier
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42
The 42mm lens diameter allows for excellent low-light viewing, while the body is built for extreme use – sounds perfect for a safari.
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 what you will encounter. So, your clothing needs to be well suited to the environments of Africa. We go for solid natural materials like hemp, linen, leather, or wool for our outdoor wear.
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 look ridiculous. You aren’t walking the runways of Paris but spending time in the bush—care about your look, but not too much.
A safari outfit 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 are 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 of hiding dirt and dust, which 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!
We love greens, beige, and khaki just as much as the next wannabe Merryl Streep in Out of Africa. However, you will spend a lot of time in a car 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.
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.