In search of the perfect pair of safari? We’ve been on a countless number of safaris and visited lodges all over the African continent from South Africa to Kenya and literally everywhere in between. On our first trip, we showed up with a hodgepodge of clothes that were not suited for the bush and had all the wrong colors.
A good pair of Safari pants should be bought with activity in mind. If you’ll be doing bush walks while on your safari, light pants will be much more practical than a pair of shorts. Bottoms should also have a little give, new outdoor gear has synthetic materials built into to provide strength and give. So, when you’re hopping in and out the back of a safari vehicle your pants don’t rip.
Shorts also should not be feared. Most safaris are very easy going affairs riding around in the back of the vehicle so the protection of long pants is not always necessary. Whatever you pack in your safari bag you should bear in mind the location, time of year, and activity level. Here are our recommendations for the best safari pants for both men and women.
The Best Mens Safari Pants
5.11 Tactical Men’s TacLite Pro Pant
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 clothes.
Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
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 extreme humid with lots of low lying plants where proaction is crucial.
Carhartt Rugged Flex Upland Field Safari Trouser
These pants were built for the modern day adventurer so they’re more than ready for an African safari. These safari trousers are great for those going on a gorilla trek of doing some bush walks.
They come with a slew of well thought out features that are sure to last a lifetime. Easily the best pants on this list, but also the most expensive.
KUHL Revolvr Pant
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.
Thanks to a durable cotton blend fabric with just a small hint of nylon these pants will get you through any bush walk 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 or even with flip flops for a more relaxed look during downtown. All the pockets are designed to hole phones and even a small safari camera.
prAna Brion Safari Pant
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 bush walk. They are made with nylon fabric with spandex material and have a quick drying technology. 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.
prAna Vaha Pants
These aren’t the pants you want to go on a bush walk on, but they are great for nights for the fire and for being completely relaxed. Comfort and stretch are where these pants excel.
They are great for feeling free and also for wearing on the African coast after your safari is over. Hemp and recycled polyester give the pants breathability, quick dry, and odor-fighting qualities along with being a heck of an eco-friendly product.
The Best Women’s Safari Pant
prAna Women’s Regular Inseam Halle Pant
These are my go-to for women’s pants. The extremely versatile pant is prepared to tackle the city, bush, or mountains with no problems.
A great feature about these pants is its convertible feature, the pants are designed to roll up into capris – perfect for hot days. These lightweight pants also occupy minimal space in your suitcase. We consider these the very best travel pants for women.
Columbia Sportswear Women’s Saturday Trail Pant
The design of these pants is almost a carbon copy of the prAna pants above. Tasha has tried both these pants and found that the prAna Halle pant fits her better, but she also has short legs. We’d recommend trying both pants out or looking at the color options and going with your preference.
Color options are of greater variety with the Saturday Trail Pant. However, you should expect all the same features such as roll up capri, security pocket, and a button fly. These pants are great for traveling since they’re lightweight, look good, and versatile.
Women’s Patagonia Fitted Corduroy Safari Trousers
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.
prAna Women’s Convertible Pants
The pants are constructed from a sturdy material that offers stretch, providing solid comfort. It’s the pair of pants Tasha went with and she loves them. With detachable legs, these pants also turn into shorts. These pants are a great option. And they don’t look too bad either!
The North Face Paramount II Convertible Pant
These pants are built for hiking, climbing, and pretty much anything adventurous. They are made out of stretchy, DWR water-resistant fabric, providing durability. On top of that, they have UPF 30 sun protection which can be necessary if you are caught out in the hot African sun for too long.
I absolutely love that these pants either roll into a 3/4 length Capri fit or zipper off to a pair of 5-inch safari shorts. Like most of the safari pants on this list these aren’t just good for an African safari, they’ll keep you going in the mountains or even traveling through new cities as well.
Royal Robbins Women’s Discovery Pencil Pant
The pants are nylon and are available in the right colors. They have a mesh waistband, a snap button, and deep pockets. This makes them the perfect pants to wear on a safari. The nylon blends keep you cool while protecting your skin from the elements and bugs common on a safari. The fit of these pants allows them to avoid that ugly baggy hiking pant look.
prAna Mantra Pants
I literally live in loose free-flowing pants when I’m at the beach. Actually, I just live in them all the time! (I may or may not be wearing them right now). My favorites are made by prAna. Their Women’s Mantra pantsWomen’s Mantra pants are made out of hemp and recycled polyester while offering 50+ UPF protection. They are perfect for beach destinations, especially if you find yourself in more conservative areas. These pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag.
Tips for Picking the Best Safari Pants
Research Your Destination
Don’t think that you’re just going to Africa and it’s automatically going to be hot. The weather there can vary in extremes, so proper research beforehand is pivotal. It’s important to note the region you are going to and the time of year you are traveling. The two main seasons are dry and rainy season.
For example, if you’re heading to Southern Africa during their dry months, April to October, be prepared for cooler mornings and evenings. If you’re heading to East Africa around this same time, however, April to June, you’ll need to be prepared for much more humid and wet conditions. Read more in detail about how to plan a safari here.
So as you can see, there’s variation! Depending on where and when you go, there will be sharp differences in the temperatures ahead. We therefore highly recommend that you plan your shorts selection accordingly.
The goal of the safari is to view wildlife, which in turn means that your goal is to not spook wildlife by wearing bright pink neon shorts when trying to see them. So while you’re researching the weather at your destination, take a look at a few pictures and get a feel for nature’s colors in that area, and dress to match. Khaki, dark green, beige, and grey are popular colors to wear on safari.
If you don’t have the right color shorts it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it may make you stand out.
A safari isn’t exactly the cushiest environment for clothes. You’ll be climbing in and out of cars, hitting the dusty trail on bumpy roads, and walking through the bush. It’s therefore important to make sure you opt for a pair of shorts that are built with this kind of use in mind.
We recommend aiming for shorts designed for hiking or backpacking when shopping. You’ll then be sure to find some of the most rugged and long-lasting materials on the market.
Moisture and Ventilation Control
As you know by now, the weather for your safari can potentially be very hot or very wet, or both! Depending on what you’re facing, keep an eye out for shorts that will perform well in those environments.
In the case of a toasty trip, shorts with built-in ventilation and moisture wicking technology will perform best. These will wick any sweat away from your body to keep you nice and dry, and at the same time, the shorts themselves will dry quickly to avoid becoming sodden.
But when the weather turns wet, a water-resistant finish will help keep rain from soaking in. You’ll typically see this listed as a ‘Durable Water Repellent (DWR).’ Lightweight, quick-drying material will also be a plus in this department for any moisture that happens to sneak through.
A safari often doesn’t allow for a wide range of clothing options. You’ll find that one pair of shorts will need to last you for every aspect of your day, from early morning at camp, to a day of wildlife viewing, to an evening back at camp or maybe even to dinner.
It’s therefore very helpful to find shorts that embody the heavy-duty ruggedness of the trail, but can also be just as acceptable at a casual evening event with your safari buddies.
Where to Buy Safari Pants
We have found the best place to buy safari clothes are online. Amazon has great deals and prices and if you are Prime member then two day shipping is free. REI and Backcountry are also great outdoor companies to find a variety of safari clothes as well.
See more of our safari gear!
- The 15 Best Safari Shorts for Men and Women
- How to Pick a Great Safari Hat and Protect from the Sun
- The Best Safari Boots For Bush Walks
- The Ideal Women’s Safari Clothing Checklist
- Best Camera For Safari: What Camera Is Best For You?
- The 11 Best Binoculars for a Safari in Africa
- The Best Safari Vests to Take to Africa
- 10 African Safari Tips For First Timers