10 Best Safari Shirts For Men & Women (We Review Each!)

We’ve been on over 100 safaris now and have finally nailed down what makes the perfect safari shirt.  When you go on a safari, you want to make sure the shirt has a decent look and is comfortable, but there is much more that goes into a good bush shirt than those two factors.

Safari clothes are a serious affair in Africa. Yes, it is a bit “old-fashioned,” but fashions like the proper safari outfit never die. Unlike certain parts of the world, you won’t be laughed at if you show up in all khaki on a game reserve.

While we are not seasoned guides, we have spent a year in the bush. We have been to all of the major parks of Southern and East Africa and put our favorite shirts to the test. We have a severe addiction to finding and testing the best garments on the market to form the best safari knowledge possible.


What Makes The Perfect Safari Shirt?

The perfect safari shirt will make all the difference in being comfortable throughout the day. A synthetic shirt will give the most practicality, while cotton or linen shirts have a more timeless look.

Organic textiles like cotton, wool, or hemp can provide an excellent base for warmth on a cold morning or a fantastic evening. Synthetic advantages mostly relate to quick-drying, stain resistance, and keeping cool. We recommend long sleeve shirts as it provides UV and bug protection.

Below is a collection of some of the best safari shirts we’ve found on the market. It is a guide about what to look for; the best fit for you may not be on this list. We’d also suggest you check out our post on safari pants.


Best Safari Shirts

ShirtPriceShop
Columbia Tamiami II$50Women | Men
Patagonia Long Sleeve Sun Stretch Shirt$119Women | Men
REI Co-op Sahara$59Women | Men
Unbound Merino Wool Shirt$85Women | Men
Everlane Linen Shirt$85Women | Men
Icebreaker Tech Lite$80Women | Men
Patagonia Farrier’s Shirt$99Women | Men
Topo Designs Dirt Shirt$99Women | Men
Outdoor Research Shirt Echo Series$46Women | Men
Columbia Silver Ridge Lite Long Sleeve$50Women | Men

Columbia Tamiami II

Columbia Tamiami II Safari Shirt

MSRP: $50 | Material: Ripstop Polyester

Pros
  • Durability
  • Quick Dry Capabilities
  • Classic Collar Protection
  • Vented Back Panel
  • Value
  • Functional Pockets
Cons
  • Columbia Style
  • Heavier Crinkly Material

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. Although, the material is heavier and feels more crinkly than a typical shirt. Its heavier weight gives the Tamiami II superior durability.

Despite its heavier weight, the vented back panels and front pockets provide additional ventilation for a comfortable choice on long days out in the sun. It provides reliable UV protection with its Omni-Shade UPF 40. The roll-up sleeves are thoughtful design features that add to the shirt’s versatility. We also appreciate that women get practical clothing with five pockets.

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.

Shop For Columbia Tamiami II

Women’s Safari Shirt

Men’s Safari Shirt


Patagonia Long Sleeve Sun Stretch Shirt

Patagonia Long Sleeve Sun Stretch Shirt

MSRP – $119 | Material – Recycled Nylon/Polyester

Pros
  • Color Choice
  • Quick Dry Capabilities
  • Nice Mid-Weight Fabric
  • Sun Protection
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent Features For Safari
Cons
  • Mid-Weight
  • Little Too Warm
  • Sizing

We love the Patagonia Long Sleeve Sun Stretch Shirt as it’s practical and comfortable. A large part of this has to do with the fabric that blends recycled nylon and polyester. The result is a safari shirt that is quick-drying and lightweight. That lightweight fabric is ideal for Africa’s hot and humid conditions. In addition, the fabric has enough stretch to not limit mobility, despite its button-down style.

In addition to its technical features, the Patagonia Long Sleeve Sun Stretch Shirt also boasts stylish western-inspired drop-in pockets, making it ideal for carrying essentials. The shirt also features collar snaps to keep the collar from flapping in windy conditions and a hidden lens cleaner to keep optics clear. Our only complaint about the shirt is the high price tag.

Shop For Long Sleeve Sun Stretch Shirt

Women’s

Men’s


REI Co-op Sahara

REI Co-op Sahara Long-Sleeve Shirt

MSRP – $59 | Material – Nylon/Spandex

Pros
  • Color Choice
  • Quick Dry Capabilities
  • Nice Mid-Weight Fabric
  • Sun Protection
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent Features For Safari
Cons
  • Mid-Weight
  • Little Too Warm
  • Sizing

The REI Co-op Sahara Long Shirt is an excellent choice for a safari shirt. It offers a timeless, versatile look for travel, safari, or hiking. We love that REI delivers a comfortable midweight shirt with fantastic value. Along with reliable performance, the shirt comes in a range of pattern and color options suitable for the bush.

Their Sahara material uses a nylon fabric that is Bluesign®-approved. It effectively wicks moisture, resists wrinkles, dries quickly, and offers UPF 50 sun protection. Side and underarm panels help reduce odor and allow for easier movement with the aid of spandex. However, they don’t dump heat as effectively as previous models that utilized mesh side panels.

Features include two front breast pockets, roll-up tabs for the sleeves, a sunglass keeper loop, and a back vent with a mesh yoke underlay that helps keep you cool. The front breast pockets are convenient for storing small essentials such as sunscreen, bug spray, or a camera lens cap. Outside of a slightly loose fit and some temperature issues, it’s a solid value for a safari shirt.

Shop For REI Co-op Sahara Shirt

Women’s Safari Shirt

Men’s Safari Shirt


Unbound Merino Wool shirt

Unbound Merino Wool T-Shirt In Fossil Color

MSRP – $85 | Material – Merino Wool

Pros
  • Color Choice
  • Phenomenal Comfort
  • Excellent Quality
  • Great Fit
  • Wool Performance
Cons
  • Expensive

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.

Cotton shirts often take one or two wears to feel oily and heavy, while wool shirts last for days. I’ve tested a lot of wool shirts out, and my favorite for travel so far is from Unbound Merino. Their shirts are a perfect weight, and the material is soft and impressively durable. Our test samples have exceeded the life of a traditional cotton or synthetic shirt.

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. We recommend the v-neck cut for a slightly more feminine shape for women.

Shop For A Merino Wool Shirt

Women’s

Men’s


Everlane Linen Shirt

Amazon Essentials Cheap Linen Shirt Works For Safari And Travel

MSRP – $85 | Material – Linen

Pros
  • Classic Style
  • Linen Performance
  • Very Comfortable
  • Decent Value
Cons
  • Not Techincal
  • Stains Easily

I like to pack a technical long-sleeve shirt for a safari, but it’s tough to beat a classic shirt from a 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 for both sexes 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.

Shop For A Linen Shirt

Women’s

Men’s


Icebreaker Tech Lite

Icebreaker Tech Lite II Crewe T-Shirt

MSRP – $80 | Material – Wool/Nylon

Pros
  • Excellent Wool Performance
  • Very Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • High Quality
Cons
  • Expensive

The Icebreaker Tech Lite Shirt is a great all-rounder t-shirt that works in many different situations. It’s a hiking shirt that is breathable and ultra-soft next to your skin. It’s a more technical wool hiking shirt but does a beautiful job on safari.

There’s a lot about this shirt that gives it some high-grade credentials. First, raglan sleeves mean no shoulder seams for extra comfort when carrying a pack. Fabric is wrapped around a nylon core for durability but keeps the soft wool next to the skin for comfort. It’s a tough garment and can be machine-washed.

The difference between the Icebreaker and Unbound is the fabric construction and cut. The Icebreaker Tech Lite is a lighter shirt that handles the heat better and has a more athletic cut. While Unboud is heavier, more comfortable, and resembles a typical t-shirt. They are both solid choices, but it all depends on personal preference.

Shop For Icebreaker Tech Lite

Women’s

Men’s


Patagonia Farrier’s Shirt

Patagonia Farrier's Shirt Safari Clothes

MSRP – $99 | Material – Industrial Hemp/Recycled Polyester

Pros
  • Excellent Durability
  • Beautiful Shirt
  • Nice Fit
  • Excellent Features
  • Good Value
Cons
  • Baggier Cut As Workwear
  • Too Warm For Summer

Patagonia’s Farrier Shirt is a versatile, durable, and comfortable safari shirt that is perfect for an adventure. The fabric in the shirt is a blend of industrial hemp and recycled polyester that is tough enough to withstand the rigors of bush life. Don’t mistake durability for sacrificing comfort, as the fabric is still soft against the skin.

Its weight is ideal for spring conditions, and the deep sleeve plackets with buttoned cuffs allow easy roll-up above the elbow, adding to its versatility. We love this shirt for its excellent style. Stand-out details on the shirt include metal buttons, a flip-up collar, and two pleated chest pockets.

The box pleat at the back allows freedom of movement through the upper body, and the straight hem is long enough to be worn tucked or untucked. The Farrier’s Shirt is Fair Trade Certified™ sewn, so you can feel good about wearing it knowing it is ethical. We love the shirt but find it too hot for daytime wear on most safaris. Before packing the safari shirt, we recommend checking the average temperatures for the season.

Shop For Patagonia Farrier’s Shirt

Women’s Safari Shirt

Men’s Safari Shirt


Topo Designs Dirt Shirt

Topo Designs Dirt Shirt

MSRP – $109 | Material – Organic Cotton/Spandex

Pros
  • Warm
  • Thick Canvas
  • Tough Shirt
  • Stylish
  • High Quality
Cons
  • Too Warm For Hot Weather
  • No Techincal Features

The Topo Designs Dirt Shirt is part of the brand’s sustainable Dirt Collection. It’s less technical than most shirts on this list, but it does benefit from a blend of spandex that provides a decent amount of flex.

We love the shirt’s organic cotton fabric over synthetic materials as it provides a timeless style. The midweight stretch canvas uses a special garment dye to soften the color and fabric. As a result, it feels like an old favorite from its first wear. Those muted colors also supply the shirt’s rugged style.

While the shirt is not feature-packed, it has a single chest patch pocket and button cuffs that add to its classic style. You can wear the shirt on safari, for morning errands, an afternoon in the yard, or a nightly stroll through town. It’s a versatile shirt.

Shop For Topo Designs Dirt Shirt

Women’s Safari Shirt

Men’s Safari Shirt


Outdoor Research Shirt Echo Series

Best Men's Hiking Shirt

MSRP – $46+ | Material – Airvent Polyester

Pros
  • Ultralight
  • Comfortable
  • Various Options
  • Quick Drying
  • Handles Heat
Cons
  • Style
  • Not Typical Safari Shirt

Wearing a shirt with a collar on a safari is not required. For day activities, wearing a moisture-wicking athletic shirt such as the Outdoor Research Echo is great. They are among the best lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and come in short sleeves, hoodies, and tank tops.

The long-sleeved Echo provides complete UV protection, but you won’t get hot under the sun. These shirts have UPF sun protection, AirVent™ moisture management, and ActiveFresh™ odor control technology. Pick a shirt that is loose and light-colored. It gets bloody HOT in Africa, and the last thing you want to wear is a skin-tight black shirt.

Shop For Echo Series


Columbia Silver Ridge Lite Long Sleeve

Columbia Silver Ridge Lite

Price: $50| Material: Nylon

Pros
  • Durability
  • Quick Dry Capabilities
  • Classic Collar Protection
  • Vented Back Panel
  • Value
  • Functional Pockets
Cons
  • Columbia Style
  • Heavier Crinkly Material

Columbia’s Silver Ridge Shirt is feature-rich, lightweight, and offers terrific value. It’s not a surprise that it’s a classic option for a safari shit. It’s a similar shirt to the Columbia Tamiami II at the top of our list but has a more traditional style. The Tamiami II shirt is made for anglers, but we love the vented back and pockets that make the shirt so comfortable in the heat.

However, the Silver Ridge features a more classic shirt style and many of the same features, such as Omni-Shade technology which gives the shirt UPF 40 sun protection. So it’s a shirt perfect on hot days when long sleeves are typically too much, and the sun is at full power.

The ventilation in the shoulders helps with that, too. We also love the features, such as the front breast pockets and a hidden zippered pocket. Either shirt is an easy choice to throw in your safari bag.

Shop For Columbia Silver Ridge


What To Look For in A Safari Shirt

safari shirt

Durability

African elements can be tough on women’s safari clothing, so choose good quality clothing made from robust fabrics with intelligent design and double stitching. Avoid fast fashion companies such as H&M, Zara, and Forever21.

Material

Look for lightweight, synthetic, quick-dry clothing made from recycled nylon or sustainable materials such as hemp, wool, or linen. Avoid rayon and opt for organic cotton if possible. You’re on a trip to explore the wonders of nature, and safari shirts shouldn’t negatively impact the environment.

Versatility

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.

Practicality

Pockets are essential for storing lip balm, sunscreen, or binoculars. Choose comfortable and practical clothes. You aren’t walking the runways of Paris but spending time in the bush. Care about your look, but not too much.


Safari Shirt Color Choice

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.

Wearing bright colors such as red is said to scare off the safari 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 said, neutral colors do a great job of hiding dirt and dust, which will be plenty on a drive or a 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, wearing long sleeves and greens is advised. When on foot, wearing colors that blend well into the environment and a good pair of safari boots is always advised.

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 while on game drives in Africa. Wearing these colors helps you blend in and not bake your body under the hot African sun, but in the end, colors don’t matter.


Book A Safari in Africa

Bwindi Lodge

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 suggested camps and lodges and then presented 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 daily pricing, which allows you to select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you through booking your safari. Experts on staff can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details like a travel agent.


See Our Other Helpful Safari Packing Posts


About Cameron Seagle

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past decade. During this time, he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling, he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Scotland, Indonesia, Mozambique, Peru, Italy, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

1 thought on “10 Best Safari Shirts For Men & Women (We Review Each!)”

  1. I like how you mentioned that African Bush shirt is about as authentic as it gets for an outdoor short sleeve shirt. My husband and I are planning on going on a safari this summer and we both need some outdoor-themed clothes before we go. It looks like getting the African Bush shirt might be the best option to help us enjoy the trip while we are there.

Leave a Comment