The 20 Best Safari Shirts for Men and Women (2020)

Safari Shirts

We’ve been on over 100 African 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 it’s comfortable, but there is much more that goes into a good bush shirt than those two factors.

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 shirts tend to have a more timeless look. The cotton can also provide a nice base for warmth on a cold morning or cool evening.

Synthetic has its own advantages mostly related to quick-drying, stain resistance, and keeping cool. Below is a collection of some the best safari clothes we’ve found on the market.

In the end, this is meant to be used as a guide about what to look for; what is the best fit for you may be something not included on this list.


Safari Shirts and Tops


Best Safari Shorts

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 shirts tend to have a more timeless look. While organic textiles like cotton, wool, or hemp can provide a nice base for warmth on a cold morning or cool evening.

Synthetic has its own advantages mostly related to quick-drying, stain resistance, and keeping cool. Below is a collection of some the best safari clothes we’ve found on the market.

In the end, this is meant to be used as a guide about what to look for; what is the best fit for you may be something not included on this list. We’d also suggest you check out our post on safari shirts.


Men’s Safari Shirt


1.) Columbia Tamiami II ($48)


Columbia PFG Tamiami II Men's Safari Shirt Safari Clothes

This Columbia long sleeve shirt looks great and is well constructed. 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.

Columbia Silver Ridge on Amazon Columbia Silver Ridge on REI Columbia Silver Ridge on Backcountry


2.) Arc’teryx Skyline Shirt ($99)


Skyline Shirt Best Safari Clothes What To Wear On Safari

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.

Arc’teryx Skyline Long Sleeve Option on Arc’teryx Arc’teryx Skyline Long Sleeve Option on REI


3.) Simms Guide Long Sleeve Shirt ($89)


Safari Clothes - Simms Guide Long Sleeve Shirt

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.

Simms Guide Long Sleeve


4.) Patagonia Farrier’s Shirt ($89)


Patagonia Farrier's Shirt Safari Clothes

I just added this new shirt to my safari 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 a 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.

Patagonia Farrier Shirt


5.) Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt ($65)


Safari Clothes - Shirt - Mountain Hardwear

This is a fantastic safari shirt for hot weather and it was one of my favorite safari shirts for hot weather with sun protection. I wanted a shirt that offers protection from the African sun and while keeping me cool in the heat.

This shirt knocked it out of the park. It has a nice cut, feel, and love the design of the collar which has a hidden extension to cover your neck when flipped up.

Canyon Shirt on BackcountryCanyon Shirt on REI


6.) prAna Merger Long Sleeve Shirt ($85)


prAna Merger Long Sleeve Shirt Safari Clothes

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!

prAna Merger Long Sleeve Shirt on REI prAna Merger Shirt on Backcountry


7.) Marmot Aerobora Shirt ($75)

Marmot Aerobora Shirt Safari Clothes

This comfortable polyester shirt from Marmot offers a stylish cut with good moisture management properties and UV protection.

It’s comfortable looks great and the roll-tab elbow sleeves keep the cuffs in place when you want them out of the way. While polyester, in general, is not the most durable material flat-felled seams at least provides some durability.

Marmot Aerobora Shirt – Men’s on REI Marmot Aerobora Shirt on Amazon

8.) Dickies Men’s Short Sleeve Work Shirt ($36)


Dickies Men's Short Sleeve Work Shirt Safari Clothes

Look I’m not going to lie and say Dickies are known for style because they aren’t. They are a working man’s shirt. The shirts are meant to stand up wear and tear, yet look presentable.

Which, is exactly what you want out of a good shirt on safari. They’re hard to stain come in all manner of colors and sizes. Furthermore, with short sleeves, pockets, and synthetic materials this shirt is a winner.

Dickies Work Shirt


9.) African Bush Shirt ($53)


African Bush Shirt Safari Clothes

Tag Safari makes excellent shirts for a safari. All their products are made in Zimbabwe by locals so you know their African bush shirts are about as authentic as they come. With two chest pockets, two chest security pockets, a button-down collar, and safari tabs there are a lot of bells and whistles on this classic men’s safari shirt.

The whole shirt is double stitched so you know that you are getting a rugged piece of clothing. Tag Safari is known for their great products. I love their mission to help “Africa through trade, not aid.” Check out more of their products on Amazon!

Short Sleeve OptionLong Sleeve Option


10.) tasc Performance Carrollton T-Shirt ($38)


tasc Performance Carrollton T-Shirt Safari Clothes

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.

tasc T-Shirt on Amazon tasc T-Shirt on REI


Women’s Safari Shirts


1.) Columbia Tamiami II ($48)


Columbia Tamiami II Safari Clothes

This shirt pretty much checks off every box when it comes to good safari wear. Design built for anglers, but that makes it a perfect fit for the African Bush. The shirt offers UV protection, it’s lightweight, quick-drying, it has a vented back, and front pockets.

Loaded with features such as Omni-Wick moisture management, antimicrobial treatment, and strategic mesh vented panels this shirt perfect for a safari. Columbia is one of our favorites when it comes to shirts as they make affordable and well-designed clothes. Its negatives are a more loose cut and outdoor style as it has a large vented back and large front breast pockets.

Columbia Tamiami II on Amazon Columbia Tamiami II on REI Columbia Tamiami II on Backcountry


2.) Orvis Open Air Casting ($89)


Orvis Open Air Casting Safari Clothes

For women, this is my personal favorite for the style. The shirt is lightweight and breathable with solid sun protection and other technical features. The Open Air has vented panels on the back, mesh panels, and mesh pockets that keep you cool particularly when you’re sitting in the back of a safari vehicle.

If you’re still feeling hot you can roll up the sleeves and secure them with stylish tabs. Then with two front breast pockets, you have the functionality we like with a great safari shirt. More than anything it’s a technical safari shirt with a great look.

Orvis Open Air Casting on Amazon Orvis Open Air Casting


3.) REI Co-op Sahara ($59)


REI Co-op Sahara Safari Clothes

It’s all built for being active whether that’s hiking or going on a safari. This lightweight shirt from REI is made from polyester fabric that resists wrinkles, dries quickly for comfort, and wicks away sweat from the body. It has a number of pattern options which help break up the monotony of khaki, green, and white.

The front breast pockets are 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 shine such as UPF protection, long sleeve cuffs, underarm panels to reduce odor, and a spandex blend for easy movement.

REI Co-op Sahara Shirt


4.) Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt ($65)


Canyon Shirt - Safari Clothes Womens

This is a fantastic safari shirt for hot weather and it was one of my favorite safari shirts for both men and women that for hot weather and sun protection. I wanted a shirt that offers protection from the African sun and to keep me cool in the heat.

This shirt knocked it out of the park. It has a nice cut, feel, and love the design of the collar which has a hidden extension to cover your neck when flipped up.

Canyon Shirt on AmazonCanyon Shirt on REI Canyon Shirt on Backcountry


5.) Royal Robbins Expedition ($70)


Royal Robbins Expedition Safari Clothes

This shirt is a great safari shirt as it is built for tropical and hot weather. It’s designed with 100% polyester and offers UPF 40+ protection while remaining light, quick-dry, and flexible.

It has some great features for a safari shirt too with thermoregulating mesh to keep you cool and two front breast pockets for storage. As an added bonus this safari shirt it’s a great travel shirt in developing nations as it has a hidden pocket to secure your valuables like a passport or smartphone.

Expedition Dry Long Sleeve Expedition Dry Long Sleeve on REI


6.) prAna Foundation Short Sleeve V-neck ($45)

prAna Foundation Short Sleeve V-neck safari clothes

Not every item in your pack has to be outdoor wear. Simple clothes like a classic T-shirt or V-neck are great staples to bring in your pack. This shirt from prAna is super lightweight and breathable. It’s probably the most comfortable shirt you’ll ever wear as it’s made from a new sustainable material called Lenzing Modal.

The material is made from spinning natural cellulose that comes from various trees. Our only complaint would be in regard to longevity of the shirt due to its lightweight nature, you can easily snag this shirt if not careful

prAna Foundation V-neck on REI prAna Foundation V-neck on Amazon


7.) KUHL Ezra Shirt ($85)


KUHL Ezra Shirt Safari Clothes

This is a tremendous shirt from Kuhl that utilizes a blend of nylon and polyester. It’s a better option than many of the polyester blends on this list as nylon has a higher strength rating with better water resistance.

Kulh’s Ezra shirt has some great features for safari clothes such as chest pockets, UPF fabric shields, and an internal envelope pocket.

KUHL Ezra Shirt on REI


8.) Patagonia Western Snap Shirt ($79)


Patagonia Western Snap Shirt Safari Clothes

This is similar to the Men’s Patagonia above and it’s an excellent addition to the safari wardrobe. We love Patagonia clothing so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. They make some of our favorite products. To top it off all of my clothes are still in great condition with plenty of wear.

The Western Snap Shirt is a 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.

Patagonia Western Snap Shirt


9.) LE3NO Military Anorak Vest ($25)

LE3NO Military Anorak Vest Safari Clothes

Functional, lightweight, and comfortable with a whole bunch of pockets. Easy Addition to the list of best safari clothes. It’s not high-quality fashion and I wouldn’t expect much out of this piece, but for the price, it’s tough to complain. Oh, and it’s available via Amazon Prime.

LE3NO Military Anorak Vest on Amazon

10.) Filson Scout Shirt ($115)

Filson Scout Shirt Safari Clothes

Filson makes some wonderful high-quality clothes made for the outdoorswoman. Their women’s Scout Shirt is made from a heavy 4-oz cotton twill that’s super durable and perfect for the bush.

It has a classic look and the thick cotton is beautiful but just light enough to not be overly hot. That being said 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.

Filson Scout Shirt


What Makes a Great African safari Shirt?

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.


Durability

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 anytime outside of a game vehicle you need some decent safari clothes that will hold up 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.


Material

A good safari shirt needs to be tailored to handle harsh environments. Bonus for materials that are lightweight, quick dry, sun resistant, and bug resistant. 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 safari shirts we go for a mix natural materials like hemp, linen, or wool.

Manmade materials such a nylon or polyester are other great options as they are excellent at moisture management and proaction. 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 it’s intended purpose.


Practicality

Things like having pockets can make or break a good safari shirt. 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.


Camouflage

Safari shirts are designed to 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!

For example, when gorilla trekking it 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.


The Basics of Safari Clothes


What Clothes to Pack for a Safari?

Safari Shorts

You don’t need an endless collection of safari clothes in your luggage. We’re big fans of versatility and minimalism. As people tend to overpack for their safari which becomes a burden.

On safari, you are traveling to the wilds of the African bush a full wardrobe of clothes is unnecessary. In addition the common form of transportation is a small Cessna bush plane so a heavy suitcase of clothes is not going to fly.

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.


Where To Go On Safari?

Safari Vacation

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.

Africa’s Best Safaris


What Season to Go on Safari?

Safari Boots

Weather plays a large role in what you wear.

Most African climates do not have your standard four-season climate. Here it is mostly dry and wet season, especially in Eastern Africa. With dry season can come 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 a constant spring-like weather in Tanzania and Kenya. While rainy season in South Africa can coincide with its hottest months.

The basic gist is if it’s dry season we suggest khaki, brown, and tan. If it’s rainy season time to bust out the browns and greens. Just please no leopard print, okay maybe a little.


What to Wear in Southern Africa?

Canoe Safari

In Southern Africa, the climate varies across the region. Summers can be blisteringly hot while winters are freezing in the back of a game vehicle. Many visitors show up in the winter thinking they’re going to be in the hot bush only to find zero degree weather in an open vehicle. Yikes!

The key to a comfortable safari outfit is layers. We often pack and wear layers to adjust to the wide range of temperatures you can experience on a typical day. While the morning can be freezing in arid locations like Botswana by midday it can be hot, layers will save you.


What to Wear in Central & East Africa?

Balloon Safari Masai Mara

Here the weather is more temperate year round. It is often referred to as the “never ending spring.” However, morning game drives can still be chilly so convertible pants and a light jacket are great options. Always come prepared for rain given the time of year. We’ve been caught in a number of the famous thunderstorms of Africa, including a flash flood in Tanzania!


Where to Buy Safari Shirts?

Safari Shirts

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 is another great outdoor company to find a variety of safari clothes as well.

A few of the best safari clothing brands today are TAG safari, Royal Robbins, Ex-Officio, and Columbia.


Check Out Some Lodges in Tanzania


Kigelia Camp - Nomad Tanzania

Kigelia Ruaha Camp

Kigelia Camp is located along a dry river bed beneath Kigelia Africana trees. Each of the six tents is the perfect size for two people to enjoy comfortable beds and an outdoor seating area.

It’s worth noting that there is also a family tent for children above 12 to enjoy with their parents. Each tent has a flush toilet and a classic outdoor bucket shower. All in an effort to preserve water a precious resource in the park.

Staying in these tents allows guests to connect with the wild. Falling asleep to the sounds of hyenas and lions in the night is a memory never to be forgotten

Read About Our Time At Kigelia Ruaha Camp

Book A Stay at Kigelia Ruaha Camp


Sand River Selous

Sand Rivers Selous

The lodge was founded in the 1990s by a legendary guide Richard Bonham. The fantastic camp sits in an amazing spot in the Selous Game Reserve, where the Rufiji River makes a wide curve on its way to the Indian Ocean.

Eight thatched guest bandas, are set on raised wooden platforms that overlook the river. The rooms are open-fronted, low-key and permit the wilderness to drift into the villas. The sounds of the babbling Rufiji river are ever-present while hippos grunt happily along the river banks all day and night.

Read About Our Time At Sand Rivers Selous

Book A Stay at Sand Rivers Selous


Serena Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

There are only a handful of lodges that are on the rim of the crater and we were lucky enough to stay at one of them – the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge. The stone hotel blended well into the crater’s edge while the atmosphere of the lodge was relaxing and intimate.

We enjoyed the main lounge which featured communal fireplaces and great views of the crater with floor to ceiling windows. The focus of the property is obviously the crater. With numerous balconies around the property ensuring a serene spot to relax and enjoy afternoon tea or sundowners.

Read About Our Time At Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Book A Stay at Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge


See our other helpful safari packing posts

THANKS FOR READING!

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About the Author

Cameron

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Cameron Seagle is one of the creative forces behind The World Pursuit. He is a writer and photographer for the travel website. Cameron has been traveling for the last four years. He found a passion for conservation and safari while living out of a truck in the African bush. Obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products, he loves to research new product releases. In his free time, you can find him shooting photographs, summiting mountains, and snowboarding. Cameron currently lives in Banff with his partner and blogging co-conspirator Natasha. Cameron's favorite countries are Ireland, Scotland, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Japan. And he can never resist an excellent beach destination.


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One Comment on “The 20 Best Safari Shirts for Men and Women (2020)”

  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.

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