From rugged outdoor shorts to lightweight technical offerings, we share our favorite safari shorts to tackle the bush. Nothing beats the comfort and breezy feeling of shorts in hot weather.
We share a wide range of shorts to fit multiple styles and budgets. Safari shorts should have quick-drying, breathable, lightweight fabrics, functional pockets, and a comfortable fit.
In this post, we break down our favorite safari shorts. We share details on fit, performance, pockets, and fabrics. If you’re after more information, we share tips like the best color choice and style.
The Best 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 our favorite safari shorts.
Men’s Safari Shorts
|Patagonia Quandry Shorts||$79||Link|
|Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts||$50||Link|
|Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts||$85||Link|
|Vuori Kore Shorts||$68||Link|
|Fjallraven Abisko Midsummer Shorts||$120||Link|
Patagonia Quandry Shorts
MSRP – $79 | Material – Nylon/Spandex
- Zippered Pocket
- Standard Color Options
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.
The material used in the shorts is 65% recycled and blue-sign certified, which shows Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability. While the fabric has a slightly synthetic feel against the legs, it’s still comfortable with no chafing or bunching. These shorts can also double as swim trunks, making them perfect for those who love multi-functional clothing.
With their curved waistband, metal-button closure with zip fly, and gusseted crotch, the Quandry shorts provide a contoured and comfortable fit for a full range of motion. Additionally, the shorts have 40+ UPF sun protection and are available in an 8″ and 10″ inseam.
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.
Shop For Men’s Quandry Short
Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
MSRP – $50 | Material – Nylon
- Decent Comfort
- Classic Style
- Not Much Stretch to Material
- Cheap Quality
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 tends to use 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.
Shop For Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts
MSRP – $85 | Material – Ripstop Nylon/Spandex
- Very Lightweight
- Excellent Comfort
- Wonderful Mobility
- Almost Too Lightweight
- Sizing Issues
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts are an excellent choice for a safari outfit. The shorts are lightweight, breathable, and durable. The spandex in the design adds a superb stretch for safari and outdoor activities. The shorts fall just above the knees, providing good coverage without feeling too long or baggy. It’s a wonderfully comfortable pair of shorts.
The internal drawcord on the 10-inch inseam model may not be as effective at fitting as a built-in belt. However, the loops make it easy to add one if needed. Additionally, if you prefer more storage, there may be better options than these shorts. The pockets are a great layout but are a tad small.
We love that the fabric now includes recycled nylon without compromising quality, looks, or overall performance. 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.
Shop For Men’s Ferossi Shorts
Vuori Kore Shorts
MSRP – $68 | Material – Polyester/Elastane
- Uber Comfortable
- Casual Style
- Various Color Choices
- Lacks Durable Perforamnce
- No Additional Pockets
- Almost Too Casual
Vuori is known for its athleisure clothes, and its Kore Shorts are some of our favorites from the brand. While not the most technical option, the Kore Short’s uber-comfortable fabric makes them perfect for various activities. They’re durable, practical, and comfortable for safari and everyday wear. It’s a casual version of safari shorts, but they look great paired with a t-shirt.
A lightweight fabric with a 4-way stretch allows for a full range of motion. At the same time, the comfy waistband and draw cord keep the shorts in place. The shorts have a supportive COOLMAX® lining that we love, but it isn’t for everyone.
These shorts won’t pair well with a button-down shirt, but work for a relaxed look with a t-shirt. They are relatively expensive for lightweight athletic shorts; however, we believe the price reflects the quality. Lightweight athletic shorts are perfect for safari as most days are spent riding in the back of a game viewer.
Shop For Kore Shorts
Fjallraven Midsummer Abisko Shorts
MSRP – $110 | Material –
- Premium Craftsmanship
- Excellent Comfort
- Wonderful Mobility
- Limited Stock
Scandinavian clothing manufacturer, Fjallraven makes some of the most outdoor wear with exceptional craftsmanship. The Fjallraven Abisko Midsummer shorts stand out with their utilitarian style, excellent mobility, and lightweight fabric. The standout feature is Fjallraven’s new G-1000 Air Strech fabric, which combines polyester and cotton to achieve the perfect balance of durability, moisture-wicking, and comfort.
Like most Fjallraven products, the Abisko Shorts are well-designed and have excellent attention to detail. You get extra fabric at the crotch to prevent rubbing, sturdy metal hardware, and functional storage options. The panel design of their shorts and pants provides phenomenal mobility and comfort. There are flap-protected cargo pockets at each side, hip-belt-friendly hand pockets with zippers, and a rare zipper pocket.
The downside here is the price. Fjallraven products are expensive, and at $110, you could buy a complete outfit from Columbia with shorts and a safari shirt. However, there needs to be a reflection on the quality or overall craftsmanship. Our biggest complaint comes from the limited stock available in North America — they can be tough to find. The Abisko Shorts are purpose-built and capable of just about any outdoor activity, and they look fantastic as safari shorts.
Shop For Men’s Midsummer Abisko Shorts
Women’s Safari Shorts
|Columbia Saturday Trail Shorts||$45||Link|
|prAna Elle Shorts||$59||Link|
|The North Face Aphrodite Motion Shorts||$45||Link|
|Duer Live Free Adventure Short||$78||Link|
|Coalatree Trailhead Shorts||$69||Link|
Columbia Saturday Trail Short
MSRP – $45 | Material – Nylon/Elastane
- Quick Drying
- Decent Mobility
- Excellent Value
- Not Much Stretch to Material
The Columbia brand is always good for affordable outdoor wear. The Saturday Trail Shorts are perfect for a safari in Africa as they provide UPF 50 sun protection and insect repellant. Their stretchable fabric makes them ideal for sitting in a safari vehicle for long hours throughout the day.
Like many Columbia products, they utilize cheaper materials that may not be as durable as the more expensive designs. Some users have also reported issues with the fit, particularly around the hips and waist when making big steps. It can also be tough to find the shorter-cut version, the knee-cut shorts are not the most fashionable choice. However, they offer excellent value, so Columbia has been our favorite for years.
Even though these are safari shorts, they are still fashionable enough for dinner and other activities around your safari. The best part about these shorts is that you can wear them daily life after your African safari experience. They are perfectly acceptable for hiking or running errands around town.
Shop For Saturday Trail Shorts
prAna Elle Shorts
MSRP – $59 | Material – Nylon/Elastane
- Various Color Choices
- Cotton Performance
The prAna Elle Shorts are ideal for women seeking comfort and versatility on their safari adventure. The shorts blend organic cotton and spandex for excellent breathability and stretch. The result is a super comfortable pair of shorts that look great. As prAna generally strives for sustainable materials, the cotton is Fair Trade Certified and organic.
The Elle Shorts also offer stylish design features such as detail stitching at the front waistband, seaming at the front legs, and side seam slit detail. The shorts also feature front and back patch pockets with edge bands, making them a functional and fashionable choice for safari.
The downside of these shorts is they’re primarily cotton, so they are not the best-performing shorts for safari. However, they feel more versatile as everyday shorts that suit a wide range of daily activities. With a mid-rise, fitted design and available in 3″ and 5″ inseam options, the prAna Elle Shorts are the perfect addition to any adventurous woman’s wardrobe.
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The North Face Aphrodite Motion Shorts
MSRP – $45 | Material – Nylon/Elastane
- Super Comfortable
- Excellent Waistband
- Relaxed Style
The North Face Aphrodite Motion Shorts are perfect for safaris and other adventures. They’re made with a soft herringbone fabric that stretches for mobility and has water-repellent, sweat-wicking, and sun-protecting properties.
The shorts come in various colors, including khaki, and have a comfortable waistband, hand pockets, and a secure-zip pocket. The shorts are also adjustable thanks to a stretch draw cord.
These skew a little younger as they are for more relaxed travelers. However, there are no rules, and these shorts still look great. You spend most of your time on safari in the back of a game viewer, so comfortable shorts are an excellent choice.
Shop For Aphrodite Motion Shorts
DU/ER Live Free Adventure Short
MSRP – $78 | Material – TENCEL™ Lyocell
- Super Comfortable
- Excellent Mobility
- Great Style
- Wonderful Fit
- Fabric May Have Durability Issues
The DU/ER Live Free Adventure Shorts are an excellent option for safari shorts. They utilize TENCEL™ Lyocell to provide 10x the stretch and mobility of traditional woven fabrics. It allows you to move freely and comfortably throughout your day. The material is also naturally odor-neutralizing and moisture-resistant, making it perfect for the rigors of safari life. The mid-rise design sits 1″ below the belly button and features deep front pockets and classic back flap pockets for a flattering silhouette.
They are some of the most comfortable shorts we’ve ever tested, with the perfect stretch to maintain their shape. The fabric is thick yet lightweight, and the length and rise are perfect. The DU/ER Live Free Adventure Shorts are the ideal safari shorts for anyone looking for a comfortable and flattering option that can keep up with all their adventures.
Shop For Live Free Adventure Shorts
Coalatree Trailhead Shorts
Specs: Price – $69 | Material – Nylon/Spandex
- Very Lightweight
- Super Comfortable
- Very Breathable
- Water Resistant
- Style May Not Work For All
Coalataree’s Trailhead Shorts are some of our favorite shorts for hiking, safari, daily life, and travel. They are a super comfortable pair of shorts, that are great for any adventure. We find the comfort to come from the wonderful 4-way stretch and tear-resistant fabric. Along with the comfy fabric is a women’s specific fit that hugs around the hips without riding up the body.
We love that the shorts stay fresh for days without a wash, thanks to the fabric’s antimicrobial properties. The downside is the price of these shorts for not many features. However, they are some of the most comfortable safari shorts that we’ve tested.
Shop For Coalatree Trailhead Shorts
Tips For buying the Best Safari Shorts
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 is 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, from 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 suitable color shorts, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it may make you stand out.
A safari isn’t precisely the cushiest environment for clothes. You’ll climb in and out of cars, hit the dusty trail on bumpy roads, and walk through the bush. It’s therefore essential to make sure you opt for a pair of shorts 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 your face, keep an eye out for pants that perform well in those environments.
In the case of a toasty trip, pants 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 pants themselves will dry quickly to avoid becoming sodden.
But a water-resistant finish will help keep rain from soaking in when the weather turns wet. 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 pants 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, beneficial to find pants 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.
One of the first ways we pick out fashion and outdoor wear is to look at the material used in the pants. Even in a store one of the first things we do is check the tags to see the materials used because it will speak to the quality and performance more than any marketing ever will.
Lightweight, synthetic, quick-dry clothing is great for Africa. Synthetic fabrics have great durability, quick-dry properties, stretch, comfort, and strength. However, the downside to nylon and polyester is that they are petroleum-based products and support the “dirty industry.” However, they are plastic-based products so it’s possible to find recycled nylon materials in clothing.
There are a couple of synthetic materials to avoid, most notably Rayon. It can be billed as a “natural” product because is plant-based. However, when manufactured,, it releases many toxic chemicals that are horrendous for the environment. It may feel soft to touch at first; however, it’s difficult to clean, prone to stretching, incredibly weak, and often pills. This is often found in fast fashion.
Our favorite synthetic material is Nylon, with an obvious reference to the recycled version of the product. We love GORE-TEX for rain jackets, but it should be noted that is simply a robust layered Nylon material with Polyurethane.
There is several natural materials used in outdoor clothing we love to see such as hemp, cotton, wool, and linen.
Everyone is familiar with cotton, which is a great product for its value, durability, comfort, and warmth. However, it does a poor job at moisture management. This means it’s slow to dry when hand washed on the road, poor for sweat management, and can make you cold in wet environments. Also, if possible, opt for organic cotton as regular commercial cotton accounts for around 90% of all insecticides used in farming, so it actually makes a massive impact.
Cotton is not our favorite. Instead, we recommend going for hemp, wool, or linen. I love hemp as natural material and wish it was used more in the fashion industry. It’s durable, handles moisture well, breathes, and feels really great to the touch.
Wool is a favorite of many, and for a good reason. It’s one of the best materials out there for handling moisture and providing warmth. However, it’s also pretty pricey, and it’s easy to spend over $100 on a shirt.
The brands on this list best for using sustainable organic materials are prAna, Patagonia, Fjallraven, and Filson. They all make high-quality products and share a passion for our environment. Patagonia has long led by example, demanding suppliers to meet their controls and inspections.
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 made suggestions for camps and lodges 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 pricing per day that way you can select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you through booking your safari. With experts on staff, they can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details much like a travel agent.
Our Favorite Lodges in Africa
We’ve spent over a year on safari and tried out dozens of lodges, and visited nearly every park in Africa. While it’s impossible to say we’ve visited every lodge, we’ve seen a fair amount. Check out our list of favorite lodges in Africa. Have you visited any yourself?
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.