Need a pair of safari shorts for your trip to Africa? Or getting ready to pack your bags for a safari in Africa? We’re jealous! Imagine yourself viewing some of the most exotic and fascinating wildlife in the world while in a completely magical landscape.
You’ll need a pair of shorts that will hold to your trip to Africa and remain stylish. We love a pair of safari shorts that are comfortable, durable, weather-resistant, and blend in with the environment. It’s a lot to consider, especially when you’re getting ready for a trip to Africa.
That’s why we’ve put together our list of the best safari shorts on the market, along with a detailed hit-list of the most important aspects to consider before purchasing. So read on, and get geared up for your adventure.
The Best Safari Shorts
Men’s Safari Shorts
1.) Mountain Hardware Men’s AP Short ($69)
Mountain Hardware has been making rough and ready clothing for the extreme adventurer for years, and they sure do it well. The AP short embodies this dedication to durability by producing a rugged canvas fabric that is both durable and stretchy.
The stretchy aspect of these shorts will keep them nice and comfortable as you’re climbing in and out of a safari truck. Yet the nylon and cotton blend will also hold up to the rough environment and some abrasion.
We also like how, despite their tough build, these shorts are still stylish enough for relaxing evenings at a lodge or in camp. Mountain Hardware also produces these shorts in a wide range of colors, so you can perfectly match your wardrobe to the season at your destination.
2.) Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts ($70)
The Ferrosi is Outdoor Research’s take on the adventurer short. We love these pants as they deliver a compelling combination of good looking ruggedness. 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.
The Ferossi shorts are similar to their pants and they are some of our all-time favorite pieces of travel apparel for their lightweight nature and comfort. The handy zippered thigh pocket gives you a little more space for gear, while it’s low profile enough to make these shorts an excellent choice for dinner out with friends or a rugged day on a safari.
3.) Marmot Arch Rock ($59)
Yet another tough little pair of shorts comes from the mountain masters at Marmot. The Arch Rock short follows our trend of abrasion-resistant material that will hold up to constant motion in tough environments, and remain comfortable for the entire time.
The breathable, UPF 50 protected shorts also come with a zippered thigh pocket and gusseted inseams for increased mobility. This particular short is also Bluesign approved, meaning that it is manufactured through sustainable textile manufacturing.
4.) Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts ($45)
Columbia’s Silver Ridge Short is a classic staple and an excellent balance between function, fashion, and price that can be the perfect sidekick for your safari.
These shorts also feature a DWR finished to support water repellency during those wetter days. Additionally, they also support UPF 50 sun protection to assist in the hotter and sunnier occasions.
A two cargo pocket on the thigh helps keep gear where you need it during longer days, while the nylon material allows for a nice stretch on your adventures. All in all, a solid choice for your safari adventures that won’t break the bank either.
5.) prAna Stretch Zion ($68)
These tough shorts by prAna are built expressly for tough activity in the heat. They feature a phenomenal moisture-wicking finish to keep you nice and dry if the sweat valves get turned on. The material, in turn, is quick-drying nylon that will help prevent moisture buildup.
The short goes even further in temperature control and includes built-in ventilation on the inseam. The reason? Well, let’s be real, whether you’re sitting in a safari jeep or working your way through the bush, things get toasty and a little extra ventilation is always appreciated.
Throw in UPF 50 sun protection and a highly abrasion-resistant material in addition to its fantastic heat control, and you have a short that earns a place in our top 10 list without even breaking a sweat.
6.) Schooner Boat Short ($75)
Sure these Madda Fella shorts may be labeled a “boat short,” but I actually think they are perfect for safari. They are lightweight and come in a kale green color that I so rarely see on safari. It might not be what you typically wear on safari, but there aren’t really any safari rules.
They are made out of 100% microfiber polyester and quick-dry fabric with a really soft feel that is great against the body. super-soft feel
It has two side pockets and two back pockets to store everything. The best part about these is you can bring them to the beaches of Zanzibar after your safari and be good to go there too!
Women’s Safari Shorts
1.) Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail Short ($45)
The Columbia brand is always good for affordable outdoor wear. These 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.
Even though these are safari shorts they are still fashionable enough to wear to dinner and other activities that revolve around your safari. The best part about these shorts is even after your African safari experience you can take them home and they are perfectly acceptable to go trail running, hiking, or errands around town.
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2.) prAna Women’s Tess Shorts ($59)
In case you haven’t heard prAna is my absolute favorite brand of clothing. Almost every day there is something on my body made from prAna, so it’s no surprise that I am recommending their Tess Shorts. Their Cargo Green color is great for bush walks and game drives around Africa as it blends in nicely to the environment.
What I love about prAna is the material they use, an organic stretch woven canvas. These safari shorts have both front and back and stretch with you. I’ve noticed with most prAna products their sizes run a little big so it may be worth ordering a size down if you are unsure.
3.) Coalatree Trailhead Shorts ($69)
Coalatree creates eco-focused outdoor apparel that we’re learning to love. As far as comfort these are the best on this list and the only drawback is the price. They’re made out of a lightweight material that is a blend of Bluesign Nylon and spandex.
They’re super comfortable and the combination of nylon and spandex allows for them to stretch in any way that you can move. The drawstring makes for an easy adjustment and the spandex does a good job of hugging your hips.
4.) The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Shorts ($40)
These drawstring pants are perfect for safaris. They come in a variety of colors perfect for the African bush including khaki, but can also double as good beach coverups shorts if you decide to make your way to Zanzibar afterward.
These are made out of nylon and elastane for great comfort and performance. A wide comfy waistband sits low on your hips and feels soft and comfortable.
5.) Title Nine Clamber Shorts ($69)
I just got my hands on these safari shorts and love the stretchy waistband on them. They are super comfortable especially if you’re going to be sitting a game viewing vehicle for hours on end.
They are made by Title Nine one of my favorite brands for women’s clothes. The Clamber is made of MoxieFlex abrasion-resistant fabric and also good for all hiking, trekking, and scrambling.
6.) REI Co-op Sahara Shorts ($44)
REI is easily one of our favorite companies when it comes to outdoor and travel gear. They also make a large number of products that are of great value. For example, their Sahara shorts designed for adventure travel.
The Sahara is definitely for a more active traveler on a trip to Africa or South America, and we love the Nylon blend with dual cargo pockets. The fit is still great as they’ve taken note from many of the manufacturers above and general trend.
You can even save weight in hot weather and avoid a belt as these pants have an adjustable waistband that can perfect their fit to your waist. Really we just love REI and they make some great clothes that they stand behind with a guarantee.
Tips on 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 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.
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 a lot of 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 it often pills. This often found in cheap 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 a number of natural materials used in outdoor clothing we love to see such as hemp, cotton, wool, and linen.
Everyone is familiar with cotton and it 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’d recommend going for hemp, wool, or even linen. I love hemp for natural material and wish that it was used more in the fashion industry. It’s durable, handles moisture well, breathes, and feels really great to touch.
Wool is a favorite of many and for 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 their use of 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 have 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?
Check Out Some Lodges in Africa
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
Wolwedans Dune Lodge
Wolwedans Dunes Lodge features ten chalets mostly constructed out of wood instead of canvas tents. Each room opens up to the east, offering incredible views of the sunrise every morning. We slept with the canvas tents rolled up and could gaze at the stars all night. We felt at one with nature while still having an extremely comfortable sleep.
Wolwedans Dunes Lodge has a massive pool attached to the pharmacy (or the “bar”) and continues to spill into one grand lobby area. This is where Cameron and I spent most of our day – basking in the intense Namibian sun surrounded by cool water and a good book.
Ruckomechi consists of 10 large spacious safari tents. Each room is stylishly decorated and has a large bedroom area. The en-suite bathroom has an amazing shower that opens up to the Zambezi via a tent flap allowing you to choose indoors or outdoors, we choose outdoors.
A unique experience at Ruckomechi is a bath on the banks of the Zambezi River, where guests can soak in a bubble bath. We, of course, had to take full advantage of this enjoyed a romantic bubble bath together while listening to the sounds of the wild.
What to Pack a Safari?
Overland Tour in Africa
Traveling Africa on your own can be daunting to many travelers. However, there is no need to fear with overland tour companies who will show the ropes and a great time. You can check out some of them here to compare the different companies and possibly score a discount.
Travel Water Bottle
Plastic pollution is a problem in Africa so it’s best not to contribute to the problem buying plastic water bottles everywhere. The tap water in Tanzania is generally not safe to drink, but a water purifier, like the Grayl waterbottle, works well!
However, we also love filtered water bottles in areas we’re uncertain of the water supply. Read more about favorite water bottle for travel in our post.
Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Africa. Our favorite pocket-sized point and shoot camera for quick trips are the Sony RX100V. It takes fantastic photos and video and is the size of your palm.
For more professional photographs we use our Fuji XT-3, and LOVE IT.
Lightweight pants that are made from synthetic material are tremendous to have in your pack. It’s what we wear most days when traveling around Africa as they’re comfortable, antibacterial, and protect our legs from mosquitos (malaria).
We recommend neutral colored pants as they’re great at hiding dirt and can match most shirt colors. What’s great is they’re useful beyond Africa as they are a travel staple and we pack a pair everywhere we travel.
I like two pairs, one pair is made by prAna and rolls into capris and the other are convertible pants. For men, prAna makes the Stretch Zion Pant, a tremendous pair of hiking pants for a reasonable price.
If you’re wondering what necessities to bring to Africa then sturdy shoes are perhaps the most important thing you will need before you get to Africa.
I cannot stress a good pair of shoes enough because if you land anywhere outside of South Africa a quality pair of hiking shoes will be hard to come by. If you plan to walk around a lot get thick rubber soled shoes as acacia thorns are prone to stab through thin shoes. Cameron learned the hard way one day when he pulled a thorn out of his foot that went straight through his thin rubber sandals.
I love my buff. I usually wear it for keeping my hair back, but it’s also served its purpose as a scarf and wet rag too. Buffs last for years and aren’t only helpful in Africa. I actually wear mine every day when I’m snowboarding in the mountains. It’s been one of my top travel accessory investments ever!
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling around Africa. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the sun in the summer.
We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.
Most hotels will provide you with a towel, but they often aren’t suitable or allowed on the beaches. I like to travel with a microfiber towel because they are light and fold up small, and they also don’t cling on to sand our dirt. Here are a few of our favorite travel towels.
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
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