Safari clothes for women can be a mystery to any first-timer in Africa. Safari-style is iconic and feels right at home in the outdoors beyond the Serengeti. The key to safari clothes for women is the perfect blend between form and function.
If you are fortunate enough to jet off to the continent an African safari will surely be one of the greatest highlights of your life. However, any great safari may be spoilt with the wrong clothes, so it’s important to come prepared for the climate in Africa.
Before I traveled to Africa I knew nothing about women’s safari clothing or what to pack for safari. After a countless number of safaris through Southern and Eastern Africa, these are the women’s safari clothing items I would make sure to bring on your first African safari.
Safari Clothes For Women
Women’s Safari Shirts
I would recommend at least a few safari shirts as it’s the most versatile piece of clothing. The right piece a natural color such as white or tan proves to be both stylish and practical. A long sleeve shirt is the most ideal as it provides protection from the sun and bugs. Below are a selection of shirts that combine style and function.
Columbia Tamiami II ($48)
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 vented back panels, 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.
Orvis Open Air Casting ($89)
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.
REI Co-op Sahara ($59)
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.
Filson Scout Shirt ($115)
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.
Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt ($65)
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.
Royal Robbins Expedition ($70)
This shirt is a great women’s 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.
prAna Foundation Short Sleeve V-neck ($45)
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
KUHL Ezra Shirt ($85)
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.
Patagonia Western Snap Shirt ($79)
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.
Women’s Safari Pants
Pants are an essential part of a safari outfit for women. One pair of women’s safari pants are great; however, two will safari pants for women ensure that you won’t have to do any washing on your trip. I personally have the prAna Halle pants and have had them for almost three years now without issue. It’s almost impossible to stain them, they roll up into capris when it’s hot, and they are water-resistant.
prAna Women’s Halle Pant ($85)
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 bushwalk. They are made with nylon fabric with spandex material and have a quick-drying technology.
Similar to the men’s Brion the Halle is a blend of nylon and spandex that has great moisture and temperature management. They also look pretty good as everyday pants that can go anywhere in the Mud and Dark Khaki colors.
They’re a functional pant that is designed as a climbing pant so they have superb flexibility. Although, they’re flexible do not mistake them for being loose and sloppy looking.
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. They also happen to be some of the best travel pants.
Columbia Saturday Trail Pant ($60)
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.
Outdoor Research Ferossi Pant ($80)
This is a close first for best safari pants, but its stylings make it much more a hiking/technical pant. When it comes to function in the outdoors it takes top marks and when I’m hiking it’s my go-to pant. However, I find it’s too technical and outdoorsy looking to walk around more formal environments comfortably.
The pants are really lightweight but similar to a softshell pant with great water resistance and windbreaking capabilities. With that in mind, it keeps you warm in cool weather, but the breathability of the pants keeps you cool in hot weather. With a thin yet tough material, that packs down really small they eat up minimal room in luggage and they are the lightest pants on this list.
Similar to Stretch Zion the Ferossi has five pockets with two back, front, and one side pocket. The pockets are a bit smaller, but I do appreciate the horizontal zipper. These pants are great for the more adventurous traveler or ones who spend a lot of time outside.
REI Co-op Trailsmith Pants ($69)
These rugged pants from REI have such a classic look to them they’re perfect for a stylish safari outfit. Made from a blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex they move freely, but the fabric feels thick and durable. That durability plays out in looks through the double layer reinforced knees that are great for performance and style.
They have a real retro look which I love. My only complaint is they’re a tad warm for hot weather and the pockets are little more than jeans ones. Either way, they’re a great pair of work and safari pants for women.
Women’s Safari Shorts
It gets HOT in Africa, especially in the middle of the day. I would recommend bringing at least one pair of safari shorts to stay cool. I prefer a nice pair of shorts that are practical yet stylish.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Safari Vest for Women
Safari vests are great if for storing little items on you in all the pockets. They are especially useful for walking safaris.
LE3NO Military Anorak Vest ($25)
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.
Women’s Safari Dresses
A safari dress is great because it can be a one-piece safari outfit for ladies. I like to bring a few dresses on safari for meal times and for times out of the game drive vehicle. Also – they are perfect for photos!
prAna Skypath Dress ($89)
My favorite dresses that look nice, but are still made for active women are made by prAna. I’ve traveled all over with their Skypath dress and can attest to its durability. The Skypath is perfect for safari because it has a built-in bra, so you don’t have to worry about getting your bras dirty or sweaty while on safari.
The flattering cut has the perfect stretch so it fits most women’s shapes. It is a nice blend of style, comfort, and practicality. I love this dress as it’s perfect to wear on a hot day in the back of a game vehicle.
REI Co-op Sun Up Shirt Dress ($89)
This lightweight and stylish safari dress is a great choice. The REI Co-op Sun Up dress will keep you cool in the sun with lightweight fast-drying fabric. It’s also great as it will dry overnight after a quick wash along the in your washbasin.
The outer layer of fabric is treated with (DWR) which is great if you get caught in a rainstorm. The zippered pocket is also great to stick a small tube of sunblock or lip balm. The color choices and patterns are also super cute and feel appropriate in the bush or running errands around town.
Patagonia Fleetwith Romper ($119)
We love Patagonia and love that their always looking to reduce their impact and improve the supply line. The Fleetwith is Bluesign certified and super comfortable. While the Fleetwith is available as a dress we prefer the romper best.
It’s so comfortable, fits just about anyone, and is so practical when active or moving around. With the romper, you can easily feel comfortable on a bush flight, in the back of a game viewer, or on a bushwalk.
The one-piece romper is made from 91% recycled polyester/9% spandex blend and moves with your body, resists wrinkles, and dries quickly. The romper and dress make for great safari wear and they are so versatile you may end up living in them at home. It’s a slam dunk in our books for eco-conscious travelers.
Scotch & Soda Safari Dress ($215)
This fashion-forward dress from Scotch & Soda delivers everything we could want in terms of style. The classic off white look, cuffs, and buttons down the front are sure to feel right at home on safari.
It’s made from a lightweight material called Tencel that is eco-friendly and operates in a closed-loop system. That soft material is very lightweight and breathes super easy so you’re comfortable and cool in the African sun.
United By Blue EcoKnit™ Convertible Wrap Dress ($88)
The versatility alone makes this dress invaluable. Additionally, the shape is very flattering and it’s fun being able to tie it a couple of different ways. This means you have several dress options.
The length is very appropriate for anything and the Blue Sign Fabric is super soft so it is comfortable to wear. United By Blue is one of my favorite sustainable brands! For every product sold United By Blue removes a pound of trash.
Andie Swimsuits ($95)
One of the biggest travel regrets is missing out on something. We almost always carry a spare bathing suit even on a safari. There are also plenty of great beach lodges that make for a wonderful and relaxing end to be a busy safari. You can read about the best hotels in Zanzibar or Diani Beach!
One of the best brands for swimsuits I’ve found is Andie Swim. They make amazing swimsuits that fit as nice as they look. Many of their pieces are stylish, yet supportive. Be warned you’re going to love them!
I would say no matter what season you go on safari you should at least bring a warm fleece jacket (maybe even a down jacket) with you just in case it gets cold (which it probably will). However, if you want something a bit more stylish for warmth and photos I would recommend a nice safari jacket.
Filson Granite Island Hooded Jacket ($295)
Filson makes some tremendous safari wear as it’s all created for the outdoors. Known for their high-quality tin cloth the Seattle Based company makes some gorgeous garments that are highly functional.
This jacket is tremendous for safari as it’s robust enough to handle the elements, but no too warm for the mild weather. The jacket is highly functional with a zip-off hood, pleated elbows, front pockets, adjustable sleeves, and a drawcord waist. Its style should last a lifetime and work well in a wide variety of environments.
KUHL Lena Jacket ($169)
I love Kuhl products and this safari jacket is no different. This jacket is packable, lightweight and perfect for all sorts of travel – not just on safari.
The zippered chest and hand pockets provide storage for any extra goods you’ll need on safari and there is also a hood that zips into the collar. This jacket also has an internal drawcord at the waist to cinch it in and make it more fitting.
Orvis Pack-And-Go Travel Jacket ($149)
If you’re looking for something that is versatile and packed with style, the Orvis Pack and Go is a great choice. This adorable mid-thigh travel jacket is both wind and water-resistant, has a stowaway hood, and loads of space and hidden pockets.
The fit is very complimenting, cinching at the waist, and the colors are fairly muted, making this jacket the perfect pairing to almost any outfit! The polyester blend also resists wrinkling, which is excellent, because it comes with its own stuff sack so you can pack and go.
A large downside for us is the use of polyester. It’s a cheaper material and one of the best ways to distinguish high-end vs more affordable options. Polyester has a lower fail rate, easier to snag, and requires a weather-resistant coating to remain water-resistant which breaks down over time.
Women’s Safari Boots
You’ll be sitting in a car for most of your African safari. I actually wear flip flops quite a bit unless I am going on a bushwalk in which good women’s travel shoes are needed. You don’t want to have to run from a buffalo in bad shoes (joking)!
I would suggest bringing at least one pair of durable sandals (I personally have had my Rainbow sandals for five years and counting), and one good pair of women’s safari boots.
Danner Mountain 600 ($180)
If it’s looking like you might need something a little heavier than the standard shoe, then take a close look at the Danner Mountain 600 Boot. Danner has been building boots since 1932, and in that time they crafted some of the footwear for the U.S. Marine Corps, so you can bet they know what they’re doing.
The Mountain 600 is a perfect balance between performance and aesthetics. You’ll have a rugged boot that can take anything you throw at it, but appear like you’re wearing stylish leather city kicks. They are completely waterproof and feature a comfortable, shock-absorbing midsole, perfect for a few trail adventures during the day, then heading back into the city for the evening. The more rugged construction also means a longer break-in period, so wear them around at home before you take off.
Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger ($329)
Red Wing comes in a close second for boot brands in my opinion and they’re also made in the USA. These boots are both functional and stylish. Designed with quality materials and solid craftsmanship. Red Wing’s Heritage Iron Ranger’s have a high ankle and steel toe for great protection beyond the bush.
They’re rugged, chic, and sexy on both sexes. To me, it all comes down the superb leather they use to construct their boots. When you buy a classic pair of boots like these you’re making an investment in your feet
If I was considering a serious self-drive safari into the deep bush I’d go for a pair of steel toe boots. What I love about these boots and the Apaches are they are some of the best damn boots in terms of style, quality, comfort, and longevity. You can’t go wrong with a classic. Now all you need is a hat and a good camera for safari.
Merrell Women’s Moab 2 ($130)
Merrel is a great boot brand. They specialize in hiking shoes so you know your feet will be comfortable for walking long distances. The boots are a blend of leather, textile, and synthetic. They are waterproof, comfortable, rubber soles, and high ankles.
The soles themselves are specially designed to grip so in muddy or wet conditions they grip. It’s unlikely you’ll ever go for a bushwalk in rainy conditions.
I would suggest these boots for someone going gorilla trekking in the jungle or climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. We started off this list with the typical “safari boots” that are leather and stylish. However, these are more about practicality and value.
Blundstone Leather Boot ($229)
For a stylish women’s boot, these are a solid go-to for safari. It has great tread, insoles, and strong arch support which makes much more than a stylish boot for women. Not only can these boots feel comfortable in a more formal or stylish event, but they’re equally at home on a ranch or going for a walk in the woods. An EVA footbed with special technology in the heels ensures all-day comfort.
The boots are made of thick soft leather, strong stitching, and they’re extremely comfortable. I love the slip-on fit and the pull tabs make it easy to put on and take off. As a tip, I’d pick up some leather treatment to protect the boot and add a level of water resistance. Altogether they’re a tremendous safari boot for men.
The North Face Ballard Lace II ($119)
I love the look of the North Face Ballard. These aren’t good just for safari, but they are also very stylish and go well during any season. The Ballards are made out of durable coated canvas and leather uppers.
They are great for walking for long periods with their OrthoLite footbed and blown rubber sidewalls. These boots are durable enough to last for years and have rust-proof hardware.
You don’t want your skin ruined from the harsh African sun. A safari hat is not just about fashion, but function as it keeps the sun off your face. Since Africa is split into at the equator expect strong UV rays. No accessory is better suited or more fashionable than a hat on safari — it just feels right and never out of place.
Filson Tin Packer Hat ($70)
You spend a lot of time outside on a safari. We often fall into the category of people who do not take sun protection seriously enough. Yes, we wear sunblock on the beach, but outside of that, it’s not something we regularly think about. The time you spend outside adds up.
On our first safari, I ended up paying for it with a nice sunburn on my neck and face because I didn’t even think about it. Mind you that was in the winter… Do yourself a favor and invest in sun protection. If it’s not a hat, at the very least wear sunblock. Even the game rangers we meet wear hats and sunblock. The full safari dress does serve a purpose.
This is a great go-to all-around safari hat for women. Filson makes a great product and that is no exception with the tin packer hat. It’s water repellent and wear-resistant so it will last for many years.
Dorfman Pacific All-Season Crushable Hat ($54)
Oh my, I love this safari hat for women. It’s made out of wool felt, and is an all-around great looking olive green stylish safari hat. The style is similar to a fedora with a very Western vibe. It looks great and the price point isn’t bad either.
The best part about it is that for such a good looking had the material still allows you to crush the hat to fit inside your luggage. Because no one likes to have to wear their hat home on a 15-hour flight. Once you take it out of your luggage it snaps right back into shape!
Outback Trading Co. Kodiak Oilskin Hat ($50)
This is the perfect hat for those going into the Outback, or the African bush. Like most of the hats on this list, it’s made out of cotton. The cotton has been treated with oil making meaning it is water-resistant.
So when you get caught in a thunderstorm you don’t need to worry about the safety of your hat or getting uncomfortable. It’s a stylish hat and probably one of my favorites on the list.
You’ll need a good safari bag to carry and pack all these women’s safari clothes into. If you’re going on safari chances are you may be taking a bush flight or two. I would recommend packing light as most of these small plans severely limit you on weight.
We have been on flights where we are only allowed 15 kg’s a person and some flights that allow us to have 25 kgs. Make sure to only pack what you need.
Polare Genuine Leather Weekender Safari Duffel ($160)
I like Polare Bags for their supreme quality. I break down some of my other favorite safari bags here.
This 23″ bag is stylish, strong, and made of cowhide. If you think it looks great in the photos, just wait until the product ages a bit! This bag is beautiful for both men and women on safari and at less than $200 the price is great too!
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag ($139)
The Patagonia Black Hole bag is a staple for adventure travel and one of the best safari bags. The bag can pack down small when empty so it’s great to stick in your bag.
It is also plenty easy to stuff and organize, thanks to the large U-shaped zipper and two mesh pockets on the top flap. It’s super lightweight an important aspect when you have strict weight allowances on bush planes.
Saddleback Front Pocket Daypack ($550)
They only use sturdy materials on their bags including full-grain leather, pigskin lining, and marine-grade polyester thread. The lower back section is padded with Neoprene and the shoulder straps are completely adjustable. No, this bag won’t hold all of your luggage but is perfect for an overnight bag or as a carry-on addition to your main luggage. We also choose this bag as our go-to for safari bags!
Saddleback Leather makes some of the best quality backpacks – hands down. Their leather backpacks are the best daypacks on the market and we don’t travel anywhere without them. They aren’t cheap by any means, but they are quality. Saddleback Leather ensures its products with a 100-year warranty.
Herschel Classics Little America Daypack ($99)
You’ve definitely seen this daypack before. When we lived in NYC these bad boys were all over of the streets and Tasha carried a green one. Herschel makes a classic backpack with styles from mountaineering bags back in the day.
They have a classic look and it’s a simple backpack. No this isn’t a heavy-duty travel daypack meant to tackle mountains, but with a great look and affordable price, we’ll take it. I appreciate the features such as the drawstring top while the polyester exterior does a decent job at water repellency and durability.
Lowepro Flipside 300 ($100)
These guys have been making camera equipment for decades and know what it takes to protect camera gear. They looked at what they need from a great photography daypack and built it. The pack has padded compartments designed to hold lens and cameras. It comes with a weather resistant rain cover and has a sturdy design that is sure to protect your gear.
This is one of the camera bags we currently carry and it’s been a nice addition to our camera gear. My only complaint with this daypack are the straps on the daypack don’t feel very robust – they strain under heavy load. It doesn’t hold a robust amount of camera gear, but it is great as an all-around bag. With a laptop compartment, large top section, a divided camera section, water bottle/tripod holder, and small pocket the bag is perfect for everyday and travel.
Buff Headwear ($15)
We both travel around with buff headbands and they’re some of our favorite travel accessories that we’ve recommended a handful of times. They’re great for keeping sweat out of our eyes on a hike. Or in dust out of your face when riding down a dusty road, which you’ll need on Safari. They offer sun protection, can act as a scarf, and a whole bunch of other things. Buy one and fall in love with it.
Grayl Ultralight Water Bottle ($59)
It’s not advisable to drink the tap water in most of Africa. We previously used the Lifestraw Go for all those times during our travels when the water is questionable. However, over time we became annoyed with the water bottle as the filter aged and clogged. Plus the bottle leaks when it is on its side.
We now switched to the Grayl Ultralight Purifier. It’s a more simplistic design than the Lifestraw that is more effective and does not leak. Most importantly it is a purifier, not a filter. The Grayl water bottle system purifies water vs. filters which removes viruses and virtually removes all threat of waterborne illnesses.
Smith Lowdown 2 Sunglasses ($129)
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun when you’re traveling. 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. Added bonus polarized sunglasses help with contrast and spotting wildlife.
It can be really dusty in the back of a game vehicle. Then much of East Africa sits on the equator which means UV rays are much stronger so eye protection is super important.
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 ($250)
A great safari accessory tot have is a pair of safari binoculars. Nikon has long been a reputable name in the field of binocular manufacturing, and the Monarch is an excellent example.
The 42mm lens diameter allows for excellent low-light viewing, while the body itself is built for extreme use – sounds perfect for a safari, doesn’t it?
Rubber armored body and entirely waterproof, this pair will hold up to the elements as you dive into the wilderness.
What’s more, the Monarch offers a very long eye-relief (the distance from the viewing lens to your eye), which maximizes eye comfort for extended viewing and is perfect if you wear glasses.
What To Look For in Women’s Safari Clothes
I wouldn’t recommend dirt cheap safari clothing. African elements can be especially tough on clothing so you will want to make sure you are getting quality clothing. The key things to avoid are fast fashions companies, brands such as H&M, Zara, or Forever21. Good quality clothing uses more robust fabrics, smart design (gusseted and articulated panels), and double stitching.
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.
Avoid having a jumbo suitcase and pack clothing that can be interchanged with different safari outfits for women. I particularly like having one long skirt or dress, one pair of shorts, and two pairs of pants which all go well with some plain colored shirts. This is particularly important if you plan to take bush flights where you are limited to 15kgs of luggage.
Black yoga pants with no pockets are wonderful, just not on safari. Always keep in mind how practical something is. Things like having pockets can make or break good safari wear. 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.
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.
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!
Tips on Women’s Safari Clothing
I love greens, beige, and khaki just as much as the next wannabe Merryl Streep in Out of Africa. However, the truth of the matter is you will spend a lot of time in a car while on game drives in Africa. Wearing these colors help you blend in and don’t bake your body under the hot African sun, but in the end colors don’t matter.
Avoid Dark Blue
The dreaded Tsetse fly is said to be attracted to dark blue colors. Avoid dressing in these colors unless you want to become a target.
Layering is essential. Game drives usually start early and end late when it is cold. In the middle of the day temperatures can soar, so shedding some layers will save you a heat stroke. Always make sure to check the weather for the season you are visiting Africa. It’s not one big giant hot continent.
Safari Clothes Not Required
First and foremost, you do not have to wear any special safari clothes. The majority of time on safari is spent in a vehicle where clothes choice does not matter much.
Don’t Forget a Jacket
Is it the rainy season where you are heading? Make sure to take note and pack for wet days if it is. I make some suggestions in this post on great lightweight jackets for travel, but if you’re looking for more check out the post below.
Just because you are in Africa doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish. For some style is important so make sure to pick out a few fashionable safari clothing items for your trip.
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.