Ultimate Women’s Safari Clothing Checklist ( + Other Safari Packing List Items)

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Women's Safari Clothes

Women’s safari clothing can be a mystery to any first timer in Africa. An African safari will be one of the greatest highlights of your life. However, any great safari can be spoiled with the wrong clothes, so it’s important to come prepared for safari. Before I came to Africa I knew nothing about women’s safari clothing or what to pack. Countless safaris throughout Southern and Eastern Africa later and these are items I would make sure to bring on your first African safari.

Choosing 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.
  • 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.
  • Is it the rainy season where you are heading? Make sure to take note and pack for wet days if it is.
  • just because you are in Africa doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish. If style is important then make sure to pick out a few fashionable safari clothing items for your trip.

women's safari clothingElements of Women’s Safari Clothing

  • Durability: Don’t go cheap on travel safari clothing. African elements can be especially tough on clothing so you will want to make sure you are getting quality clothing.
  • Versatility: Avoid having a jumbo suitcase and pack clothing that can be interchanged with different outfits. 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.
  • Practicality: Black yoga pants with no pockets are wonderful, just not on safari. Always keep in mind how practical something is.
  • Material: Lightweight, synthetic, quick dry clothing is great for Africa.

Women’s Safari Clothing: The Basics

Women’s Safari Shirt

I would recommend at least three safari shirts with you on your trip. I love the ExOfficio Breez’R Shirt. It’s 100% nylon and has “Insect Shield” technology repelling all those African creepy crawlers (and mosquitos!). 

 

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My other favorite options are the: Columbia Women’s Silver Ridge Long Sleeve Shirt. If you are looking for a women’s safari shirt with flap pockets then check out the Shooter Shirt on Amazon.

Women’s Safari Pants

One pair of women’s safari pants is great; however, two will ensure that you won’t have to do any washing on your trip. I personally have the prAna Haley 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.

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Another great option are the: Columbia Sportswear Women’s Saturday Trail Pant

Safari Shorts

It gets HOT in Africa, especially in the middle of the day. I would recommend bringing at least one pair of shorts to stay cool. I prefer a nice pair of green shorts that are stylish like these.

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Another great option are: Convertible pants. They may not be straigh off the Vogue runway, howver they are verstatile and perfect for Africa.

Bras

A good selection of sports bras is ideal for an African safari. The roads get pretty bumpy… I like Champion sports bras which are a great price for the quality you get.

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Scarf

I forgot to bring a scarf from home and paid a premium for a good one in Africa. However, a scarf is essential for those early mornings before sunrise when it’s still very cold. Check out this beautiful scarf from Mali! 

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Outerwear

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). If you are visiting Kruger National Park in the winter or have plans to camp in the desert overnight then a more heavy duty jacket is suitable. Stay warm with the Hardshell North Face jacket. This one packs up small and is waterproof!

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Shoes

You’ll be sitting in a car for most of your African safari. I generally wear flip flops unless I am going on a bush walk in which good women’s travel shoes are needed. You don’t want to have to run from a buffalo in bad shoes! 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 safari shoes. For no non sense hiking shoes that look like tennis shoes my go to’s are Merrell Moab Ventilator. I’ve been wearing them around the world for two years now and they are still going strong. I also think the price is perfect for the shoe.

For more ideas check out my favorite travel shoes! 

Sandals on safari

Sandals on safari

Women’s Safari Clothing: The Extra Safari Packing List Items

Safari Bag

You’ll need something 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. I like Drakensberg Bag line for their supreme quality.  I break down some of my other favorite safari bags here. 

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Safari Backpack

If you are traveling with electronics it is essential to keep them covered. African dust and humidity is no joke. I like having a backpack to keep all my electronics in and I usually have all eyes on that bag when in transit. Here is a good bag for safari.

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Binoculars

Some guides will lend you their binoculars to use, but I wouldn’t bank on that. If you want to see some of the wildlife up close I would recommend a decent pair of binoculars. I like these ones from Bushnell since they are quality at an affordable price.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is extremely expensive in Africa. Don’t arrive on the continent without it or you will likely pay a premium or have a hard time finding it at all. Peak Sunscreen is a great for the environment.

Safari Hat

I love wearing a hat on safari. Something about it makes me feel like Indiana Jones. Check out our full posts on the best safari hats here. 

Small Flashlight

Many African lodges will provide flashlights in your room. However, if you are camping or staying a little more basic a flashlight is always a good thing to have. We met someone once who didn’t have a flashlight and snuck up on a lion outside her tent – don’t let that happen to you!

Sunglasses

You’ll definitely want these on your safari packing list. Sunglasses are another item you will pay a premium for in Africa. Arrive on the continent with a few pairs.

Adaptor

Most of Southern Africa uses the Type M plug, while East Africa generally uses the Type G Adaptor. I have a universal adapter which covers me in many circumstances (but NOT Southern Africa).

Camera

Any kind of decent wildlife shots while on safari will require a good camera. iPhones and iPads are great…but definitely not on close-ups of animals on safari. I travel with my Fujifilm X-T10 with a 200 mm telephoto lens. No, I’m not a wildlife photographer, but I do manage to get close up shots of the most amazing lions and elephants still! Cameron breaks down more great cameras for safari here!

Kenya

It wouldn’t hurt to pack…

A Bathing Suit! 

Many lodges have pools, and who knows maybe you can head to African coast after your safari. I would pack at least one bathing suit for down time between game viewing.

Safari Dress

Just because you’re on safari doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress nicely once in awhile. I like wearing dresses to dinner once in awhile. They are light and keep me cool under the African sun. Here’s a cheap safari dress that will look great at dinner or on game drives.

Buff

Cameron and I both love our Buff Headband. Our Buffs are UV protected and keep the sweat off my forehead.

Want more? Cameron breaks down the best African safari clothes for men and women here! If you’re traveling to Africa and not going on safari check out my basic Africa packing list. 


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