Safari clothes for women are a bit of a mystery for any first-time traveler to Africa. Don’t worry, as it’s not difficult to find the perfect women’s safari outfit. We suggest a few versatile pieces for a timeless look that will keep you comfortable. A classic white shirt, tan pants, and boots are all items that blend well into daily life.
We suggest items that blend form and function as a safari can be rough and often involves plenty of time exploring outdoors. You’ll want help from technical fabrics that resist odor, dirt, and wrinkles.
Before my first trip to the continent, I knew little about women’s safari fashion or what to pack. However, after countless safaris through Southern and Eastern Africa, I’ve learned the essentials for staying cool and stylish during your adventure. That way, your safari experience will be one of the greatest highlights of your life.
In this article, I’ll share my insights and experiences to help guide you through the best women’s safari clothing. From shirts, shorts, pants, dresses, shoes, boots, and accessories, I’ll provide practical and fashionable advice for your first African safari.
Safari Clothes For Women
Safari Shirts For Women
We have a few recommendations for safari shirts. All of these will keep you comfortable in the bush and have some nifty features like additional pockets or vented back panels. When you select the color it’s best to stick with earth tones such as white, tan, sepia, or rust.
It’s great if at least one of the shirts has long sleeves. This is a particularly important form of protection from the sun and insects. In Malaria prone zones, it’s best to cover up in the evenings and avoid mosquito bites altogether.
Columbia Tamiami II
MSRP: $50 | Material: Ripstop Polyester
The Columbia Tamiami II Shirt is a great safari shirt with various features for a comfortable outdoor experience. With its blend of Omni-Wick moisture management and antimicrobial treatment, this shirt is perfect for hot and humid climates, actively breathing and wicking away moisture for fast evaporation.
The vented back panels and front pockets provide additional ventilation, making it a comfortable choice for long days out in the sun. It provides reliable UV protection with its Omni-Shade UPF 40. The roll-up sleeves are thoughtful design features that add to the shirt’s versatility. We also appreciate that women get a practical piece of clothing with five pockets.
While this shirt’s loose cut and outdoor style may not appeal to everyone, its practical features make it an excellent option for those seeking an affordable, well-designed safari shirt. It’s not the most stylish shirt in the world, but for around $50, it’s an excellent value.
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Unbound Merino Wool V-Neck
MSRP – $85 | Material – Merino Wool
Our favorite women’s t-shirt for safari and travel is the Unbound Wool V-Neck. A merino wool shirt is a worthy investment and one of the best travel clothes for any trip. Despite the price, we’ve already transitioned a lot of our wardrobe to the material. Wools shirts stay fresh longer and do an excellent job at temperature management. Best of all, the heavier fabric looks better.
Cotton shirts often take one or two wears to feel oily and heavy, while wool shirts last for days. I’ve tested a lot of wool shirts out, and my favorite for travel so far is from Unbound Merino. Their shirts are a perfect weight, and the material is soft and durable. We prefer their v-neck cut for a slightly more feminine shape.
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Patagonia Long Sleeve Sun Stretch Shirt
MSRP – $119 | Material – Recycled Nylon/Polyester
The Patagonia Long Sleeve Sun Stretch Shirt is the perfect choice for women who want a safari shirt that offers both practicality and comfort. Made with a blend of recycled nylon and T400® polyester, this shirt is quick-drying and lightweight. This makes it ideal for Africa’s hot and humid conditions. The stretchy mechanical-stretch fabric allows for ease of motion, making it ideal for outdoor activities.
In addition to its technical features, the Patagonia Long Sleeve Sun Stretch Shirt also boasts stylish western-inspired drop-in pockets, making it ideal for carrying essentials. The shirt also features collar snaps to keep the collar from flapping in windy conditions and a hidden lens cleaner to keep optics clear.
With its technical features, comfort, and style, this shirt is the perfect choice for women who want a top-quality safari shirt. Our only complaint about the shirt is the high price tag.
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Everlane Linen Shirt
MSRP – $85 | Material – Linen
I like to pack a technical long-sleeve shirt for a safari, but it’s tough to beat a classic shirt from a classic material like linen. It looks and feels excellent; there is no better summer shirt. Best of all, the material remains practical as the linen has anti-microbial properties and fights against odor.
Pair a linen shirt with sandals, shorts, chinos, jeans, or boots. It will always work. Linen shirts are versatile clothing that looks good for both sexes and works at the beach, museum, archaeological site, or safari. It’s a classic style for women’s safari clothes.
It’s tough to find decent linen shirts online, but I love the quality and value of Everlane’s linen shirts. You can often score a deal, so if you stain or snag the shirt, it won’t end the world. Amazon makes some cheap linen shirts, but like most things from the company, they’re poor quality.
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Safari Pants For Women
When it comes to safari outfits for women, pants are a crucial component. Although I typically avoid wearing pants in hot weather, they feel more appropriate on safari. We recommended packing at least two pairs of safari pants for a typical trip. Not only do they offer better protection against insects, but they also provide coverage against the elements.
Pants with breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics are ideal for hot and humid conditions. They should be lightweight and comfortable and allow for ease of movement on bush walks or hopping into the back of a truck. Of course, we always appreciate functional pockets for storage and zippers for ventilation.
KUHL Freeflex Pants
MSRP – $109 | Material – Enduro Fabric / Freeflex
Kuhl’s ENDURO™ blend fabric in their Freeflex Roll-Up pants is a testament to their commitment to quality and durability. We prefer the comfort of lightweight synthetic pants as most safaris occur in hot weather. These safari pants are lightweight and super comfortable. For outdoor pants, these are surprisingly comfortable.
Not only does the fabric feel soft against the skin, but it has also proven to be resistant to wear and tear after repeated use. The double-stitching and metal buttons are just a few of the high-end details that set these pants apart from the competition.
The Freeflex Roll-Up pants convert to capris and feature six functional pockets and an internal drawstring. It all adds up to the perfect combination for women who want practicality and comfort.
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REI Co-op Trailsmith Pants
MSRP – $69 | Material – Cotton/Poly
The REI Co-op Trailsmith Pants are the ultimate choice for safari pants that combines style, comfort, and durability. We love that REI took the traditional style of outdoor wear and made these joggers with cuffed ankles. It makes for cute and super functional pants.
With a blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex fabric, these pants wick away moisture and stretch to provide a comfortable fit. The double-layer fabric reinforcements at the knees and thighs offer added durability, making these pants ideal for outdoor adventures.
For added convenience, these pants feature a range of pockets, including jeans-style coin, hand, and back pockets, a drop-in tool pocket at the side, and a pencil pocket at the thigh. It really adds a nice utilitarian style to these joggers and they’re super functional too! We love these pants! The Trailsmith Pants feel comfortable enough for the backcountry, office, or daily errands.
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Fjallraven Vidda Pro
MSRP – $175 | Material – Polyester/Cotton
No pant says adventure pants more than the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers. These pants are prepared to withstand challenging conditions and keep you comfortable and stylish. Made with durable G-1000 Eco fabric, these pants are not only eco-friendly but also resistant to moisture and waxed for extra protection. Reinforced with double layers of material over the knees ensures excellent durability in a high abrasion area.
And with the pants engineered fit and preshaped knees, these pants provide unrestricted mobility, making them perfect for any outdoor activity. We’ve worn these pants when mountaineering on the Columbia Icefield with no signs of discomfort.
The generous ventilation openings along the legs and the detachable strap adjustments at the leg endings make these pants the perfect choice for warm weather. The large pockets, including a knife pocket and axe loop, give you ample space to store your essentials. And with reinforced suspender zones and gear loops, these pants are designed to keep up with even the most strenuous activities.
Even if you don’t need the robust features of these safari pants, they have a very cool look. These pants can handle anything the outdoors can throw at you.
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Safari Shorts for Women
It gets HOT in Africa, especially in the middle of the day. I recommend bringing at least one pair of safari shorts to stay cool – plus, they look great and will add to your women’s safari outfit. I prefer a nice pair of shorts that are practical yet stylish.
We suggest pants as protection against mosquitos, but they usually come out in the evenings and at night. So we wear shorts for morning game drives and daytime activities. When it comes to afternoons and sundowners, we switch to pants.
prAna Women’s Elle Shorts
MSRP – $59 | Material – Nylon/Elastane
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.
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
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. Get ready for any outdoor adventure with these shorts!
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Columbia Saturday Trail Short
MSRP – $45 | Material – Nylon/Elastane
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 for dinner and other activities on safari. The best part about these shorts is that even after your African safari experience, you can wear them at home. They are perfectly acceptable for trail running, hiking, or running errands around town.
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Safari Vest For Women
A vest is a must-have item for layering on a safari. Not only does it add an extra layer of protection against the elements, but it also serves as a stylish addition to your safari outfit. I always bring at least one vest on my trips to Africa as it’s a fantastic accessory, and more pockets never hurt!
It works on many trips and will always make a great impression. So, pack a vest for your next safari and add a touch of sophistication to your wardrobe! It’s one of the best style accessories for safari clothes for women.
Orvis Pack and Go Vest
MSRP – $129 | Material -Recycled Polyester
Orvis designs some of our favorite items for stylish outdoor wear — perfect for safari wear. The vest’s weight has a nice balance. It can be worn independently in warm weather or as an outer layer for cooler days.
It’s pretty lightweight and can fold down into an included stuff sack. A waist cinch and multiple pockets also deliver the practicality and features we want in a vest. As a bonus, the polyester material used is Bluesign® certified and dries out quickly.
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LE3NO Military Anorak Vest
MSRP – $29 | Material -Cotton
Functional, lightweight, and comfortable with a whole bunch of pockets. Easy Addition to the list of best women’s safari clothes. It’s not high-quality fashion, and I wouldn’t expect much out of this piece, but it’s tough to complain about the price. We can recommend it, but please bear in mind the impacts of fast fashion on the environment.
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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 vehicle. Also – they are perfect for safari photos!
Most safaris are very leisurely, so a dress is perfectly comfortable for riding around in the back of a game viewer. A dress is much better than pants when the sun is sweltering!
Scotch & Soda Safari Dress
MSRP – $165 | Material -Tencel
This fashion-forward safari dress from Scotch & Soda delivers everything we want in style. The classic off-white look, cuffs, and buttons down the front will feel right at home on a 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 light and breathes easily, so you’re comfortable and cool in the African sun. Be warned, this is a super popular item from the brand, and they regularly sell out.
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Patagonia Fleetwith Romper
MSRP – $129 | Material -Recycled Polyester/Spandex
We love Patagonia and that they’re always looking to reduce their impact and improve the supply line. The Patagonia Fleetwith Romper is Bluesign certified and super comfortable. While the Fleetwith is available as a dress, we prefer the romper best.
It’s comfortable, fits just about anyone, and is 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 bush walk.
The one-piece romper is made from a 91% recycled polyester/9% spandex blend, moves with your body, resists wrinkles, and quickly dries. 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 safari clothes for women.
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We always carry a spare bathing suit, even on a safari. Plenty of great beach lodges make for a beautiful and relaxing end to a busy safari. That doesn’t include the many safari lodges and hotels with a pool. We’ve even taken impromptu dips in the various rivers and natural springs. Consider a swimsuit a necessity when it comes to safari clothes for women.
One of the best brands of swimsuits I’ve found is Londre. They make amazing swimsuits that fit as nicely as they look. Many of their pieces are stylish yet supportive. You are warned you will love them! You can read about the best hotels in Zanzibar or Diani Beach!
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Safari Jackets For Women
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 recommend a nice safari jacket.
Orvis Pack-And-Go Travel Jacket
MSRP – $169 | Material -Recycled Polyester/Spandex
If you’re looking for something versatile and packed with style, the Orvis Pack And Go is a great choice. This adorable mid-thigh travel jacket is wind and water-resistant, has a stowaway hood, and loads of space and hidden pockets.
The fit is complimenting, cinching at the waist, and the colors are pretty muted, making this jacket the perfect pairing to almost any outfit! The polyester blend also resists wrinkling, which is excellent because it comes with a 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.
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Safari Boots For Women
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 and one good pair of women’s safari boots.
Danner Mountain 600
MSRP – $210 | Material – Suede Leather
If it’s looking like you might need something a little heavier than the standard boot, 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.
Danner’s Mountain 600 is waterproof and features 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.
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Merrell Women’s Moab 3
MSRP – $120 | Material – Leather
If you’re in the market for hiking boots, the Merrell Moab 3 Boots are a popular choice. They’re made of leather, textile, and synthetic materials and are comfortable straight out of the box. Plus, with Merrell’s expertise in hiking boots, you can rest assured that your feet will be in good hands for long-distance walks.
I have owned several pairs of Moabs and can attest to their quality over the years. However, one thing to remember is that these boots are less specialized. While they are comfortable immediately, the soles are soft, making them less ideal for avid hikers. However, for everyone else, Merrell Moabs are a solid choice for comfortable safari boots that won’t disappoint.
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Blundstone Leather Boot
MSRP – $220 | Material – Suede Leather
Blundstones are our go-to travel boots and make excellent safari boots. This boot is stylish, functional, and practical for any travel adventure. While it’s not a “technical” boot, it handles moderate hikes and terrain impressively. Style is a really strong suit here with a wide range of leather finishes to match your taste.
As they use premium leather they require some upkeep with leather treatment to ensure longevity and water resistance. The Blundstone Chelsea Boot is a solid go-to for any stylish and practical safari adventure. We love these boots!
Shop For Classic Blundstones BL550
Safari Hats For Women
You don’t want your skin ruined from the harsh African sun and a hat is essential to every women’s safari outfit. A safari hat is not just about fashion but functions as it keeps the sun off your face.
Since Africa is split by the equator, expect intense UV rays. No accessory is better suited or more fashionable than a safari hat—it feels right and never out of place.
Filson Tin Packer Hat ($85)
The Tin Packer is a great go-to all-around safari hat for women and is the perfect item to add to your safari clothes for women. Filson makes a great product, which is no exception with the tin packer hat. It’s water-repellent and wear-resistant, so it will last for many years.
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Scala All-Season Crushable Hat ($60)
Oh my, I love the Scala Crushable Hat as a safari hat for women. It’s made of wool felt and 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 hat, the material still allows you to crush the hat to fit inside your luggage. Once you take it out of your luggage, it snaps right back into shape!
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Outback Trading Co. Kodiak Oilskin Hat ($69)
The Kodiak Oilskin Hat is perfect for those going into the Outback or the African bush. It’s made of cotton treated with oil, 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.
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Safari Bags For Women
You’ll need a good safari bag to carry and pack all these women’s safari clothes into. If you’re going on safari, 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 a person and some flights that allow us to have 25 kg. Make sure only to pack what you need.
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag ($169)
Hop on any bush flight, and you’ll see this safari bag under the plane or at its rear. Patagonia’s Black Hole bags have taken over adventure travel and outdoor sports. It’s a slam dunk safari bag for us as it is waterproof, soft, and can swallow any clothes/gear.
Patagonia’s unique TPU film laminate polyester ripstop is stylish and durable. In recent years, they’ve also made the material 100% recyclable, an awesome eco-friendly step. While it’s unlikely your bag will face too much water on safari, the weatherproofing does translate well to dust protection for rides in the back of a safari truck.
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Filson Medium Rugged Twill Duffel Bag ($575)
Filson delivers beautiful products with attention to detail. The Medium Rugged Twill Duffel Bag makes for a gorgeous safari bag. Its unparalleled build quality assures us the bag should last a lifetime or, at the very least, a decade. Plus, it comes in three color styles to match any style.
Its build quality starts with an exceptional industrial-strength medium twill fabric waxed for water repellency. That material is complemented with Bridle Leather straps, accents, and handles. A final finish on the bag is the solid brass zippers. It’s an exceptionally luxurious safari bag with a price tag to match the quality.
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Herschel Supply Co. Little America Eco Pack ($120)
You’ve seen this daypack before. Herschel makes the Little America Eco Pack, drawing inspiration from mountaineering bags back in the day. The classic look and simple design make it a perfect backpack for safari.
No, this isn’t a heavy-duty travel daypack meant for the African Bush, but with a great look and affordable price, we love the bag. However, the polyester exterior also performs well at water repellency and durability. It’s a bag that holds up well to regular daily use.
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Safari Accessories For Women
Smith Lowdown 2 Sunglasses ($109)
Polarized sunglasses help with contrast and spotting wildlife. It can be 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.
Smith Optics Lodown 2.0 makes excellent active sunglasses that still look sharp enough to wear around a posh seaside town. For a more formal and stylish brand, we love Persol and Rayban for their timeless style.
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Buff Headwear ($15)
We travel around with Buff Headwear, 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 many other things. Buy one and fall in love with it.
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Grayl GeoPress Purifier Water Bottle ($99)
It’s not advisable to drink tap water in most of Africa. We travel with a water bottle that purifies water for safe drinking water. Our favorite is the Grayl GeoPress Purifier bottle. It saves money, reduces plastic waste, and ensures our water is safe and free of viruses and other waterborne illnesses.
The Grayl bottle is not only practical but also innovative in design. A press-like system effectively filters out sediment, bacteria, and heavy metals, leaving only clean and safe water. Its wide-mouth top makes it easy to drink and fill, and its sleek design fits comfortably in any bag or backpack.
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Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 ($250)
The 42mm lens diameter allows for excellent low-light viewing, while the body itself is built for extreme use – sounds perfect for a safari.
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What To Look For in Safari Clothes For Women’s
African elements can be tough on women’s safari clothing, so choose good quality clothing made from robust fabrics with intelligent design and double stitching. Avoid fast fashion companies such as H&M, Zara, and Forever21.
Look for lightweight, synthetic, quick-dry clothing made from recycled nylon or sustainable materials such as hemp, wool, or linen. Avoid rayon and opt for organic cotton if possible. You’re on a trip to explore the wonders of nature it’s best that safari clothes for women do not negatively impact the environment.
Pack interchangeable clothes to avoid carrying a jumbo suitcase. One long skirt or dress, one pair of shorts, and two pairs of pants that go well with plain-colored shirts are great options.
Pockets are essential for storing lip balm, sunscreen, or binoculars. Choose comfortable and practical clothes, and avoid black yoga pants with no pockets.
Color Choice & Camouflage
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 are 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 of 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!
We love greens, beige, and khaki just as much as the next wannabe Merryl Streep in Out of Africa. However, the truth 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.
Tips For Women’s Safari Clothing
- Avoid dark blue as it can attract Tsetse flies.
- Layering is key for early mornings, late evenings, or hot afternoons.
- Check the season and pack accordingly, including a lightweight jacket for rainy days.
- You don’t need special safari clothes, but packing a few fashionable items can add style to 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 suggested camps and lodges and 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 daily pricing, which allows you to select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you through booking your safari. Experts on staff can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details like a travel agent.