Booking a trip to Africa is one side of the safari planning puzzle. If you have booked your safari or planning to book, how you should wear and what to wear is an important part of your trip plan.
Depending on where you’re going to visit in Africa, the weather can be either cold or very hot. If you visit East Africa, expect extreme cold in the morning and extremely hot in the afternoon.
So knowing exactly what to wear during your safari gives you the best advantages of enjoying your trip very comfortably.
In this article, we will discuss the practical guide for safari clothes, colors and all do’s and don’ts while planning for your Africa safari.
We recommend packing for light and warm clothing, sometime you could wear cool clothing as your base layer and then warmer clothing over it that you can remove as the day heats up either in game drives or walking safari.
Choosing the right safari clothes and other gear is very easy, but knowing the right process makes it so perfect when buying moisture-wicking clothes, breathable and safari colors friendly.
Perfect safari clothing and colors are essential for layering if you want the best experience on your trip to Africa.
What are the guidelines for choosing the perfect safari clothing?
Experience is the best teacher, we have guided many visitors in East Africa. Some visitors were climbers to Mount Kilimanjaro, others came for wildlife safaris and beach holidays.
Every client has a story to tell and special assistance s/he needs for packing the ideal safari clothing. This gives us deep insights into essential clothes to pack for a specialized trip to Africa.
Two important things to remember when buying or packing for safari clothes are: Your clothes should be comfortable and earthly colors but also work best with layering.
The two (2) guidelines for safari clothes
Comfortability and colors
It’s recommended to wear comfortable clothes and earthly or neutral colors. These colors are tan, light brown, khaki, and olive green.
The importance of these colors are less distracting to wildlife but also protect against flies ( tse-tse ).
Colors like purple, blue and black attract a lot of insects while on safari. It’s a better idea to let animals undistracted by bright colors. So now you know these colors are not trending but are the requirements for safari.
We can not insist enough but layering is the best way to stay comfortable in all weather during your safari. If you will visit countries like Tanzania or Kenya expect cool weather during the morning and evenings, yet the afternoon heats up.
So choosing the best clothes suitable for layering is the tick on your safari packing list.
As we stated before, clothes are made with fabric that supports the wicking process and allows moisture to dry up or pass from one layer to the other.
By any cost avoid cotton clothes, due to hydrophilicity, cotton trap moisture and stop the wicking process.
8 Best Clothes and Gears You’ll Need on Safari
Now you have a whole understanding of safari clothes and which colors to go for, here is the list of eight (8) kinds of safari clothes and gear:
Choose comfortable trousers for the safari. Avoid jeans or tight trousers which are not suitable for safari.
You need flexible trousers when jumping in and out of the safari vehicles. Don’t forget to wear safari-friendly colors, choose either khaki, tan, or olive green.
Light-weighted trousers like cargo trousers are suitable for long sitting hours on game drives. Make sure they are quick-drying and water-resistant.
The good thing about choosing good trousers for safari is flexibility whether around the lounge or during hiking.
If you will be visiting Africa for mountain trekking, you should focus on convertible trousers for women and men.
The best-known brands are Columbia trousers, which are best for sun protection and are breathable.
The fabric used for these trousers pulls moisture away to keep you dry and cool all the time during mountain trekking. Refer to the packing list for Kilimanjaro.
2. Safari Shirts
We recommend starting with a moisture-wicking t-shirt or tank top as the base layer for layering. Then you can decide to add a button safari long-sleeve shirt or a breathable sweater.
The advantage of wearing long-sleeved shirts is for sun protection and bugs while on a game drive or evening stay at the camp.
These shirts are more comfortable, but depending on your preference you can choose short-hands sleeved shirts, but don’t forget to apply sunscreen and insect repellent.
Safaris shirts are also suitable for dinner after game drives, though there are no dressing codes in many lodges and luxury camps here in Africa.
3. Pairs of Underwear for Safari
Having extra pairs of underwear during your safari is a good idea to keep you clean and comfortable.
The length of your trip will determine the number of underwear you should pack, but having 4- 7 pairs is an ideal plan.
You might have the plan to do a walking safari, but you should focus to buy sports underwear.
There are many brands like Icebreakers and Jockey and many others which are excellent for walking trips in Tanzania or Kenya.
You don’t need to make it so hard, though for women we advise packing low-impact sports bras for the bouncy safari drives.
Women should focus also on quick-drying underwear in case you should need to wash it while on their lodge or campsite.
Best Safari Jackets
Are essential for layering and very important during the morning, while on game drives, and after game watching or walking safari.
The type of jacket to buy is determined by the time of the year you want to visit East Africa.
You could wear the fleece, puffer, or rain jacket and scarf before heading out for safari.
The weather will determine when you should wear or remove the outer layers if is dry season the fleece jacket and windbreaker are all you’ll need.
But for the rainy season get prepared with a rain jacket and in case you need to combine with Mount Kilimanjaro the list should adjust according to the mountain trekking packing list.
4.1: Warm Jacket
Don’t just buy jackets because you have to, but focus to invest on the best value-for-money warm jackets.
Some brands in the market can be too pricey but worth buying like The North Face Aconcagua Insulated jackets.
These jackets offer flexibility to use in different environments and activities.
Depending on which brand you prefer to pack for your safari, you should consider warm jackets which are water-resistance, light weighted, and windbreakers.
4.2: Fleece Jacket
This is the other best to have a jacket while on an African safari. While morning and evening turn to be chilly cool for instance if you’re in Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania.
The morning game drive can be very cold because of the open safari vehicles and wind. This combination makes the fleece jackets the best thing you’ll depend on while on safari
4.3. Scarf ( Lighter silk & blanket)
Don’t underestimate the scarf while planning for your safari. Scarfs protect against insects and dust storms.
A scarf is very important during your safari, it provides some extra warmth when you need it.
You can either wear a lighter silk scarf around your neck during the day or a heavier blanket scarf when the weather turns cold. Don’t forget to consider the safari friendly- colors.
5. Rain Gear and Hard-shell
If you’re visiting East Africa during the wet season, you need extra gear apart from fleece and warm jackets as we mention earlier. We recommend packing rain gear and a hard shell.
Go for a synthetic jacket that is water-resistant outer fabric. Synthetic jackets perform better than warm jackets during the rainy season.
There are many jacket brands available for adventure safaris both for women and men. The North Face and Columbia are popular brands though sold a bit pricey compared with other brands.
In case you will be walking or trekking, you should consider packing or buying a poncho for covering your day back and your body during the downpour either in Serengeti, Maasai Mara, or during Mount Kilimanjaro trekking.
6. Safari Hat and Sunglasses
We are aware that, sunglasses are not worn by everyone. A hat is very important for tropical sunrays protection during the safari.
The UVB and UVA rays, Hat can be very useful for protecting against you.
Best safari brands are moisture-wicking, breathable, and stay on your head during game drives.
While the sunglasses offer you the best eyes protection against wind and dust, but also protect you against the sun.
Buy yourself the best brands like Carrera, Quechua, Ray-Ban, etc. you know what looks good for you for safari.
Need to be simple and comfortable. Though if you’re visiting Africa for trekking your choice of shoes should be hard-core hiking boots.
If your trip does not involve trekking or hiking focus to pack comfortable hiking boots.
For safari, you will spend most of your days in the safari vehicles and maybe around the campfire during the evening.
So simple hiking boots or high-top trainers are suitable to provide cover for your ankles.
Don’t forget your soled flip-flops for showering, beach walking, or swimming pools.
You don’t need Solomon’s, Vibram hiking boots on the beautiful sand beaches of Zanzibar.
8. Safari Socks
Socks are very important items on your safari list. You should have some extra pairs of moisture-wicking socks for your boots or shoes.
We recommend socks made out of merino wool, this can be worn multiple times before washing.
What are the best colors for safari?
This is a very crucial subject for safari clothing, what color should you wear on safari?
The best-recommended safari clothing is Earthly or neutral colors.
These colors blend well with environments. The safari colors include khaki, tan, or olive green.
Why do safari colors matter for your trip?
Safari-friendly colors save you from bugs and insects while on game drives or walking safari.
It’s very important to remember that colors like blue, red, white, and black attract a lot of insects but also disturb wild animals.
Safari colors are the best for blending with nature, hence offering you the best sighting of wildlife without distracting nature and scaring away animals.
“So the quality of game-watching should fit the quality of the clothes you choose to wear for your trip”.
Join the clan of safari-goers for a decade by wearing made-for-purpose safari clothing like khaki. Don’t show up dirt as easily as other colors when on an African safari
What colors you shouldn’t wear on an African safari?
Black and blue
These colors stand out in the bush but are the death trap for insects and bugs. If you will be visiting areas with tse-tse flies, especially in national parks.
These colors attract these insects with painful bites thus why you will see fly traps are made from black and blues fabric.
How about white colors on safari?
The same goes for the same block of not packing for safari. White color is very noisy for animals but wearing it during a dinner in your luxurious accommodation during the evening offers a great feeling.
You can pack for evening occasions but not to wear during game drives or walking safaris.
What to wear during the evening on safari?
Our desire for nature is unvoidable and if we love nature as a nuisance is unavoidable too.
The “insect”. Insects are very important for the ecosystem but the moment you want total relaxation can be trouble, especially in wildnerness.
Other insects not only bring trouble but also can be the source of deadly diseases like Malaria and yellow fever.
That is why traveling with insect repellent is a must to do for safari-goers in Tanzania or Kenya.
As we stated before about the best colors for safaris and technical fabrics, staying at a hotel, lodge or tented luxury camp does not need to be that way.
The rules become void during evening stay for relaxation, freedom cries out and you need to wear what you feel is sex and luxury.
Here are some best tips on what to wear during the evening while on safari.
The great white shirt
The sun is down and your mind needs to chill and unwind after hours of tracking the following wildlife in Africa.
If you’re on great wildebeest migration, then you are exhausted counting the millions of gnus on move.
Here comes the evening time after having the bath or hot shower and you need to put on that crisp white shirt.
Nothing is more satisfying than that, it makes you look smart, clean, and open-minded. Don’t forget to have it while in Serengeti national park in Tanzania.
The timeless safari-style fashion clothes
Yes, not only in Newyork you should wear that stylish outfit but it’s even much better here in the African jungle.
Shop around for safari fashions are thousands out there, the jogger pants, shirts, and some elegant shorts that enable you to turn your evening vibe on before heading for dinner while on safari. Can you imagine!
When the sun goes down the safari jacket & fleece are what you’ll need.
If you will be in Tanzania or Kenya for a safari, the evening turns so chilly or cold.
Depending on the time of year, the jackets or scarf can comfort you against the weather. You can take warm clothes during your dinner or during storytelling time during the campfire.
Insect repellents and safari boots
If you’re in any park in Africa you should never take it for granted, this is the wild land.
Insects like Tse-Tse flies and mosquitoes are unavoidable, and snakes and scorpions can be anywhere around camps, lodges, or hotels.
Using the best insect repellents protect you from that, either you can use Permethrin or Deet-based repellent.
The importance of safari boots is to protect you against snakes or bugs while walking around.
Don’t get afraid of staying within the lodges or camps built inside the parks because of that.
Many areas with lodges and camps purify the areas to keep away snakes and other hazardous insects like scorpions.
But in case it happens accidentally, you better be on the safe side.
Pack a lightweight torch
You may ask what it has to do with your evening stay. Yes, it is quite an important item you’ll need during the evening.
“Remember to put a compact torch in your sachet while on safari”
This will help you to keep an eye out for insects, and wildlife that may have wandered into the camp or lodge. This can be in Ruaha or Ngorongoro crater or even in the Maasai Mara in Kenya.
How to protect yourself from the sun while on safari
The sun is good while on any trip in Africa, but all the glorious sunshine can ruin your relaxation because of sunburn.
So makes sure you protect your skin with hats, sunscreen, and clothing that offers high SPF.
Whether you’re relaxing in Melia Serengeti lodge or Ngorongoro Serena lodge or even on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.
Taking care of your skin while in Africa is very important for you to enjoy your lifetime safari.
Many places can get very hot with extreme sunshine which can damage the skin. Sunburns and even long-term effects can be experienced while on safari.
Knowing what to pack save your body and skin and even add spice to your relaxation by keeping you cool.
Now you have the idea of how the sun can ruin your safari, but with these sun protection essentials, you will be safe from the sun either in Tanzania, Kenya, or Rwanda.
1. Let your clothes do the work ( UPF50+)
Your choice for the best safari clothing is the ideal plan to develop the shield against the African sun while on safari.
The long-sleeved shirts and zip-off trousers are the best fabrics to pack for your safari.
These fabrics are better at wicking moisture and keeping you cool compared to cotton and other fabrics.
Research for these brands specialized for safari clothing worldwide.
2. Safari Hats & sunscreen
Best safari hats make you feel good and stylish while on safari. Wearing hats help you keep the sun off your face and protect your skin from sunburn during the day.
In addition, sunscreen keeps your skin moist and protected against harmful sun rays. You should focus to buy sunscreen which offers both UVB and UVA protection.
3. To the infinity pool and beyond
Most lodges have a pool or swimming spot and this is the perfect way to cool down between activities and enjoy your bush surroundings.
Don’t forget for a kikoy is an extremely versatile item to pack for a safari – and will be right at home next to the lodge pool.)
What to wear on Zanzibar Island
The locals of Zanzibar and many parts of Africa are Muslim, and there is no flexibility in the dress code.
We suggest respecting their way of life with a completely open mind and heart.
Please dress modestly and on the conservative side when sightseeing in Stone Town or visiting anywhere outside of the beach resorts in Zanzibar.
Women should not wear sleeveless or revealing tops and short skirts or thigh-high shorts or bare midriff (Capri trousers or at least knee-length shorts are acceptable). Men should wear shirts, pants, or knee-length shorts.
There is some exception in private beaches owned by luxury hotels and lodges.
Few hotels offer adult-only services like the RIU palace hotel in Unguja Zanzibar. Refer to our guide for luxury hotels in Zanzibar.
As we wrap up about what to wear on an African safari is our firm belief that you have gained knowledge and understanding on what you should wear on your next adventure safari either in Tanzania or Kenya.
If you still need more information about the subject, we suggest for Safari packing list for Tanzania & Kenya.
For trip planning and customization for East Africa, feel free to contact us today.
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