Written by Joseph Cameron
Wearing the right safari outfit is crucial. Being comfortable and well dressed allows you the freedom to pay more attention to soaking up every detail of your surroundings and watching the savannah for any signs of wildlife.
Safari style is classic and timeless. With the correct gear, you can look stylish while tracking lions or photographing elephants. Packing light is key, as you may need to ride on small charter aircrafts with weight limits. Fortunately, most luxury safari camps will offer laundry service, so you won’t need to bring a lot of clothes.
Fast fact: There is a luggage restriction on all intra-Africa flights. The airlines often only accept soft-sided, flexible bags (similar to the duffel bag shown here) that are able to fit into compact charter flight compartments.
Although it will be dry and hot during the day, you’ll be chilly at night. Bring outerwear that can be layered but will not take up too much luggage space. A lightweight waterproof shell is essential – you can wear it for the early morning drive and then easily take it off as the sun starts to rise.
As well as wearing khaki gear for your safari outfit – be sure to bring a couple of lightweight button down shirts so that you can look smart for dinner and drinks in the evening back at the lodge.
Consider bringing along a Kikoy – a woven triangle of cloth that is the African version of a sarong. You can wear it around your waist while relaxing at camp, or as a scarf on the cold mornings. A headband can also be a great accessory for keeping sweat out of your eyes or dust out of your face when mountain biking or trail running in the bush.
Studies have shown that the animals are able to recognize certain bright colours and this will affect their behaviour. For example, lions will shy away of you are wearing bright red because they instinctively fear that you are a Maasai warrior with a spear.
Consider wearing khaki – it’s timeless and it’s what all the guides will be wearing – so you’ll look like a professional. There is even a South African brand called What to wear on Safari that specialises in safari clothing. It is lightweight, durable and will make you less noticeable to the animals. Royal Robbins is another great option.
Plus, tsetse flies are attracted to darker tones such as blue and black – so earth tones such as khaki, grey and olive will make you less of a target.
The right footwear makes a big difference while on safari. Salomon boots are a great choice, as they are durable, lightweight, have great shoes and are waterproof. Frye boots are made from high quality leather and are versatile and stylish. Other great options for footwear include Red Wings, Blundstone and Clarks.
At the end of the day, you’ll want a pair of lightweight sandals to change into so that you can air out your boots outside your tent. Bring multiple pairs of wool socks with you – some great options are Patagonia or SmartWool. Merino wool is an ideal material because it is itch-free, breathable and dries quickly – we supply Merino wool buffs to our Ambassadors for mountain summits too.
A hat is essential to shield your face from the sun. The classic choice is a Tilley Hemp hat, which is both comfortable and stylish. Hemp is one of the oldest and strongest materials in the world so it is high quality and durable and will last for years.
The wide brim will protect your ears, neck and face from the sun and if you’re comfortable enough with your masculinity, you can wear the chin strap on open air game drives to ensure you don’t lose your hat to the wild.
Now that you know the basics, make sure to get your pocket size copy of our Packing Guide to know what to pack when you are going on a safari.