For me, packing for any trip is a big deal. It takes me hours, I order tons of stuff before I go, I overpack … the whole deal. But packing for my first African safari was next level! I literally spent hours on Pinterest, various blogs and online shopping websites trying to decide what to wear, and I think for once I quite nailed it. So, save yourself some Pinterest time, and read further for all my recommendations on what to wear on an African safari.
To start with and define exactly what you will need to wear during your African safari, you need to think carefully about the following :
Temperature: For some reason, I used to think Africa was very warm and sunny all year round, which could not be further from the truth. During our Tanzanian safari in August 2019, temperatures in the morning were down below 20 deg Celcius in most places and even came close to freezing in some high altitudes areas like the Ngorongoro Crater. While the days were warm and sunny it never came close to the super hot weather I had anticipated. So make sure to check the weather forecasts and don’t rely on preconceptions.
Comfort: Think about what your day is going to look like. Most game drives in Africa involve many hours seating in a car driving on very bumpy roads, so you should consider bringing outfits you feel very comfortable in while seating. You will also get up and down a lot to observe the animals, so avoid anything that might tear easily.
Style: Are you going for a luxury safari or are you going camping? Your daily outfit will be relatively similar, but in the evening, if you stay in a luxury lodge, you might need to dress up a little more.
Colors: While on a safari it is better to somewhat blend with your surrounding, so focus on earthy neutral colors, rather than flashy colors and prints. Avoid navy blue and black colors, that attract mosquitos, and the Tsetse fly in particular. After a day of game driving, you will be covered in dust, so avoid delicate white outfits.
READ MORE : ULTIMATE 10 DAYS TANZANIA ITINERARY
WHAT TO WEAR ON AN AFRICAN SAFARI
Here is the ideal packing list for a 7 days safari in Africa :
- 3 pairs of trousers: Comfortable, fashionable and easy to find in earthy colors, chino are the ideal safari pants. You can also consider cargo pants or culottes or even a pair of jeans. Just don’t wear anything too tight.
- 3 pairs of shorts: As it gets hot in the afternoon, switching over to shorts is a good option. This was also my go-to outfit when spending time at the camp in the afternoon, before sunset.
- 3 evening outfits: Only if you stay in a luxury lodge, consider bringing a few more elegant outfits. If you are having dinner indoor, you could consider some dresses. If you are having dinner outdoor, bring a couple of elegant pants and long sleeves shirts (to avoid mosquitos bites).
- 7 tops: A few tank tops ot tshirts in neutral colors are great to layer under a shirt, or a sweater. Make sure to choose neutral colors that you can easily pair with all your chino pants: grey, beige, white, khaki. Plan 1 tank top/day, unless you are planning on doing some laundry.
- 3 long sleeves button-down shirts: Still in the spirit of layering, long sleeves shirts are perfect. I favor linen shirts because they are breezy, comfortable and look effortless.
- 1 to 2 Sweaters: To keep you warm in the early morning, night, in the planes, etc… a comfortable sweater is a must.
- 1 Utility jacket: Okay you don’t NEED one, but they look so cool, I think you should get one anyway! Plus it is really convenient to carry lots of small things like your phone, memory cards, lip balm, hand sanitizer, etc
- 1 Pair of comfortable sneakers: Unless you are planning extensive trekking during your safari, there is no need to invest in a pair of boots, or hiking / safari shoes. A comfortable pair of sneakers, with a thick sole (to avoid these nasty acacia thorns), will be enough. They will get extremely dusty and dirty though, so take an old pair of shoes you don’t care too much about.
- 1 Pair of flipflop: Weather it is to shower in public camping, to walk around in a luxury glamping tent, or for the beach, it is always handy to have a pair of flipflops.
- 1 Elegant pair of shoes: If you are staying in a luxury lodge that requires a more proper evening outfit.
ACCESSORIES & OTHERS
- Underwear: Your usual set. Ladies, you can consider bringing some sports bras, as the very bumpy roads can get quite uncomfortable.
- Pijamas: I recommend to wear long pants, long sleeves PJ to avoid mosquitos.
- 1 Scarf: I always carry a scarf with me when I travel. It keeps you warm in the morning, or in planes, and comes very handy if you are visiting a place of worship for example, that requires to cover your head or shoulders.
- 1 Hat: Because a. it will save you on bad hair days and b. it will protect you from the harsh midday sun!
- 1 swimsuit: If your lodge has a pool.
- 1 backpack: If like me you carry your house around every day, a comfortable backpack is the most practical option. Alternatively, a crossbody bag can be perfect if you have little more than your camera to carry.
Here you go, I hope you will find this guide on what to wear in a African safari useful, and won’t need to spend as much time researching as I did. If you have any question, please do not hesite to leave a comment below!
BEFORE YOU GO, READ MORE : MY TANZANIA ESSENTIAL TRAVEL GUIDE