what to wear on an African safari

What to wear on an African Safari

What to Wear on Your African Safari: Focus on light colour, high comfort, and easy access

It can be difficult knowing What To Wear On An African Safari, particularly if it’s your first time. You don’t want to stand out from the crowd but are also wary of being the only one who turns up in full-on khakis with a pith helmet!
Don’t go into a panic, we have put together a list of the essential gear for your African safari and ideas for a few extra items that you may not have thought of.


We may have joked about everyone wearing safari clothes of beige and khaki, AKA camouflage clothing, but in reality, it is a good idea. You should attempt to blend into the background to try to go unnoticed by the animals.  Bright colours distract the wildlife, causing them to behave unnaturally, or even forcing them into hiding.
Wearing neutral colours will keep you camouflaged and also disguise the dust and dirt that you will undoubtedly be covered in!
Dressed in all dark clothing or black clothing is not the best either, African can become hot and muggy.
Avoid the color blue if you’re in tsetse fly country; they will be attracted to it and you will be a feature on their menu.

Casual Clothing

Travel African Safari- means going on an African experience that’s about comfort, not style. Leave the stilettos and bow ties at home, safari is all about comfort. You will be up and about early and might need to throw something on quickly. Jumping from side to side in a bumpy safari vehicle is best done in comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Long-sleeved shirts and a pair of trousers are highly recommended to protect against mosquitoes.

Wear Cotton Clothes on Safari

Not only is cotton lightweight, cooling, and easy to layer, it dries quickly. You are going to get grubby from the dusty, sandy tracks, and with the best will in the world, it isn’t possible to carry enough clean clothes for every day. Cotton shirts, pants, and underwear rinses easily and dries quickly in the open air.


Temperatures fluctuate hugely throughout the day in Africa. Even in the height of summer, early morning safaris are very chilly. The best way to combat this is to wear several thin layers that can be easily removed or added. Thin sweaters ad fleeces are great for early mornings and cool evenings.

What to Wear on an Safari Holiday

Packing list suggestions for an Photo Safari;


Taking a walking safari or other active safari requires hiking shoes that can endure wet conditions and long walks. Trail shoes are the best choice for these activities. Trail shoes are designed to be lightweight comfortable, and breathable for outdoor activities. Trail shoes are perfect for doing short bush walks on a walking safari. You can also wear these shoes on a walking safari or other active safari.
There are a variety of shoes that you can use for your safari trip. The most important thing is to find something comfortable enough to walk in, so make sure it’s broken in enough before leaving!

Closed-toe comfy shoes, sturdy sneakers or a good pear of walking shoes will do, hiking boots/hiking shoes are best.•
Flip flops/sandals, for walking around camp and evenings in the bar, or poolside


A safari hat is meant to be worn during hot weather to protect the wearer’s head from the heat, so wear it during warm, sunny days when sun protection is a necessity and you’ll be outdoors for most of the day. That means wearing it on safaris, desert destinations, and tropical locations.
A baseball cap or Tilley are what I use for protection from the afternoon sun. Honestly I prefer the baseball cap as I can turn the brim around so it doesn’t interfere with the camera.
Sunglasses, to shield your eyes from sun and dust particles in the air.


Cotton pajamas keep you cool/warm and wash easily

Daywear,  Safari outfit

Choose from a variety of these items. As they’re all neutral colours you can easily mix and match them, for a new outfit for each outing, even with few items. Take as many cotton products as possible.

  • T-shirts, short sleeve shirt,
  • Long-sleeve shirts.
  • Lightweight fleece or sweater, safari jacket
  • Trousers/pants, safari pants, convertible pants
  • Shorts
  • Lightweight raincoat, jacket
  • Hat, bandana
  • Socks
  • Undies
  • Sunglass

Accessories you might wear on an African Safari
Not everyone will spend their entire holiday on safari, if you’re having a 2-site holiday, you can pack all your fancy clothes in a case, hopefully with somewhere safe to store it in a hotel.
Everything you need for your safari should fit in an easy to carry, small case or duffel bag. This might not leave much space for accessorizing outfits, there are a few essentials;

Ladies need a good supportive bra and plenty of hair ties. You will want to keep your hair and other things secured!
A money belt is much easier and safer to carry than cumbersome purses and wallets.
Sunglasses are a must, you won’t want to squint into the distance to spot a big cat or rare bird.
Sunscreen, with a very high SPF. This is one of the most important things you can wear on an African Safari.
Scarves are great to wrap around your nose and mouth on an open Jeep trip. No-one wants a mouthful of dust. A sheer, cotton scarf is sufficient and takes up little space.

Miscellaneous Stuff

It’s important to keep a good quality, large, towel. You should carry a flashlight, for camping and hiking in the dark. It’s also a good idea to carry sunglasses and a power bank. Bring one good pair of reading glasses for us old guys. A power bank means that you will have electric power to recharge your camera battery laptop etc… To save the environment, you should always bring a warm sleeping bag, a liner, and a hot water bottle. It’s important to bring a set of clothespins. To protect your family’s safety, you should bring a hot shower and earplugs. Toilet paper don’t forget the toilet paper, you may never know when nature calls.

African Safari Luxury Trip – Packing for a Small Aircraft

Packing light doesn’t mean sacrificing style or comfort, but it does require rethinking such travel basics as suitcases and shoes. An ounce here, a half-pound there. When you’re packing for a Small Aircraft trip, these small increments can add up fast. Do the math and it’s easy to see why this matters: If you are carrying on a suitcase, weight matters even more since you’ll be lifting your bag dozens of times while in transit.
After years of traveling, I’ve learned the many advantages of bringing only a carry-on, even on trips of more than two weeks: avoiding baggage fees, not having to worry about the airlines losing my luggage, and being less encumbered by heavy bags while navigating a new place. And while other flyers are waiting at baggage claim watching the belt go round and round, I’m breezing past them to hop in a cab and get on with my day.

What NOT to Take or Wear On Safari

A few things to keep in mind for your safari wardrobe: stay away from bold, bright colours and busy patterns. Darker shades of clothing are better they will attract less attention from Tsetse flies. If you’re wearing dark blue or black clothes, then be prepared for a painful bite! White-coloured clothing can quickly show dirt, so it’s best not to wear those during the day unless you want everyone else on the photo safari having an easier time than yourself when trying to photograph the wildlife.

Camouflage clothing is a huge fashion trend for Spring, but it’s important to know that in some African countries camouflage patterns are reserved for military personnel.

Formal attire is typically unnecessary as most lodges have a relaxed dress code (though some may require formal dinner outfits), but bring one clean outfit just in case there’s ever someone who needs something fancy like that at mealtime.

Heavy hiking boots are the worst! While they may be necessary for some safari’s, these heavy items take up too much room in your suitcase. Save space and pack light by packing comfortable shoes that will keep you on your feet no matter what’s going on around you. Talk to your guide before packing such a heavy item.

It’s important to pack the right clothes and bring only as much luggage as you need. You can save space by bringing items like zip-off trousers or a fleece jacket, both take up less room than multiple articles of clothing. To make sure things go smoothly when travelling, it is best to travel with one suitcase for and one overnight bag. Remember to pack light, as most lodges offer laundry facilities.

You might think you need to pack more clothes, but less really is better on safari. You won’t feel like it’s roughing it either! Packing light also limits your risk of luggage going astray and lets you travel lighter while still bringing the essentials for a long trip away from home. Pack small items in Ziploc bags in which can then just fit inside your day pack. Not only will this save space, but transporting these lightweight bags as hand-luggage saves even more room when travelling by plane or ground transfer to the lodge/camp.

The last thing to remember when packing is to leave extra space in your luggage for souvenirs. A Safari offers so many wonderful mementos, you want a dedicated place for all of them!

The first step of your packing list should always be room. If you’re going on the vacation of a lifetime and can’t even pack what I need at home, how will that work with memorabilia? Don’t worry about trying to take back something as big as the Table or bed. But there are plenty more items that make exceptional gifts from one traveler to another: coffee cups, jewellery crafted by locals, art pieces made of wood, the options really stretch into infinity.

 Suggestions on What to Bring Back from Africa

If you’re looking for the perfect gift to take back home, then look no further than a bottle of wine from Namibia or South Africa! You can pick up one (or two) at any winery and have it corked with your own label. Most countries allow two bottles per person for personal consumption, so make sure  to check with the local customs office knows before making any purchases.

For those who love their brandy, you’ll be in heaven with a plethora of options! Brandy is the largest selling spirit in South Africa markets today, and for good reason. This libation will have your taste buds tingling from its complex flavor; aged for at least 3 years inside French oak casks.

The sweet Amarula cream liqueur is a popular souvenir because of its wide appeal. The liquor features an elephant on the bottle, making it both beautiful and useful!

As a traveler of Africa, chances are you have an extensive and varied collection of gifts that would make perfect tokens for the people back home. However, as we all know, it’s hard to bring something enormous with us when travelling abroad like a table or bed. So worry not about having to take anything too large! There are plenty smaller items such as coffee cups made by local craft worker, Ostrich eggs, which turn into intricate lamps due their durability and uniqueness in shape; wood carvings fashioned after sculptures, bowls, masks just waiting for someone who appreciates artistry on another level entirely.

Final Thoughts…

Now you have an idea of what to wear on an African safari, you can pack with confidence.
Consider leaving the ballgown or tuxedo at home, you might look a little odd.
Instead, take comfortable clothes that you can relax in, whether you’re in the company of spectacular wildlife or newfound friends viewing a floodlit watering hole. So go have fun on you’re African Photo  adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers

1st What Not to Wear

When travelling to Africa, you should avoid wearing bright-coloured clothes, busy patterns. These can make you a target of Tsetse flies which have a painful bite. Dark colours attract the Tsetse fly, so stay away from dark blue or black clothing.

What Colours to Wear

What colour should you wear on safari? We recommend neutral clothing. These include shades of khaki, brown, beige/tan, and green. These colours mixture well with the bush and are well-suited to safari travel.

Should I Wear Jeans on An African Safari?

Jeans are a must-have on what to wear on an African safari! You’ll also want to have a comfortable pair of pants that you can wear around the campsite at night. Safari Packing Tip: Make sure you’re packing light. You should only need 5 pairs of pants max.