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Safari Clothing For Women

Women's outdoor & safari clothing which is designed to offer a stylish feminine cut, look and feel without limiting outdoor & safari functionality and protection from the elements the minute you step outside. This is bespoke safari-inspired fashion for the modern woman.

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  • SAFARITech™

Womens Safari Shirts Read our Womens Safari Shirts Advice Guide

The advice below is a summary. If you are looking for more information & expert advice then please click here for our full safari shirt advice guide .

  • Pack women's safari shirts which are not only safari-suitable, but which are also safari-styled and allow you to stay comfortable while looking and feeling feminine. As we usually say: stay in a tent on safari; don't wear a tent-shaped shirt. Women's safari shirts can and should be stylish.
  • Women's safari shirts should be khaki or shades of brown and green to blend in best with the environment while on safari.
  • Women's safari shirts which are long-sleeved allow you to roll your sleeves up and down when you need to stay cool, keep warm, or to avoid sunburn on your arms. Therefore, we recommend that you pack more long-sleeved than short-sleeved safari shirts in your safari packing mix.
  • Collared women's safari shirts give you added protection from sunburn.
  • Important features for women's safari shirts include: ability to wick moisture to keep you cool, high level of sun protection (SPF50+ is best), and an anti-insect fabric finish to reduce your chances of being bitten by most flying and biting insects.
  • Pack more women's safari shirts made from man-made fibres (polyamide) than natural fibres (such as cotton). Man-made fibres are better at wicking moisture from the skin - and it is this movement of moisture which keeps you cool.

Number of women's safari shirts to pack for your safari: Up to 4-day safari: x 2; Up to 8-day safari: x 4; Up to 12-day safari: x 6

Women's Pioneer BUGTech Anti-Insect Safari Shirt in Katavi Khaki

Women's pioneer bugtech anti-insect safari shirt in khaki olive, women's pioneer bugtech anti-insect safari shirt in baobab khaki, women's pioneer bugtech anti-insect safari shirt in dark olive, women's pioneer safaritech shirt in katavi khaki, women's bugtech anti-insect everything safari shirt in baobab khaki, women's bugtech anti-insect everything safari shirt in safari willow, women's serengeti v-neck safari t-shirt in safari dusk, women's serengeti v-neck safari t-shirt in safari bushwillow, women's serengeti v-neck safari t-shirt in safari earth, women's everyday safari shirt, bugtech in katavi khaki, women's everyday safari shirt, bugtech in baobab khaki, women's long sleeve serengeti v-neck t-shirt in safari dusk, women's long sleeve serengeti v-neck t-shirt in safari bushwillow, women's long sleeve serengeti v-neck t-shirt in safari earth, women's nosilife adventure long-sleeved safari shirt in soft moss, women's nosilife pro safari shirt in khaki mushroom, mara&meru™ laced safari tank top in safari forest green, womens safari jackets & fleeces read our womens safari jackets & fleeces advice guide.

  • Pack a women's safari jacket or women's safari fleece for all safaris. Opt for either a long-sleeved safari fleece or safari jacket or a safari fleece vest depending on the season - as the temperature does drop on safari.
  • Why does it get cold in Africa - isn't is hot all the time? The short answer is no, it is not hot all the time. The reasons for the cold include: African winters, wind chill on safaris in open 4x4s (dipping into valleys and drainage lines also adds an extra bite of cold), early morning starts and late evening finishes for safari activities, land-locked countries, and many safari areas being high above sea level - the Maasai Mara & Serengeti (and most of East Africa) are the height of some ski resorts at 1,400 meters above sea level. Botswana, parts of Zambia, and Namibia are also more or less 1,000 meters above sea level.
  • The safari experience is similar to a desert trip where it starts off cold in the mornings, usually heats up by midday to warm or hot, but then may become cold again in the evenings. It worth bearing in mind that, as animals are more active when it is cooler - with hotter temperatures at midday - the earlier you will go on safari, which means the cooler it will be. Again, you should definitely pack a women's safari fleece or women's safari jacket for your safari. We have given this advice to clients who have ignored it and returned from an October safari in Botswana to tell us that, yes, they did indeed get cold despite the midday heat.
  • For the African winter, pack a long-sleeved safari jacket or safari fleece and, for the summer, either a vest safari jacket or safari fleece, but then wear a long-sleeved safari shirt underneath so that the sleeves help to keep you warm.
  • Colour is still key when choosing the correct safari fleece or safari jacket, especially on early morning walks. Pack safari fleeces or jackets which are made from neutral shades such as khaki, green, or brown.
  • For safari travel over the rainy season, pack a high-quality, waterproof safari jacket which is proven to actually work. For East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda), the rains generally occur in two parts: the longer monsoon in April and May and then the shorter rains around November. Higher safari areas such as the Ngorongoro Crater catch the wind from the sea and it may rain at any time of the year. Southern Tanzania differs from this and is similar to the rainy season in Zambia, Botswana, and northern Mozambique - and falls between late November and late March, often extending into April. As a general rule, if one had to ask "when is Africa always dry?" - the answer would be May to October, with regional rains still possible in some parts. Please also note that the South African rainy season is split down the middle of the country, with the east receiving rain through summer and the west a winter rainfall area. That winter rainfall can push through in cold fronts to the east of the country too.
  • Having lived in Africa through the rains we are also able to advise that the daytime temperature goes from very hot before the rains start, to much cooler once the rains have settled in. The difference may be as much as 10 to 15 degrees celsius below the average temperatures and so again we advise that a fleece or jacket is packed to keep you warm.

Number of women's safari jackets or safari fleeces to pack for your safari: 1 x safari fleece or jacket; 1 x waterproof safari jacket should you be travelling over the rainy season.

Women's SafariElite Bonded Safari Fleece in Safari Sand

Women's pioneer safari jacket with micro-fleece lining & bugtech in katavi khaki, women's pioneer safari jacket with micro-fleece lining & bugtech in dark olive, ultimate safari hoodie in safari khaki, waterproof packaway safari jacket (unisex) in khaki, rufiji™ maratech™ multi-pocket safari gilet (unisex) in wild sage, essential waterproof safari poncho in khaki, womens safari shoes & boots read our womens safari shoes & boots advice guide.

  • If you are going on a classic game drive type of safari, then pack comfortable women's safari shoes to wear on game drive but which are able to double as good walking shoes for a walk in the bush - an activity we highly recommend. Note that if you do not have walking shoes with you on game drive then your guide may decide against a quick impromptu walk in the bush
  • Also take a pair of women's safari shoes to wear around the camp. These may be the same pair as your select for the above, but it may also be a pair of cooler sandals, pumps, or similar.
  • For full-on walking safaris make sure you take women's safari shoes which are made for longer hikes - and ensure that you walk them in properly before you go on safari. You may prefer low rise canvas trail shoes or leather higher rise boots - the preference is purely personal.
  • If you are going on a walking safari in sandy areas (check with the walking safari company you have booked with) then we suggest that you pack higher rise boots with a built in tongue - such as our Rufiji™ APU Safari Combat Boots - as this will minimise the amount of sand which goes into the shoe which will cause discomfort.
  • We would still take a a pair of cooler women's shoes or sandals for before and after walks when around the camp.
  • Safari tip: always check your shoes for small snakes, scorpions, spiders and insects before putting them on.

Rufiji™ Explorer Safari Veldskoen Shoes in Ruaha Rust

Rufiji™ explorer safari veldskoen shoes in kalahari khaki, rufiji™ apu combat safari boots in wildebeest brown, the buffalo boot in buffalo brown, veldskoen desert safari boots in khaki, rufiji™ explorer safari veldskoen shoes (original) in ruaha rust, rufiji™ explorer safari veldskoen shoes (original) in kalahari khaki, women's leather safari sandals in brown, womens safari hats read our womens safari hats advice guide.

The advice below is a summary . If you are looking for more information & expert advice then please click here for our full safari hat advice guide .

  • For the best protection from the strength of the midday sun in Africa - for your neck and face - pack a wide-brimmed women's safari hat.
  • With mean high temperatures reaching mid-20 to mid-30 degrees Celsius on most safaris and with safari areas in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and Zambia high above sea level, the effects of the sun will be pronounced and the risk of being burnt by the sun will be high. A wide-brimmed women's safari hat is literally your first line of defence against sunburn.
  • Wide-brimmed women's safari hats also provide shelter when it rains. We find that a wide-brimmed safari hat definitely makes it more comfortable when you are caught out on a walk or game drive by a sudden thunderstorm or tropical shower, as at least your face remains dry and fewer drops go into your eyes.
  • Colour is key when choosing a women's safari hat - with neutral shades such as khaki, green, or brown the best. Your safari hat will often be the most conspicuous part of you while viewing wildlife on a walking safari.
  • Pack a women's safari hat which suits your safari style. Fortunately, there are more styles available for women today which range from leather hats to classically-styled indie and panama-shaped hats.
  • Modern wide-brimmed women's safari hats are also conveniently packable and are easy manipulate back into shape. A note though: not all hats are packable and should be carried with your carry-on luggage - and, even when a hat is packable, never crush your safari hat under a hard object - such as shoes or binoculars - when packing.

Number of wide-brimmed women's safari hats to pack for your safari: 1 x wide-brimmed safari hat per person. *Pack a warm and cosy safari beanie for cold mornings and the African winter too.

Women's Explorer Canvas Safari Hat (Adjustable) in Khaki

Women's explorer canvas safari hat (adjustable) in meerkat, adventurer hat in khaki, adventurer hat in olive, women's indie safari hat in winter grass, women's serengeti safari hat in tawny, canvas drover safari hat in brown, women's explorer leather safari hat (adjustable) in driftwood, removable, adjustable chin strap for hats in olive, removable, adjustable chin strap for hats in khaki, women's panama safari hat (adjustable) in tawny, squashy leather oiled safari hat in dark brown, foldaway leather suede safari hat in hickory, foldaway bronco full grain leather safari hat in dark brown, barmah hats waterproofing and conditioning spray – 150ml pump spray (suitable for leather & suede), womens safari trousers & shorts read our womens safari trousers & shorts advice guide.

  • Pack comfortable, lightweight women's safari trousers which are made in safari-suitable colours such as shades of khaki, brown, and green. Trousers made from anti-insect fabric will give you extra defence from most biting insects too.
  • Women's safari zip-off/convertible trousers are often the safari trousers of choice for women simply due to their versatility - no matter how hot or cold it is on safari. Use them as trousers when cool, shorts when hot - and they save on valuable packing space by being two garments in one. The legs on women's safari convertible pants also give added protection from the sun and defence from most biting insects - especially when treated with built-in SPF and anti-insect finish. For walking safaris, having separate waterproof leg sections which provide insect defence work well given the morning dew on early morning walks - ensuring your legs stay drier and reducing bites (although you should always apply insect repellent for ticks and other insects).
  • If you prefer to wear stand-alone women's safari trousers and women's safari shorts, then make sure you work out the duration of the activity and wear either trousers or the shorts depending on the weather. While other trousers are perhaps more stylish than women's safari zip-off trousers, there is no use starting off warm when it's cold in the morning only to sweat in the heat later on in the day. Another option if you prefer separate safari trousers and safari shorts would be to take shorts or trousers with you on each safari activity in a satchel or daypack and change while on the activity.
  • The ideal women's safari trousers and shorts should offer you a good level of style with a feminine cut. They should also be lightweight, strong, provide a high level of sun protection (SPF50+ is best), and have an anti-insect finish. Wicking is less important from a sweat point of view as your legs don't sweat as much as your upper body, but still consider wicking as an important feature to ensure that, should your trousers get wet from the rain or a water-based activity - or even just the morning dew while walking - that they dry very quickly.
  • Again, while your lower body does not feel the heat as much as your upper body, always consider women's safari trousers which are made from man-made fibres (such as polyamide) over those made from natural fibres (such as cotton). Women's safari trousers and safari shorts made from man-made fibres will also crease less and dry faster when you wash them on your safari and travels.

Number of women's safari trousers and safari shorts to pack for your safari: Up to 4-day safari: x 2 (1+1); Up to 8-day safari: x 3 (2+1); Up to 12-day safari: x 4 (2+2) We have shown the number of women's safari trouser zip-offs/convertibles as the first number - "x 3"- and the women's safari trousers plus women's safari shorts combination in brackets - e.g. (2+1). Always make sure that you pack the total number whether you opt for safari zip-offs, safari trousers, or safari shorts, but always have a combination of safari shorts and trousers. As an example, for an 8-day safari, you could take one pair of zip-offs, one pair of trousers, and one pair of shorts - or three pairs of zip-offs or two pairs of safari shorts and one pair of safari trousers - or vice versa.

Women’s Pioneer BUGTech Anti-insect Zip-Off Cargo Outdoor & Safari Trousers in Khaki Olive (29-inch leg)

Women’s pioneer bugtech anti-insect zip-off cargo outdoor & safari trousers in katavi khaki (new fit. 29-inch leg), women’s pioneer bugtech anti-insect zip-off cargo outdoor & safari trousers in khaki olive (new fit. 29-inch leg), women’s pioneer bugtech anti-insect zip-off cargo outdoor & safari trousers in katavi khaki (new fit. 32-inch leg), women’s serengeti safari shorts with stretch in forest, women’s serengeti safari shorts with stretch in savannah, women’s serengeti safari shorts with stretch in savannah (new fit), women's serengeti ii jogger pants with stretch in savannah, women's serengeti ii jogger pants with stretch in forest, women's serengeti ii jogger pants with stretch in savannah (new fit), women's serengeti ii jogger pants with stretch in forest (new fit), women's serengeti leggings in batoka brown, women's nosilife zip-off safari trousers in moss, women's nosilife pro ii zip-off safari trousers in safari mushroom. 28-inch leg, waterproof packaway over trousers (unisex) in khaki, womens safari dresses & skorts read our womens safari dresses & skorts advice guide.

  • Pack a women's safari dress and a pair of women's safari skorts to add variety to your wardrobe.
  • Ensure that you select women's safari dresses and skorts which are made in safari-suitable colours.
  • A women's safari dress can also be very versatile when worn with tights, as a longer shirt, or tucked into your safari trousers.
  • Women's safari skorts - which are a combination of shorts and a skirt, with the shorts inside the skorts - are great for safaris in 4x4s as you are able to climb on to and off of the game drive vehicle without worrying about your underwear showing.
  • While, by their design, both safari dresses and safari skorts do allow for a good flow of air around the body to keep you cool, it is still worth looking for styles made in technical fabrics simply as they are usually lighter, easier to pack, and perform better in the heat.

Pack any combination of women's safari dresses & skorts to get the following totals: Up to 4-day safari: x 1 to 2; Up to 8-day safari: x 2 to 3; Up to 12-day safari: x 3 to 4

Women's Serengeti Safari sKorts with Stretch in Savannah

Women's serengeti safari skorts with stretch in forest, women's rufiji™ maratech™ safari skorts in serengeti stone, women's rufiji™ maratech™ safari skorts in okavango olive, mara&meru™ all day casual safari dress in safari forest green, womens safari socks & ankle gaiters read our womens safari socks & ankle gaiters advice guide.

  • Walking in the bush while on safari is the quintessential experience. We recommend it to all who go to Africa.
  • Whether you go for a short nature walk with your guide or a multi-day walking safari, please ensure that you pack safari-coloured safari socks which offer a double layer for blister protection. Bad blisters ruin good walks.
  • Pack ankle gaiters if you prefer further protection for your ankles and socks.

Number of blister-proof socks to pack for your safari: Up to 4-day safari: x 2; Up to 8-day safari: x 3; Up to 12-day safari: x 4.

Mara&Meru Ultimate Anti-Blister Socks (Active, Everyday, Safari) in Olive Green

Safari canvas gaiters in khaki canvas, rufiji™ safari canvas gaiters (unisex) in safari tan, rufiji™ safari suede gaiters (unisex) in safari green, womens safari beanies & scarves read our womens safari beanies & scarves advice guide.

  • Pack a multi-functional Head&Neck scarf for just about all outdoor adventures, including safari. Head&Neck Scarves keep your neck and head out of the sun when it is hot, and provide an element of warmth too when it starts to get cold. They offer maximum versatility.
  • It can and does get cold on safari. See our Womens Safari Jackets and Fleeces page for more information on why this is the case.
  • Pack women's garments and accessories for your safari which keep you warm. Women's safari scarves, safari beanies, and safari gloves should be considered a packing essential over the African winter - and may also be required for some mornings on summer safaris too.
  • At the very least, we recommend packing a safari beanie on any safari as they are so small and light to carry in your luggage, yet have a big effect on how warm you are should you get cold. Keep your safari beanie in the bag you take on game drives. You may well get some envious stares from others who have not had the foresight to pack a safari beanie.
  • Further to the point above, for the African summer, pack a women's safari beanie just in case. For the most part, your women's wide-brimmed safari hat should keep you warm enough, but why take the risk? Please also take note of the altitude of the area in which you are going on safari. The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, as an example, is over 2000 metres above sea level and most camps are on the rim of the crater and so may have cold temperatures (morning and evenings in particular) and precipitation throughout the year, so we would recommend taking warmer safari accessories just in case.
  • Pack safari scarves, safari beanies, and safari gloves in safari colours.

Number of women's safari scarves, safari beanies, and safari gloves to pack for your safari: 1 x women's safari scarf; 1 x women's safari beanie; 1 x women's safari gloves - although you should be fine tucking your hands into your women's safari jacket or fleece to keep them warm.

Thusk™ Zulu Knitted Headband in Winter Sand

Vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in giraffe, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in zebra, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in giraffe&zebra, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in giraffe olive, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in zebra olive, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in giraffe&zebra olive, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in lion, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in lion olive, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in elephant bull, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in ele bull olive, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in buffalo, vintage print tubular head&neck scarf in buffalo olive, thusk™ zulu cable knit beanie in winter sand, thusk™ zulu cable knit beanie in winter sage, thusk™ zulu knitted button-scarf in winter sage, thusk™ zulu knitted bow-scarf in winter sand, thusk™ zulu rib knit beanie in winter sage, thusk™ zulu rib knit beanie in winter sand, womens safari belts, rufiji™ leather safari belt in batoka brown, rufiji™ leather safari belt in wild chestnut.

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Helen in Wonderlust

The Best Safari Clothing & What to Pack

safari jumper outfit

Last updated on March 30th, 2023 at 01:55 pm

If you’ve never been on an African safari before, knowing what to wear and what to pack can be a little daunting!

But with this what to wear on safari guide, I’ll help you pick out the best safari clothing as well as all the other essentials you may need.

On most trips through East or Southern Africa, you are likely to encounter a few different temperatures and weather conditions within one trip as it can be hot and humid on the coast, but dry and cool on the African savanna, just a few hours away.

So if you’re going on a longer trip that includes different things such as safari, trekking and beach time – think about your trip as a whole and plan your safari clothes accordingly.

To help you, check out my Complete Africa Packing List , my Kilimanjaro Packing List and What to Wear in Zanzibar post.

Please Note:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which will earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate sales help with the running costs of this site, so thank you for your support!

Clothes for Safari & What to Pack

Table of Contents

Group on Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater

Clothes for Safari – What to Consider

Ok, so I know on Instagram, everyone looks like a glamorous, modern-day Karen Blixen, or a full-on Indiana Jones – but in reality, hardly anyone dresses like that on a safari and it’s not usually required, especially when you’re in a car all day.

By all means, dress like that if you want to, it does look lovely in pictures and khaki is pretty trendy these days, but don’t feel like you have to. The only time you really need to be in safari colours is when you’re doing a walking or cycling safari (see below) and therefore more visible to the animals.

Most people wear either their normal clothes or hiking-type clothes when they’re on safari, so what I’m saying is, you don’t need to go out and spend a ton of money on specific ‘safari’ clothes that you might only wear once.

I’ve probably done over a hundred safaris, and the only piece of ‘safari-specific’ clothing I own, is my safari hat and bought that because it has great sun protection, and I thought it would look good in pictures – but any wide-brimmed high SPF hat would work!

I have some khaki-coloured clothes, but most of them are just regular clothes. I generally recommend comfy clothes that can be layered.

You can also buy insect-repellant clothing which is treated with permethrin (or other types of bug spray), or you can buy the permethrin yourself and treat your clothes.

Your clothes for safari should:

  • Protect you from the sun.
  • Protect you from insects.
  • Protect you from the environment (ie. scratches/stubbed toes).
  • Will keep you cool or warm.

Warm Clothes

People think of Africa as a place that’s always hot, but it really isn’t! In fact, it can be extremely cold at times, especially when you’re on early morning/evening safaris, at altitude (like on the Ngorongoro Crater rim) or sitting outside for hours at night.

Certain times of year are also very cold too. If you’re travelling in the European summer months (May – August), you’ll find places like Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya & Tanzania can be very cold in the early mornings/evenings, but warm in the day!

Whatever time of year you go on safari, it’s always good to at least take a warm jumper, but in the colder months you will also need a warm jacket and perhaps thermals, warm socks, a beanie hat and gloves.

If you’re doing any kind of camping safari, remember that you will be outside a lot!

Helen in Wonderlust with Najin, one of the last Northern White Rhinos

Neutral Colours

I wear my normal clothes for safari most of the time (jeans/leggings or t-shirts/sweaters) when I’m in the car on safari.

However, if you plan to do things like nature walks, horse riding or cycling safaris, it is best (and often required) for you to wear more neutral colours (green, beige, grey, brown, khaki).

For the above outfit, where I was visiting the last two northern white rhinos in Kenya , I just wore a light green t-shirt from Vegan Outfitters, a pair of khaki-coloured pants from New Look and my Nike trainers. They weren’t special clothes, just regular clothes.

I try to avoid white (it looks great, but it gets extremely dusty/ruined – but it does look good when clean and lots of people still wear white), and black and blue (as they are known to attract tsetse flies). They say you shouldn’t wear very bright colours as they attract mosquitoes, but apparently, mosquitoes don’t like white, green, or purple.

You will also want to avoid any type of camouflage or military-style clothing as some countries don’t allow it.

Long Shirts/Pants

Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are useful for many reasons! They keep you warm, and protect you from the sun, insect bites and scratches.

It’s especially important to cover up at dusk and dawn when the mosquitoes are most active.

And if you’re doing any kind of jungle trekking ( like gorilla trekking ) long shirts and pants are essential to stop you from getting scratched by branches.

Safari in Samburu National Reserve

Sun Protection

On safari you will often be outside for long periods of time, so you need to think about clothes that will protect you from the strong African sun.

So I would suggest a wide-brimmed sun hat (preferably with a chin strap for when you’re driving – they fly off easily), that has a high SPF factor and a long-sleeved shirt or coverup. And don’t forget your sunscreen too.

Sunglasses are an absolute must for me on a safari, to protect my eyes from the sun and because it’s so damn dusty and windy in the safari cars. My eyes get really dry, so I often bring eye drops too.

Safari Clothing Botswana

I recommend having a pair of sturdy closed-toed shoes (like sneakers, walking shoes, or boots) which are good for walking around at night, walking safaris and hikes.

If you need a pair of boots for trekking that aren’t too heavy for every day, I love my Scarpa boots.

Walking/water sandals with thick soles (like Tevas) are also good for wearing around camp during the day, wearing at night with thick socks or wearing on safari. As they’re pretty multi-purpose, they work well for other parts of your trip too (ie. if you’re going to the beach afterwards etc).

I also like to take my Birkenstocks as they work for lots of different occasions. Some people like crocs too… but I can’t quite bring myself to get on board with those yet.

I would avoid wearing flip-flops. They can be good for around the pool, but they break easily and because the soles are quite thin, you can feel the acacia thorns that get stuck in them.

Clothes You Can Easily Pee In

When you’re on safari, there may be times when you need to pee in the bush. So… safari clothing that is easy to pull up or down is best.

So whilst that khaki jumpsuit may look cute in your pictures, it’s highly impractical – getting half-naked when you’re trying to pee quickly behind a tree is not ideal. Save the rompers for evenings in the lodge.

Safari Packing List

Safari Clothing Zambia

Safari Clothing

  • Sun Hat: A wide-brimmed hat is an essential part of your safari clothing kit. The crushable ones are best for packing. But I love the hats from Rogue Outdoors. I have this one .
  • Sunglasses: To protect your eyes from the sun/dust/branches.
  • Buff/Light Scarf: These are great for keeping you warm, covering up from the sun, or keeping the dust out of your hair/face. A scarf can also make a pretty normal outfit look a bit more glam.
  • Down (or Warm) Jacket: Essential for the colder months.
  • Fleece/Sweater: Essential for all year round, for morning safaris/evenings.
  • Long-Sleeved Shirt: Great for sun and bug protection. You might also consider a thermal top for when it’s cold.
  • Long Pants: For warmth, bug protection, and trekking. If you bring leggings, thicker ones are better as mozzies and tsetse can bite through thinner ones. I also like jeans as you can wear them on safari and in the cities, but they’re not great for any humid areas.
  • Shorts/T-shirts/Tank Tops: For everyday wear. Make sure your shorts aren’t ‘too’ short.
  • Dress/Evening Wear: If you’re on a camping safari, you’ll probably stay in what you wore during the day. But if you’re at a lodge, you’ll want some nicer clothes for the evening – safari clothing doesn’t all have to be practical. But most lodges aren’t particularly dressy though so you can leave your ball gown at home.
  • Regular Socks: For wearing with sneakers.
  • Thick Socks: These are great for keeping you warm, hiking and mosquito protection. Rock the socks and sandals look, we all do it in Africa.
  • Underwear: I like to bring enough for 2 weeks, but I know some people who bring just a few day’s worth and wash in the shower as they go!
  • Sports Bra: Ladies, if you get sore boobs on bumpy roads, bring a good, high-impact sports bra.
  • Swimsuit: Some lodges have pools, so pack your cozzie.
  • Waterproof Jacket: You may want to take a packable waterproof jacket in case of rain.

Mto wa Mbu Tanzania

Other Safari Essentials

  • Bag: You’re going to need something to put all that safari clothing in, so I recommend taking a soft backpack or holdall, over a hard suitcase. I like the Osprey Fairpoint range. Mine is a 70L bag, but you’ll need to check your luggage restrictions.
  • Daypack: A small rucksack is great for holding your day-to-day essentials, valuables, and camera. Can also work as your carry-on for the plane.
  • Head Torch/Lamp: Very useful for when the power goes out! I never travel without mine. Some safari lodges provide these but better to have your own.
  • Camera & Lenses: You’ll want to capture all those wonderful safari moments, so I recommend a DSLR with a lens of up to 300 – 400mm. I like the lenses that go from 18mm – 300/400mm so that you don’t have to change them, but these are quite heavy to carry around all the time.
  • Spare Camera Battery: So you never have to miss a great shot.
  • Phone: Great for taking close-ups and pictures for Instagram.
  • Chargers: For all electronics.
  • Adapters: You will need to bring the relevant adapter depending on which country you visit. You can see a list of the right adapters to bring on my destination pages.
  • Powerbank: Some safari cars have charges/plus built in, but some don’t, so having a powerbank is really useful.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 50 or above is best.
  • Mosquito Repellent: 50% DEET is recommended. I also like the bands you can get for your wrists and ankles.
  • Wet Wipes: Great for having in your handbag/purse to wipe of the safari dust.
  • Hand Sanitizer: You won’t always get chance to wash your hands, so have some in your bag.
  • Eye Drops: Great to protect against dry eyes.
  • Lip Balm: With an SPF to protect you from the sun.
  • Moisturiser: Your skin will get very dry, so bring some good moisturiser. I take face moisturiser, body oil, lip balm, and heel cream – the whole lot!

For more info on what to pack for your trip overall, see my full Backpacking Africa Packing List .

Girl watching elephants in the Maasai Mara

One Last Piece of Advice

Try not to overpack. If you’re on a driving safari, you will need to travel with your bag in the car when you move between destinations, so the less stuff you have, the less stuffed your car will be. This is more important when there are 6 of you in a car. If there’s just a couple of you, you’ll have more space.

If you’re on a camping safari, you’re going to have to sleep with your bag in your tent! If you’re on a fly-in safari, many of the small airlines have luggage restrictions (up to 15kg and soft bags only) so check what you are allowed to bring.

Have you been on a safari? Any other suggestions for great safari clothing?

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What to Wear on Safari

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Lindsay Silberman

What to Wear On a Safari: Safari Outfit Ideas & Inspo

what to wear on safari

As I attempted to pack for my trip to Kenya a few years ago, I was STRESSED. I read every. single. article. available online, but I never really found one that gave specific enough suggestions for what to wear on safari—which is why, when I got back, I knew I obviously had to create my own guide with PLENTY of cute safari outfit ideas.

This post primarily focuses on what clothes to wear on safari for women, but I’ve also included a few photos of what my husband wore, just in case you need outfit ideas for men as well!

safari outfit ideas

Below, I’ll give you specific examples about what clothes what to pack for a safari in the following categories: – jackets – pants – tops – footwear – accessories – insect repellent wipes – sunscreen – sunglasses – nighttime outfits – carry-on luggage and duffel bags – what to pack in the bag you take with you on your game drives

safari outfit ideas

Also: if you haven’t read my secrets to surviving a long-haul flight and my suggestions for comfy travel outfits , I’d recommend checking it out before your trip!

Consider this the only guide you will ever need to pack for a safari. ENJOY!

Scroll to the bottom for safari outfit inspo based on the looks I wore on my own trip.

what to wear on safari


Most people will tell you to avoid navy blue or black clothing on safari, since dark colors attract tsetse flies (an insect native to tropical Africa.)

You’re better off with neutrals, like green, khaki, white, or light blue—especially because it gets hot. I’d recommend cute khaki trousers , lightweight lounge pants , breathable joggers , light sweats , or even leggings (but remember to avoid black.)

Also remember you’ll be sitting in whatever you wear for hours on end, so make sure you’re comfortable in whatever you choose.

One thing I read over and over again was the importance of layering. And it’s true: in the mornings and after sun down, the temperatures get fairly chilly, and you’ll want to be bundled up—but during the day, it gets oppressively hot.

The best advice I can give you is to start with a base layer (like a t-shirt or tank top ), then add a second layer (like a button-up shirt or light sweater), and finally, top it with a jacket or puffer vest + scarf.

safari jumper outfit

Madewell Denim Button-Up Shirt

safari jumper outfit

Rails Gauze Button Down

safari jumper outfit

Free People  Daydream Button Down

safari jumper outfit

I also LOOOOVE jumpsuits and would have totally brought some on my own trip if I had thought of it. They’re just so easy to throw on and they’re super comfortable. Find a few good picks below!

safari jumpsuit

Just stumbled upon this chic AF jumpsuit and I’m in LOVE!

safari jumper outfit

Abercrombie & Fitch   Utility Jumpsuit

safari jumper outfit

Monrow Crepe Jumpsuit

safari jumper outfit

Treasure & Bond  Utility Jumpsuit

what to wear on safari

This part is pretty simple—get yourself a cute field jacket or puffer vest that you’ll actually wear again.

safari jumper outfit

J.Crew  Quilted Field Jacket

safari jumper outfit

J.Crew  Lightweight Jacket

safari jumper outfit

Bernardo  Quilted Puffer Vest

safari jumper outfit

J.Crew  Downtown Field Jacket

Here are similar options to what I wore, which you can click to shop:

This will depend on the type of safari you’re doing, but in my experience, hard core hiking boots (which I initially thought I needed) would have been totally unnecessary.

For the most part, you’ll be spending your game drives inside the vehicle and doing very little walking, so my advice is to wear whatever you’re most comfortable in.

Boots or high-top sneakers are great because they’ll cover your ankles, but I honestly saw one girl wearing sandals—and she was fine. (I wouldn’t wear sandals because of all the dirt/dust/insects, but you get the point.)


Most safaris have strict weight restrictions on baggage because of the size of the plane you take into the desert. (More deets on that in my Safari 101 masterpost !) These duffels all fit way more than you’d expect and will meet the requirements.


This was one of the things I was most confused about. Do people dress up for dinner? Is it cold? What aesthetic should I be going for?

The answer: pretty much anything goes. Sanctuary Olonana , where I stayed, is considered on the “fancier” end, but there definitely wasn’t a dress code.

Some nights I wore a casual dress with a scarf, other nights I wore jeans and a blouse, and one night we decided to go straight to dinner from a drive, which meant I showed up in my safari clothes.

I wouldn’t buy anything special to wear at night—just work with what you have.

giraffe manor nairbobi kenya


what to wear on safari outfit

Temperatures tend to fluctuate dramatically on safari, so layers—and scarves—are key.

Plus, if you find yourself engulfed in a dust storm, you’ll be grateful to have something to cover your face. I’d recommend something warm for the morning, and a lighter alternative during the day and at night.

I wore a heavier blanket scarf (similar to the below) over my shoulders in the mornings and late at night, and a lighter silk scarf by Cuyana wrapped around my neck during the day.

safari jumper outfit

Treasure & Bond Knit Blanket Wrap 

safari jumper outfit

Madewell  Bandana Scarf

This bandana scarf is IDEAL for safari — plus it’s under $40 and is a light color.

These deet wipes were a godsent. Super easy to toss into your bag, and unlike a large can of insect repellent, they barely took up any room.

Bonus: they come in a resealable packet. These are the exact ones I bought, and I only got bit once.

deet wipes what to pack on safari

I wouldn’t have survived without this genius brush-on sunscreen , which I kept in my bag during game-drives and re-applied constantly.

Because most of your time is spent driving through dust and dirt, the idea of putting liquid sunscreen on felt kind of gross to me. This little brush was the perfection solution.

brush on sunscreen safari packing essentials

I’m a huge fan of Ray Ban aviators, but more recently I bought these $15 dupes on Amazon and I’ve been LIVING in them. If you’re the kind of person who constantly misplaces your sunglasses – I would highly, highly recommend.


After a few days of being in the desert, my hair literally felt like straw. Luckily I’m a PSYCHO and anticipated that the arid climate would require a super hydrating shampoo and conditioner, so I packed the travel-sized version of this super moisturizing Briogeo shampoo and conditioner.

safari jumper outfit

My husband and I both wore our hats every single day. Having the sun beat down on you for hours can be a killer, plus, you KNOW how I feel about wrinkles. Don’t be a dummy. Bring a hat.

This one from Madewell is PERFECT. Had I seen it before my trip, it’s definitely what I would have bought.

safari jumper outfit


best packing cubes for long trips

Set of 7 packing cube s, $21

Space is often limited on the small charter flights to the Masai Mara and other Kenya safari destinations, which means that every inch counts.

Packing cubes were a game changer for me. They not only keep your belongings neatly organized, but they also compress items to help maximize space. (Another one of my top space-saving travel hacks ? Use contact lens cases to store liquids like foundation and moisturizer. It frees up SO much room in your toiletry bag .)

Calpak and Stoney Clover both make great ones, or you can find them on places like Amazon (the ones I linked here are perfect and reasonably priced .)


  • Blanket scarf
  • Hairbrush (the wind really does a number on your hair & you obviously want to look FRESH for pics)
  • Lipbalm/Chapstick
  • External battery & charging cord
  • Bottle of water
  • Powder sunscreen (to reapply during the day)
  • Fanny pack (perfect for storing your must-haves)
  • Jacket (for early in the morning and after the sun went down)
  • Hand sanitizer or wet wipes


safari outfit ideas

Going on a beach vacation as well? Check out my Beach Vacation Packing List here .

Hope you found this helpful! Questions? Comments? Concerns? Drop a comment below or, as always, slide into my DMs .

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Awesome list! Bravo 🙂

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Hi, any recommendations on bag recommendations to bring game drives?

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Lindsay Silberman

honestly I just brought a small tote! Usually you’ll be able to keep it in between your feet or there will be a place to store it in the jeep

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Love! What is the brand of the floral scarf you had?

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Would love to know too! Melissa- did you find a similar one?

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Loved this guide, going on our first safari and this was golden 😍

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What is the shirt you’re wearing that ties, and the pants that you’re wearing with them and also the jumpsuit? love all of them. thanks!

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