Now that you have booked your South African safari or one of the incredible other African Safari Tours like a Masai Mara safari or Botswana or Swaziland, it is time to start thinking about what to wear on safari and of course also what other necessary safari items should go in your suitcase. It is also important to know what to wear on safari evenings.
Click HERE so get an idea of what safari clothing items you might need.
Aircraft space and weight allowance are often limited when flying to remote African Safari lodges like flying into the Okavango Delta in Botswana so you will need to pack very carefully. Please also consider the country that you’re travelling to as to where your African Safari will take place.
If you go to Namibia during winter time (June- October) you will most certainly have very low temperatures and Winter safari clothes are an absolute necessity. Don’t assume that an African safari always takes place in warm climate. Especially because your safari drive will take place in the early morning hours and the late afternoons. What to wear on a safari in Africa depends largely on the area and the season of travel.
Read HERE about our favourite safaris close to Cape Town.
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The Basics: Why safari clothes should have a neutral colour
Safari clothes for women as well as safari clothing for men are quite similar and the most important is the COLOUR of your outfit so that you are protected. When choosing your safari clothing it is most important that you choose neutral colours so that you blend in with the African Bush. Don’t choose bright colours because this chases the animals away and don’t choose white because it will only be white for seconds because of the dust.
If you travel to east or central Africa avoid wearing denim because it will attract the Tsetse fly. Same goes for when you book a masai mara safari. Make sure to find out which season the Tsetse fly is active. Tsetse is less of a problem when you go on a Kruger National Park safari or any other Big 5 safari in Southern Africa.
Of course your safari pack list will also depend on how long you will be on safari. Most luxury safari lodges in Southern Africa will offer daily laundry facilities and basic toiletries will be available.
Luggage requirements for your African Safari Tour
You need to consider your luggage. For example if you do a fly-in safari in Botswana, luggage is kept to a maximum of 20 kg per person and this must include your camera equipment and hand luggage. Only soft bags will be accepted so no hard Samsonites. If you have more luggage than this and you still have travel plans after or before your safari, you will need to make sure that this excess luggage can be stored somewhere. Your travel organiser or the lodge you book is usually able to advice accordingly.
Select and shop for suitable luggage HERE
Clothing necessities for your African Safari
– 1 long pair of safari pants women (I don’t like the zip off pants, I think they’re very ugly and not female at all, I don’t wear short pants at all)
– 2 long sleeved shirts
– 1 pair of shorts (if you like..)
– 2 pairs of socks
– 1 pair of closed shoes, depending on what kind of safari you will need to decide if you need boots or if trainers are sufficient
– a fleece or jacket for the mornings and evenings. However, if you travel to Namibia in July or August it might get down to -10 C so you will need proper winter clothes.
– 1 pair of sandals / flip flops
– swim wear
– sleep wear
– clothes for the evening, a bit less casual
– a good safari hat
– small bio-degradable toiletries
To shop for women’s safari clothing, click HERE
To shop for men’s safari clothing, click HERE
A good safari hat (click HERE to see the one we recommend, easily to fold, strap so you don’t loose it, wide brim and waterproof) is very important to protect you from the sun and possibly also from insects. If you go on bush walks a safari hat is necessary because you won’t be protected by a roof. Also check the safari vehicles. Most of them don’t have sun roofs so you will need a safari hat. Make sure it has a strap for under your chin so it can’t blow off.
What to wear on safari evenings?
Be prepared to layer your clothes when you go on an evening safari. African Safari Lodges often offer late afternoon jeep safaris and you will only head back to the lodge when it is already dark. During that time of the day a lot of animals as well as insects get active so you will need to protect yourself. Wear long sleeves, both pants and shirt, closed shoes. I also always like to bring a scarf which I can either wrap around my head or around my neck. The more luxurious lodges will offer blankets and / or rain jackets in case this is necessary during rainy season. Have mosquito repellent at hand
Other items to go onto your African safari pack list?
On safari you don’t only go to see the Big 5 but you certainly also hope to see a lot of smaller animals as well as many birds. Birdlife in Africa is amazing so we highly recommend you invest in good binoculars to be able to see and study them properly. Do check out the weight before you buy. Find the best deals HERE
Taking pictures to have the memories to share at home and on all your social media channels is obviously going to be an important aspect of your African safari. You might want to upgrade your camera and lenses before you get onto a get plane.
Make sure to pack an extra set of batteries to always be charged. Some of the places you visit might not have electricity or you might experience power cuts during which of course you won’t be able to charge any of your devices.
Don’t skimp on memory… You don’t want to run out of memory. If you’re witnessing something incredible you want to have extra memory cards readily available so you can stick them into your camera quickly in between all the action. Gosh for adrenaline junkies and African safari can be amazing watching wildlife chasing each other
If you’re an avid video maker, an African safari might give you incredible opportunities to film the action between the wild animals. You might be witness to the most incredible interactions and you want to make sure that you can capture it.
Depending on the accommodation you stay in you most likely will need a light to use at night when it is dark. Even if it just to walk from the camp fire to your tent / lodge / room, I totally dig my head lamp which is my favorite gadget of all times. I had never seen it until my first trip to Africa and now I go nowhere without it. You have your hands free while you find your bed, find your food or find your feet. It is necessary. Reading a book becomes enjoyable and eating around a camp fire comfortable.
You can order one HERE
Make sure to have good sunglasses for the bright African sunshine. Sunglasses are an absolute necessity for an enjoyable African safari experience. You can’t spot animals without them. Your eyes will get terribly tired.
A basic First Aid kit is essential. It should include: lip balm, band aids, blister plasters, insect repellent, antihistamine, Immodium, sunscreen
So what IS an African safari?
What is it that you’re going to experience? Well you can be rest assured that you’re going to have an amazing experience that you will cherish forever. You’re probably not like my mom who says: I’ve seen the giraffe, no need to see another one. No you most probably get a little bit hooked on not only the adrenaline but also on spending time in nature, with nature, forgetting time and learning a lot about the animals, like what they prefer to eat and which other animals are their friends or enemies.
If you decided to book a safari lodge in Southern Africa, your day will most probably look like this
05h00am Wake-up call, get dressed (make sure to bring your jacket in case it is winter time), pack cameras, binoculars, safari hat, sunscreen grab a coffee and a rusk before heading to the safari vehicle where your guide and tracker will be waiting for you. Listen carefully to their instructions and make sure to always obey them. These guys are there for your safety and comfort. This is the African bush, not a zoo.
05h30am Depart for your morning safari. You guide and driver most likely have made a plan according to what animals were spotted the night before on the night drive. In a lot of cases they will first try to focus on the Big 5, which is why everybody wants to come on a safari in Southern Africa, to spot the Big 5. It is not always easy to spot all of them. Especially Lion and Leopard are very difficult in most cases.
Between 9 and 10am Return to the lodge where you can enjoy a hearty breakfast. Watching animals makes you very hungry and by then you’ve been already awake for quite some time so enjoy
10 – 2pm RELAXATION, most lodges will have a swimming or plunge pool. A hammock might be available at your private deck. An experience in a safari lodge, is a very relaxing activity so don’t stress. Read that book that’s been on your list, swim and of course listen to the bush. In case the lodge has a water hole where animals come to drink, you mostly likely want to hang out there for a bit. How wonderful to watch the wildlife wander by from your lazy arm chair. It is certainly something that I’m still enjoying.
2pm Lunch, doing nothing ALSO makes you hungry. Enjoy!
4pm Departure for your afternoon & evening safari drive where your guide and tracker will take a different route than this morning. They always make a plan according to what they know and according to the wishes of the guests. Make sure to appreciate the smaller animals.
8pm Return to the lodge, freshen up for dinner and enjoy an evening of good food and stories around the camp fire in the boma. Your guide usually joins you for dinner.
By 10pm most people will be in bed and the next day you get to do it all over again. What a pleasure!
So where is your next safari going to be? If you would like us to make any recommendations, please contact us.