Safari could be its own color—the way it conjures up images of ultimate safari fashion of full-body khaki outfits, oversized broad-brimmed hats, and sturdy boots. These days you’ll still see many travelers in Africa adhering to such overly romanticized fashion choices.
But it’s the 21st century and we want you to both look good and be prepared for your safari. Join us for a virtual Ultimate Safari Fashion Show, showcasing the most essential clothes to pack. We will follow three models as they strut down the runway in safari clothes, and we will explain their clothing choices, from head-to-toe. You ready to walk the walk?
Head and shoulders
The first model approaches us and the cameras begin to flash. Let’s focus on his head. The man is wearing a breathable cap and sunglasses. On safari, sun protection is absolutely essential, so make sure to include a lightweight, packable hat and shades (polarized are best).
On his shoulders you’ll also notice a scarf. Love it! You’re looking at one of the most underappreciated articles of safari clothing, as they provide excellent dust protection and shade. Plus, they make you look classy, which is always nice. A buff or sarong will work too.
A Quick Note about Color: Throughout this fashion show you will notice a specific color palate: light clay, forest green, grey. When packing for safari, it’s best to think in terms of blending in, of mimicking the landscape. Some colors to avoid: bright colors (tsetse flies love blue), white clothes (dust loves white), and black (midday sun loves black). Think neutral if you can—olive, tan, khaki, grey—as these won’t distract animals or attract flies as much.
Our second model walks along the runway, and you can see she’s wearing a beautiful, flowing shirt and jacket combination. For your upper body, remember these four words: Lightweight. Breathable. Comfortable. Layered.
You’ll also see that the model is wearing a windbreaker, which makes me think about weather. A typical day on safari will include two major game drives: one very early and a second afternoon drive. African sunrises are unforgettably beautiful, and they can also be brisk. Pack something light, wind and rain-resistant, and warm (gloves and beanie are good, too.) Once the day warms, you’ll want to shed layers, so pack layers to be easily taken on and off.
Our third and last model enters the runway and we see that his pants are loose-fitting and comfortable, with natural colors and synthetic, quick-to-dry materials. He’s keeping it simple, which is a great rule of thumb. Don’t feel like you need to pack much on safari, as there is limited space in the vehicles. Choose versatile items you know you’ll wear multiple times, and know that laundry is often available at most safari lodges and bush camps.
The main focus with our last model is footwear. Take a look at his hiking shoes: Rubber soles. Not overbuilt. Very comfortable. On an African Safari you will experience long days, so choose footwear that you trust will be comfortable and blister-free. Your clunky Gortex boots might be overkill for safari, not to mention difficult to pack. Well, that’s it for our Ultimate Safari Fashion Show. We hope you enjoyed your time reviewing each model and their clothing choices. The major themes to remember: comfortable, layering, versatility, and neutral colors. Follow these four rules and you’ll be wearing more than just clothes on your safari—you’ll be wearing a huge smile.