You may have realized that there are a series of considerations when it comes to clothing, but don’t panic if you end up with information overload from Google. Try not to over-think safari gear – there is no need to blow thousands of dollars on traditional khaki gear.
Having said that, it is better to blend in than stand out, so neutral toned clothing is best – think beige, brown, muted greens, and anything on this spectrum.
We’ve put together a one-stop guide on packing for your safari, with information on material, weather considerations, colors and some useful packing tips.
The basic rule of suitable colours for safari clothes is to go neutral. When trying to spot wildlife you’ll have the best chance if you blend in as much as possible with your surroundings, and bright colours will make you conspicuous to animals, particularly if you’re on a walking safari.
Ideal colours for safari wear are natural, such as:
While any other neutral colours are fine too, there are a number of colours you should definitely make sure you don’t wear on your East African safari:
You want to pack light on safari (if for no other reason than you’ll want space for souvenirs!), which means you should pack staple clothing items: think convertible zip-off pants, lightweight layers for changing temperatures, or a simple skirt or pair of slacks that can be worn night after night in camp.
Bear in mind that most camps will have laundry service, but that dryers aren’t common in the bush. That’s why clothing made from quick-dry fabrics will allow you to stay clean and comfortable throughout your safari vacation!
Many camps have laundry facilities, and you can have all your clothing washed. Keep in mind though, that most, if not all, will also iron clothing. This serves a practical purpose, as tsetse flies like to lay eggs in damp clothing – ironing kills eggs. If you have any delicate clothing that would be burned or damaged by ironing, be sure to let the staff at your camp know.
Most people also prefer to wash their own undergarments, so it can be handy to bring along some liquid handwashing soap for this purpose.
Jeans are not ideal – they can be too warm during the day, and take long to dry if you are doing laundry – camps will not have drying machines.
Don’t pack high heeled or wedged shoes, you won’t be needing them and they’re highly unpractical in a bush situation. When it comes to shoe packing, comfort and durability is what you want.
Leave expensive jewelry and watches at home. They’re out of place in the bush, and if left unattended in rooms or tents, they can fall prey to monkeys, who are partial to stealing shiny objects.
Even at expensive camps, safari lodges are mostly very casual. There’s no need to bring evening wear, although you certainly can wear “nicer” clothing than you would on safari. Keep everything comfortable and stick to the policy of avoiding bright colours. Remember to layer!
And one last ‘don’t do’ tip for packing your safari wear: