Safari Clothing Guide - What to Wear on an African Safari

Last updated on: Oct 8, 2020

(Last Updated On: October 8, 2020)

Nothing quite compares to seeing animals in their natural habitat, and given that safari conditions can vary widely, it’s very important to bring the right gear with you on safari. Prior to my trip, I made a list of what to pack for an African safari, so use the list below as your safari clothing guide.

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Since many animals are nocturnal or are most active when the sun is less intense, safari game drives typically occur during dusk and dawn. Due to sunrise and sunset game drives, bush walks, and even night game drives in the rain, I packed a variety of clothing from windbreakers to water-repellant pants.

Safari clothing packing list

While on safari, clothes that are light in weight and light in color are best. You don’t actually need a lot of clothes, and you should choose clothing that you can wear in layers.

Safari Clothing - What to Pack for an African Safari

Depending on your safari duration, it’s best to stick to three to four days worth (i.e., one safari outfit per day) of safari clothing and launder the clothes every few days.

To ensure you have all the essentials, here are some must-have items to pack:


  • Waterproof, lightweight jacket. The North Face Women’s Osito Triclimate Jacket is very versatile and offers many options for different weather conditions. For one, it’s waterproof, which is a must. Second, it incorporates a fleece, which is one of the other items I recommend, as sometimes, especially at night, it’s good to have an extra layer of warmth. You can either buy the Triclimate Jacket or The North Face Osito Jacket (fleece) separately.
Poncho on safari - Safari Clothing Guide


  • Lightweight sweater. If you want variety and a little more style in the clothes you wear, opt for a lightweight sweater that you substitute for a fleece. Tommy Bahama offers some of my favorite travel wear.
  • Dressy outfits. Though not necessary, packing a few dressier outfits for the boma dinner will add a little pizazz to your experience. A boma is an open-air place that is enclosed within a wall of tall reeds, where guests gather for a candlelit outdoor dinner, typically with a fire pit, too. It’s a very intimate setting in which many guests wear nicer apparel. A few of my favorite brands for such an occasion are: J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, Anthropologie, and White House Black Market.
  • Swimsuit. Most luxury safari lodges have either a private or public pool and a small spa, so you should definitely bring a few swimsuits so you can take a dip in the pool. J Crew is one of the best brands for stylish yet comfortable vacation swimwear.

Shoes and accessories

  • Sunglasses. Ray-Ban’s Rb4440nf Blaze Wayfarer Sunglasses have offer a futuristic style of one of the brand’s iconic shapes. In addition, the polarized lenses help to reduce glare, which is something to consider during while bird watching, on bush walks, or observing animals in trees.

Safari equipment

  • Backpack. The Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack is a great option for safari outings. It’s multifunctional compartments and lightweight design allow you store items you might need, including snacks, water, and binoculars, and small accessories and clothing.
  • DSLR Camera. I love Nikon cameras for their exceptional quality, and the Nikon D5600 DSLR has all the features you’ll need, including WiFi and Bluetooth. While on safari, renting a supplemental lens, from companies such as Borrow Lenses, for up close shots is highly recommended.

Where to stay

My safari experience in South Africa took place at the luxury Sabi Sands Game Reserve, a private game reserve with more than 20 luxury lodges adjacent to Kruger National Park.

Situated on a prime location on the Sabie River, one of those lodges, the Lion Sands Game Reserve, was my safari oasis. Lion Sands offered the ultimate glamping experience featuring luxury tents, exciting game drives, sundowners on the savannah, and boma dinners under the stars.

Have you been on a safari before? Would you add any items to our safari clothing list?

Author Profile

Taryn White
With 75+ countries and all 50 U.S. states crossed off her list, Taryn's wanderlust and wanderlist continue to grow! She loves historic places, off-the-beaten paths, and beautiful beaches. Follow her pursuits onย Instagramย and

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