Africa Safari Clothing
What to Wear On a Africa Safari?
Above all clothing on a safari should be practical and comfortable.
Roads can be dusty and the temperature can fluctuate as much as 20 degrees during the course of the day.
Safari clothes should be worn and as such packed as well.
Mornings are generally cooler and in some areas cold.As the day progresses and the sun rises higher in the sky the temperatures rise.
The cooling process begins again in the late afternoon as the sun sets.
Therefore we have some suggestions as to your Safari clothes and what to wear and pack for a safari.
Packing light layers will help you adjust to any climate condition as you simply remove layers as the temperatures rise.
Layers,layers,layers is the Safari clothing mantra.
Safari clothing should be light in color – both for reflecting the suns rays and for blending in with the natural environment.
Avoid dark colors such as brown black and navy that absorb the heat.
Neutral colors such as beige, khaki and bush green are particularly suitable.
Try to stick to cotton or other natural fibers.Cotton breathes and allows the cooler air to circulate thus keeping you cool and comfortable.
Avoid Safari clothing that needs to be dry-cleaned as these facilities are not generally available at lodges and camps.
Remember that casual dress is acceptable everywhere and most not all Safari camps and lodges do have laundry facilities.
Often Safari clothing double up as dinner clothes.
Recommended Africa Safari Clothing List
T-shirts/polo shirts/long sleeved shirts
Warm winter sweater
Windbreaker or other light jacket
Good walking shoes
Sunglasses, Hat and the most important aspect of a Safari a pair of binoculars.
For Summer Safaris bring a light rain jacket(Summer for SA Nov to March/April, for Botswana Nov to March)
For some destinations ie upmarket Safari lodges, Luxury hotels, more formal clothing would be appropriate.
Packing for A Safari
Packing light is essential on safari.
Luggage capacity on safari vehicles – as well as light aircraft – is limited. Hard suitcases cannot be taken on most bush safari flight transfers.
Whether you travel by road or by air – or a combination of both – please advise them to leave their hard-sided suitcases at home.
Due to Safari luggage capacity being so limited both on vehicles and in light aircraft,safari luggage must be carried in soft-sided bags that can be molded and fit into small areas.
When light aircraft flights are included on your itinerary, please be advised as to weight restrictions.
Light aircraft flights throughout Africa are limited to 12 kgs. (or approximately 26 pounds) per person.
For the safety of your client, this weight restriction is strictly adhered to.
What happens if you bring more luggage?
If you are on a longer safari and will be visiting several countries with different climate conditions, we recommend they pack in two bags – splitting their trip in half.
One bag can be left in a major city airport luggage storage hotel while on safari picking it up prior to departure for the next leg of their journey.I can help with that as my clients do that all the time
If you are traveling by road and the vehicle is full,you may be charged for their excess luggage OR, you may be asked to repack their bags,leaving larger bags behind.
In the worst case scenario if your are not returning to your originating point,you may be charged for the cost of an additional vehicle to carry your excess luggage.
If you are traveling by air, and the aircraft is full, the pilot may tell you that your excess Safari luggage will have to be left behind.
Alternatively he may advise you that you need to travel on another flight incurring extra charges for either chartering an aircraft or paying for additional seats to compensate for their excess luggage.
Casual attire is appropriate on all safaris.
Fancy clothing is not necessary and laundry facilities are generally available at all camps and lodges.
With proper planning you can limit your luggage to one soft-sided bag and avoid any inconvenience along the way.
Recommended Miscellaneous Safari Check List
Plenty of Film!!!
Extra batteries for all equipment (camera, flash, shavers)
Extra pair of glasses.
Eyeglasses for contact wearers – windy, dusty conditions can irate contact wearer’s eyes
Plastic zip lock bags – great for soiled clothes, protecting camera equipment from dust, etc.
Sufficient underwear (in some countries, underwear cannot be laundered due to local culture and customs)
Scarf and gloves for colder months
Light rain coat/umbrella for rainy months – and visits to Victoria Falls!
Personal hygiene items (expensive and not always available in lodges)
Hard candy (great for thirst quenching on dusty rides)
Questions & Answers
The following questions and answers include a variety of topics from Visa, Clothing, Destinations, Vaccinations, Tipping, Choosing a Destination, and more. Hope it helps.
Is this a first time tour to Africa?
Is this your first visit to Africa? Have you chosen a destination? If Not..
How do you choose a destination?
Is your goal to game view exclusively?
Do you want to incorporate cultural events and big cities in their holiday?
How much time do you have?
What is your budget?
We find that most people who visit Africa for the first time are “bitten by the bug” and want to return again and again.
Generally speaking, Botswana and Zambia will provide game in more concentrated numbers.
If you are more a avid bird-watcher and prefer game viewing by water activities, Zimbabwe and Botswana would be a good choice.
South Africa private reserves provide the unique opportunity for night game viewing, so do other areas as well as non-safari experiences such as touring the Garden Route and enjoying the beautiful waterfront area of Cape Town.
Because of the distances involved in Africa time is probably the biggest factor in planning a safari.
It’s impossible to combine two countries in 10 days and do them any justice.
If you have only a short period of time concentrate on one country and see it fully.
When is the best time to visit Africa?
Because of generally temperate climates, both East and Southern Africa are truly year-round destinations.
In East Africa, you will find the rains during the months of April, May and November. Rains in East Africa can be short, starting in the early morning or afternoon, and lasting for perhaps an hour or so. Longer rains (generally in November) can last most of the day.
Game viewing in the “rainy” season can be excellent, although a little more challenging, as the grass can get longer and more green.
In Southern Africa with their reverse seasons April through November will be the dry months to safari in..
Is a safari strenuous?
No. In fact, a safari is one of the most relaxing types of holidays you can take.
Many facilities now offer walking safaris, generally 3-4 hours in duration.
Most of the walks are on level ground, or on gently sloping hills.
Your Ranger can tell you the type of terrain you will cover before you decide to take a walking safari.
With the exception of South Africa,you will not spend too much time in the larger cities.
Cape Town is a main exception,and you will find the city easy to navigate on foot.
The Waterfront offers a wide array of attractions plenty of shops, restaurants and the Aquarium are all within easy walking distance of most waterfront hotels.
What about tipping?
We believe tipping is a very personal matter. Tipping to porters will vary, but you should plan on between $.50c and $1.00 per bag each time the bag is moved.
In East Africa, you will have a Driver/Guide, who will be with you throughout your safari. On some trips particularly where you combine Kenya and Tanzania you may switch driver/guides in each country.
We recommend the tip to your Driver/Guide be commensurate with the level of service provided and how you would like to show your appreciation In general we suggest $5.00 per person, per day.
In Southern Africa you may have a Ranger and a Tracker while in the bush.
Again tipping is discretionary however we recommend $5.00 per person per day for your Ranger and $3.00 to $4.00 per person per day for your Tracker.
In Southern Africa (particularly in Zimbabwe and Botswana), you may stay at small, intimate camps.
A husband and wife team who are the Camp Directors generally run these camps
To make gratuities easier to handle, these camps have a “gratuity box”generally located in the front of the reservation desk at the camp.
We recommend $5.00 per person, per day be deposited into this box, which will be distributed to the entire camp staff.
Visa requirements vary for each country. Please remember it is ultimately you the traveler’s responsibility to ensure they you have the correct visas upon arrival into each country. Since visa regulations can change without notice, it is best to contact a visa service or the individual consulates. If you ask we can help with this matter. While it is not obligatory to use a visa service, we do recommend using a visa service, as these services specialize in processing visas efficiently and quickly.
Inoculation requirements vary by country of origin and country of entry. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) maintains an excellent web site.
Check the site for up to date inoculation information.
Remember that malaria is endemic to most regions of Africa, and anti-malaria medication is strongly recommended.
This is a individual choice, some traveler’s take nothing, others get every shot and tablet there is.
We strongly recommend that all expensive jewelry be left at home. While on safari, you will be dressed casually, and your expensive jewelry may not always be appropriate.
Wear simple jewelry while traveling a plain wedding band and an inexpensive watch work well almost anywhere.
Carry only small amounts of cash and take the rest of your reserves in traveler’s checks or use credit cards, both of which can be replaced if lost or stolen.
Be vigilant about your belongings at all times.
Don’t leave your camera or binoculars unattended in either your room or in the vehicle.
When traveling through airports, never leave your bags unattended.
Always lock your luggage before checking it in.
When walking down the streets of any city, be sure to keep your handbag close to your body and don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket, a pickpocket’s dream!
In the unlikely event someone tries to steal your wallet or bag , let go! Your personal safety is more important than belongings.