One of the first questions people ask after booking a safari is “what do I wear”? So we’ve put together some simple guidelines to help you out.
While daytime temperatures in winter in Africa may be a balmy 25 degrees, evening temperatures can drop considerably, so you’ll want to pack some warmer clothes to layer up with such as a fleece or light pullover.
If you’re travelling during the rainy seasons, you’ll also need to pack a raincoat so that the weather doesn’t put a dampener on your trip. The rainy seasons in Kenya and Tanzania are from November to January and March to May.
If you tend to feel the cold, you might want to pack a warm hat especially if you have any early morning game drives – it can be chilly first thing and you will always have more fun if you’re not shivering. However, many of the camps put blankets in the car to keep you cosy.
Don’t forget that South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, so their summers and winters are the opposite times to ours.
If you’re going on a walking safari, yes, you absolutely need to blend into the background. You’ll be walking into the territory of the animals you are hoping to see, and you don’t want to distract or scare them – white is too high contrast and will be very visible to animals. However, many of the animals are colour blind so it is the depth of colour rather than the shade that’s worth bearing in mind.
On a safari where you’re going out on game drives, it’s not quite as important to pick from a neutral palette, however there still are good reasons to stick to neutrals even then. White clothes might get a little grubby. At the same time, you should avoid black and very dark colours too, as they can attract Tsetse flies, which have an unpleasant and painful bite.
There are a few more things to avoid if you want to have a relaxed and enjoyable safari. Don’t take your jeans – not only will you be far too hot, but denim takes forever to dry if you should get wet.
Camouflage patterned clothing is another no no. It is not a fashionable choice in Africa – it tends to be reserved for members of the military, so it is likely to draw unwanted attention, especially in airports or at border crossings.
High heels won’t get much use on safari – they’re impractical when you’re out and about, and unnecessary in the evenings. In other footwear advice, unless you’re on a safari that involves a lot of walking, you won’t need hardcore hiking boots either.
If you’re flying between camps or destinations, there will be some restrictions on the luggage you can bring with you. You should always take soft-sided bags, as the space is very restricted. On top of that, pay close attention to the weight limits you’re given – the small internal planes in Africa have strict guidelines on how much weight they can carry, usually 15 kilograms, so always stick to the limits. Many camps have laundry facilities, so you shouldn’t need to overpack.
If you have a safari and beach holiday, you may be able to store part of your luggage in lockers either at the airport or a hotel – we can help arrange this for you if you’d like to avoid carrying your beachwear along on your safari.