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When I was shopping for my South Africa trip, I had no idea where to start. What does one wear on a safari? After some research, I found lots of articles that recommended long sleeves, pants, and a hat. I knew I wanted to wear a hat, but I wasn’t convinced long sleeves and pants were necessary in the 90-degree heat. So instead of packing my lululemons and nikes, I went shopping.
To me, half the fun of traveling is the outfits I get to wear. I love dressing the part and this trip was no exception. I knew it was going to be hot, so instead of covering up head to toe, I made sure to bring bug spray and SPF. Dulini provided that for us as well, which was awesome! Anyway, I wanted shorts and short sleeves since a dress wouldn’t really make sense for a bumpy ride in a Land Rover. I wanted to be outdoorsy, but stylish. And I have to say, I think I nailed it!
What to Wear on an African Safari Trip
The color palette for this trip was all neutrals and earth tones. I wore lots of tan, white, army green, and ivory. Since most safari experiences are upscale, and I was staying at a luxury resort, I wanted to have a clean, upscale, and modern vibe to my looks.
The first safari outfit I wore was this white short-sleeved button-down shirt and high waisted cotton shorts with an adorable little tie at the waist. I have to say, it is definitely a good idea to wear a hat on a safari. I had to hold mine down most of the time, but the sun is strong and it helped out so much. Speaking of the sun, another absolutely essential for a safari is sunglasses. The sun is very bright both in the morning and in the afternoon, so it’s important to not only protect your eyes from the sun, but also from all the sand and branches that inevitably hit you while driving through the bush.
Another important item to consider when shopping and packing for a safari is the shoes. While there isn’t a lot of walking involved, you do want shoes that are comfortable. It is important to wear closed-toe shoes as there are lots of bugs and once again, sand and branches, in the bush. I wore my Rothy’s the entire time. They were perfect for walking around in Cape Town and for wearing on safari! I did bring one pair of heeled booties. I wore them on the short flight to and from the bush, but didn’t wear them during the actual safari, so heels are definitely not necessary, even for dinner. For dinner, I wore light, flowy dresses, airy palazzo pants, and casual tops.
When it comes to accessories, I think it’s fun to incorporate just a touch of animal print. So whether it’s a headband, tortoiseshell sunglasses, or a lightweight scarf, it’s always nice to tie in a little bit of the wildlife. I also like to wear gold accents as opposed to silver. I just think it looks better with the earth tones!
One day I went with a romper. While it was super comfy and breezy, going to the bathroom in the bush was not fun. Don’t make the same mistake I did – ha! Since there is a bit of downtime on a safari getaway, I would recommend also bringing plenty of comfy clothes for lounging around your room or the lodge grounds. You don’t really need things like jeans on a safari. Think chic, outdoorsy resort wear. And of course, always bring a bathing suit! We had our own little private pool in addition to the lodge pool, so a bathing suit is definitely a must. I really felt like I had everything I needed on this trip, and definitely did not regret not bringing pants and long sleeves! Ryan also wore short sleeves and shorts and was totally fine.
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What would you wear on a safari?
Photos by Ryan Carpenter.