Words and images courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent.
Embarking on a safari in Africa is among the most epic experiences a traveller will have, and it’s natural to want to arrive prepared - and maybe over-prepare in the process. But the safari gear you’ll actually need is much more basic than you might imagine.
Cotton or Hybrid Short-Sleeve Shirts
Bring a few that are light and breathable, as well as a protective, long-sleeve sun shirt. Temperatures fluctuate over the course of the day, so when planning your safari wardrobe, think layers.
Jeans and slacks made from hard fabrics aren’t ideal due to their weight and lack of movement. Instead, choose convertible and windbreaker-type pants that give you room to move. Yoga and 'dance' pants are added options for women.
A Wide-Brimmed Hat
Don’t forget about protection from the sun when you’re packing for safari and be sure to bring a hat with broad coverage. You’ll also want to choose something with a chin strap to keep your hat from flying off while driving in open-air safari vehicles.
Keep in mind that safari vehicles often ramble off-road and along dirt paths, so you’ll want a pair of closed-toe shoes that you don’t mind getting dusty. And while you might want a pair of flip-flops to slip on during your down time, they’re not a practical option in most cases since biting insects are plentiful. Leave your boots at home - they won’t do you any good in a safari vehicle and they’ll eat away at your weight limit.
Of course, you’re bringing your camera, but consider binoculars or a spotting scope, which can be a game-changing piece of safari gear for observing distant game.
Africa has some of the world’s most magnificent wildlife. Unfortunately, it has its share of mosquitoes and biting flies too, so bring insect repellent with a high concentration of DEET.
A pocket-size LED torch is handy for when the sun goes down, especially if your safari includes a guided night game drive.
Warm Layers for Cooler Temps
If you’ll be on safari during winter months (mid-May through early September), pack a heavy sweater, gloves, warmer slacks and a lined jacket. This will keep you comfortable on chilly mornings, when temperatures often dip to under 10 degrees. A down jacket can also come in handy - they're lightweight but warm and won’t take up a lot of space. Depending on where your itinerary takes you, smart casual attire is appropriate for big city and resort dining establishments.
A Soft-Sided Duffel
Because flights to remote locations pose weight limits and most safari camps include laundry service, the most important rule is this: Don’t overpack. Luggage restrictions are strictly adhered to, and soft-sided luggage or duffels are required for storage on safari vehicles and light aircraft.
Natural Colours for African Safari Clothes
When selecting your gear and African safari clothes, keep in mind that there’s a reason safari-goers traditionally wear khaki. Bright colours or white (which make you stand out against the typical African background) can frighten animals and send them into hiding, while dark blues, blacks and browns attract insects. Additionally, leave your camouflage gear at home - it’s illegal for civilians in many African countries. So, when raiding your closet for your trip, go for khaki, olive, grey and light brown.
Now that you know what to pack to for a safari, it’s time to plan one. Get in touch with your local Travellers Choice agent to help bring your bucket list trip to life!