What to wear on a safari

For some reason, I found the idea of dressing for a safari complicated. I was told it could be cold in the mornings (those 4.45 am starts tend to be chilly) but obviously when you are in the dead heat of the sun, that waterproof jacket and fleece don’t quite do the trick.

Dressing for a safari felt like trying to dress for the office when there’s snow outside and the hot air is cranked up when you get inside: near impossible. Fortunately, it’s actually pretty simple.

Layers

Ogres are like onions, you know, on account of the layers. Safari’s are very much the same. The early morning might be cold, and you might have wind and rain (potentially heavy rain.) An hour in and the sun may be out to get you. Also, it’s worth baring in mind that the jeep that transports you through the bush can go quite fast, so even if you don’t feel particularly cold when still, you might get a chill when in motion.

Layers are the answer. Consider tights, leggings, socks, thermals, a fleece and a waterproof jacket or poncho. You’ll want a thin, breathable material as your base so that if you get too hot, you can strip off. Safari pants are a good option as they are convertible and can be changed from trousers to shorts in an instant. Harem pants are a good choice too as you can roll them up if you get too hot.

Sun protection

On safari, you’ll be out in the heat for three hours at a time. A lot of damage can be done to the skin in this time. Even if you feet hot, you still want to protect your skin from the sun. Light, breathable fabrics are ideal as is anything long sleeved. You’ll want to keep your shoulders covered as well as the back of your neck (an often-neglected area that tends to catch the sun). Collars are helpful here! Make sure that you use your sunscreen. I always use SPF 50. An additional benefit of covering up is protecting yourself from critters. Harem pants are light and cool for the legs.

Camouflage

Truth be told, I don’t think people need to take this one that seriously but if possible, it’s preferable. The animals are used to the jeeps and my theory is, if the jeeps don’t bother them, then what we wear won’t either! That said, if you do want to blend in with the terrain, neutral colours such as beige, cream and khaki work well. If you go on a bush walk, camouflage is more essential. Also, did you know that lions cannot see the black and white striped pattern of the zebra very well? Just food for thought…

Naturally, stay away from anything too bright such as brilliant white or red.

Wear light colours

Where possible, favour light colours as bugs are attracted to darker colours like black and dark blue. Beige, cream, light green and khaki are all good options.

Shoes

I wore either trainers or open walking shoes with a sturdy sole. Hiking shoes are also a great option. If you won’t be doing any walking on your safari, then flip flops or sandals are fine.

Hats and sunglasses

Excellent for keeping the sun, rain and wind out of your face, hats are essential. A hat with an all-around brim is perfect at protecting both your face and the back of your neck. Most of the time, I wore a Nike black cap. The traditional safari hat is also an option.

So…

  • Colours: Light colours such as cream, beige, green and khaki.
  • Think in layers.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Hide sensitive spots like shoulders and the back of the neck.
  • Bring a hat and sunglasses.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in.
  • Consider something waterproof…

Here’s an idea of a packing list for those of you who want something more specific, based on a 7-day safari:

  • 1 wide-brimmed hat;
  • 1 cap;
  • 1 pair sunglasses;
  • 7 long sleeved t-shirts;
  • 4 short sleeved t-shirts covering shoulders;
  • 1 scarf;
  • 1 pair gloves;
  • 1 waterproof jacket or poncho;
  • 1 fleece;
  • 7 long sleeved pants such as harem pants;
  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • 2 pairs of tights;
  • 1 pair of trainers;
  • 1 pair of comfortable sandals.
  • 7 pairs of socks (just in case)

All my love

K

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