What to wear on a safari in Tanzania & Kenya: best safari clothes
What to wear on a safari in Tanzania and Kenya? This is a universal guide to the best safari clothes, from head to toe.
Preparation is the key ingredient of a successful African safari. When planning your safari, it is important to know what to pack. But how do you dress for a safari in Africa? We’ll show you the best clothing for a safari in Tanzania, Kenya and other African countries.
What to wear on a safari in Tanzania & Kenya
Starting at the top, let’s get you dressed for success!
What hat to wear on safari
There are two kinds of hats we recommend you wear on safari. A sun hat and a knitted cap.
The best sun hat for a safari
● Protects your face (even your shoulders and head) from the sun.
● Reduces glare for watching wildlife on the plains of Serengeti or Masai Mara.
● Has a firm, medium-wide brim to protect you from the sun.
● Has a chin strap to keep it in on during open vehicle game drives, boat cruises, and windy weather.
The ideal knitted hat for a safari
● A woolen cap (beanie).
● Any hat that will keep your head and ears warm in the cool mornings and evenings.
What sunglasses to wear on safari
● Polarized sunglasses to reduce glare and block out harmful UV rays.
● Hardy sunglasses that are not flimsy.
● Comfortable sunnies, not flashy ones.
What jacket to wear on safari
● Windproof, water-resistant jacket to keep the chill out.
● Lightweight jacket or fleece that dries quickly.
● Easy to layer over your clothes when temperatures drop.
● Pockets come in handy.
What shirts to wear on safari
Long-sleeved shirts with collars are the best clothes for safari travel.
● Long sleeves and collars protect you from the sun and insects and also keep you warm.
● Button-up cotton shirts or t-shirts with long sleeves are best.
● Wear breathable, lightweight fabrics for hot and active days on safari.
Best trousers to wear on safari
We recommend packing a few pairs of long trousers for safari trips and one or two pairs of shorts, depending on how long your safari trip is. The best safari trousers are:
● Long trousers to protect your ankles and calves from thorny bushes and insects, especially on walking safaris.
● Comfortable trousers for getting in and out of safari vehicles on game drives and sitting during flights, cruises, transfers, etc.
● Pockets are handy for sunscreen, camera accessories, etc
● Durable and breathable, natural fabrics are best.
● Shorts are the best safari clothes for relaxing at the camps and lodges.
Swimsuit for between game drives
Most safari lodges in Tanzania and Kenya have swimming pools, so don’t forget your swimsuit.
A sarong (also called a kikoi)
The handiest item of clothing for a safari. A sarong can be used in many different ways. As a towel, scarf, wrap, and more.
You can drape a sarong over your shoulders or head to keep the sun out and to warm up. In Zanzibar and other places where it is customary to dress conservatively, a sarong is useful for covering up, too.
What shoes to wear on safari in Africa
Comfortable shoes for walking - trainers, sneakers or trail running shoes.
● Practical flat shoes with a decent grip to avoid slipping.
● No need to pack chunky hiking boots unless you’re climbing Kilimanjaro or Mt Meru! If you need to take hiking boots, look for lightweight ones.
● Slip-on shoes for around camp - you’ll want to kick your shoes off and dip in the pool between game drives. Flip-flops, sandals or closed slip-on shoes are perfect.
What to wear on safari - the dos and don’ts
Some general tips for what to wear on a safari in Tanzania, Kenya and elsewhere in Africa.
Pack layers of clothing for a safari
The best way to dress on safari is to wear lightweight clothes that can be layered. This way you can add and shed layers to stay comfortable as temperatures fluctuate.
On African safaris, the temperature varies throughout the day. You’ll need extra layers for cool morning game drives and bush walks, as well as chilly evenings and nights. During the heat of the day, you’ll peel off those extra layers as temperatures soar.
Wear lightweight clothes on safari
Lightweight clothes layer well and take up less space in your luggage. They are lighter to carry and make less noise when you move around in the bush.
Note that if you are flying into remote safari camps and wildlife parks luggage limits apply. Luggage is usually restricted to 15 kg (33 lbs) per passenger and space is limited on the small planes, too. A soft duffel bag or similar (not a hard suitcase) is recommended for safari travel.
Breathable safari clothes are best
Breathable clothing designed for hot weather and moderate activity is best for a safari in Africa. Pack the type of clothing you are comfortable wearing when you are active - outdoor clothing and active, or sportswear. Natural fabrics breathe well, so they’re a brilliant choice for safaris.
Fast-drying and durable clothing
The best clothes for safari travel are tough, but not too bulky, so they dry quickly.
Best colors to wear on safari
The best colors to wear on a safari are neutral, earthy tones.
● Muted colors that blend in with the bush and don’t attract unwanted attention.
● Wear pale shades of natural colors - greens, browns, and khakis.
What to wear on a safari in the evenings
Don’t forget to pack some warm clothes. Even though you’re in Africa, evenings and nights on safari get chilly.
● Smart casual or casual evening wear is appropriate (depending on your style of travel)
● Long trousers for warmth and to keep mosquitos at bay.
● Light colored clothing, because the mosquitos come out at night, and dark colors attract them.
What not to wear on safari - the worst safari clothes
● High-heels and impractical shoes are a no-no.
● Bulky clothes that take up too much space and weigh you down
● Flammable fabrics - you’ll spend evenings around the campfire so avoid flammable clothing
● Clothing that creases or rips easily
What color should you not wear on safari?
● Dark blue and black clothing which attract mosquitos and other insects. Dark colors also absorb heat more so you’ll get hotter.
● Brightly colored clothes. Avoid neon colors and vivid primary colors. You don’t want to chase the animals and birds away or agitate predators.
● Camouflage clothing. In Tanzania and Kenya (and other African countries), camouflage clothes are only worn by official military personnel. Avoid camouflage prints.
● White and very pale-colored clothes show up the dust and dirt easily. Even though these are cooling colors to wear, they are not practical safari clothes. If you pack light-colored clothes, rather wear them in the evenings and when you are in transit.
Other items to pack and wear on safari
● insect repellant and sunblock
● binoculars and camera
● day bag (daypack)
The best clothes for safari trips
The best clothes for a safari in Africa will depend on when you travel and which specific destinations you plan to visit. The type of African safari you do will also influence what you wear. A camping safari or walking safari requires different clothes to a luxury lodge safari or a canoeing safari.
Before you pack for your safari, find out what weather to expect at your destinations for the time of year you plan to visit.
Now you know what to wear on safari in Africa, and what not to wear. Happy packing and safe travels!