What to Wear on Safari in South Africa

What to Wear on Safari in South Africa

Safariing in SA is a grand adventure (just ask anyone who’s done it), but knowing what to wear on safari in South Africa is important. Thing is, you’re going to be putting your hard-earned money and vacation time into the trip. You don’t want to be uncomfortable or restricted. You want everything to be perfect.

As mentioned in our blog 5 Things NOT to Take on an African Safari, the clothes that you pack for your African safari should match the season, destination and safari type. That being said, there are some general guidelines to get the most out of your experience and keep you and your companions safe.

What to Wear on Safari in South Africa: 15 Must-Pack Items

Shirts and Shorts

It’s hot where you’re going, especially on summer afternoons, so packing in some shirts and shorts is a good idea. T-shirts are fine but they leave your neck exposed. For this reason, it is wise to pack in shirts that have collars. The best safari shirts are collared button-up tops made from microfibre material.

What to wear on safari in South Africa

Collared button-up safari shirt.

Long-Sleeved Shirts, Vest and Long Pants

When it’s really hot out, your best protection against the sun is long sleeves and long pants. The more lightweight and breathable, the better. The sun can be harsh on the African plains. Consider investing in convertible safari pants. A pocketed safari vest to complement your shirts is a smart buy, too.

What to wear on safari in South Africa

A safari vest with pockets for safari gear.

A Pullover and Rain Jacket

Be sure to pack in at least one warm pullover or jumper (fleece is ideal) to keep you cosy when considering what to wear on safari in South Africa. Though Africa tends to have high temperatures, the mornings and evenings can get rather chilly. Don’t forget to bring a raincoat, as well, just in case.

What to wear on safari in South Africa

A fleece pullover for chilly mornings and evenings on safari.

Shoes and Sandals

Mid-ankle sneakers and hiking boots are a good option for African safaris, where you’ll be in middle of nature even at your lodge. Your broken-in boots should be light, waterproof and comfortable. You may also want to bring comfy sandals or flip-flops to schlep around in. High heels are not recommended.

Hiking boots for safari

Hiking boots that cover the ankle, to protect you from spikey thorns, insects and snakes on safari.

Your Swimsuit

Luxury safari lodges and camps normally have a swimming pool on the grounds. If the place you’ve booked into has a pool, then it makes sense to take your swimming trunks or bathing suit and a towel. Swimming is a great way to cool off after an action-packed day of safariing in the blazing African bushveld.

Swimming trunks safari

Take your bathing suit if there’s a swimming pool at the safari lodge.

Hat and Sunglasses

Want to know what to wear on safari in South Africa that’s essential? A high-quality hat, preferably one that has a wide brim and an adjustable chin cord to keep it from falling off. This will keep the sun out of your eyes while protecting your neck, ears and nose. Sunglasses are another must-have accessory.

Safari hat

Safari hat with adjustable cord — Very useful, especially on game drives and bush walks.

Sunscreen and Lip Balm

When it comes to sunscreen, nothing less than SPF50 will do for an African safari. It should be a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunblock lotion that provides UVA and UVB protection. Since the bush is dry and dusty, safari-goers will also benefit from a long-lasting heavy-duty lip balm.

Sunscreen safari

Apply sunscreen to protect your skin on safari.

Insect Repellent

You will need an insect repellent spray, depending on when you go. In South Africa’s wet season (October to April), mosquitoes can be problematic. Certain parts of the country, such the lowveld areas of Mpumalanga Province, are considered high-risk malaria areas. It is crucial to protect yourself there.

Safari bug spray

A good insect repellent spray will keep the bugs away.

What Colours to Wear on Safari in South Africa

It’s not enough to know what to wear on safari in South Africa; you also need to know what colours to wear safariing in SA. The best colours to wear are beige, khaki and green, as they enable you to blend in with the environment. Camouflage should be avoided, though, as it is associated with the military.

Other colours to avoid include red, black, dark blue and white. Some predators identify red with wounded animals and Masai warriors. Dark colours like black and blue, in addition to absorbing heat, attract insects and large biting Tsetse flies. White clothing is noticeable and gets dirty quite easily outdoors.

What colours to wear on safari in south africa

Certain colours are safer and more practical to wear on safari.


Have more questions about what to wear on safari in South Africa? Ready to book a safari in SA? Get in touch with us here. One of our professional safari experts will respond promptly.

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