This post contains affiliate links. Visit our Disclosure page for details.
Need tips on what to wear somewhere else? For a full listing of all our destinations, please visit our packing list page!
Looking for a womens safari clothing packing list? We’ve got everything you need to know about what to wear on an overland Africa trip. Find out what you need!
Womens Safari Clothing Packing
A safari adventure in Africa is one of the most exciting trips you can take as a traveler. Roughing it in the wilderness surrounded by the Big 5 is truly a thrilling experience.
As exciting as it is to experience nature in its rawest form, you don’t have to immerse yourself to the extent that you blend in with the foliage and desert itself. There are several things to keep in mind when you pack for an overland safari tour in Africa.
The most important thing is that unless you’re in a walking safari on the Okavango Delta or gorilla trekking in the Congo, you will probably be spotting animals within the confines of a vehicle, whether a giant overland truck or 4×4 car.
This means that the khaki safari shirt or safari pants that you purchased will tragically go to waste.
Avoid the head to toe khaki safari clothing look with these realistic packing tips for Africa:
HOW TO CHOOSE WOMENS SAFARI CLOTHING
- Khakis, olive greens, tans or browns, and clay colors are best to blend in with the terrain. In addition, neutral tones like those are also best when on safari because brights can draw too much attention from wildlife.
- Keep the color black to a minimum to avoid mosquitos, and don’t bring because your clothing will get very dirty if you’re camping
- Layering is KEY – it can get very cold in Africa. Learn how to layer here
- Regional climates vary greatly throughout the season, be prepared for hot and cold temperatures
- Choose synthetic fabrics that don’t stain easily because you’ll always be covered in dust
Women’s Safari Clothing Packing List
This womens safari clothing packing list offers you a nice range of options for a very common route: travel overland from South Africa to Kenya (or vice versa). The list is a combination of regular every day clothing and travel gear.
Depending on the time of year and the region you’re going to in Africa, you may need to bring extra-long sleeve tops with you to layer especially at night.
Bring a variety and include sleeveless shirts or tank tops for hot days or to layer underneath warm items if cold. Add a couple of casual tees for long travel days (more on this in the Bottom section below).
Make sure to bring at least one warm long sleeve or thermal top and also a long sleeve blouse you can use to cover you from the sun or wear in the cities.
Jeans are a must especially if you travel in winter. They’re not only practical, they’ll provide you warmth, and also give you a bit of style if you’re in a major city like Cape Town.
For the most part, convertible pants are unnecessary and modern travel pants like my favorite ones from Anatomie are the way to go! Not only are they versatile but they’re also comfortable, pack light, dry quickly, and don’t stain easily – perfect for this type of trip!
Shorts are casual and easy to wear on hot days and you may even want to consider a breezy long skirt or sarong that makes it easy to “pop a squat” on the side of the road without baring it all to your tour mates.
Don’t expect bathrooms along the long roads and stops are usually infrequent.
Please note: Drive time on overland trips can vary anywhere from 6 – 12 hours each day so comfort is key on long haul journeys. The distances in Africa are massive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
When you’re actually on safari, you’re more than likely going to be inside of a vehicle to allow for the undisturbed observation of the wildlife in a natural setting. Walking safaris aren’t the norm so check with your tour operator if you’ll have one.
Leggings are the perfect solution for this problem and an absolute must-have in this womens safari clothing packing list. They’re great for travel days! Find out what our readers voted as the best leggings for women! We love these leggings from Zella! (Also available in plus size.)
If you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing a clothing item on an overnight flight, don’t wear it here. Clothing should be relaxed so you can enjoy the overland and safari experience to the fullest.
Optional, bring a comfortable pair of pants you can wear around the camp site at night.
It’s always good to have one dress that you may want to use on a beach in Zanzibar or a nice dinner at Victoria Falls. Check out these convertible travel dresses for maximum versatility.
The post shows you clever sundress outfits to make a regular dress transform for various settings!
1 Set of Thermals (optional)
If you’re traveling in winter (June – August), consider brining a set of merino wool thermals for women so you can stay warm and wear them up to two weeks (or more) without washing.
Two of the most important things on this womens safari clothing packing list is your outerwear. Keep in mind the roof and windows of some safari vehicles are open as you are driving around the park so look for a rain coat that can serve as a windbreaker as well.
An african overland trips crossing various countries is one of the times when you need your travel fleece and rain jacket the most! Do not underestimate how cold it gets in Africa.
Remember to choose neutral tones especially for items that are highly visible such as a jacket.
Trust me, if you’re head is hanging out of a vehicle at 5:30am you’ll feel the crisp morning air and wish you had a warm jacket – it happened to me!
A pair of trainers and flip flops (for camps, shower, and beaches) are a pretty standard option. The trainers are something comfortable you can wear on the truck and at the campsite at night if it’s cold.
Flip-flops may seem like a random item to add to this womens safari clothing packing list. However, it’s nice to air out your toes if you’ve had them in trainers all day and they’re also convenient to wear in camp showers. And don’t forget the beach.
Don’t like flip-flops? Try one of these slip-on beach sandals instead.
Throw in a pair of cute ankle boots or ballet flats if you’re traveling in Cape Town.
Hats are a necessity but they don’t have to be unattractive and can help shield you from the sun or hide unwashed hair. You will want to keep your hair covered and pulled back in a ponytail or bun so it doesn’t get tangled in the wind and full of dirt from the road.
You will also want the shade protection from the sun as you will be very close to the equator. A bathing suit, scarf, and sunglasses are standard travel must haves.
Here are a few hair accessories that might keep high maintenance hair on the down low.
Last but not least, pack a good sports bra for the bumpy journey! Vehicles in Kenya and other countries may cover all terrains including deeply rutted roads and huge potholes.
Make your ride more tolerable by wearing a sports bra whenever you are being transported. Also, take some motion sickness meds beforehand if you are prone to car sickness.
Also, quick dry travel underwear helps you easily do laundry without having to wait ages for it to dry.
Because you may be moving locations every night, you won’t much time to wash so it’s best if you bring fast drying fabrics or clothing you can re-wear easily.
Also, bring socks that can take a beating and won’t show dirt easily.
Important Tip: Most of the time, you’ll be popping a squat on the side of the road so a female urinary device or even a flowy skirt might be helpful if you’re not crazy about the idea of flashing your goods. Don’t forget your antibacterial hand wipes!
Read this post on what to pack for African safari tours to learn specific travel gear to bring for your trip.
Don’t be a target for unwanted attention. As you choose your travel clothing and decide exactly what to pack for safari, make sure you don’t dress in a flashy manner.
Use these tips to protect your valuables.
What would you add to this womens safari clothing packing list? Share and comment below!
For more Africa packing lists, please read:
- What to Pack for Safari: South Africa to Zimbabwe
- What to Pack for Africa: Safari and Beaches
- Africa Travel Packing Tips
- 10 Essential You Absolutely Need for Safari
Suggested Travel Resource: