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Looking for women’s safari clothing to add to your safari packing list? We’ve got everything you need to know about what to wear on an overland Africa trip. Find out what you need!
Women’s Must-Have Safari Clothing: A Safari Packing List
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 create your safari packing guide for an overland 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 outfit with these realistic tips for your packing list for a safari:
HOW TO CHOOSE WOMEN’S 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 because brights can draw too much attention from wildlife.
- Keep the color black to a minimum to avoid mosquitos, and don’t bring white because your safari clothes will get very dirty if you’re camping.
- Layering your safari clothes is KEY – it can get very cold in Africa. Learn how to layer here.
- Regional climates vary greatly throughout the season, so be prepared for hot and cold temperatures.
- Choose synthetic fabrics for your safari clothes that don’t stain easily because you’ll always be covered in dust.
Women’s Safari Packing List
This women’s safari packing list offers you a nice range of safari clothing options for a very common route: traveling 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 add extra-long sleeve tops to your safari wardrobe to layer 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.
While they may not seem like appropriate safari clothing, 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! They’re always on my packing list for a safari.
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.
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 for this women’s safari 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 safari 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.
As an additional option for your safari luggage, bring a comfortable pair of pants you can wear around the camp site at night.
A dress may sound like the exact opposite of safari clothing. However, 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 bringing a set of merino wool thermals for women so you can stay warm and wear them up to two weeks (or more) without washing. While they’re not a must for a packing list for a safari, they can be beneficial to have on hand.
Two of the most important things on this women’s safari 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 when choosing safari clothing for your trip.
Remember to choose neutral tones for your safari clothing, 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!
2-3 Pairs of Shoes
A pair of sneakers and flip flops (for camps, shower, and beaches) are a pretty standard necessity for what to pack for a safari. The sneakers 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 safari packing list. However, it’s nice to air out your toes if you’ve had them in sneakers 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.
Along with safari clothing, you’ll need a few accessories. Hats are a necessity but they don’t have to be unattractive. Plus, they 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 for your safari suitcase, 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 have much time to wash your safari clothing, 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 safari clothing and decide exactly what to add to your safari packing list, make sure you don’t dress in a flashy manner.
Use these tips to protect your valuables.
What would you add to this women’s safari packing list? What are your favorite safari clothing pieces? 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
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