Often times I am asked, with some trepidation, what do I have to buy and pack for a safari? It seems a trip to Africa conjures the most complicated of attire with a menagerie of purchases to be properly outfitted.
Having just returned from Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa, I can report that what you need to buy and what you need to pack can be found in such exotic locations as....Target. In fact, I was traveling with an uber travel advisor of the rich and famous, who is quite a jetsetter herself, and she was outfitted in the most elite of boutiques you might have heard of, called the Gap.
Yes, you can be safari chic, but what you really want is comfort, durability, and washability. Think clothes you would be just as happy throwing away, and would never want to dry clean.
Why, as a slave to fashion, would I recommend this?
On safari you spend a great deal of time climbing in, and out of dusty, muddy vehicles. The terrain can be unfriendly and it would be easy to tear pants or good jeans. And speaking of jeans, I recommend you stick with khakis because in some parts of Africa, where the Tsetse fly is indigenous, they are especially attracted to dark blue so there is no sense in making yourself a target.
Lightweight stretchable khakis are ideal, with layers of t-shirts and light sweaters. I recommend one heavy sweater for the morning and night game drives, but layering is essential as the temperatures can vary significantly throughout the day. I prefer colors such as soft browns, oatmeals, olive green, which are muted and tend to blend with the environment.
It is also nice to have some scarves and bandanas handy, to protect your neck when the bugs may be biting.
But the number one reason you don't want to go crazy designing a safari outfit for every day, is that the luxury lodges include your laundry every day, and you will find yourself wearing the same combo multiple days, or mixing and matching. Plus, the charter flights have strict weight restrictions, so packing heavy is a mistake and there is no quicker way to announce it is "amateur hour" at the safari lodge than to show up with clothes that look like costumes from Out of Africa. And my number one most important insider tip:
Check out these boots: TEVA SAFARI BOOT They are super comfortable, warm, but not so much so you will feel hot when the sun is out. They are very durable for walking around, often wet and sometimes craggy terrain, and given that after you’ve walked among dung piles and mud, they won’t break the bank if you decide they won’t be in the return suitcase.