When planning our trip to Africa we had a lot of questions. The main question, however, was what to wear on safari. What shoes to wear? What colors to wear? What colors to avoid? What about bugs? While khaki color seemed the obvious choice, I didn’t have oodles of clothes that seemed appropriate in any way and I really had no idea where to begin. I guessed as best I could and did pretty well (not perfect) and wanted to share everything I learned with you for when you go on safari…
Insect Shield® Technology Clothing
We experienced our first safari in Hwange National Park in southwestern Zimbabwe, which very fortunately, is not a bug-heavy place (especially not in April). Nevertheless, bug repellent clothing was a must for me – just in case! The selection of bug-repellent clothing out there is fairly extensive. I received a few pieces from Toad & Co. to test out on my trip. My two favorite items (that I wore basically everyday on safari) were this DeBug Long Sleeve Shirt and this DeBug Bandana Scarf. The DeBug line of clothing is treated with Insect Shield® Technology which lasts through 70 washes (i.e. a long time)! The long sleeve shirt was amazingly lightweight yet it kept me fairly warm and covering up as much skin as possible is always a plus when trying to avoid bugs. The scarf was ideal for covering up any exposed skin on my neck and chest while also blocking any wind, which is a reality when you’re driving through the bush. I realize being stylish on safari isn’t a number one priority, but this scarf made me feel really put together!
I wore pants during our entire time in the bush. I altered between two pairs, each of which I loved. The first is another from the DeBug line – these Range Pants. Khaki pants aren’t usually too flattering, but I really loved these pants. The color, cut, and pockets were everything amazing. I think I’ll love wearing them this summer in the Sierras! My second pair of pants were these Dark Blue Boyfriend Pants from Eddie Bauer. They were similarly comfortable though a little thicker.
As for shoes… I don’t own safari shoes and I really didn’t want to take up the space and the weight by taking my hiking boots. I will be the first person to tell you that my hiking boots would have been perfect to wear on safari, but I was ok with what I brought. I ended up bringing my very favorite ECCO High Top Sneakers. They are so comfortable and the fact they were high tops protected more of my ankle area from any bugs (along with socks that went up at least six inches above my pant hem). The only time I thought about how great my hiking boots would have been was when we went on a bush walk instead of going out on a drive. There are tons of weeds and stickers that can get caught in your shoes and socks, so high-tops are a must. Again, my high top sneakers were totally fine (I may even take them again next time), but the hiking boots would have been ideal.
As you’ll see in each of these photos, I lived in my vest. I brought it on the trip for the plane ride, but it ended up being a perfect layer for game drives. I loved that it didn’t weigh me down but kept me quite warm and the pockets for my phone, camera, and chapstick were wonderful! Weather will vary depending on when and where you go on safari, but the need for layers will not. “Safari schedule” runs 2-3 drives per day. We left at 630am each morning and were out until about 11am, then again from 430pm until after sunset (yay for sundowners!), and some evenings a night drive from 9-10pm-ish. You can imagine how much it warmed up and cooled down between when we left camp and when we returned. Scarves, vests, and jackets are mandatory. The Hide (our amazing safari camp) provided these magical ponchos that were fleece lined to really keep us warm on the drives, but having the right layers underneath and when we weren’t wearing the ponchos was key.
What Colors to Wear on Safari
One of our biggest concerns regarding what to wear on safari was about colors. Khaki brown and green made sense, but were there other colors to wear or to avoid? Some people told us not to wear black or dark colors since it attracted the bugs. On our safari, black and dark colors were totally fine. The only time we heard any mention of colors not to wear was when we went on that bush walk. Funny enough, white is the color to avoid (which was the only color of long sleeve shirt I brought!). White and other super bright clothing is attention-grabbing in a world of muted earth tones. Luckily this long sleeve DeBug shirt I love comes in other colors, but my white was fine for everything else we did (namely – riding around in the jeep). Colors to avoid probably largely depend on where and when you’ll be going on safari, so I’d highly recommend contacting your safari camp to ask what they’d recommend.
I’m not sure if the zebra in the background (above) was distracted by my shirt or wondering why I was taking a photo of my outfit, but I’m used to people wondering what I’m doing during photos shoots, so I felt right at home!
Thank you to Toad & Co. for supplying me with the clothes for my safari!