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What to Wear On a Safari: Safari Outfit Ideas & Inspo

what to wear on safari

As I attempted to pack for my trip to Kenya last year, I was STRESSED. I read every. single. article. available online, but I never really found one that gave specific enough suggestions for what to wear on safari—which is why, when I got back, I knew I obviously had to create my own guide with PLENTY of cute safari outfit ideas.

This post primarily focuses on what clothes to wear on safari for women, but I’ve also included a few photos of what my husband wore, just in case you need outfit ideas for men as well!

safari outfit ideas

Below, I’ll give you specific examples about what clothes what to pack for a safari in the following categories:
– jackets
– pants
– tops
– footwear
– accessories
– insect repellent wipes
sunscreen
– sunglasses
– nighttime outfits
carry-on luggage and duffel bags
– what to pack in the bag you take with you on your game drives

safari outfit ideas

[Also: if you haven’t read my secrets to surviving a long-haul flight and my suggestions for comfy travel outfits, I’d recommend checking it out before your trip!]

Consider this the only guide you will ever need to pack for a safari. ENJOY!

Scroll to the bottom for safari outfit inspo based on the looks I wore on my own trip.

what to wear on safari

WHAT TO WEAR ON SAFARI:

PANTS

Most people will tell you to avoid navy blue or black clothing on safari, since dark colors attract tsetse flies (an insect native to tropical Africa.)

You’re better off with neutrals, like green, khaki, white, or light blue—especially because it gets hot. I’d recommend cute khaki trousers, lightweight lounge pants, breathable joggers, light sweats, or even leggings (but remember to avoid black.)

Also remember you’ll be sitting in whatever you wear for hours on end, so make sure you’re comfortable in whatever you choose.

A few good examples below, which you can click to shop:


SHIRTS

One thing I read over and over again was the importance of layering. And it’s true: in the mornings and after sun down, the temperatures get fairly chilly, and you’ll want to be bundled up—but during the day, it gets oppressively hot.

The best advice I can give you is to start with a base layer (like a t-shirt or tank top), then add a second layer (like a button down or light sweater), and finally, top it with a jacket or puffer vest + scarf.

I found this linen top on Amazon and it is PERFECT for a fashionable safari outfit—plus, I’d totally wear it again in real life.

what to wear on safari outfit ideas

I also LOOOOVE these jumpsuits and would have totally bought it for my own trip if I’d seen them:


JACKETS

what to wear on safari

This part is pretty simple—get yourself a cute field jacket or puffer vest that you’ll actually wear again.

Here are similar options to what I wore, which you can click to shop:


FOOTWEAR

This will depend on the type of safari you’re doing, but in my experience, hard core hiking boots (which I initially thought I needed) would have been totally unnecessary.

For the most part, you’ll be spending your game drives inside the vehicle and doing very little walking, so my advice is to wear whatever you’re most comfortable in.

Boots or high-top sneakers are great because they’ll cover your ankles, but I honestly saw one girl wearing sandals—and she was fine. (I wouldn’t wear sandals because of all the dirt/dust/insects, but you get the point.)


DUFFEL

Most safaris have strict weight restrictions on baggage because of the size of the plane you take into the desert. (More deets on that in my Safari 101 masterpost!) These duffels all fit way more than you’d expect and will meet the requirements.


WHAT TO WEAR AT NIGHT DURING SAFARI

This was one of the things I was most confused about. Do people dress up for dinner? Is it cold? What aesthetic should I be going for?

The answer: pretty much anything goes. Sanctuary Olonana, where I stayed, is considered on the “fancier” end, but there definitely wasn’t a dress code.

Some nights I wore a casual dress with a scarf, other nights I wore jeans and a blouse, and one night we decided to go straight to dinner from a drive, which meant I showed up in my safari clothes.

I wouldn’t buy anything special to wear at night—just work with what you have.

giraffe manor nairbobi kenya


ACCESSORIES

what to wear on safari outfit

SCARF

Temperatures tend to fluctuate dramatically on safari, so layers—and scarves—are key.

Plus, if you find yourself engulfed in a dust storm, you’ll be grateful to have something to cover your face. I’d recommend something warm for the morning, and a lighter alternative during the day and at night.

I wore a heavier blanket scarf (similar to the below) over my shoulders in the mornings and late at night, and a lighter silk scarf by Cuyana wrapped around my neck during the day.

what to wear on safari blanket scarf

This fringed scarf is IDEAL for safari — plus it’s under $40 and comes in a ton of great colors.


DEET WIPES

These deet wipes were a godsent—and they’re under $4. Super easy to toss into your bag, and unlike a large can of insect repellent, they barely took up any room.

Bonus: they come in a resealable packet. These are the exact ones I bought, and I only got bit once.

deet wipes what to pack on safari


SUNSCREEN

I wouldn’t have survived without this genius brush-on sunscreen, which I kept in my bag during game-drives and re-applied constantly.

Because most of your time is spent driving through dust and dirt, the idea of putting liquid sunscreen on felt kind of gross to me. This little brush was the perfection solution.

brush on sunscreen safari packing essentials


SUNGLASSES

I’m a huge fan of Ray Ban aviators, but more recently I bought these $13 dupes on Amazon and I’ve been LIVING in them. If you’re the kind of person who constantly misplaces your sunglasses – I would highly, highly recommend.


MOISTURIZING SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER

After a few days of being in the desert, my hair literally felt like straw. Luckily I’m a PSYCHO and anticipated that the arid climate would require a super hydrating shampoo and conditioner, so I packed the travel-sized version of this super moisturizing R&C shampoo and conditioner.

I love that you can grab the minis on Amazon.

what to pack for safari accessories


SUN HAT

My husband and I both wore our hats every single day. Having the sun beat down on you for hours can be a killer, plus, you KNOW how I feel about wrinkles. Don’t be a dummy. Bring a hat.

This one from Madewell is PERFECT. Had I seen it before my trip, it’s definitely what I would have bought.


PACKING CUBES

best packing cubes for long trips

Set of 7 packing cubes, $25.99

Space is often limited on the small charter flights to the Masai Mara and other Kenya safari destinations, which means that every inch counts.

Packing cubes were a game changer for me. They not only keep your belongings neatly organized, but they also compress items to help maximize space. (Another one of my top space-saving travel hacks? Use contact lens cases to store liquids like foundation and moisturizer. It frees up SO much room in your toiletry bag.)

Away and Stoney Clover both make great ones, or you can find them on places like Amazon (the ones I linked here are perfect and reasonably priced.)


WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU ON GAME DRIVES

  • blanket scarf
  • Hairbrush (the wind really does a number on your hair & you obviously want to look FRESH for pics)
  • Lipbalm/Chapstick
  • Camera
  • External battery & charging cord
  • Deet wipes
  • Bottle of water
  • Powder sunscreen (to reapply during the day)
  • Sunglasses
  • Jacket (for early in the morning and after the sun went down)
  • Hand sanitizer or wet wipes

SAFARI OUTFIT IDEAS:

safari outfit ideassafari outfit ideas for womenwhat to wear on safari outfit ideassafari outfit ideassafari outfit ideas

what to wear on safari outfit ideas

safari outfit for men safari outfit for women


Going on a beach vacation as well? Check out my Beach Vacation Packing List here.

Hope you found this helpful! Questions? Comments? Concerns? Drop a comment below or, as always, slide into my DMs.


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3 Comments

  • mark lakin
    November 9, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Awesome list! Bravo 🙂

    Reply
  • Fatma
    January 23, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    Hi, any recommendations on bag recommendations to bring game drives?

    Reply
    • Lindsay Silberman
      January 23, 2020 at 9:22 pm

      honestly I just brought a small tote! Usually you’ll be able to keep it in between your feet or there will be a place to store it in the jeep

      Reply

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