If you’re going on safari and don’t know what to wear, this guide is for you!
Packing for Tanzania was a little more challenging than for our usual travels. We had never been on a safari before and don’t have any “safari-type” clothes. We also wanted to pack light and share one bag between the two of us so I knew we had to pack smart.
I usually plan out my outfits for each day when I am packing for a trip. My style is important to me but I still like to dress appropriately for the occasion. When envisioning people on safari, typically what comes to mind are khaki vests, safari hats, cargo pants and hiking boots.
After our first day on safari we quickly realized “safari clothing” is not even necessary! (At least not on your typical Tanzanian safari in the popular Northern Circuit). So don’t worry so much about what to wear!
Q: Do I need to bring hiking boots?
We spent most of our time in the Land Cruiser. There’s no need for hiking shoes. Unless you have a planned hiking excursion on your itinerary, you probably won’t be doing much walking. Save the weight in your luggage!
I brought my Nike Frees and Ryan wore his Nike Roshes, both are nice and light. But on our second day we wore flip flops. It was nice to let our feet breathe and I decided to wear flip flops the rest of the week.
Q: Are cargo pants or vests with pockets necessary?
No need to wear cargo pants or vests with pockets – unless you really have lots of things you want to carry right on you. Honestly I just brought my purse along and Ryan brought a backpack with our cameras, binoculars, chargers and some cash.
We saw other tourists all decked out with walking poles, safari hats, hiking boots, etc and we laughed to ourselves. The most walking we saw people doing was from the safari vehicle to the bathroom and back.
In fact, on the second day, I wore a dress and was super comfortable. I also wore shorts and light weight shirts. In the mornings it was chilly (around 10 degrees Celcius), especially in Ngorongoro and the Serengeti, but by midday it got warm. I was never too hot, though. Just bring layers and you will be comfortable. A light jacket and light scarf was all I needed.
Q: Are there certain colours I should wear or not wear?
We did try to stay away from wearing black. For one, it gets super dusty with the dry dirt roads and safari trucks speeding past, kicking up clouds of dust. Probably a good reason to stick to khaki and olive green colours.
Secondly, black and blue attract tsetse flies which are particularly a problem in Tarangire National Park. They even hang black and blue flags on the trees everywhere to attract the tsetse flies and poison them.
Q: Do I need to wear a hat?
A: Not really.
Neither of us wore a hat once. Ryan brought one but didn’t find he needed it. All the safari vehicles we saw had pop-up roofs, so you are still covered over head. I only ever really felt the sun hitting my arms and face through the side windows, but never my head. And whenever we did get out of the vehicle, it was to use the bathroom or have a picnic, and there was always shade.
Even though it’s Africa, I didn’t find we were out in the sun a lot. It might also be because we were there in November so it wasn’t super sunny at all times. If you are sensitive to the sun and you will be visiting during the dry months then bring a hat to be safe.
Q: What should I for sure wear on safari?
A: Sunglasses and insect repellent.
Sunglasses are a good idea. The sun is fierce and sunglasses also protect your eyes from all that dust.
Also, bring insect repellent. In November I didn’t notice many bugs except for in Tarangire so be sure to wear it there. But to be safe, might as well put it on every day.
And don’t forget a bathing suit! Every lodge we stayed at had a beautiful pool. It is definitely nice to relax after a long day of bumpy driving by taking a dip in the pool.
Below are some outfits I wore while on safari.
In conclusion, just wear whatever you feel comfortable in! No need to go out and buy anything special. Wear whatever you feel stylish in and makes you feel good! You’re going to have an amazing time!!
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