What to wear on safari for the WHOLE family

Elrika GeyserSafari Tips

family safari

You can already picture your family… all kitted out and dressed in their perfect crisp khaki safari outfits. Just imagine those photos on your wall! Priceless. But dressing right isn’t only for appearances. There are practical reasons why people carefully choose what to wear on safari.

Here is our easy guide to what clothes to wear on safari for the whole family.

The Basics:

What to wear on safari for all ages:

Sunblock- Most good safari clothes will offer UV protection, but that is often not enough. Rather take extra precaution and wear good quality, high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) sunblock too.

Sunglasses- Wear good polarised sunglasses on safari to prevent you from squinting. You might miss all the wildlife action if you don’t. Remember to apply sunblock to your face. The last thing you want on your safari would be a nasty racoon tan! (Aka sunglasses tan)

Wear neutral colours- The best way to get close to the wildlife is to blend in with your surroundings. The key here is not to attract unnecessary attention. Greens, browns and khakis work best. Blending in does not mean that you need to wear camouflage from top to bottom though. Feel free to mix it up a little.

Do not wear dark colours- If you are going on safari to Eastern Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia) do not wear dark colours such as dark blue or black. Dark hues attract tsetse flies (or tzetze) and you do not want this as they boast a painful bite

 Moms: What to wear on safari?

We now know that khaki is the new black, so let’s play safari dress up!

Hat- Wearing a hat on safari can be both practical and stylish. Not only does it protect you from the sun, but a hat also prevents your hair from becoming dusty and a tangled mess while driving on open air safari vehicles.

Underwear- You might think that wearing the right underwear on safari is not really important. Think again. The safari drives can get uncomfortable as the roads can be very bumpy. Sports bras can help make all the difference for a bounce-free ride.

Shirts – Tank tops might be cooler to wear during the heat of the day, but they will leave you more exposed to the elements. The best option is a long sleeve safari shirt as you can roll up the sleeves if it gets hot, and roll them down when you are cold. Not only does a shirt assist with protecting your skin from the harsh sun, but it also guards you from pesky insect bites.

Pants – Safari pants are not your only option. But yes, they are a practical one as you might have to get off your safari vehicle and hike in the bush in search of wildlife. There are moments on safari where pants are not a pre-requisite though. Most safaris include visits to local villages and there you have the option to wear a dress or skirt or anything you’re comfortable in. Pack these items for some variety. Knee length skirts or long shorts are your best selections as most African countries are quite conservative.

Shoes – If you ever needed an excuse to buy new shoes here it is! Your fancy embellished sandals are not made for safaris. You will be walking on dirt, almost everywhere. Closed shoes or hiking boots work best as not only will they keep your pedicure intact, they also protect you from dangerous bites and stings. Just make sure that you walk them in before you wear them on your safari.

Dads: What to wear on safari?

Safari time is the best time to bring out the classic Indiana Jones in you, so let’s get you dressed for the part.What to wear on safari for dads

Hat- Hats are an ideal way to protect your head (especially those sensitive bald spots) and face from the sun while exploring. Safari hats also have the benefit of reducing glare for better game viewing. For even more protection, wear a hat with a flap on the back to cover your neck and prevent it from getting sunburned.

Shirt- Collared shirts are a good safari wardrobe choice for men. The collars can be turned up to shield the neck from sunburn or wind. Long sleeve safari shirts are also most practical as you are able to roll up the sleeves during the heat of the day, or wear the sleeves down during the cooler times.

Pants- Long or short? Why choose? The best safari pants to wear are convertible ones, with the zip off option which turns your long pants into shorts in one easy move. Just as the long sleeve shirt allows versatility, so do the combo pants.  It is easier to adapt your clothing to the temperatures than changing your whole outfit a few times a day. Make sure to choose pants with plenty of pockets, it will surely come in handy (no pun intended).

Shoes- Take Nancy Sinatra’s famous lyrics as advice; “These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do”. If you don’t already own a comfortable set of hiking boot, now is the time to invest in one. Make sure they are comfortable and walked in before your safari, to avoid painful blisters.

Kids: What to wear on safari?

Dress up your little explorers. Kids are not as concerned as adults about how they look on safari but it can be fun to put them in little safari outfits that are comfortable, convenient and practical while still letting them look the part.

 What to wear on safari for kids

Dress like an onion- onions have layers. That’s what Shrek taught Donkey… So, dress the little ones like onions on safari. They will be free to add or remove the layers as the day goes by, ensuring happy, comfortable kids.

What to wear on safari for kids

©Uncharted Africa

Be practical- Avoid dressing your kids in clothes that you don’t want to get damaged or dirty. It is important to keep in mind that kids will explore and their safari clothes will get dirty or even damaged while having fun on safari.

Be penny wise- The little ones grow as quickly as Jack’s beanstalk so don’t spend a fortune on safari outfits for kids. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sneakers and caps are perfect for kids to wear on safari. They probably have these items in their cupboards already. Just remember swimsuits and sunblock for them too.

Now that you know what your family should wear on safari, you can start focussing on what to pack.

It’s just the beginning of your safari journey.


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Elrika Geyser