For many people, going on a safari is a lifelong dream and fantasy…walking amongst zebras, sitting atop an open back car as the sun goes down and feeling the heat of the hot fire on your skin in contrast to the cold African night… these are just fragments of the dream. Luckily for me, I have been fortunate enough to grow up in Africa; therefore, going on safari has allowed me to regularly live the dream. I could go as far as to say that it is even a mundane part of my life… but in honesty, seeing a lion roar and the stare of a leopard never gets old. Whether its your fifth or fiftieth safari, I am sure that many can attest when I say that every safari feels like the first time: a culmination of anticipation, excitement and mystery.
While the safari is indeed a culmination of anticipation, excitement and mystery, your wardrobe doesn’t have to be and frankly, shouldn’t be. Being prepared with what to wear is extremely important, not least because your wardrobe is the last thing you want to be stressing about on a safari but also because there are some items of clothing that one simply shouldn’t wear on a safari. For example, the infamous tsetse fly is attracted to darker colours so one should wear lighter colour clothing on safaris. In light of this, this blog post is a guide to help you with what to wear on safari in order to stay in harmony with the bush while still looking fashionable.
1. Blend In
Blend, blend and blend. Aforementioned, tsetse flies are attracted to darker colours. With this in mind, stick to wearing lighter colours. Personally, I stick to colours of the bush… essentially, blending in with the environment around me. I would suggest white, khaki, light browns and yellows. Animal prints—a major trend this season—also tend to blend in with the environment (after all, many animal prints are taken from the same animals you will see on the safari) so I would suggest leopard, snake and zebra print pieces, then one can blend and be on trend.
2. Go Long
Part of a safari is walking through thorny bushes and long grass, with that in mind, it is important to wear longs. This means that mini-skirts and daisy dukes are off the menu and jeans and cargo pants are on the menu. Luckily, items like cargo pants have been popularised this year, even being dubbed the “staple of the season” by British Vogue; you can rest assured then that the deep pockets and baggy style that are typical of cargo pants are a fashionable yes.
While daisy dukes are off the menu for the safari, when relaxing at your accommodation you can change it up and wear a skirt or shorts. The camp will most probably be well maintained and clear of long and thorny bushes/grass, therefore a change is warranted and encouraged. To dress up the shorter look, carry a brown belt to place around your skirt or shorts.
3. Keep Warm
Africa is known for its scorching hot sun, however, the mornings and nights tend to be quite cool. In addition to this, mosquitoes are often a threat. As a result, bring a jumper or jacket to shield you from the cool mornings and mosquitos. Get creative with your outfit by opting for a jumper/jacket of your taste (I went for a glitter jumper in dark brown). Do not fret about wearing darker colours during the early morning and in the dark as as tsetse flies only come out when it heats up and the sun is in full scorch.
4. Cover Up
Aforementioned, Africa is known for its scorching sun, so cover up with a hat and sunglasses. Again, get creative with your hat as its a piece that can accessorise your outfit… think wide brimmed hats with gold and glitter or alternatively a hat with a logo on the brim. Another item that simultaneously serves as a cover up and accessory is a scarf or a classy white button down that concurrently protects from the sun and adds layers to create an interesting outfit.
5. Strip down
Perhaps slightly ironic since prior to this I suggested to cover up, but a safari is also the perfect time to strip down into your bikini/costume. A lot of hotels/lodges/camps on safaris have a pool, so naturally, one brings a costume to cool down from the heat. Even if your accommodation does not have a pool, stripping down to a costume on a boat or on a camp chair by the river is the perfect way to wind down and get a tan.
While it is important to stay appropriate when on a safari—blending in, covering up and more— it is important to recognise that you can still look fashionable. You can blend in with on-trend leopard prints or a brown shirt with sequins…cover up with a wide brimmed hat or stand-out accessory like a scarf… or go long with a staple like cargo pants. Evidently, going on a safari does not translate to a boring wardrobe; with some careful planning and a bit of creativity, you can look both appropriate and amazing.
There is no quote more accurate than “the only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa for he has so much to look forward to.” A safari is something that every man and woman has to experience. I encourage everyone—whether you love or hate flora and fauna—to take a part in this journey as you will fall helplessly and endlessly in love with it. After all, safari does mean journey in Swahili and there is nothing more exciting and beautiful about a journey that is wild.
Always, JMF xx
Majority of these photos were taken a Mapunga Bush Camp. A special thanks for their hospitality during my stay.