I recently came back from an epic 10 day safari in South Africa. Since then I have been getting loads of questions about what to wear when going to the bush.
We went in Winter which is dry season for all the places we visited – Madikwe, Marataba and Lion Sands. You can definitely adapt everything to suit your style, budget and season though.
Pack with a theme in mind
The most difficult thing for me is packing so that you only have a few items which can be worn multiple ways. I have figured out a system though that has really helped me on my last few big trips. Come up with a colour scheme and pack according to that. It definitely makes it easier to mix and match and create different outfit combos. For our safari I chose neutral colours ( its recommended not to wear anything crazy bright ) in a palette of khaki, pinky orange and brown mostly. I also threw in some plain cream and black jeans and tees as base items.
Morning game drives are always going to start of being chilly and then get hotter as the sun comes up. The opposite is true for afternoon game drives. Layering is definitely key and I would always take a scarf and a beanie with and wear my boots with thick socks even when I was still wearing shorts. I wouldn’t suggest dresses or skirts for game drives as you will be climbing in and out of a pretty high vehicle.
What I packed for our 10 day Safari
- Two pairs of jeans ( one light and one dark )
- A pair of shorts
- One pair of rugged brown boots
- A pair of sandals
- Thick knee high socks to wear with my boots
- Three tank tops ( khaki, cream and black )
- Three dresses ( one short and one long and a LBD)
- One skirt
- Four off the shoulder tops ( excessive but I did wear them all 😛 )
- One shirt
- Two scarves ( one light and one thick heavy one )
- One brown backpack
- Three hats
- One bikini
- One Beanie
Day time outfits
You will probably want to get changed when you get back from your early morning game drive. We usually had breakfast then headed to the room to chill out aka take a nap. Then we would have lunch or a swim or chill at the lodge till tea time. During this time I would usually put on a dress or shorts with sandals. We also went on a self drive the one day and I wore shorts with my boots and my shirt tied at my waist. It was so “safari” but I do love a bit of cheese factor as long as its done in a stylish way. I wore that same outfit but just with a tee underneath to go on an afternoon hike as well. The shirt saved my shoulders from getting burnt and also protected my arms from being but up by the Acasia trees.
Dinner time outfits
The one mistake I did make was thinking that we needed to dress up for dinner. Luckily I didn’t waste space on things like heels ( you do not need them ) but I did take one LBD. You usually go straight from the game drive to the bar or dinner so you wont have time to change into something fancy. One night we actually skipped the game drive so I decided to wear my black dress. It wasn’t really effective as I ended up wearing it with a big jacket and scarf!
I was more than happy with the wardrobe choices I made and I never had trouble finding something to wear. Have you ever been on a safari in South Africa? What did you wear?