One of the most frequent questions we are asked is what safari clothing should we pack, so I attempt to address this question with a blog post at the beginning of each season, as this does vary according to time of year. Here is the lowdown on what safari clothing to wear in summer…
What to wear on safari in South Africa – Summer
Given it’s the start of the Southern African Summer (November to March), let’s look at packing for summer time.
Do you have to wear safari gear?
If you google the subject of safari clothing, you invariably get pictures which suggest that everyone is dressed from head to toe in safari gear. We caution against going the whole hog. As you run the risk of advertising your tourist status if you come dressed like an extra for an Africa Geographic documentary. This is the 21st century and most of Africa dresses in the same way as most of the rest of the world.
So ditch the photographers jacket (unless you really are a top photographer with the need for all those pockets.)
Having said that, some small sartorial nod to ‘safari clothing’ will make you feel at home, without screeching “incoming tourist”
As you can see most people are wearing ‘normal clothes’ but with a greater emphasis on paler neutral or pastel colours. Dresses tip to toe in black may seem incongruous in the bush.
When on a game drive, you can wear whatever you like (within reason). The animals see the vehicle as one big animal and so you are just one component of that. But a walking safari is another matter!
What to wear on safari in South Africa – Summer Climate
Summer in South Africa is generally hot to very hot. In the northern provinces of KwaZulu Natal and Kruger, or hotter areas like the Cederberg, the day time temperatures will often be in the high 30’s (95°F and higher). So bring plenty of hot weather clothing. However Cape Town and the Garden Route will not be so hot and may have the occasional cool day.
The northern part of South Africa, as well as Botswana and Zambia has a summer rainfall season. This is actually very pleasant as it cools down the temperatures and generally takes the form of a late afternoon shower – welcome relief from the heat. Occasionally it can rain for 2-3 days so pack some warmer items just in case, like a fleece or a summer cardigan.
To guard against mosquitoes we recommend long trousers and long sleeved tops for the evening. Obviously it is still very hot then, so try to bring light weight materials (not heavy safari shirts) as otherwise, realistically, you will not want to wear it.
Special Note for Walking Safaris
If you intend to go on any sort of bush walk, then you must wear neutral or khaki colours ideally khaki, soft green, beige, soft brown but white would also be acceptable. Bright colours would not be appropriate.
What to wear on safari in South Africa – Summer packing tips
- Hot weather clothes
- Normal clothes for non-safari areas
- Lightweight sweater just in case
- Comfortable walking shoes or sandals
- Long trousers & long sleeved tops for evening when on safari (to guard against mosquitos)
- Neutral colours if you intend to do a walking safari
Click on our Insider Guide to What to Wear on Safari at the top of this page for a more comprehensive full packing list including non-clothing safari essentials.