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 at the beginning of each season. As our answer does vary by season!

Download our Insider Guide to What to Wear on Safari below for the ‘full monty’ & useful packing lists…

In the meantime here are some essential pointers for people travelling in the Southern African winter months which is generally from June to mid August…

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Safari clothing in South Africa – Winter

I have lived in South Africa for 25 years and I have noticed that South Africans tend to ignore the fact that we have a winter. However our guests, used to wall to wall central heating, certainly feel it.

During winter, you will need to pack a range of clothing as what an African winter feels like varies considerably from place to place.

In the Cape, where the winters are Mediteranean – think Spain or Italy or Southern California – the hotels and lodges are reasonably well-equipped with underfloor heating and roaring fireplaces. But central heating is  unheard of.

Plus you might have some rain in the Cape so come prepared with a rainproof jacket.


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The rest of the country (and the rest of Southern & East Africa) has a DRY winter season with pleasant sunny days. It is not uncommon for the daytime temperatures to be a pleasant 25°C (77°F). So bring some lightweight shirts and t-shirts as well. But at night-time, you may find a hot water bottle in your bed.

However in winter it’s the daily temperature drop from day to night which throws safari visitors. As the sun sets, a warm day suddenly turns into a cool or cold evening. If you are dining outside in a boma, or on an open game vehicle driving back to camp, you will feel the cooler temperatures.

Similarly the days will start cold and warm up during the morning…

So if you are someone who feels the cold, come prepared!

What to wear on safari in South Africa – winter packing list

• Warm jackets and sweaters for the start & end of the day
• Lighter shirts, including short sleeves for the day
On safari – scarf, hat plus warm jacket if you usually feel the cold. (I know you can’t believe it but it’s true!)
• Some larger hotels have heated or ‘all-weather’ swimming pools so always bring swimgear. (‘All weather’ means that the pool is heated just enough to be bearable, but is not really warm!)
• Comfortable walking shoes
• Long trousers for evening
And Neutral colours (green, khaki, brown or grey) 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.

Other Southern African countries

Most of the above is meant for South Africa.

Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and parts of Botswana are in general much warmer than South Africa. BUT there are regions where the winter cold is also noticeable, especially in the evenings. So so bring a warm jacket for the evenings and a hat to keep your head warm.

Areas where it is colder…

  • Hwange in Zimbabwe
  • Okavango Delta in Botswana
  • Makgadikagdi Pans and Central Kalari in Botswana (desert climates are always very cold in winter)
  • And much of Namibia, as it is a dry desert-like climate as well
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