‘What shall we wear on safari in South Africa’ (or any other african destination) is a frequently asked question. The answer to this varies very much by season.
Get our Insider Guide to What to Wear on Safari below for the ‘full monty’ & useful packing lists…
I will summarize some essential pointers for people travelling in the African spring months from mid August to October…
Note: In the Cape spring starts and ends later than up in the Kruger area. Similarly further north towards the equator, Zambia and Botswana are getting very hot by mid to late September.
Safari clothing in South Africa – Spring
The ‘shoulder months’ of Spring and Autumn are always a tricky one as far as packing is concerned. Temperatures may vary considerably within an average two week vacation period. As you never know when Winter will change to Spring or indeed Spring to Summer…
Spring-like weather starts in mid August – later in Cape Town, the Garden Route and Eastern Cape. But there is no guarantee of this. As in the States & Europe, spring brings variable weather – beautiful for days and then a bit cold and rainy for day or two. Rain might occur if you are in the Cape so bring a rainproof jacket and comfortable walking shoes.
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Even if the days are warm and sunny, night time temperatures will be noticeably cooler. So have a warmer jacket for the evenings – for women pashminas work well.
Whilst you are on safari, be prepared for low temperatures once the sun has set, and also in the early morning (especially taking the wind chill factor into account on a moving open air game vehicle).
So bring variety – both cool and hot weather options – t-shirts, short-sleeved tops, swim gear – especially if you are spending time in the Kruger but be ready for temperatures to change from one day to the next.
Safari clothing in South Africa – Spring packing tips
• Warm jacket or sleeveless padded jacket for the start & end of the day
• Lighter shirts, including short sleeves
• Comfortable walking shoes
• Long trousers for evening (for mosquitos and sudden cooler weather)
• 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.
What to wear on safari – Washing at Bush Camps
At many of the bush camps in Zambia, Botswana and East Africa laundry is included. This is handy as you are restricted on the light aircraft flights to a 20kg luggage allowance in Zambia and Botswana and 15kg in East Africa, so that you may well need to have clothes washed.
Washing is often done by hand by the camp staff, and drying will usually be without the aid of a tumble dryer. Many camps pride themselves on returning all your clothes beautifully ironed, but not all. Some of the newer ‘techincal’ materials are very quick drying and crease- proof and therefore ideal for a bush safari. However, bear in mind that if your clothes are ironed the temperature used will normally be pretty hot, and some ‘techincal’ materials do not cope well with that level of heat. Traditional cotton clothing will take longer to dry, but is less sensitive to enthusiastic ironing. Whatever the relative merits discussed above, you should probably think twice before putting in a delicate item such as a silk blouse. Save that for hotel dry cleaning in Cape Town.