What safari clothes are right for South Africa and how does this differ by season?
Wildlife sees a safari vehicle as one huge animal or unit. So a flash of a brighter colour on a guest will not trigger any associations. If you don’t own any clothing in neutral colours, it is not really necessary to buy it just for the safari.
A walking safari is a different matter. You are invading their territory and will now be smaller than many of the animals you are viewing. The ranger will expect you to dress appropriately in bush colours i.e. no white or bright colours at all.
Most people going on safari will have the classic safari gear (in khaki or green). You may want to blend in with your fellow guests and not just the wildlife. But this is a matter of personal preference.
Even if the days are warm and sunny, night time temperatures will be noticeably cooler. We recommend taking a warmer jacket for the evenings.
If you are spending some time on safari, be prepared for low temperatures once the sun has set. This applies to early mornings as well. Bring a variety of clothes for both warm and hot weather options like t-shirts, short-sleeved tops, pedal pushers and swim gear. Even so, be ready for temperatures to change quite suddenly.
Summer in South Africa is generally hot to very hot, so bring plenty of hot weather clothing.
The northern part of the country has a summer rainfall pattern. This generally takes the form of a cooling late afternoon shower – welcome relief from the heat – but occasionally it can rain for 2-3 days. Pack long trousers and long sleeved shirts in the evenings to guard against mosquitos. Alternatively liberally smother yourself in mosquito repellant.
Bring plenty of hot weather clothing, but also be ready for temperatures to change quite suddenly.
Night time temperatures will start getting noticeably cooler so have a warmer jacket for the evenings. If you are spending some time on safari, be prepared for a sudden downturn in temperature once the sun has set. It’s not uncommon to start a game drive at 4.00 pm feeling hot & sticky and end it three hours later feeling on the cold side.
During winter, you will need to pack a range of clothing as the South African winter varies in intensity from province to province.
South African lodges do NOT have central heating and it’s fair to say that buildings are not heated to the same degree as in Europe or the US.
Some are distinctly cold. You also might have some rain in the Cape so come prepared with a rainproof jacket.
The rest of the country has dry winter with pleasant sunny days. It is not uncommon for the daytime temperatures to be 25°C (77°F) so bring some lightweight shirts and t-shirts as well.
The most important thing is to be comfortable in what you wear and always remember to bring a hat for the warm African sun!