• Spirited Adventures

Safari Clothing & Equipment Choices

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

February 2017

Packing is an art that is developed over time with exposure in wild places - What to pack, how to pack, preparation and general trip management are fundamental to the success and overall enjoyment of your safari experience. Equipment choices for a walking safari are different to a purely vehicle-based safari, and packing decision-making increases for self-sufficient activities such as backpacking.

Especially in the beginning of learning curves, we find that we are caught out by things that become obvious with experience. Resorting to using internet forums to obtain information, often produces unvalidated, inaccurate or poor advice. We often see that the wrong equipment is brought, too much is packed, it fails, or important pieces are left out. Three observations remain consistently true:

  • “Penny-wise” often leads to “pound-foolish” – All equipment is not the same, and this is often discovered at an inconvenient time during a trip

  • Good equipment is purpose made, regardless of intention it does not suit every application

  • Certain equipment is similar to insurance – It seems it will never be used, however when needed, the money we parted with was well spent

Partly because we have spent lots of time on big unforgiving mountains, we utilize the mountaineering philosophy of travelling light, remaining comfortable BUT always been appropriately prepared.

For walking safaris pack the neutral colored clothing or the shades of the African bush. Good colors include browns, greens, khakis, dark blues, grey, etc. Two points:

  • Although many animals are color blind, bright colors are intrusive in the bush.

  • Certain colors, whites, neon colors, black, bright pinks, etc. are picked up by animals quickly.

Although the bush is mostly warm or hot, it can get cold - Especially when the sun goes down in winter. Consider packing a beanie, scarf and warm jacket for travelling on game-viewers on winter mornings. Saying this, you will see we mostly wear short pants! Due to the environment, adventure sandals are better than thong sandals [flip-flops] and you will want to wear relaxed clothing whilst you are in camp.

Take the time to read our blogs focusing on boots and gaiters. If you are going to be undertaking a wilderness safari with us read, also read our blogs on preparing for your backpacking safari and water purification.

In areas with malaria risk, we suggest taking prophylaxis. In the evenings consider applying a DEET based insect repellent, wearing light weight long sleeved shirts and pants. Citronella, mosquito bangles and related soaps are scientifically proven mostly useless. Your mineral and electrolyte replacement is important if you are unused to hotter climates - Not doing so can result in you feeling unwell or lethargic.

With over 30 years of active experience in the outdoor space, we are able to assist you make the right decisions. Drawing on the findings of hundreds of trips, and having made fair share of mistakes, we can offer diverse, broad insights across most equipment. We have extremely comprehensive packing lists that cater for almost every adventure – If you are unsure talk to us.

For a typical walking safari based in a tented camp, we suggest the following: -


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