Whether you are heading to the great savanna landscapes of Kenya and Tanzania or the thorn brush and red sands of the Kalahari Desert around northern South Africa and Botswana, an African safari is a magical experience that for many is also a once in a lifetime event. As such, you’ll want to make sure you come properly outfitted when it comes to dress and gear. Here we round up some of our favorite must-haves for the 2019 safari season.
We are loving Orvis this season when it comes to outfitting women for safari. The OutSmart The Wild Shirt with Insect Shield repellent was actually designed specifically with safaris in mind and it can repel all sorts of nasty bugs from mosquitoes to ticks, ants to flies, chiggers and midges so won’t have to worry about bites. It also comes with UPF 30 sun protection and roll-tab long sleeves to make it easy to adjust your temperature as the day warms or cools. The khaki color is also perfect.
Pair this top with the Orvis Guide Capris that come in a few different colors including a pretty dusty blue hue. I love the stretch in these pants as it makes them super forgiving while the slim-leg fit also makes them stylish looking. The quick dry material with wicking finish is another plus and makes them really versatile in different climates. They also have UPF 50 sun protection built in and are easy to wash.
Animals are most active at dawn and dusk so most lodges offer guests two daily safaris, one that begins before the sun rises and another in the late afternoon that has you returning to camp after dark — in an open vehicle. It gets cold quickly in the bush when the sun disappears so you’ll want a jacket even for safaris in summertime. The Orvis All-Weather Bomber Jacket combines functionality and style. The all weather jacket is made with water-repellent Storm Cotton and despite doing its job well it also manages to feel really soft and breathable. It also has plenty of pockets, which is always ideal on safaris.
Finally finish off your outfit with the Tilley Airflo Hat, which is super comfortable and also really versatile and you can crush it down without fear of ruining it. In fact the hat is guaranteed for life so long as you don’t lose it to an animal in the wild. It also has UPF 50+ sun protection and comes in sizes for men and women.
Orvis also has some great gear for men. Beyond the aforementioned Tilley Airflo Hat, check out the Poplin Expedition Long-Sleeved Shirt. An update of the company’s beloved Bush Shirt, this version is even lighter weight and designed to take on the planet’s hottest climates. Beyond its function, the shirt is also quite trendy with its bright orange chain stitched interior hemline offering a splash of color to the sage or khaki color choices.
Another men’s shirt to check out by Orvis is the Marquesas Short-Sleeved Shirt. It is a lightweight, short-sleeved fishing shirt that is made from 100% cotton poplin. It feels super soft on the skin and also looks great — I love the pale blue hue. There is a hidden zipper under the left side pocket to secure valuables and a super handy sunglass loop if you need to store your shades will looking for lions through a binocular lens for instance.
Pair either of these shirts with a pair of 14-Pocket Expedition Poplin Cargo Shorts by Orvis. These are rugged but lightweight and have an awesome number of pockets for stashing items you might want to bring with on morning and evening wildlife drives or for a walking safari through the bush. The shorts are super lightweight and made from pure cotton poplin that is strong enough to hold up for the toughest of adventures.
If you want a stylish sneaker that can go from the city to the bush and back again (minimizing how much you pack) then check out Cariuma, a company based out of Brazil. The OCA Low Washed Black Canvas shoe is one of my favorites. It is really trendy and comes in a number of colors including a simple black and a fun mystic grey. The shoe is durable and crafted with a strong canvas but also features a memory foam and leather hybrid insole that makes it really comfortable no matter how much walking you do. It’s a durable shoe that looks great for a long time.
If you’re flying to your safari lodge on a small charter aircraft there is likely going to be a weight limit for the flight. Which means it is great to have a bag you can lighten up for the safari portion of your trip (most air carriers will store your extra luggage for you). The International Expandable Carry-On by Tumi is a perfect option as you can expand and contract it to meet your needs. It is also really durable and lightweight and I love the different color patterns — the camo floral is my personal favorite as it stands out amid other bags. The bag also makes packing and organizing a breeze with a number of different interior pockets. It also offers quick zip entry to the main compartment from the hardshell exterior and an integrated TSA approved lock. Oh and the four recessed dual wheels make it very easy to maneuver.
Written by Carri Wilbanks
Read more posts by Carri Wilbanks