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What not to wear on safari

What not to wear on safari

In this what not to wear on safari guide we will cover everything that you should leave out of your suitcase on safari from what colors not to wear on safari to can I wear shorts on safari.

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What Not to Wear on Safari

The reason we have put together this what not to wear on safari list is multi fold. We want you to

  • be dressed appropriately for the weather but also for the animals (both those you want to see and those you don’t)
  • be safe
  • be comfortable
  • be practical and also
  • not wear to wear anything illegal

So although I would love to say do not wear white socks with sandals on a safari (a personal pet peeve) there is no reason you can’t do this so it doesn’t make the list. This is a practical guide aimed at safety and practicality.

While this safari capsule wardrobe is applicable for anywhere in AFrica, if you want a country specific packing list check out our dedicated guides:

So without further ado here are the things you should not wear on safari

Blue and Black

what colors not to wear on safari
what colors not to wear on safari

If you stick to any of the rules on this what not to wear on safari list let it be this one as there is a very good health and safety reason for it

Blue and Black attract the Tsete Fly. The Tsete Fly are particularly abundant in East and Central Africa and we did see them when we were on safari in Uganda but they can be found in several places on the continent.

Tsete Flies are known to cause Sleeping Sickness which is a horrible disease and you should try at all costs to prevent getting bitten by a Tsete Fly to avoid this. Tsete Flies are attracted to two colors above any other.

You guessed it those colors are Blue and Black. So for this reason things in blue and black colors should be added to your what not to wear on safari list.


Although there isn’t a health and safety reason like with blue and black for white being eliminated from your safari wardrobe color palette we still recommend avoiding it.

 Out of all the colors you could wear on a safari white is the color that will make you stand out the most. Also white will absolutely show up dust and dirt more than any other color.

If you have to have a white linen shirt in your safari wardrobe I would personally recommend you wearing this just for dinner in your lodge rather than out on safari drives and walks

Bright Colors

There are definitely best colors to wear on safari. The reason that some colors are better than others is because of how much or how little you will stand out in them.

Bright colors, particularly if you are doing a walking safari will make you stick out like a sore thumb. When on a safari and trying to see many animals you will want to blend in with your surroundings. Bright colors will not help you do this in Africa.

We therefore advise leaving the bright colors at home or reserve them for exclusively using at the lodge rather than wearing them on safari.


When we were traveling in Africa I learnt that in some African countries wearing camouflage when you are not a soldier and not in the army is illegal.

Countries in Africa where camouflage is illegal include but is not limited to:

  • Ghana
  • Nigeria
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

to name just a few. We therefore recommend for ease and less stress avoid packing any camouflage or camo when traveling on safari in Africa, no matter what country you are visiting.

Instead we recommend choosing colors such as plain khaki or plain tan instead. Keeping to this color palette will also help you create a safari capsule wardrobe.


Sneakers are a big no no if you are doing a walking safari or are doing something like a gorilla trek or a chimp trek experience.

The ground on safari is full of hazards such as thorns and twigs which can easily break through the sole of a sneaker and cause considerable damage to your foot.

If you are doing a walking safari therefore add sneakers to your what not to wear on safari list and pack proper walking shoes instead.


I ummed and ahed as to weather to add shorts to this list as I would say it really depends on when and where you are planning to wear them.

In the mornings, and you will have a lot of early ones if you are doing a safari, the weather on safaris is cool and can even be a bit chilly. You will regret only having shorts with you.

Also you will want to keep your legs covered on walking safaris or treks to protect your legs from both insects and other hazards such as trees, bushes and anything with thorns or stingers.

For more information check out our Can I wear Shorts on Safari guide.

Revealing clothes

The reason for not wearing revealing clothes on safari is two fold.

Firstly you don’t want to have too much flesh on show when trekking or on safari as it provides a larger surface area that can get stung, cut or generally hurt by either insects or terrain. We therefore recommend opting for longer sleeves and longer trousers for protection.

It is also worth mentioning that some countries in Africa where you can do a safari will follow the Muslim faith and it would be respectful to locals to wear clothes that were more modest.

Heavy Weight Material

Best Colors to Wear on Safari
Best Colors to Wear on Safari

Choosing the right material is important whenever you are traveling to a hot weather destination but is very important when doing a Safari.

The reason for this is that heavy weight materials such as jeans will not be as comfortable for hiking but will also not dry quickly if you get caught in a rainstorm.They can also be too hot and cause you to sweat and dehydrate.

Instead of heavy weight material such as denim we recommend instead choosing light weight and quick dry fabrics as more suitable for a safari wardrobe.

Baseball Caps

The sun can be strong in Africa, especially in places on the equator such Uganda. While a baseball cap will offer protection for your eyes it will not provide good sun protection for the back of your head and neck.

we therefore recommend embracing your inner Indiana Jones and choosing a wide brimmed safari hat instead.

Skimpy Pjs

Pajamas are an important part of any safari wardrobe and are often overlooked. WE recommend picking long trouser and long sleeve pjs and leaving the skimpy pjs, nighties or shorties at home. This is because mosquitoes are very active in early evening and at night time.

Be sure to not to give them too much of a target and cover as much of your skin as possible while you sleep.


Any perfumes but particular floral perfumes will attract insects and this is not something you want to do while on safari.

Leave the perfume at home rather than adding it to your safari packing list and instead embrace the smell of Deet and Citronella. It may not be the in vogue perfume but these smells will deter the insects that you definitely don’t want to get bitten by.

Fabrics that crease

Irons are not all that common in safari lodges especially eco ones where you may not have electricity even in the most luxurious ones.

Therefore be sure to pack things that won’t crease too much while travleing

Have you been on safari> What else would you add to this what not to wear on a safari list? We’d love you to let us know in the comments.