How To Dress Chic And Functional On Safari In Africa

How To Dress Chic And Functional On Safari In Africa

Okay, I think after my latest trip to Botswana and Cape Town I can officially write a book on how to style yourself in a chic, but functional way. 

No joke, we booked this trip only 10 before we left. This wouldn’t typically be that crazy for me in my *old* life of living out of a backpack. But in my new life where I’m married with a fur baby, two houses, and a hotel, you can say that getting all those loose ends tied up before a trip of this magnitude was a pretty big deal. 

I should also mention that when I planned this trip, we were staying in South Lake Tahoe for summer. Which happens to be one of my favorite places in the world, and where I grew up. But also a place with very limited shopping. 

Needless to say, thank g for online shopping. Truly a gift. 

This post will share a round up of my favorite pieces from my safari in Botswana, as well as share specific packing tips for your next safari, and finally a few style tips to capture the essence of the chic and functional queen you are. 

How To Dress Chic And Functional On Safari In Africa

  • Utility pants
  • Utility jacket
  • Stylish tees
  • Wide brim hat
  • Combat boots
  • Silk scarves
  • Polarized sunglasses

These are all of the staples that you’ll need in order to dress chic and functional on your next safari in Africa. Trust me, it’s possible to look like a style goddess, while also being practical with what you wear. 

Chic safari must haves

Utility Pants

Utility pants are a must for your next safari. I bought a few favorites for this trip, but I can narrow it down to these two choices. One option is budget friendly, and the second option is a pricier version. 

  1. Banana Republic, Slim Utility Pants
  2. James Perse, Mixed Media Pants

The Banana Republic pants were on sale for only $28, so you bet your butt I ordered a few colors. I went with off white and tan, and my wife literally ordered every single color they have. That’s not an exaggeration. 

The pants have a loose fit, and are true to size. I ordered a size 2. 

Utility Jacket

You’ll need a utility jacket, too. If you have the space, opt for two jackets. It’s best to wear one on the travel over, and then pack one. Remember, even if it’s hot during the day, it’s probably cold in the early morning and evenings which is when you’ll be doing the game drives. 

I ordered a vintage Ralph Lauren jacket from Poshmark, so I found a few comparable options for you to mimic the same look and feel. 

  1. Anthropologie, Maeve Knit Trucker Jacket
  2. Free People, Barbour Campell Short Jacket
  3. Revolve, Rumors Denim Jacket in Willow

Stylish Tees

I’m not kidding you when I say that I had so much picking out quality t-shirts for this trip. I wanted something cute, but also not too delicate. So I brought both options with me in multiple colors. I still get complimented everytime I wear the puff sleeve top. It’s a must buy!

  1. J.Crew, Vintage Cotton Crewneck T-Shirt
  2. J.Crew, Vintage Rib Puff-Sleeve Henley Top

Wide Brim Hat

African sunshine is no joke, and you don’t want to fry your face when you’re out there enjoying the wild. Trust me. It’s taken me years to undo the sun damage I got during my time living in Kenya. 

I packed the Paloma Wide Brim Hat, but I also added a more affordable option for travelers on a budget. 

  1. Lack of Color, Paloma Wide Brim Hat
  2. Amazon, Wide Brim Hat
  3. Banana Republic Factory, Simply Wool Felt Fedora


Boots not only solidify your safari look, but they’re also incredibly practical when you’re staying in the bush. Remember, the wildlife isn’t only the big stuff like elephants and lions, but also the creepy crawlers on the ground like snakes and lizards that want to get your toes. 

I only packed option 1 for the safari, but I do also have option 2 at home which I’ve worn on other travel adventures. I personally love the look of the combat boot, and also didn’t want to waste packing space by bringing both.

  1. Amazon, Sam Edelman Combat Boots (only $70!)
  2. Zappos, Blundstones Lug Boot

Silk Scarves

Silk scarves really pull the safari look together, and also give it that feminine flair to soften the edge of the utility pants, utility jackets, and chunky boots. I love finding vintage designer silk scarves on Poshmark, or TRR. But I’ve shared some great alternative options below. 

  1. Princess Polly, The Baroda Hair Scarf
  2. Anthropologie, Lost Pattern Diamond Scarf 

Polarized Sunglasses

Again, the African sunshine is hot! Not only do you need to protect your skin with a hat, but you need to protect your eyeballs, too. Let’s also not forget that it’s probably going to be dusty, so good glasses help to prevent eye irritation from allergies. 

  1. Nordstrom, Ray Bans Icons 53mm Retro Sunglasses
  2. Saks Fifth Avenue, Prada Symbole 49mm Rectangle Sunglasses
Packing Tips For Your Safari In Africa

Packing Tips For Your Safari In Africa

  • Pack layers.
  • Accessories are vital.
  • Be mindful of weather.
  • Don’t forget your hat.
  • SPF is key.
  • Moisturizing skincare.
  • Exfloilants

If you want in depth packing tips for your next safari in Africa, then make sure to read this post HERE

Pack Layers

Yes, it will be hot when you go on safari. But remember that it’s quite cool, sometimes even really cold depending on where you are, in the mornings and evenings. And guess what? You go on game drives at sunrise and sunset! 

This means you need to pack layers with you to ensure you stay comfortable and practical. My favorite way to layer is with light jackets (the utility jackets are a great option). This Alo Yoga Dreamscape long sleeve was also perfect. 

Remember that layer also have to do with scarves and hats. When it’s cold, make sure you have a beanie. And when it’s warm, bust out your wide brim. If you’re looking for a warmer scarf, then bring this J.Crew Oversize Cashmere Wrap.

Accessories Are Vital

The thing I love about accessories is that they can really make or break an outfit, but they also don’t take up too much space! Think of those silk scarves for instance, they barely take up any room when you pack, but they totally change the look. 

You’re on safari, remember, so you don’t want to get too frilly. You’re also in the wild, so you don’t want nice, delicate items to get ripped or ruined. Choose durable, practical pieces that you can add to your outfit to change the look of a standard T-shirt

Plus, accessories allow you to wear the same pants or tops multiple times, while still looking a little different. We love the less is more approach!

Be Mindful Of Weather

Please check the weather before you go on safari. I went during the dry season, which made my outfit choices a lot different than if I’d gone in the wet season. If you’re going in the wet season, then solid boots are a must!

Don’t Forget Your Hat

Regardless of the time of year you’re going, you need to bring a hat). Make sure your hat has a wide brim, because the African sun can be too hot to handle for some people. This will keep you comfy and cool even on warm days.

Pro tip: bring a hat that you can tie under your chin for windy days and game drives. That’s why I love the Lack of Color Wide Brim.

SPF Is Key

Don’t even try to challenge the African sun without bringing SPF. My go-to for my face is EltaMD tinted sunscreen. I love it, because it doesn’t feel like sunscreen when it goes on, but it does the trick in keeping me super protected. 

Moisturizing Skincare

Packing sunscreen for moisturizer isn’t enough. Lately, I’ve been loving mixing my EltaMD with the Sente Dermal Repair after my morning shower. I’m also obsessed with the Zo serum, especially in dry weather. 


If you’re traveling to Africa in the dry season for safari, then you’ll definitely want to have some kind of exfoliant with you to keep your skin happy. Lately I’ve been loving the Barefaced Toning Pads ll. But the Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Pads are a great alternative, too.

Chic Safari outfit ideas

Style Tips For Chic and Functional Safari Wear

  • High quality, affordable clothing.
  • It’s all about the accessories.
  • Don’t forget the pop of color. 
  • Shop secondhand.
  • Check out style inspo online.

High Quality, Affordable Clothing

I’m someone that prefers to spend less on my clothes, and more on my accessories like bags, shoes, and other accessories. Make sure that whatever you find for clothing is still high quality, even if it’s affordable. 

Some of my favorite brands for high quality, affordable clothing for safari are:

  • Madewell
  • Banana Republic
  • Revolve
  • Anthropologie
  • J.Crew

It’s All About The Accessories

The accessories are where I like to splurge, because- again- I believe the accessories make or break an outfit. Highly recommend shopping vintage dior silk scarves on Poshmark using my code ALMENDRARIMBY to save $10 on your first order. 

Don’t forget the power of a good belt, or stylish glasses to really round out an outfit.

Don’t Forget The Pop Of Color

Safari vibes are pretty neutral given the circumstances. It is important to stick to those earthy, camouflage tones when you’re doing walking safaris, or if you’ve been instructed to by your guide. But if it’s safe to dress as you please, then don’t forget a pop of color goes a long way. 

My favorite way to add the pop of color was to add a new scarf,, mostly because I could pack a few options without taking up much space or added weight.

Shop Secondhand

Would you believe me if I said that most of my closet is second hand? Because it is! Don’t worry, I know that shopping on Poshmark or other secondhand sites can be overwhelming, so I wrote a whole post for you on how to score with exactly what you need. 

Shopping secondhand helps to keep the cost low, and also reduces the environmental impact of fast fashion. It does take longer to sift through, but it’s well worth it in the end!

Check Out Style Inspo Online

My favorite place to get style inspo online is Pinterst, or LTK. These platforms are really catered towards style and fashion, which is why I find them more useful than other social media platforms. 

You’re all ready to pack for your next safari, and I’m so excited to see what you choose!

Share some of your favorite brands or items in the comments below. 



How To Dress Chic And Functional On Safari In Africa
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