In contrast to many guidelines, experience has taught me one tough rule while on safari, “glamour comes last in the jungle” This is not to say that you are excused for rocking the most rugged cargo pants or dragging along century old canvas duffel. Rather it’s a clear indication that comfort and camouflage should be the pillars of your safari wardrobe. Whether trekking to catch a glimpse of gorillas up Volcanoes Mountains or using a 4WD across the Mara, the ability to get down on all fours for a perfect shot or the agility to step up to the tunes of the Masai Morans should not be stifled by your outfit. Listed below by Africa’s travel experts are a few guidelines to help you in putting together a practical safari wardrobe.
Color and Camouflage
While the Masai shukas, a common regalia that conveys a “been there done that” on Safari in East Africa may look amazing, they could also be the reason you won’t spot any life in the wild! Its commonly known that predators and especially lions are scared away by color red, which is the color of the shukas most Masai warriors will wear as they hunt for their coming of age rituals. Avoid red by any circumstance, also, avoid white and bright clothes as they will either scare away the grazers or stir aggression in the hunters, hence minimize your chances of spotting any. Limit your colors to earthy and laid back, including browns, tans and khakis.
From Pure Cottons to Heaven-sent Absorbents!
From Iceland to the Danakil –Earth’s hottest point in Northern Ethiopia, we’ve all come to appreciate the absorbent characteristic of cottons. That was till we discovered a cooler kid on the block, moisture wicking fabric as is commonly indicated on the laundry label/tag is a specially engineered process that enables absorbing and movement of moisture away from the skin, spreading across the whole garment for faster evaporation. Moisture wicking fabrics are ideal for safari and outdoor adventure for this cooling effect. Aim for clothes that are also ventilated.
The Cargo and the Straw Hat
Needless to say, yet a good reminder; packing light is a valued secret for a successful safari. For the ladies, you do not need that trendy sling bag, not with all the creepers and the monkeys on your path. Take advantage of the numerous pockets on your cargo pants and shirt to stick in just the necessary items like a handkerchief, sunglasses, a tube of sunscreen, extra batteries etc. Just the stuff that you will really need. As for the camera, the stronger the strap the better. Your boots too may come in handy as a secret storage for whatever extra effects that you may need to walk around with.
Breaking into your new safari shoe
One of the most common complaints on the safari trail is either ill-fitting shoes or too heavy pairs. Give yourself enough time to break into your safari boot before you commit it to the track less-trekked. If possible, expose your shoe to as much pressure as you will during the safari by hitting the road in it during your safari prepping. Do not ignore it when the toe pinches, it can only get worse. Also, choosing the right shoe for particular adventure is just as important. While a sneaker will work for hikers, you need a tough sole but one that does not cause too much noise while exploring the savanna due the thorny vegetation you are most likely to encounter.
A Thousand What if’s
It’s good to question your faith, it’s not merely being pessimistic – but rather acknowledging reality! So, what if it rains? Pack a light rain coat that will act as a shelter for you and your camera, smart phone etc. What if we are attacked by a wild animal? Refer to getting a comfortable shoe, add a professional guide to the equation. What if I’m invited for dinner or required to dress up? I’d say, don’t. Chances are everyone where you are knows and is most likely with you on the safari trip, they totally understand how transforming from an old cowboy/girl look in the wild to a sassy Cinderella on glass sandals can be hard. You are excused!
As Elizabeth Mbugua, Head of Customer Service at Jovago.com recaps, “An African Safari is a life-changing experience that takes you in as you are, and lets you leave a transformed soul. Carrying less baggage can only ensure more space for new treasures!” She concludes.