I was invited to visit Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, and Cape Town by South African Tourism, and when I found out I was going on a safari in Kruger National Park I immediately began researching clothes for a safari and what to pack for a safari.
After I read dozens of packing list articles on what to pack, what to bring, and what to leave at home I was still confused about what to wear to a safari.
I decided I needed to create a very detailed guide for what to pack for a safari depending on the season and time of year you visit South Africa.
Y’all know I had to be cute for those Instagram-worthy photos!
Deciding what to wear on safari really depends on the time of year and the weather.
The weather in Africa was nothing as I expected. I was under the impression it was going to be hot but NO, it was freezing!
South Africa gets extremely cold and thank Gawd I checked the weather app because I would have been up a creek.
This was my first time visiting the continent so I am not sure what I expected but it definitely was not frigid temps. I will take the guesswork out of what you need to pack for this epic adventure.
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I will cover what to wear on safari, what to bring on safari, what colors are appropriate for safari, as well as what you can probably leave behind at home.
Before you begin purchasing clothes for a safari you need to determine what time of the year you will be visiting Africa because that determines what you will need to pack.
Hopefully, I will answer all of your questions and this will be the only safari packing list you will need. Take your time and go through each section as the article is long but extremely thorough.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Kruger National Park?
The best time to visit the Kruger National Park is the dry season from May to September for the best game viewing and walking safari conditions.
Vegetation is low and sparse at this time of year, making animals easier to spot and track, while the permanent water sources offer a rewarding safari experience in the Kruger.
Generally considered a year-round destination, choosing exactly when to go to the Kruger depends on what you want to experience.
Kruger has two distinct seasons, the dry winter from May to October, and the summer rainy season from November to April. However, every day in the Kruger National Park is a one-of-a-kind safari adventure.
The best time to visit Kruger National Park is during the dry winter months from May to September.
At this time, the bush thins out, and animals congregate around waterholes and rivers. Conditions tend to get better as winter progresses, and September is particularly lovely since the mornings are less chilly than in mid-winter.
The best wildlife viewing time also coincides with the low season, making it even more attractive.
May to September (Dry season)
December to January and July to August (Especially during school holidays)
April to mid-June and September to November (Except for the October school holiday)
April to May and September to October (Mild weather and little rain)
June to August (Chilly mornings and nights) and December to February (Hot and humid)
Now that we have discussed the weather and you have determined what time of the year is best for you to go on a safari let’s get to discuss what you need to pack.
The 7 Safari Outfits you will Pack for your First Safari
There are plenty of options for what to wear on an African safari but I suggest sticking with primarily khaki or olive colors.
The safari tours in Kruger National Park are viewed from within the confines of an overland truck or 4×4 car.
You will be driving around the bush all day in an open jeep so be prepared to get covered in dust.
With that being said understand that shirts, pants and shoes, and whatever else you may be wearing will get dirty and dusty.
- Note: It is illegal to wear Camouflage in Kruger National Park, so stick to your one-toned khaki clothing
P & G Recommended Safari Packing List
3 short-sleeve tops
2 long-sleeve tops
1 windbreaker jacket
1 fleece or warm jacket
P & G Recommended Shoe List
1 pair of comfortable sneakers
1 Pair of hiking boots
1 pair sandals
Layers, Layers, and More Layers
As I said earlier if you are under the impression South Africa was warm all year round nothing could be farther from the truth. I realized this as soon as I landed in Johannesburg because it was chilly AF there and it only got colder as we traveled from Jo’Burg to Kruger National Park.
The temperatures dropped to a low of 30 degrees as soon as the sun started to set.
Game drives are timed for when animals are most active. Typically, this means leaving your room for a 2-4 hour game drive beginning at sunrise.
I chose not to do the early morning game drive because I hate being cold and I am not a morning person.
Once you return from the morning game drive you will return to the room for lunch and relaxation, followed by another game drive late in the afternoon.
The temperatures will begin to cool off as soon as the sun sets – it goes from feeling relatively nice out to freezing within a matter of minutes which is why layers are essential to pack for a safari in Kruger National Park.
A good packing list for safari will include both short and long sleeve cotton shirts to wear during the day, warm sweaters, and a light jacket to wear in the early morning hours and in the evenings.
I also recommend bringing a scarf, a hat, and gloves.
Safari Color Guide
Do colors really matter?
Yes, Game-viewing should be done by blending in with your surroundings which will enhance your experience.
Watching wildlife behaving naturally is the best way to see Africa’s spectacular wildlife. The color of your clothing can potentially scare off or disturb your sighting – something you want to avoid.
The best safari color is khaki followed by olive, tans, and browns because they are good at handling dirt.
Remember to keep it casual and comfortable with tee shirts, long-sleeved shirts, shorts, hiking boots, and athletic socks to keep the blisters away.
What Colors you Shouldn’t Wear on Safari
While Black is my favorite color it is not appropriate for a safari because not only does it stand out in the bush if you are traveling to an area with tsetse flies they are attracted to black and blue colors.
The last thing you want to do is attract this dreaded fly – an insect with a painful bite – so much so that fly traps are made from blue and black fabric.
With the amount of dust in the bush, white is hardly recommended as it gets dirty very easily therefore when on a game drive, you are expected to blend in with the bush as much as possible.
Wear neutral colors, such as khaki, beige, taupe, or grey.
Having considered what to wear on safari, here’s a selection of the clothes I recommend for your safari packing list.
1. Cotton Tee’s (Long & Short)
While nights are cold when in the bush, days are actually warm and you will often be wandering around in a t-shirt.
Don’t make the rookie mistake I made on my first safari and only pick t-shirts in neutral colors.
You will want something that is super lightweight that can be washed in the sink and will dry quickly.
Long pants and long-sleeved tops will keep your skin covered and protect you from the cold and wind, sun, and insect bites.
While many places in Africa can get really hot, remember that some can also get downright chilly and this is especially true for Kruger National Park.
Long pants are especially useful if you’re going on a walking safari or a game drive where you’re allowed to sometimes exit the vehicle
Even though it was chilly I still decided on short Khaki pants instead of long. I suggest safari shorts that are comfortable, durable, and weather-resistant, and the color of course blends in with the environment.
While many articles I read said don’t wear shorts I decided to take a chance and needless to say I did not get eaten alive by mosquitos or any of the bugs for that matter.
I did spray on a ton of perfume like I was the old dude at the club.
Safari Light sweaters & Layering
As I have stated 5 additional times earlier in this article it gets really cold in South Africa specifically Kruger National Park.
The climate and weather in Africa range from one extreme to another, from extremely cold freezing nights to very hot and dusty afternoons.
Layering is very convenient in these situations. Your layering should include at least one warm layer especially if you plan to go on early morning game drives.
A warm jacket
Multi-functional jackets with various pockets and neutral colors are what you need.
With these, you can safely carry your small safari accessories such as a camera, pair of binoculars, guide books, etc. safari jackets are especially needed on the game drives.
A Scarf, a Hat, and Gloves
I also suggest a wide-brimmed safari hat as it will protect you from the heat and shield your eyes from the glare of the sun and enables you to see animals at a distance.
You may need a chin strap to keep the hat firm on your head. It would even be much better if you got a waterproof hat, it would shield you from both the rain and the sunshine.
If you happen to be traveling during the cold season, from May to August, I suggest packing a set of thermals to put on under your safari clothes so you can stay warm.
I traveled to Kruger in September and it was still quite chilly (Freezing at night).
Comfortable Shoes & Boots for Safari
Footwear is an item that should not be overlooked when packing for your safari. Leave your cute shoes at home for your safari unless you want to be limping by the end of the day.
Once you leave the lodge you will need something comfortable to withstand the African terrain and will not leave your feet blistered.
The importance of a good quality well fitting sock is imperative on an African safari. Your feet will take a lot of punishment so choose your socks carefully.
Once you return to your room you will want to relax and put your feet up so I highly suggest packing a nice pair of sandals that you can also wear to dinner.
I had a private plunge pool at Jabulani so it was nice to come back to the room and relax out by the pool before dinner.
Pack a swimsuit and some casual clothing for around camp.
Additional Items you will need:
I didn’t see or get bit by any mosquitoes in Kruger National Park but I did spray a ton of mosquito repellent, wore the armbands and I lathered on citronella oil for extra precautions.
You will also want to protect your skin from sun damage so make sure you apply sunscreen generously.
For the same reasons, make sure to also protect your eyes with a good pair of sunglasses.
A power bank
You will need it to charge your smartphone on the go. Make sure to also bring a plug adaptor too.
Jabulani Safari Lodge provided binoculars for its guest so I didn’t even need to purchase any so make sure you check with the lodge before you purchase any to make sure you need them.
If the lodge you are staying at doesn’t provide binoculars you won’t want to miss any hunting scene or any bird watching, so binoculars are another essential item for your safari packing list.
Camera vs iPhone
A safari is a content creator’s dream. I don’t think I have ever taken as many photos on any given day as I did during my safari trips.
I didn’t bring my big fancy camera but instead, I simply used my iPhone and my pictures look like they came out of National Geographic!
I just didn’t find it feasible to carry around a big camera when iPhone photos are equally as amazing. I have an iPhone 14 and the picture quality was excellent so if are eligible for an upgrade this is the time.
Last but not least is a toiletry bag because if you are anything like me I don’t leave home without my facial products so pick one that has multiple pockets and zips and that can be easily hung.
Documents you Must Pack
Losing documents is a very common occurrence, especially while traveling. As a result, packing the necessary documents safely should be your first priority before packing the rest of your luggage.
- A passport that has all of the necessary visas for every nation that your safari will visit or pass through.
- A small amount of cash, bank cards, and/or traveler’s checks are recommended. These days, you can also utilize e-wallet apps to avoid lugging around multiple credit cards and cash.
- Air tickets and travel vouchers for any pre-arranged organized safaris that have been purchased.
- Where necessary, vaccination certificates (yellow fever, mumps, etc.) will be provided. Some immunizations must be administered many weeks in advance (see Vaccinations needed for your African Safari).
- Medical treatment may include malaria prevention medications (see Malaria Made Simple) as well as any personal medications (also take your prescription in case of an emergency-your medication gets lost, wet, eaten by a baboon, etc).
- The specifics of your travel insurance policy Your policy number, as well as the contact information for claims and emergencies, will be provided.
- Prepare a copy of all of your important documents, including your airline tickets, travel insurance policy, immunization records, and records of prescriptions and prescriptions.
Where to Stay in Kruger National Park
Jabulani Safari Lodge – A Luxury Resort
Jabulani Safari lodge is just breathtaking, only a short drive away from Hoedspruit Airport and you are literally in the South African Bush!
The style and ambiance of Jabulani exude luxury with hints of home. The main area features an elegant dining room and lounge that lead to an outside wooden deck lying beneath the shade of Leadwood trees.
This is where you will enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily while overlooking the waterhole.
The signature suspension bridge stretches gracefully over the river bed, connecting to the six Jabulani suites and Zindoga Villa which is how you will get to your room from the main area.
Camp Jabulani is a superbly luxurious safari getaway. It’s all rich wood furniture, crystal glasses, and silver service. The meals are feasts, the wines are fine, the lounge area has wireless internet, and the bushveld views from the wooden deck.
THE ROOM AT JABULANI:
This luxury South African Safari lodge has six suites which are secluded, with canvas walls that roll up to reveal the surrounding wilderness.
Each suite is air-conditioned and has a lounge area and fireplace for cold nights, an en-suite bathroom with a stone tub and glass-walled outdoor shower, and a plunge pool.
The beds are huge, with pure cotton sheets and draped mosquito nets. The larger Zindoga Villa which is the villa I stayed in has two individual suites linked by a lounge and serviced by a private chef, butler, and game ranger.
I have never walked into a building or room and been speechless until I walked into our suite. There were elephant towels on the bed and the attention to detail is just outstanding, even down to the little natural leaf-cut elephants on the flannels.
The view from our room overlooked the reserve where you could see animals walking past. Check out the full-length video of our room on my IG reel.
- Kapama Private Game Reserve supports a wide variety of wildlife
- Plenty of activities including game drives, guided walks, and spa therapy
- Exclusive accommodation consisting of six suites
- Accredited Relais & Châteaux property
- Elephant Experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
Click here to book your stay at Jabulani Game Reserve!
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DO YOU NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
I think most people have questions about where to go for medical care in an emergency. First, I should note that if you’re on spring break, chances are slim that you’ll be needing emergency care.
Still, better safe than sorry!
I can’t say this enough but please get insurance when traveling to South Africa! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance.
Have fun while visiting South Africa, but take it from someone who has racked up thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before, you need it.
Make sure to get your insurance before you head off on an adventure! I highly recommend Travelex Insurance.
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ADDITIONAL ARTICLES FOR TRAVELING
Have you been on a safari? Did I leave anything out of my packing list? Do you have any further recommendations on clothes for a safari? would love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
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