I’m so excited that this post is finally here! It’s been a month + a few weeks since we’ve been back from Africa, and I’ve finally had time to decompress and reflect on the trip. If you want to read about the itinerary details (where we stayed, what we did), check out this post here.
This post is all about what I packed! There are two major things to consider before packing for your safari trip. I think these principles can actually apply to any trip, so book mark ’em.
- What season you are traveling in. The point behind this being: what weather do you need to pack and prepare for?
- What activities you will be doing. A beachside loungey trip will require a different packing list than a remote hiking trip.
Your packing list should change depending on these factors. We traveled in early August (which is winter, and the dry season), and our safari experience was quite rural and remote. While our accommodations were far from “roughing it,” we spent our entire trip at safari camps in the middle of the savannah wilderness. Which meant that we didn’t need any “fancy” clothes at all. We didn’t spend any time in a city or town, other than to change planes.
On safari, the main sartorial things to focus on are color and layer-ability. You should stick to a neutral palette (khaki, olive, brown, mustard) as it’s best to blend in with the flora and not distract the wildlife. White is great for reflecting the sun, but keep in mind it is very dusty in the bush. And because the temperature fluctuates drastically from morning to midday during the winter season (low 40s to high 90s), pack things that can layer easily.
I discovered Rawson, a vintage shop based in Chicago, right before I left for this trip, and I probably could have outfitted myself for the entire trip from their shop. Scroll down to learn about their shop and snag some of my favorite items, plus a discount code!
Here are my recommendations on what to bring with you. (Things like underwear are not included.)
- Long pants. Not jeans (too heavy, hot, and cumbersome). I highly recommend a pair of vintage military pants from Rawson (worn below). I wish I had bought 2 pairs in different colors!
- Long sleeve linen or cotton shirts. Like this one from Rawson below. These are for breathability and sun protection. I also grabbed a button down from Uniqlo which I could easily layer over tee shirts.
- Tee shirts. I snagged a few of these super soft, high-quality tees from Nation LTD. They are pricey but well worth it.
- Lightweight down jacket. I picked up this cutie pie from Uniqlo and it was perfect. It’s quite cold in the mornings and you’ll need a warm jacket that also isn’t too bulky. I love these little down zip-ups because they are super compact.
- Wide brim hat. I recommend a flexible brim rather than a stiff brim. It’s easier to pack and won’t annoy your seat mates on your game drives (bonking them in the face or blocking their view). Also look for one with a chin strap so it doesn’t blow away!
- Comfortable walking shoes. I bought these Tevas last year for our trip to Alaska, and they were perfect. I don’t recommend leather boots because they’re too insulated and hot.
- Backpack or day pack. We used 1 backpack between the 2 of us and it was sufficient. Each day on our game drives we brought our cameras, binoculars (crucial to pack an excellent pair of binos. We got these ones for the trip), sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, and an extra warm layer.
- Really good sunglasses. The sun is brutal in the bush.
- Chilly weather gear: knit hat, gloves, lightweight scarf. It was very cold on the morning game drives.
- Electrical outlet adaptor. Botswana outlets use plug type M.
- Rain jacket. If you travel in the winter (dry season) you won’t need one.
- Sandals. I brought my Tevas but did not need them. We were mostly walking around on dirt/sand the whole trip, and did no water activities.
- Shorts. I only wore my shorts once and really didn’t need them. It’s better to wear pants for sun protection and warmth. Plus, if you do any walking safaris, you’ll need long pants to protect your legs from the brush.
- Headlamp or mini flashlight. Walking to your room at night in the dark is easier with a flashlight or headlamp (or the light from your phone works fine).
Don’t worry about packing these things:
- Fancy makeup. Most days I only wore sunscreen.
- Hair dryer/curler. We didn’t even have outlets in our room :o)
- Dresses or skirts. I brought one dress (this one) because it was just too perfect to leave at home. But I only wore it to take some photos.
- High heels or fancy shoes. At a safari camp you will mostly be walking around in the dirt/sand. You won’t even need open-toed sandals (like Tevas or Chacos) unless you’re planning on white water rafting. I brought 2 pairs of sandals but should have left them at home.
- Finicky jewelry. Wedding rings are fine to bring. We left ours at home, but would have felt totally safe wearing them.
- Bathing suit. Unless your trip involves rafting or swimming, you don’t need one. We had a “pool” at our camp but never used it and never saw anyone else use it.
All About Rawson
I could have bought practically everything I needed for this trip from Rawson, tbh. Their shop is the perfect color palette and aesthetic for a safari (or for that everyday-effortless-workwear-meets-streetwear vibe).
Rachel began Rawson in 2014 as an Instagram styling concept, “A friend and I photographed each other in vintage jeans and thrifted simple pieces.” She had always loved observing style and branding in magazines, then blogs, then small boutiques, and wanted a way to put her ideas out into the world (this is one of the reasons I love Instagram). She started her online shop in late 2016. It blows my mind how successful Rawson is after only 2 years!
When you visit Rawson, you’ll notice that Rachel definitely has found her niche—functional utility wear, romantic blouses, natural hues and fabrics. “I found that men’s military pants fit me in a different way, unlike stretch skinny jeans or stiff 501s. Once I found the fatigues, sailor pants and other variations of them, I kept going with that search of functional utility wear. At some point the shop was looking far too militant, so I searched for romantic blouses to add a bit of balance.” It’s fascinating to hear how she discovered and nurtured her shop’s unique point of view.
I’m such a huge fan of Rawson and I’m so excited to share them with you!
Use code PIZZA15 for 15% off the whole shop until 10/31!