How to Nail the Safari Look

Heading off on the trip of a lifetime to a safari in South Africa? Wondering what on earth you’ll need to pack to pull off this rugged style while keeping things practical?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

Below, we explain how to get the safari look spot on whether you want to go modern in style or effortlessly classic.

It’s All About the Jacket

It probably goes without saying that the staple in any safari wardrobe is the jacket. In years gone by, the safari jacket was the iconic piece of the tropical uniform worn by the British military. This featured several pockets, epaulettes and a waist belt, was lightweight in style for coolness and ease of movement in the day but didn’t lack any warmth at night. 

Today, many jackets are based on this classic design and will be made from lightweight fabrics like cotton so as to give the breathability you need on those hot summer days.

So, if you want to go really traditional, a safari jacket with four pockets, a belt and khaki color is a must.

However, for a contemporary twist, you may want to look to different materials, statement zips and contrasting pockets for a more standout look.

Whichever you choose, though, will transfer from day to night with ease. After a day on the safari, simply team your jacket with some chinos and a shirt for dressier occasions or jeans and a t-shirt for more casual ones.

The Style’s in the Shirt

Another essential for this get-up is the classic, simple safari shirt which you’ll find available from companies like Orvis.

For maximum comfort on hot safaris, you’ll need a linen- or cotton-blend shirt for added breathability. And when it comes to style, you’ll want a timeless, crisp option that’ll stand the test of time. Just inject your own personality into the shirt by choosing something with distinguished shirt details, e.g. rolled tab sleeves, epaulettes or single-button chest pockets.

If you prefer short-sleeved shirts you’ll also find plenty of these, or roll up the sleeves of a long-sleeved design for a casual vibe.

Bring It All Together with Your Legwear

Now, to bring the look together, you’ll need to choose the right legwear. Shorts, chinos or slim-fitting trousers are classic safari essentials. However, modern alternatives, e.g. slimline cargo pants, can work just as well.

Again, khaki colors are the ideal style for these trousers and the lighter neutral colors of these (e.g. stone, sand or beige) are a flattering choice for all body shapes and sizes.

Want to up your safari game? Then you can even add smarter suit shorts to your safari jacket – a great look for evenings out in Cape Town, for example.

All that’s left now is to find a sturdy pair of shoes, e.g. the desert boot or a leather or suede walking/working boot. Add these in earthy colors and you’ll have nailed your safari look.

Photo credit: Cedarberg Travel