What You Are Not Supposed to Wear on an African Safari

The Husband and I were recently trying to work on our future travel itinerary and needed somewhere to kill a little time so it warms up in Europe before we head that way (we really hate cold weather).  We discovered that there are some really cheap flights from India to South Africa and Tanzania.  We hadn’t thought much about Africa before, but the flights are cheap and it would solve our problem about getting to Europe when it’s still cold.

Before actually booking any tickets of course we have to do lots of research because we really don’t know much about traveling in Africa.  Of course one of the things we talked about doing was an African safari.

It sounds exciting, however, I seriously cringed when I started reading about going on an African safari, especially when it came to what not to wear.  My entire wardrobe is so not in compliance.

Imagine the horror when I read this under what NOT to wear (what to wear on a safari ) :

“bright-coloured clothing or busy patterns. This will draw attention to you and scare off the wildlife.”

Are you freaking serious?  To make it even worse the recommended clothing colors are khaki, green and brown.  How bland and boring can you possibly get?  Where does vintage clothing fit in here?  I love bright colors with crazy patterns, do I really have to give them up, even temporarily?

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See, this clearly is not proper attire for an African safari.

And oh the horrors, they even recommend those horrible convertible travel pants, those monstrosities where the legs zip off.  Shudder, shudder, you’re not getting me in a pair of those, no matter what.

Oh and it gets worse, you are also supposed to wear light colors at night to deter mosquitoes and not wear black or navy blue because that attracts tsetse flies. Hmmmm, well I only have two pairs of pants and one of those is black.  My only jacket is also black.  Do I really have to replace all of my clothing to go on a safari?

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When we went to Tiger Temple they also had all of these rules about what you could and could not wear, and most of what I had at the time wasn’t in compliance so that’s why I’m wearing a t-shirt.  I’m not sure why this color was OK.

At some point I was getting totally stressed out about the whole thing.  I have read so many different recommendations about what to wear when you go on a safari and it’s all pretty much the same.  Granted, there was one site (where that is I can’t remember) that said it really doesn’t matter what you wear unless you are on a walking safari, but most sites don’t seem to share that sentiment.

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We recently went on an afternoon elephant safari in Kui Buri National Park in Thailand and they didn’t have strict rules about what you should wear.

The other problem is that I bet most people hit REI or Columbia before a safari so half the people probably show up looking like Indiana Jones.  I am not too concerned about dressing like everybody else, but I read somewhere that other people on the safari can get mad if they think you are wearing colors that will scare off the wildlife.  And of course I want to see the wildlife too, so there’s that.  But still.

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There weren’t any rules about wearing certain clothing to swim with whale sharks.

My whole (really limited) wardrobe is seriously not going to work for this.  On top of that painful news most of the safaris we are looking at also limit you to one soft bag that weighs 15 kilos. OK, my backpack would be in compliance, but what about my second bag, my tote bag that usually weighs about 7 kilos?  I am comfortable with the amount of stuff I carry and I don’t want to go more minimalist, but now I am expected to not only get rid of the my current clothing to wear bland and boring clothing with no soul, but then on top of that I have have to somehow significantly lighten the load as well?

I actually suggested to the Husband that we go back to the drawing board because it would be much easier to pack for this for Africa thing if we did it after we settled down again and had a home and a closet and didn’t have to carry pretty much everything we own in our backpacks.  He of course told me I was overreacting and made fun of how “hard” my life is if this is a real problem.

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OK good point, yes I am overreacting and this isn’t a “problem” in the grand scheme of things, but the thought of lightening my load and switching out my clothing to boring neutrals is still quite painful to me.

Oh well, I guess it will be a once in a lifetime kind of adventure.  Although the other downside is that safaris are really, really expensive so apparently the safaris in our price range are the (budget) camping ones.  Not even glamping, oh no it’s the real thing like where you sleep in a sleeping bag in a tent that you put up yourself.  At least the husband seems to have finally agreed that a 19 night camping safari might be a little extreme.

Oh well, at least I have three months to figure this out.

Until next time…..

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