Friday, June 1, 2012

What to wear on a safari...........

Some of you have asked that I share my safari wardrobe before stuffing it into the duffel bag. So here goes.......

There are rules, and some people break them.........perhaps they don't care about respecting the people and wildlife of Africa. You don't wear bright colors and patterns, or even white when participating in game drives into the bush. Neutrals, especially khaki, beige, dark grey and olive green are perfect. Fortunately I adore those shades so preparing for an adventure such as this is easy peasy for me! Famous last words as I look as the piles of stuff growing daily on the guest room bed! Winter will just be commencing and early mornings, evenings, and night time may be quite chilly..... but thankfully rain should be almost nonexistent.

Remember that awesome intro by Isak Dinesen in her memorable book.......Out Of Africa? 
"I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills"

Then came the movie starring the wonderful Meryl Streep, striding through the bush in stunning clothes......haven't we always loved that romantic yet strong look? A woman in charge, in a landscape seldom experienced by Europeans in the early 1900's.
Sweeping skirts, petticoats, with linen shirts and silk ties, jodphurs and fitted riding jackets, leather and canvas paddock boots. Beautiful looks but no longer practical for today's game rides into the Bushveldt, and definitely too heavy and bulky for the one allowed soft bag on small bush planes.
Instead, here are some items I'm packing:
  • The safari vest above. Purchased for the previous trip to southern Africa in 2010. Plenty of handy pockets for batteries, photo cards, Altoids etc. Layered over this dark olive tunic sweatshirt and lighter green hemp/cotton tee, these pieces with a pair of comfy black slim pants (which double as dressy pants for dinner) will be my traveling clothes. Note my fabulous Baggallini animal print bag, the most delightful gift received for my first visit to Africa from great friend Sarah at Hyacinths For The Soul in Texas. Still love it Sarah and it has visited a lot of the world in the last two years!
  • A second new vest in olive green, lighter weight and comfy over an olive quilted cotton jacket from Target several years ago.
  • A couple of very lightweight cardigans to layer over short or long sleeve tees depending on the temperature.
  • Subtle printed soft square scarf - large enough to wear as a shawl, or tied at the neckline, even as a head wrap on a chilly morning drive before the sun comes up! I'll be taking at least three scarves.

  • The required brimmed safari sunhat - this one has built-in insect repellent - as does the charcoal gray, warm and quick-dry jersey in the foreground above.  
  • All my lovely flower pins, again very lightweight for travel, are tiny treasures made by my dear friend Patti in Washington state.
  • My now well-worn khaki-green suede short boots, light, comfy and perfect with long or cropped pants and shorts.  My only other footwear will be my Keen 'Whisper' sandals which go everywhere, can get wet, and are very, very comfortable.........and a pair of flat dressier sandals for around the camps and evenings.  Thick, insect-repellent treated socks are a must for me..............and while on the subject of insects, as in mosquitoes, you can see my anti-malarial medication ready and waiting - VERY IMPORTANT not to forget that.

  • Bottoms up!  Three pairs of safari pants, two convert to shorts, the other pair rolls up to become crops.
  • Another pretty scarf to jazz up a plain top for evening, along with a special necklace. The cream bandanna is treated with insect repellent - I found this great last time and was only bitten once the entire trip.  
  • A cheapo poncho ready for the spray at Victoria Falls, and do I see cute little rolls of 'bush toilet paper'? A must-have on a long game drive!
  • Last but by no means least, a little 'bling' to brighten things up in the evenings. Nothing expensive or weighty, just some favorites from friends, mostly handcrafted, loved, and easily tucked in a corner of the bag.  
This of course is not everything that must be stuffed in the main bag..........hopefully the little corners and zippered pockets will allow for toiletry essentials and all the extra paraphernalia we modern travelers require.  Additional carry on bag will be the back pack......a lot has to fit in there! Our total allowance for everything, including cameras, is only 44 pounds due to the very small planes used for transport between the four countries we'll be visiting.

Getting late so goodnight all - I'm off to dream about Africa.


  1. I'm impressed and love everything you are packing. I've certainly learned to go much more lightweight when we travel. Used to pack so much more than is ever necessary. Now, I try to keep things simple, taking clothes that can mix and match easily or be changed up with a simple necklace or scarf. Hubby has helped to start a printing press in Tanzania so we are hoping to go there one day. Had planned to go a couple of summers ago but the Tanzanian guy we were to meet got malaria. My kids are very, very allergic to mosquitoes so we cancelled plans. Yikes! I don't do small airplanes -- my stomach gets very queasy. I know you are going to have a wonderful time. Best wishes, Tammy

  2. Mary you are going to look amazing in your chosen wardrobe. Can't wait to see all your snaps already and you haven't even left:)

    The Linley work on the Cunard looks incredible.

    Your comments are so lovely, glad you signed up for the giveaway just intime.


  3. Hi Mary,

    Love everything you are taking and that you are so respectful of the bush and animals in your color choices - the bling is a perfect touch.
    Wishing you a fabulous and safe trip and looking forward to reading all about it and seeing your beautifl photographs.

  4. Mary, I love your style...everyday or on your wonderful trips.

  5. A fantastic wardrobe! Very much like Meryl Streep's!

  6. Mary, I am so glad you will still be thinking of me when you go potty!! LOLOLOLOL! I love your outfits, especially how you showed them all to us! Enjoy!

  7. I am impressed. You are so well organized and will still look beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  8. You have such style...and I love all these colors! My favorites too, "autumn" person that I am.

  9. Mary, this is a great post and such fun for us "armchair" travelers. We've considered a trip to Africa, so I'm taking good notes. Looks like you have it down. You are going to be totally stylish! You know the wise words: Take half of what you initially pack, and twice the money." I don't think you need to pare down any. I think you've mastered the art of travel! So excited for you, dear friend, and happy that the Baggallini has been a useful travel accessory. Sweet dreams! ~ Sarah

  10. Love all of the clothes as I like the fall colors too. You are going to have a blast...tell Bob he will do just fine...just stay away from the gators, hippos, etc.!
    Take Care,

  11. What a fun show what you are packing. Love this post.

  12. Do you always prepare your things like that when you go on a vacation? Well, I think it is wise to do it so that you can be prepared for anything. I think wearing light material is the best idea though. We all know that it can be hot in Africa, so wearing light can keep you comfortable even under the heat. Anyway, how’s your safari trip to Africa?

  13. Fabulous Mary... A perfect wardrobe and I do love all your necklaces... xv

  14. bonjour mary! i just found you through vicki's blog...i enjoyed this post and LOVE your safari bling! thank you for sharing..look forward to reading more!


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