What to Pack for Safari: 2 Apparel Must-Haves and 2 Don’t-Even-Think-About-Its

I’m about to take the trip of a lifetime—In a few days I’ll be heading off with Micato Safaris on a two-week wild-animal-spotting adventure in Kenya and Tanzania, through the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the Serengeti. And I couldn’t be more excited!

Over the past month, while I’ve been prepping and planning for the trip (visas, inoculations, ordering a wide variety of DEET-laced insect repellents from Amazon.com), I’ve learned a few really important fashion-related packing tips.

1. Bring a sports bra on safari. This is something that hadn’t even crossed my mind until I spoke with Emily, who’s coordinating our expedition. Depending on how bosom-y you are, Emily says that it’s worth considering bringing a sports bra along, because off-roading in Jeeps for up to 10 hours a day can be, um, extremely bumpy.

2. Insect repellent clothing is a thing. Here’s something I wish I’d known about before: both Columbia Sportswear and Ex Officio make capsule collections of insect-repellent clothing—i.e. apparel made from permethrin-coated fibers that keep bugs away! Since one of the scariest things (to me) about heading out on safari is the slim chance of getting sick or dying from a mosquito bite (mozzies love me—thus, I have stocked up on malaria pills and yellow fever vaccination), I’ve been more than happy to buy heaps of tops and pants from both Columbia and Ex Officio.

3. Do not bring black or blue clothes on safari. It wasn’t until I started packing for safari that I realized that 99 percent of my wardrobe is black, some shade of black, blue, some shade of blue, white, or bright. All of these colors are pretty much a no-go on safari. White and bright colors make you more noticeable to wild animals, so if we want to see some wildlife, better stick to neutrals. And black and blue attracts Tsetse flies—biting little bloodsuckers. Great.

So, as it stands, here’s what I’m bringing on safari for two weeks: insect repellent T-shirts and two pairs of pants from Ex Officio, an insect repellent button-down from Columbia, and a Buff laced with Insect Shield. All in brown. Or brown-ish. A totally different look than what I’m used to. Yesterday, some of the clothes arrived from Amazon and I put it all on and felt like a whole different person wearing head-to-toe a color that can only be described as “putty.”


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