What to Wear on a South African Safari in July

Ann,

I completely agree with your summer list of favorites — adding only a pair of shorts and linen button down shirt to your essentials list. I can’t speak to the fashion at a summer concert, but I do remember that I wore a navy & white pinstrip short flounce skirt and navy tank to the James Taylor outdoor concert in July 1988. That could still work, couldn’t it?

Apart from all the 4th of July festivities this past week, I’ve spent some time helping family members pack for their summer excursions. My brother, Michael, and sister-in-law, Laurie, are now on some form of safari in South Africa. I spent a few hours in Laurie’s closet and some time reading other “What to Wear on a Safari” blogs to help her choose just the right pieces for her 10-day trip.

My first conclusion: I think South Africa is my perfect fashion destination. Every travel site advises that you bring neutral colored clothing. Can you imagine this Mecca for me? It”s a beige-taupe-ecru-khaki wonderland!

My second conclusion: The key to successful packing for a safari in July –winter in South Africa — where the temperatures range broadly from about 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning to about 70 degrees midday is LAYERING. Long sleeve t-shirts, short-sleeve t-shirts, vests, jackets, hats and gloves in the morning are all required.

For Laurie, whose wardrobe is awash in bright colors, finding the neutral anchors was more of an effort. We created several outfits based on three pairs of pants (khaki, slate and black), several t-shirts and some cotton sweaters. She had 3 pairs of flat shoes that were cute but practical, a sturdy jacket and a few great necklaces in turquoise, orange and sea glass blue to give life to the neutrals. We also added three wraps – black, beige and pink – to be worn as scarves if cold in the morning or wraps at dinner. As she was going to be spending time in a town and less out on the range (remember, this is a fashion blog, not a travel one — names of cities not included because I don’t know them), we felt comfortable accenting her foundation outfits with splashes of color. In addition to the basic tees, we chose three blousy/tunic tops in autumnal shades of brown, blue and “safari” green for the city sight-seeing to be worn with the pants.

Here is the must have list for your next winter Safari: long khaki pants, long -t-shirts, hiking shoes and good socks, a good hat, sunglasses, and a rainproof jacket. Leave your flip flops and sundresses at home, this attire is all about utility with the fashion goal of looking as good as Meryl and Robert did so many years ago.

Up next: What to Wear on a Barge Trip in the South of France in July

— Julie

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