Functional But Chic African Safari Packing List You Can Pack in a Small Duffel Bag

Chic Africa Outfits

You might not be planning to head to Africa anytime soon, but I promise there is something for everyone in this post! I’m sharing a packing list that can be used to help pack for many types of trips and some chic and casual spring and summer outfit ideas. You still here? Okay, awesome!

Africa has been on my personal bucket list for years. Anyone remember my old video on YouTube where I talk about turning 40 and all the things I still want to do (8 years ago)? I mentioned visiting Africa in that video. Anyway, years later, we planned THE trip… for April 2020. Needless to say, that timeline didn’t work out.  So after years of dreaming, planning, cancellations, etc. we finally made it! This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip that I’m so excited to share with you all!

Find more details about my trip including info about each of our stops, the animals, and much more in this video.

2 weeks African safari packing list

African Safari Packing List

When we first started planning the trip, I had this clear vision of what I wanted to look like. My inspiration was Meryl Streep’s character in Out Of Africa or  Julia Schlaepfer’s character in the show, 1923. Have you seen either of those??

Then… I found out I could only bring one 40-lb. duffel bag because of the plane’s weight restrictions. This was maybe one of my greatest packing challenges yet! But I wasn’t ready to give up on my chic African safari outfits…and from what you’ll see from the outfits below, I still got some stylish looks to fit in that duffel! Depending on your specific trip, you might want to pack differently, but if you’re headed to Africa during the dry season, the packing list above will be super helpful.

A few tips and notes…

  • Most camps do laundry for you daily (for free) so you only need to pack minimal socks and undies.
  • To minimize, you could bring only one pair of shorts and only one jacket. I mostly wore one jacket (you’ll see below).
  • I packed two long dresses and wish I had packed one short and one long instead. Which is why you’ll see that reflected in the list above, but you’ll see two maxis below.
  • To make packing easier, stick to a color story. You’ll see below that I went with greens, tans, and whites. That is by design as it’s suggested you wear earth tones on safari.
  • This list is for anyone traveling during dry season and into fall.
  • If you look up other packing lists, you’ll see lots of specific gear to pack vs. more fashion-focused clothing. I don’t think you need serious outdoorsy gear for this trip.
  • Make sure that all toiletries, skincare, and makeup are travel sized to cut down on the amount of space you use in your bag.

Keep scrolling to see how I wore each of the pieces I have in the list above, some stylish safari outfits, and more details on our trip.


White Top & Green Shorts Chic Africa Outfits White Top & Green Shorts Africa Outfits

Outfit #1) White Top & Green Shorts

This first outfit is one I’d wear for spring/summer even at home…no Africa trip necessary! I’m wearing a pretty white eyelet top by Velvet. It’s 100% cotton so it keeps you cool, but you get that arm coverage with the long sleeves. I’ve styled this top with denim shorts and jeans but for this look, I’m wearing a pair of super chic green shorts by DL1961. These shorts have a high waist (12.25”), pleating details on the front, a wider A-line leg style (a must for flattering shorts!), and cool cargo-style details. The cargo trend is very big right now so all of the pieces in this post will be great for your spring/summer wardrobe. On my feet, I’m wearing some Golden Goose sneakers, but you can go with a different, more affordable option. Just make sure it’s a chic and stylish pair of sneakers that are comfortable! I kept the jewelry minimal with a pair of Julie Vos hoops.

If you’re looking for tips on how to find the perfect shorts over 40 and confidently wear them, check out this post.

Green pants Africa outfits

Africa safari outfits veronica beard cargo jacket
white patagonia fleece vest African safari packing list

what to wear in Africa

sam edelman combat boots

Outfit #2) Green Pants, Tan Tee & Veronica Beard Cargo Jacket

Next up, I’m wearing a pair of green Paige pants that you’re going to see A LOT more of in this post. They’re a jogger style with cargo pockets in this gorgeous military green color. They are a 26” inseam, which is perfect for me to wear with boots, sandals, or sneakers. These pants are one of those pieces you can have in your closet to dress up or down and they look SO chic. In this look, I styled them with a tan Nation LTD tee. It has subtle puffed short sleeves, a flattering V-neckline, and button front details. For warmth, I recommend taking a vest like the one I’m wearing above by Patagonia.

Cargo Jacket

Over the vest, I’m wearing a Veronica Beard cargo jacket that you’ll be seeing throughout the rest of this post. This jacket and the Paige pants were my most-worn pieces from this trip. And the jacket has remained a heavy hitter since we returned home. It’s such a gorgeous, special piece with cargo details and a zip-off bottom so you can wear it long or cropped. It’s like you’re getting two jackets for the price of one! Of note, you go on safari early in the morning and during the evening. It gets pretty chilly so you definitely want to wear layers as I did above.


To complete the look, I’m wearing a few accessories you’ll be seeing more of in this post…because again, I was only allowed that one duffel bag! I’m wearing my go-to Rag & Bone hat I’ve owned for years. Just trust me, it’s worth the investment. Around my neck is a gorgeous neutral scarf from Banana Republic that’s so luxe-looking. I added a western-inspired belt by ba&sh but you could go with whatever brown belt you already own. On my feet, I’m wearing some Sam Edelman combat boots…comfort was key during this trip and these did the trick! Plus, they’re such a good, neutral pair of boots, I know I’ll wear them again. To finish off the look, I’m wearing some Julie Vos jewelry and my Celine sunglasses.

green simkahi romper | Chic Africa Outfits

green simkahi romper | Chic Africa Outfitsbrown banana republic belt bag

Outfit #3) Green Romper

Next up, I’m wearing a chic green utility-style romper by Simkahi. I love the cinched waist, oversized lapels, and capped sleeves. It’s that pretty olive green color I tried to tie into all of my outfits with the pants, hat, and a tee you’ll see in some of the looks below. I kept it simple and wore a pair of Madewell slide-on sandals that are really comfortable and a great shoe to have in your closet this summer. I only brought three pairs of shoes on this trip…these sandals, the boots from the last look, and the sneakers from the first look. The belt back I’m carrying is from Banana Republic and was perfect for carrying the essentials and being hands-free. I completed the look with a Julie Vos bracelet, a pair of hoops, a subtle Monica Vinader necklace, and come sunglasses.

For tips on how to rock your romper over 40, check out this post.

green safari outfit

Outfit #4) Tan Tee, Green Pants & Green Utility Jacket

In this look, I’m wearing the same green Paige pants with a tan ATM tee. I love ATM tees because they’re SO high-quality and you’ll wear them for more than one season. Over the tee, I have on a green utility jacket by Good American. It’s super lightweight, has an oversized fit, and was perfect for this trip.

Africa safari outfits | Chic Africa Outfits

Outfit #5) Rails Button-Down & Green Shorts

Is it any surprise that I packed my Rails white button-down shirt? I take it on every single trip I go on no matter what the destination because it’s THAT versatile. If you don’t already have a high-quality casual button-down for summer, this is what you’ve been looking for! I wear it with everything from shorts and jeans to skirts and swimsuits. In this look, I’m wearing it with the same green DL1961 shorts from Look #1, the Madewell sandals, my belt bag, and some gold jewelry.

Vix Swimsuit with Rails Button-Down Shirt

Outfit #6) Vix Swimsuit with Rails Button-Down Shirt

I mentioned I wear the Rails button-down with swimsuits and this is what I mean…it makes the perfect coverup! The swimsuit I’m wearing is a sexy, strappy bikini by Vix. Vix is one of my go-to brands for chic and sexy swimsuits and I love the waxed rope and cutout details on this bikini. I wore this when I took Elizabeth to the pool one day.

If you’re looking for more swimsuits and the best brands for women over 40, make sure you check out this post next.

what to wear in Africa | Chic Africa OutfitsGreen Africa outfits

Outfit #7) Green Tee, Pants & Cargo Jacket

Yep, these are the same green Paige pants! This time, I’m wearing them with a green ATM tee that’s the same style as the tan one, just in a different color. I love the monochrome look. But for a little added warmth and style, I threw on the tan Veronica beard jacket. I completed the look with the Rag & Bone hat, Banana Republic scarf, ba&sh belt, Sam Edelman boots, and some sunnies. See how important the layers are? I was able to take off the jacket to get cooler.

couple in Africa

Outfit #8) Green Tee & Cargo Shorts

In this outfit, I’m wearing the same green tee and Veronica Beard cargo jacket… but this time, I’m wearing matching Veronica Beard cargo shorts! It’s hard to see the shorts in this picture but trust me, they’re good. I love the look of the shorts and jacket combined and it’s really easy to style casually with a tee. The shorts have the same chic cargo details as the jacket, a flattering A-line silhouette, cool contrasting stitching, a high waist, super lightweight material, and they’re comfortable!

what to wear on safari what to wear on safari adventure

Outfit #9) White Short-Sleeve Tee & Green Pants

Did I mention I love those ATM tees? 😉 This white v-neck is also by ATM and is my most-worn tee. I know it’s a little pricey for a T-shirt but it lasts more than one season, doesn’t yellow around the armpits, and washes and wears really well. I styled it with the same green pants, tan cargo jacket, and accessories.

Africa family trip

Outfit #10) White Long-Sleeve Tee & Green Pants

If you liked the last look but want a little coverage, this white Nation LTD tee is one I’ve owned for years and is great for covering my chest and arms! I love the big billowy sleeves, smocked cuffs, and that it’s 100% cotton, so I stay cool. I could have styled this tee with any of the other bottoms I packed but I stuck with ol’ faithful…the green Paige pants. 😉

Looking for more chic tops & tees that cover your arms? Check out this post!

cargo jacket safari outfit

African sarfari outfit idea

Outfit #11) White Button-Down Shirt & Green Joggers

In case you were getting tired of the Paige jogger pants…here’s a different pair of joggers! These are by James Perse and I’ve owned them for about two years. They’re SO comfortable, have an elastic waistband, are 100% cotton, and are the perfect length for me (I’m 5’4”). I styled them with my Rails button-shirt, tan cargo jacket, and combat boots.

what to wear in Africa for kids

Chic Africa Outfits

Outfit #12) White Top & Green Joggers

Next, I styled the same James Perse joggers with the white eyelet top from Look #1. I wore this while we were exploring Cape Town and I was not prepared for how cold it was there. I threw on my Patagonia vest, Veronica Beard jacket, and scarf for added warmth.

brown indah cutout dress

busbee style in Africa

Outfit #13) Brown Cutout Dress

While we were in Cape Town, I wanted to feel a little more elevated instead of wearing my safari clothes so I went with this beautiful brown Indah dress. It has a v-neckline and cutouts at the waist that are very flattering, a long dramatic maxi length, and billowy sleeves. For a photoshoot at our lodge, I styled it alone with some gold jewelry. But in Cape Town, I wore my Veronica Beard jacket and zipped off the bottom to get that cropped length. I added my scarf for warmth, belt bag for convenience, and combat boots for comfort.

Want to know my 3 secrets to look amazing in cutouts over 40? Check out this post!

pink simkahi cutout maxi dress

julie vos bracelets julie vos bracelets

Outfit #14) Pink Cutout Dress

I mentioned in my tips above that I wish I had packed one long dress and one short dress. I wore this beautiful pink Simkhai cutout dress to shoot photos in but didn’t get a chance to wear it for anything else, which is why I’d recommend some sort of short cotton dress instead. BUT…I do love the dress and think it’s a great special occasion piece if you have an event or wedding coming up. You can throw on a shawl, jacket, or blazer for added coverage too. I styled it with most of the jewelry I packed for the trip to really add some oomph to the look.

Skincare & Makeup for Africa trip

Skincare & Makeup I Packed

Below I linked all of the skincare and makeup I packed for this trip. My biggest tip is to make sure you have travel sizes for everything. You could buy travel-size containers and transfer all of your product to them, but it’s much easier to buy the travel sizes if they’re available!

Keep scrolling for some of my favorite photos from the trip as well as travel details like where we stayed…

Makeup for Africa trip

Lion in Africa

Lion adventure in Africa

Giraffe in Africa

Leopard in Africa

Family Africa trip

Elephants in Africa

Lion roaming in Africa

stylish outfits for African safari, African safari packing list

Animals in Africa

Elephant roaming near cottage

leopard in grass

elephant during sunset in Africa

More About Our Trip

Every trip to Africa can be different depending on what you want to do, when you go, where you want to go, and what you want to see. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips so it’s important to do your research or even hire a travel agent to help you plan your perfect trip to Africa!

Here is a quick rundown of our trip for anyone who’s interested…
  • We flew into Johannesburg and stayed at our airport hotel.
  • Then we flew to Kasane and Chobe National Park in Botswana and stayed at The Sanctuary. They had 2-bedroom lodges perfect for our family and it was the closest to the park. We loved our guide, Chika!
  • Then we flew from Kasane to Nxabera in Okavango Delta and landed on a dirt landing strip and our safari guides arrived early to ensure no animals were on the runway.
  • We stayed at andBeyond, which ended up being our favorite place we stayed. They sang on our arrival and departure which was so sweet. The tents were connected by a passageway which made me feel comfortable. You don’t want your kids to be alone without easy access to you in these camps. And we loved our guides Richard and KB!
  • Then we flew to Kasane and drove to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. We did a canopy tour, zip lining, a tour of the falls, and an elephant excursion where you could touch and feed wild elephants. We stayed at The Elephant Camp, which was very close to the fall and the activities we did.
  • Then we flew to Cape Town. There we swam with sharks, went whale watching, had some fun dinners, and did a Table Mountain visit. We flew home from Cape Town.

If you have more detailed questions about the trip or what I packed, please leave a comment below!

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18 thoughts on “Functional But Chic African Safari Packing List You Can Pack in a Small Duffel Bag

  1. Hi Eri!
    What an epic experience! Your family was so fortunate to make this memory together, good for you for having the perseverance and drive to see it through. I was wondering about kids clothes, specifically. I have two daughters 10 and 13, and would love to do a trip like this with our family of 4; what packing list would you recommend for kids that age? I gather it would be similar to adults but maybe less variety of one type of clothing? Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing this incredible experience and for being such a key resource for anyone wishing to have a similar adventure!

    1. Thanks for reading and following along for this journey, Olga! It was truly incredible… Very similar for the kids, just minus skincare/makeup, tech gear, and then you can share any of the toiletries/first aid items that you need to. If you haven’t seen it yet, I just shared a video with more details on this epic trip right here:
      I hope you get to take your family on a trip like this too, and hope my stories and tips help with your planning! ~Erin xo

  2. Hi Erin,
    The timing of this post is perfect for planning my trip to Namibia and Southern Africa in 6 weeks time.looks like you all had a fabulous trip and yes Cape Town can be very windy and cold.
    We have 10 days on Safari or in the bush in Namibia (Safari clothes) and 4 days in South Africa. Remaining 7 days are is in cities or travelling to and from JNB/Windhoek/Madikwe.
    I have a couple of questions for you.
    1. Noticed the kids wore some light tan pants , same as the guides. How did that colour go re laundering? Was there any red dirt marks that wouldn’t come out? I have cargo joggers that colour….
    2. How chilly did it get (early morning/evening) in Botswana and how warm during the middle of the day, please? I’m trying to gauge if extra layers (light merino mid layers, cami undershirt) needed for evening and night drives vs middle of day clothes. Namibia is tropical/subtropical but I know inland always has a large temperature variance.
    Thank you for sharing your trip.
    Bel (Brisbane, Australia)

    1. Perfect timing! Thanks for reading, Belinda. We didn’t have issues with stains personally, and they recommended these colors for safari. It was pretty warm during the day, but surprisingly chilly in the mornings and evenings. The name of the game is layers! Make sure you have a jacket and the layers that you described sound like a great plan. I’ll be sharing more on all of the details of our trip in this coming Thursday’s YouTube video! ~Erin xo

  3. Oh my gosh, Erin, I came upon this post at just the right time while searching for African safari fashion inspiration. I hit the jackpot here! Thank you! I’m 46, I feel like 26, and I like to think I look 36 (but that may just be a dream). Like you we have been planning our trip (to Tanzania and Zanzibar) for years and we’re finally heading there in July 2023. I’m insisting upon making every outfit count (cute and practical) but unfortunately we’re limited not to 40lbs but to only 33lbs per person, including any carry-ons, cameras, bags, etc. Fortunately, because my husband is like most other guys, he’ll only be needing about half of his weight allocation…I’ll make sure of that. :). Without having seen your packing list, it’s uncanny how much our lists already overlap…down to the Paige joggers, Golden Goose sneakers, R&B fedora hat, BR scarf, romper, green utility jacket, and more. I absolutely adore your Veronica Beard Cargo Jacket, but I’m guessing that will be a casualty of the weight restriction…but maybe not. Fingers crossed. I had also hoped to pack a long-sleeved utility jumpsuit, cargo leggings, linen safari dresses, and some cute lugged-soled canvas sneakers (in addition to my GG sneakers, and Frye combat boots…which I had already purchased before seeing your really cute Sam Edelman boots…. which leads me to my two questions. Did you find yourself wearing long-sleeves and long pants more often than shorts and short-sleeves (to ward off the sun and bugs)? And if you had to cut a few more pieces from your list, what could you have lived without? I’m finding the hardest part so far is finding the perfect leather bag to carry with me wherever I go. Thanks so much! You are so beautiful and inspiring. Lauren (Portland, OR)

    1. Perfect timing, Lauren! I’m sharing even more details about this trip in next week’s YouTube video… stay tuned for that! But could have cut out the dress that I only got to wear for taking pictures, and honestly didn’t feel I needed my professional camera. Chris’s small point and shoot camera did a really great job capturing the images. The VB cargo jacket is SUPER lightweight, which made it all the better for this trip! I did wear long sleeves/pants more than expected because it was cooler than I had anticipated. Wear your heaviest shoes/jacket on the plane to save on bag space/weight too! Hope this is helpful as you continue to prepare for your own amazing trip. ~Erin xo

  4. Hi Erin, your African photos and packing post inspired me to finally make the call for planning our family trip to Africa next summer 2024! I am also looking at Elephant Camp – did you like it? And how long did you spend in Cape Town? I love your style and tips and have been following you since before Covid first on You Tube then Instagram. Your Africa looks are wonderful – I am so inspired :)!!

    1. How amazing, Annette!! You will absolutely love it… It’s surreal. We did really enjoy the Elephant Camp, though our favorite place that we stayed was andBeyond. Only had a few days in Cape Town, and would have loved to have more time there! Will share more details in a video soon! ~Erin xo

  5. What a wonderful trip did you plan it yourself or did you have an agent help you to plan? Your outfits were great. You did a great job and you have some wonderful pictures. What type of camera did you use?

    1. Thanks for reading, Cheryl! We had a travel agent help plan the trip to ensure it was all coordinated just right. I used my professional camera (same one that I do for most of my style pictures, but with a longer range lens) plus Chris actually got a ton of great pictures with his tiny point and shoot camera! We really would have been fine just packing his, surprisingly enough. ~Erin xo

  6. Appreciate the detail in this post, and the lovely photos. Your well-coordinated accessories take these looks over the top! I want EVERYTHING! Your family adventures are truly amazing, and I look forward to hearing more about Africa. Inspiring!

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Rachel! SO glad you enjoyed following along on our journey. It was truly an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip. ~Erin xo

  7. dear Erin
    You always make me feel better with your lovely videos !
    I was humiliated at the grocery store for trying to buy 2 packs of paper towels
    There was no sign and I could not know that I was walking into such an unpleasant situation Thus the new normal has slapped me in my face and it still hurts !
    Oh well at least I am still well and counting my many blessings !
    You are one of them !
    Thank you!

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