Does the color of your clothes matter on safari?

Jan 20th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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Does the color of your clothes matter on safari?

I have read a lot on this forum about what to pack for safari. But in reading some travel books the subject of the color of your clothes comes up as in, don't wear black or white or loud colors as it affects the animals or attracts bugs. Any truth to this? My wardrobe is pretty drab anyway but I can't vouch for our 14 yr old nephew.
sylviam is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 04:39 PM
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Blues attract tse tses and that is why you'll see blue plastic in the traps for these bugs.

If you are doing walking safaris then absolutely wear earth tones and not bright colors. In a closed vehicle it is not a big deal. One of my driving guides once wore a Hawaiian shirt, probably a gift. In an open vehicle (no top so it is like a buggy), dark or bright colors may attract bugs more easily and the bright colors are more visible and distracting
to others.

White will get filthy in a hurry, showing the dirt.

If you feel you need to purchase special clothing for your upcoming trip that will not fit your needs when you come home, you can save by going to a 2nd hand store. You can even leave items behind for the staff. Just be sure to specifically note that the clothes are for staff or they might get mailed back to you.

When sitting in a vehicle, especially a closed one, I'm more concerned about loud mouths of my safarimates than loud colors.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 04:47 PM
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Okay , Okay , next time I will keep the chatter down !!!!!
Percy is online now  
Jan 20th, 2010, 05:23 PM
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Again, atravelynn has great advice.

No camo.

I only wear neutral colors, no heavyweight jeans (they take too long to dry), mostly cotton. I'd go with the flow and try to keep loud colors to a minimum - just tell your nephew that those are the rules. This is all so new and exciting that he'll most likely go with it (my nephew did, but he's still mad at me that I discouraged him from taking jeans - just tell him to bring lightweight and not dark ones). Pack lighter than you think you can. You can do or have your laundry done. Some camps use hot rock irons, so don't take anything that could be destroyed by them.

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who leaves items behind for the staff.
christabir is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 05:44 PM
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I have worn colors, usually "heathered" eggplants or carrots and whatnot rather than the screaming magentas you'll usually find me in. No need to buy a new wardrobe, just bring some of your duller-colored items. Have your nephew do the same. I find white is okay because once it's dusty it looks khaki anyhow. After I had gotten devoured by tse-tse flies on one occasion I started wearing my long-sleeved white shirt and they left me alone. Anecdotal evidence, I realize.

I suppose if you're doing a walking safari or similar activity you'd want your most neutral items.

Have a great trip!
Leely2 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 05:47 PM
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Hi sylviam

Besides the tetse issues, and I think if they are around, you are going to get painfully bitten regardless, I believe it makes no difference what you wear, walking safari or vehicle safari. Wear what you feel most comfortable in, no need to go and get a "safari neutral" wardrobe!
Kind regards
KayeN is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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The animals don't care. But the other guests might. How would you like to see a game drive vehicle with guests dressed in the iridescent "safety" colors red and orange? Yes extreme, but it's nice to be part of the tone of things and see pleasing and appropriate attire.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 06:21 PM
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I did a driving safari and packed out of here like I was going to find Dr. Livingston. I ended up rolling up my pants and wearing my flip flops as we drove from place to place. It was one of the most leisurely, peaceful, and spiritual trips I have ever taken.
LEANNA is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 07:49 PM
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Heathered whatnots! Wear what Leely wore.

Iridescent "safety" colors do not seem to mesh with a leisurely, peaceful, and spiritual trip at all.

Someday I'd like to show up at the vehicle wearing ridescent "safety" colors along with pith helmet just to see the reaction. I just googled the pith helmet and one's on sale for $15.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 08:23 PM
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On a safari vehicle, whether open or closed, it doesn't make too much difference what colours you wear (but you'll notice most safari vehicles are in neutral colours, for good reason). If you're on a walking safari, I believe it makes a huge difference. You can imagine that you can see someone wearing white from a mile away. If they were wearing khaki, you may miss them from 100m. Animals are exceptionally attuned to white (many of them use white for display purposes or communication).

However, in my experience, white long-sleeved shirts make a big difference in avoiding mosquitoes. They really seem to prefer dark colours. I'm not sure about tsetse fly, but there are suggestions that zebra-stripes seem to confuse the flies (huh?). I'd be very concerned about a zebra-striped outfit on a safari - that might just be tempting fate! LOL!

I'd agree with Christabir about camo. Not a good idea anywhere in Africa.
Bushkid0 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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LOL – my husband thinks he wants to invent a zebra suit (read tsetse fly proof) for safari goers and get rich!!!

Why do zebras wear stripes? This is one of my favorite fives list.

1. The dazzle effect ( a group of zebras is a dazzle) – it tends to confuse the predators as to who is who and where is who?
2. Distortion – the predator’s eye view is disrupted by the stripe pattern which is confusing to them
3. Tsetse flies for some reason tend to avoid stripes as they can’t focus on what’s what
4. Orientation – this is a way for zebras to find each other at night
5. Beauty – zebras like stripes! Duh!!! They find stripes visually stimulating
safarimama is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 08:42 PM
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PS. I'd say watch out for predators who loves to feed on zebra!!!
safarimama is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 05:41 AM
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Neutral colors are mentioned as they don't show dirt and there can be plenty of that while on safari. The reason for tan, khaki, brown.

However, while in a vehicle it doesn't much matter. But if doing a walking safari, best to stick with the neutrals. Avoid white for just the dirt reason and maybe the animals can see this. Also avoid navy as the tse-tse flies tend to be attracted to this and their bites are nasty... there is no repellent to ward them off, unlike for mosquitos.

No reason to purchase entire "Dr. Livingston" attire. Laundry can be done at most lodges/camps at low prices. And, people wear and reward the same 2-3/outfits over their entire time in-country. Shops as Gap, Ol Navy, TJMaxx or others, always have these colors year-round at very reasonable prices.

You'll need long pants/sleeves between dusk/dawn when mossies bite, along with socks on the feet. And, as above "no camo" clothing.
sandi is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 07:26 AM
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We were eaten alive by tsetse flies while on our self-drive through Tanzania in August. The wretched creatures seem to target the ankles, so very thick (they bit through the sweatshirts that we wore over our T-shirts!) socks are a good idea. We seemed to get bitten by the tsetses no matter what colours we wore but, oddly, the honey bees on the campsites at Lake Manyara did seem attracted to blue (and, of course, water!). Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 09:29 AM
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I knew about the camo as I don't want to be mistaken for anyone in the military, just a happy tourist on my first safari.
sylviam is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 09:37 AM
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We will be in Kenya in early April which is rainy season, unless the drought prevails. I doubt that our clothes will remain white. Hopefully we will not get stuck in the mud. I recently read that Kenya has had some hard rain causing flooding so that doesn't look promising to me about now. We will just have to go with the flow.
sylviam is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 07:19 PM
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You may get a little muddy, but you'll still have a great time!
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 07:21 PM
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MUD is FUN!!!! Enjoy, but don't wear white!!! Seattle rust color is perfect!!!
safarimama is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 10:17 PM
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Loved your zebra reasoning....
LyndaS is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Thanks LyndaS,
I like to hear other reasons why zebra wears stripes!
In Africa, everyone seems to have a favorite idea! I always ask. It's fun!!!
safarimama is offline  

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