What to Wear in Zambia

Kazungula Ferry across the Zambezi between Botswana and Zambia, December

Kazungula Ferry across the Zambezi between Botswana and Zambia, December

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General Style Tips

  • Casual, comfortable clothes are the key when traveling in Zambia.
  • During the day it is hot so our advice is to pack lightweight loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics such as linen and cotton that will keep you cool and are easier to wash and dry.
  • We suggest keeping to light neutral colors - e.g. khaki, green and brown, but not white as it will get dirty and dusty very quickly.
  • Avoid blue or black clothing - the tsetse flies are drawn to these colors, and their bite can give you African Sleeping Sickness.
  • And it is important to note that camouflage or military clothing and print is not permitted.
  • Long pants and long-sleeved tops will cover you from the harsh sun and protect against mosquitoes at night.
  • Don't forget a safari hat to protect your face and neck, and sunglasses.
  • Wear plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection) and remember your insect/mosquito repellent.
  • When on safari, the idea is to relax and enjoy your time under the African sky, and listen to the calls of the wild all around you! Dinner dress is therefore casual and comfortable.

What Shoes To Pack

  • If you plan to do much walking, either on safari or with a backpack, then lightweight walking shoes or sneakers are fine - the bush is not always smooth and even, so anything that minimises the chance of a twisted ankle is a good idea. Try Hotter shoes, they are very light and comfortable.

Clothing Tips for Women

  • This is a conservative country, so either knee-length (or longer) skirts or pants are ideal.
  • Avoid wearing revealing clothes, as you may be regarded as women of ill repute and will attract unwanted attention.
  • A pashmina or sarong is a versatile item that you can use for sun protection or to 'glam' up the simplest of outfits if you feel like a change.
  • Leave your valuables and jewelry at home, you really won't need them.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • In the towns and villages it is more acceptable for men to wear long pants rather than shorts.
  • For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.

Pack for the Weather

  • May, June, July, August, September, October and November is the dry season and it will be hot everywhere.
  • The wet season between December, January, February and March is totally different, and the days can vary enormously from one to the next. Even within a day, skies will often change from sunny to cloudy within minutes and then back again. Downpours are usually heavy and short, and often in the late afternoon. Even so it will still be hot during the day and a little cooler at night - so packing a lightweight raincoat and a pashmina or jacket would be a good idea.
  • It gets really cold in the winter and June and July are especially cold, but May and August can also get chilly. It's pleasant in the daytimes when the sun is shining but for nights, evenings and early mornings you'll need a thick jacket, scarf and a warm hat and gloves.
  • light wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It keeps you warm in the cold, wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours - even after prolonged wear.
  • We love the Weather+ app - it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too - a nice way to remember your trip :) Download for iPad/iPhone or Android

Regions of Zambia

  • If you plan on visiting Victoria Falls it is good to wear sneakers or good walking shoes as the paths can get wet - especially between November and February. The falls are very misty at this time of year and in places you get wet - it is not cold but a very lightweight raincoat is a good idea at these times. A small travel umbrella will also be useful - particularly when you want to take photos, or you may like to take a waterproof phone case.

Other Things To Pack

  • A soft-sided rucksack is more practical than a hard suitcase for safari vacations - it's easier to fit into the small planes or transfer vehicles. Using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
  • Internal flights often have much lower baggage limits than your international carrier. Use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance.
  • Pack a sling bag or lightweight day sack for sightseeing trips and game drives.
  • Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - it protects against loss, theft and damage. You may like to carry a solar powered charger too, to boost your battery when out and about - you don't want to miss that great photo opportunity!
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (230V).
  • Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a Water-to-Go Filtration Water Bottle.
  • Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees - use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Browse the craft markets, where you can pick up wood carvings, jewelry and basket work.
  • If you have room in your luggage, take a few small gifts for the local children - pens, notebooks, small games etc. They will be much appreciated.

Last updated 16 December 2016.

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Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

Pack Right

  • Respect local cultures
  • Feel comfortable and confident
  • Suitable outfits for all occasions

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.