What to Wear in South Africa

Top style tips for South Africa

  • The dress code is generally casual, even in most restaurants.
  • However there are a few smarter city hotels and restaurants, where a smart casual outfit may make you feel more comfortable.
  • If you are planning to travel in summer, our advice is to pack lightweight, loose fitting clothes in natural fabrics such as linen, silk and cotton that will keep you cool and are easy to wash and dry.
  • And don't forget a safari hat or cap to protect you from the sun.
  • Wear plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection) and sunglasses, and remember your insect/mosquito repellent.
  • It would be a good idea to pack a lightweight and versatile travel jacket. We like the SCOTTeVEST range because they have been specifically designed with travel in mind, offer plenty of storage pockets and have awesome additional features like RFID security and Personal Area Network connectivity.

Shoes to pack for South Africa

  • Good comfortable walking shoes are a must for a visit to Table Mountain or sightseeing in general. We love Hotter shoes, for comfort with style.
  • We love the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range of shoes too – using interchangeable shoe and flip-flop bases with snap-on decorations, you can change your look from day to evening in an instant whilst still packing light.

Clothing tips for women

  • South Africans are pretty conservative, so our advice would be to avoid anything too revealing.
  • Our advice would be to keep swimwear to the beach and pool, and cover up with a kaftan or sarong when walking around public areas.
  • A skirt or loose-fitting trousers are good in the heat and will protect you from the sun.
  • A pashmina can be useful to dress up any outfit should the occasion arise.
  • If you are here to work then the dress code is more formal: knee-length skirt, and on cooler days a jacket.

Clothing tips for men

  • Men are required to wear a shirt with a collar to clubs (although it can still be casual) and no trainers or tennis shoes.
  • If you're looking for versatile and stylish beachwear, try the Madda Fella range of shirts, shorts, polos and swimwear.

Pack for the weather

  • Pack a raincoat if you travel to the Cape region.
  • 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 South Africa

  • If you are 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.
  • Early morning game drives can be chilly, so pop in a fleece, hat and gloves. Make sure you have sturdy, closed footwear that won't slip off, and avoid blue or black clothing – the tsetse flies are drawn to these colours.

Travel essentials for South Africa

  • A soft-sided rucksack is more practical than a hard suitcase for safari holidays – 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 LifeStraw Filtration Water Bottle.
  • Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Amarula is a popular local liqueur made from the exotic Marula fruit, and of course South African wine is enjoyed the world over. Just remember any liquids will need to be packed in your checked-in luggage when you fly home. Look for wooden carvings and beaded jewellery too.

Community photos from South Arfica