Best Safari Shirt for Men & Women (Advice on What to Avoid too!)

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Once you have decided that a Safari is your next travel adventure, it is time to start your packing list. While we all like to put our best style foot forward when heading to another country, there must also be a certain functionality in your clothing.

That is what makes choosing the best safari shirt a bit more complicated than you may initially assume. There is importance in the color choices you make, the cut and style of the safari shirt, and the comfort and protection of the materials used.

In this article, we will go through some of these and a few other key features to consider before purchasing the perfect shirt for your safari trip!

Top 6 Safari Shirts

PRODUCTDESCRIPTION 
Best Safari ShirtsWomen's Columbia PFG Tamiami II Long Sleeve
-Mesh lining
-Button Closure
-Omni-Shade UPF 40
-Two Handy Chest Pockets
-Roll Up Sleeves
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Best Safari ShirtWomen's Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt
-Wrinkle Resistant
-Quick Drying
-Fold Collar
-Zip Map Pocket
-UPF 30 Sun Protection
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Best Safari ShirtWomen's Scottevest Polly Popover
-7 pockets
-Pure Cool Technology
-Versatile Tunic Style
-Lightweight
-Made of Recycled Polyester
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Best Safari ShirtMen's Propper Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt
-Zipper Closure
-Wrinkle Resistant
-Teflon Fabric to Repel Water and Stains
-Two Chest Pockets
-Gusseted Underarm for Easier Movement
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Best Safari ShirtMen's prAna Merger Long Sleeve
-Hemp/Recycled Polyester Blend
-Double chest Pockets
-Concealed Left Zip Pocket
-Lightweight
-Slim Fit
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Best Safari ShirtMen's Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt
-UPF 30 Sun Protection
-Wrinkle Rresistant Fabric
-Full Button Front Closure
-Two Front Chest Pockets
-Roll Up Sleeves
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Quick Answer: Best Safari Shirt


Tips for Choosing the Best Safari Shirt

Divergent Travelers on safari in Africa - Best Safari Shirt

Color Choice Matters

Choosing the color of your safari shirt is more than just a style preference. Certain colors and patterns can attract unwanted attention from both wildlife and people.

That is why understanding the potential repercussions of your color choices is so important. Here are some colors to avoid and some to consider before you buy them. 

COLORS TO AVOID:

  • Bright colors including white: When you are out in the brush, scouting for animals the last thing you want is to be flashy. Bright colors, especially red and including white, can be seen from far away in the desert wilderness and can alert the wildlife you are hoping to catch a glimpse of.  The last thing you want is to be the reason everyone’s safari is a bust. Instead, try for more neutral tones. 
  • Blue: Blue is another important color to avoid especially if you are on safari in Eastern Africa. This is because blue is known to attract the tsetse fly. Tsetses can transmit diseases that can cause severe illness, so it is best to take the appropriate measures to avoid them as much as possible. 
  • Black: Black is another color that should be avoided on safari. Like blue, black has been proven to attract tsetse flies and it also absorbs the strong heat from the desert sun which can lead to its own health risks.  
  • Camouflage: While camouflage is more of a pattern than a color, and may help you blend into the natural environment, it is still best to avoid. In most African countries camouflage is associated with soldiers and the military. You don’t want to confuse people as to your purpose on Safari or become an unnecessary target in potentially hostile areas. 

David Stock on safari in Africa

COLORS TO WEAR:

  • Khaki, Brown & Tan: Khaki, brown and tan are the recommended colors when out on Safari. These colors will help you blend into the environment especially during the dry season which will help increase your odds of an animal sighting. Beyond that, the roads you will be traveling are dirt and can be extremely dusty. This dust will settle in your clothing and chances are you won’t be finding a laundry mat anywhere nearby. Tan, khaki and brown colored shirts have the ability to conceal dirt and keep you looking fresh even after a full day excursion. 
  • Dark Browns & Greens: During the rainy season, the vegetation becomes lusher and the soil becomes darker from the moisture. If going on Safari during this time, you may want to consider darker browns and/or greens as a better way to blend in. Make sure to do your research on the area you will be traveling to, so you can evaluate which season they may currently be experiencing. 

Walking safari in Zimbabwe - Best Safari Shirt

Materials to Consider

The best safari shirts are going to be those made to combat harsh environments. They need to be durable, lightweight, resistant to the sun, quick to dry and have the ability to protect against bugs.

All of these elements start with the type of material the shirt is made from. Here are some of the pros and cons of the most popular materials used in safari shirts. 

Synthetic

Synthetic materials are man-made fabrics like nylon or polyester. These tend to be extremely lightweight, great at wicking away moisture and quick to dry even when soaked all of the way through.

Safari shirts made from these fabrics are soft to the touch making them tremendously comfortable in any environment. They are also thin which helps you to stay cool even when wearing long sleeves to avoid sun exposure. 

The downside to synthetics is that they are not great at trapping in heat. This is a concern as most safari’s drives are done at dawn and dusk when the desert is at its coolest.

These are also the times of day that mosquitoes, gnats and flies are at their prime and the thinness of synthetics offers little protection. That is why if you choose the synthetic option it is best to use these safari shirts with layers to make up for these weaknesses. 

PROS: 

  • Moisture-wicking 
  • Lightweight 
  • Quick-drying 

CONS: 

  • Best in warm weather 
  • Less durability 
  • Less protection against bugs

walking safari in Africa - Best Safari Shirt

Cotton

Cotton is the most accessible fabric used in most shirts we find at the store. It is cheap to manufacture and is one of the softest materials we can put on our bodies. It has the ability to trap body heat keeping you much warmer than your average synthetic and comes in every style you can imagine. 

That being said, the downfall of cotton is moisture. It does not have the inherent ability to wick away sweat like nylon or polyester and will take forever to dry if caught in a downpour.

This is why cotton is never recommended for other outdoor activities such as hiking. If you get caught in an afternoon rainstorm and stay out in the Sahara once the heat of the sun dissipates, you may run the risk of hypothermia on the ride home. Or at the very least extreme discomfort. 

PROS: 

  • Soft and extremely comfortable
  • Durable
  • Warm 

CONS: 

  • Retains moisture 
  • Takes a long time to dry 
  • Can be too warm in peak heat

David Stock on safari in Zimbabwe

Natural materials

Natural materials have made their way into much of outdoor apparel, so it only makes sense that they are found in Safari shirts as well. Materials such as hemp, linen, and wool fall under this category and each come with strengths and weaknesses.

Natural fabrics are responsibly sourced without producing as much waste through their manufacturing. They tend to be highly durable (especially hemp) and are well suited for a variety of environments.

However, due to their organic nature, these materials tend to lead to a more expensive product. Also, all of these natural materials are much more prone to wrinkling, wool and hemp can be too warm during peak heat hours and linen offers little protection against bugs. 

PROS: 

  • Reasonably sourced and recyclable 
  • Highly durable 
  • Extremely warm 

CONS: 

  • Expensive 
  • Prone to wrinkling
  • Can be too warm in peak heat

David Stock on safari in Zimbabwe - Best Safari Shirt

UV Protection

When spending any amount of time in desert climates, protection from the sun should be a major concern. Here there is very little to protect your skin against the harsh rays, that is why you need to rely on your clothing. You may believe that as long as you are covered UV radiation cannot reach you, but that is not always the case. 

A standard cotton t-shirt can let in more than 20% of UV radiation, which is a lot if you are planning for extended exposure while on Safari. That is why you want to look for shirts with a UPF, or UV protection factor, rating.

This indicates what percentage of UV-rays can penetrate through any given fabric. UPF rating of at least 30 is recommended in a Safari shirt, and if you can find one with a UPF rating of 50, which will protect you against 99% of UV-radiation, it will definitely be worth the extra money. 


Best Safari Shirt Recommendations

Columbia PFG Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt - Best Women's Safari Shirt

Columbia PFG Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt 

This is one of the best options available for a safari shirt, checking all of the necessary boxes. It is stylish with clean lines and a flattering cut. It comes equipped with fantastic moisture-wicking properties, mesh breath-ability, and UV protection.

This shirt can easily be worn in the heat of the day or to an evening meal back at camp. 

SPECS: 

  • Material: mesh and polyester 
  • Omni-Shade UPF 40
  • Omni-Wick moisture technology 
  • 2 chest pockets
  • Mesh-lined vent at back 
  • Button Closure
  • Roll-Up Sleeves

Check Women’s Columbia PFG Tamiami II Long Sleeve price at Columbia.


Women's Quick-Dry Sun Protection Convertible Roll-Up Sleeve - Best Women's Safari Shirt

Women’s Quick-Dry Sun Protection Convertible Roll-Up Sleeve

Why not be fashionable in addition to comfortable while out on safari. The Women’s quick-dry sun protection convertible roll-up sleeve shirt is one of the top safari shirts offered on Amazon.

This loose vented shirt will keep you cool in the sun while its quite fabric will not make noises while out on a walking safari searching for wildlife. 

SPECS:

  • 100% Polyester
  • Button closure
  • Breathable, Lightweight and quick dry nylon fabric 
  • Feature detachable button down long shirts with chest pockets, you can quickly convert long sleeve to short sleeve
  • Sun Protection: UPF 40+ fabric blocks Sun and UBA rays to protect skin from sunburn.
  • Comfort & Breath-ability: This long sleeve women’s safari shirt features 80% Rayon, 20% Nylon quick dry fabric for ultimate breath-ability and comfort.

Check Women’s Quick-Dry Sun Protection Convertible Roll Up Sleeve Shirt price at Amazon


Women's Casual Loose Roll-up Sleeve Blouse 

Women’s Casual Loose Roll-up Sleeve Blouse 

The Women’s casual loose roll-up sleeve blouse comes in many great safaris colors and is great women’s shirt for any safari location. This lightweight shirt is comfortable and breathable to wear with feeling cool and soft to the touch.

It’s yet casual but functional with a v-neckline and cuffed sleeves. The two front pockets are also great for a camera lens and anything else you may need while out on a safari. 

SPECS:

  • Button closure
  • Women’s basic casual V-neck button blouses. 
  • Casual loose fit. It features a classic shirt collar, two front pockets at chest and full-length button-down closure.
  • Long cuffed sleeves with roll taps.

Check Women’s Casual Loose Roll-up Sleeve Blouse price at Amazon


Women's Long Sleeve Round Neck Sweatshirt 

Women’s Long Sleeve Round Neck Sweatshirt 

While out on safari you’re going to need something to keep you warm in the early mornings and late evenings. The Dutebare Women’s long sleeve round neck sweatshirt Is just what you need to keep you warm while viewing your favorite animals on Safari.

This top women’s safari shirt comes in many great colors and acts as a great cover-up blouse. 

SPECS:

  • Material: Cotton blend, lightweight Breathable, Elastic material.
  • Feature: Long sleeve round neck Tunic Tops, Pullover, Pocket inside, Loose fit

Check Dutebare Women’s Long Sleeve Round Neck Sweatshirt price at Amazon


Columbia Men’s PFG Bahama II Long-Sleeve Shirt - Best Men's Safari Shirt

Columbia Men’s PFG Bahama II Long-Sleeve Shirt

Columbia hands down offer’s the best safari shirts for men. They are designed specifically for the outdoorsman and any adventure they may be on. This lightweight durable nylon shit is one of the best out on the market.

I own many and its the shirt I’m wairing in many of the safari photos in this post. It has amazing mesh-lined cape vents that will keep you cool and its UV protection will keep you protected from the sun. Its sleeves feature buttons that allow you to convert the long sleeves to short sleeves for those hot safari days.

SPECS: 

  • 100% Tactel; Nylon
  • SUN PROTECTION: Columbia Men’s PFG Bahama II Long-Sleeve fishing shirt features our signature UPF 30 fabric that helps to blocks UVA and UVA rays to help prevent sunburns and skin damage during long hours in the sun.
  • This long sleeve men’s safari shirt features two handy chest pockets with velcro closure for convenient storing and roll-up sleeves.
  • COMFORT & BREATHABILITY: Hidden vents at the shoulders and 100% nylon quick dry fabric make for a shirt that’s breathable and comfortable during any outdoor activity.
  • RELAXED FIT: A relaxed, lightweight fit make this safari shirt the ultimate choice.
  • OMNI-SHADE: Be safe and protected. Omni-Shade blocks UVA and UVB rays to help prevent sunburns and long-term skin damage. 

Check Columbia Men’s PFG Bahama II Long-Sleeve Shirt price at Columbia.


Men's Propper Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt

Men’s Propper Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt

Stand up to the task with the comfortable, durable and professional Propper men’s tactical shirt. Its lightweight ripstop material coated in DuPont Teflon fabric protector will keep you cool while it resists fading, shrinking, stains and wrinkles.

The MOCK button-up front gives you a professional look while concealing your zipper. Additional features, including a longer tail in back, two zippered chest pockets, roll-up sleeve tabs, and gusseted underarms preserve the look without hindering your storage capacity or range of motion.

SPECS:

  • Material: Polyester/Cotton Blend
  • Zipper Closure
  • Wrinkle-Resistant
  • Fade Resistant
  • Teflon Fabric to Repel Water and Stains
  • Two Chest Pockets
  • Gusseted Underarm for Easier Movement

Check Men’s Propper Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt price at Amazon


Men's prAna Merger Long Sleeve

Men’s prAna Merger Long Sleeve

With natural breathability and odor-reducing features, the prAna Merger Long Sleeve Shirt for men is a natural go-to for travel.

It’s super soft and stretchy, thanks to a blend of sustainable hemp and recycled polyester, and slim-fitting for a modern-day look. 

SPECS:

  • Material: Hemp/Recycled Polyester Blend
  • Double chest pockets
  • Concealed Left Zip Pocket
  • Lightweight
  • Slim Fit

Check Men’s prAna Merger Long Sleeve price at prAna.


Men's Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt

Men’s Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt

Mountain Hardwear Size Guide Grab a quick drink, adjust your pack, and dunk your bandanna in the cold river water before continuing on in the Canyon L/S Shirt. Relaxed fit gently drapes off the body for comfort during both exercise and everyday activity.

Constructed from lightweight, quick-drying, wrinkle-resistant fabric with abrasion-resistant properties. UPF 30 fabrication protects your skin during outdoor activity by blocking harmful Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B rays (UVA and UVB).

The spread collar is designed to also flip up for increased sun protection. Full-button front closure.

Long sleeves boast a snap tab roll-up feature. The flap chest pocket features a loop to secure sunglasses when not in use. Napoleon zip pocket. Mesh panels and vented yoke increase airflow. Ergonomically positioned seams for increased comfort when wearing a pack. 

SPECS:

  • Material: Mesh/Polyester
  • UPF 30 Sun Protection
  • Wrinkle-Resistant Fabric
  • Full Button Front Closure
  • Two Front Chest Pockets
  • Roll Up Sleeves

Check Men’s Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt price at Amazon


Walking safari group in Africa - Best Safari Shirt

Not finding what you are looking for? Check out our favorite places to go shopping for travel gear.

  • Shop Columbia – The industry leader in outdoor apparel and products; You can find anything from great jackets, gloves, hats, shirts, and travel pants.
  • Shop REI – They offer some of the best outdoor gear around. We love REI since they have a year Love it or hate it no questions guarantee.
  • Shop Moosejaw – Has a huge selection of outdoor gear at killer prices.

More on Safari Gear:

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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.



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