What To Wear In Zambia
To sum it up - Casual and cool
- Casual, comfortable clothes are the key when travelling 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.
- Don't forget a safari hat or cap to protect you from the sun and a loose wrap is also useful to keep covered from the sun.
- We suggest keeping to light neutral colours - e.g. khaki, green and brown, but not white as it will get dirty and dusty very quickly.
- Avoid blue clothing - the tsetse flies are drawn to the colour blue, and their bite can give you African Sleeping Sickness.
- It is important to note that camouflage or military clothing is not permitted.
- Zambia is a conservative country and knee length or longer skirts or trousers are ideal.
- Generally women wearing revealing clothes are regarded as women of ill repute and will attract unwanted attention. In the towns and villages it is more acceptable for men to wear long trousers rather than shorts.
- If you plan to do much walking, either on safari or with a backpack, then lightweight walking shoes or trainers are fine - the bush is not always smooth and even, and anything that minimises the chance of a twisted ankle has got to be a good idea.
- Combine your main backpack with a foldaway day sack for day trip essentials.
- May to November is the dry season and it will be hot everywhere.
- The wet season between December 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, warm scarf and a woolly hat and gloves.
- If you plan on visiting Victoria Falls it is good to wear pumps, trainers 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 waterproof is a good idea at these times. A small fold-up umbrella will also be useful - particularly when you want to take photos.
- Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a waterstraw water purifier or safe water drinking bottle.
- Keep bottled water out of the sun as the plastic bottles can release dioxins when they heat up, which is not healthy. An alternative is to use a 100% BPA-free foldable water bottle. Reusing your water bottle will also help you do your bit for the planet - millions of plastic water bottles end up in landfill every year.
- Keep your electrical gadgets (camera, phone, iPad etc) fully charged using a solar powered charger. This one gadget will charge most devices anywhere at any time, and it also cuts down on the number of leads and adaptors you need to pack.
- And look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - this elasticated strap will secure it to your bag or pocket, so you don't need to worry about dropping it anywhere.
- If you would like to give something back on your holiday, the local community projects are very grateful for new materials. See the Pack for a Purpose website for ideas of things you could pop in your suitcase.
- You may also want to look at our Safari packing advice page.
- And for more pictures and ideas, see our Pinterest board: What to Wear on Safari.
- Stay healthy on your trip - travellers' diarrhoea can affect as many as 50% of people travelling abroad. We've tried and recommend Bimuno Travel Aid pastilles to help support your digestive health. And WhatToWearOnHoliday readers can claim a great 10% discount using code WHBIMUA at the checkout.
From Our Shop
Great products to pack for a holiday in Zambia:
Super-light trolley rucksack for maximum carry on luggage more >
See all shopping recommendations for Zambia >
To purify and filter water instantly for safe drinking more >