Booking a holiday and then realising you have absolutely no appropriate clothing, going into a mild panic and then spending all the money you'd saved for said holiday on a brand new vacation wardrobe is something we've all been through. And nine times out of 10, when you arrive you end up wearing a trusty pair of vintage Levi's and a tee almost every day anyway. So, what to do when you're not heading to the beaches of Europe (where a trusty sundress, hat and cute sandals are all you need), and instead, on a trip through Africa, with safaris - dust, heat and animals - galore?
Upon planning my wardrobe for an upcoming trip through Zambia, Botswana and South Africa with Luxury Escapes, I realised that there were no - and I mean no - helpful articles detailing the predicted weather conditions and appropriate outfits to wear, especially for someone with not only comfort but also Instagram in mind (embarrassing but true).
After days of searching the internet, I was left with a mood board consisting of Eliza Thornberry and cropped selfies of Karlie Kloss on her honeymoon, which meant I ended up not only severely overpacked, but with a suitcase filled with items that may yes, look great on the 'gram, but won't work for even a trip to the hotel's pool.
Below, the ultimate shopping guide for looking safari chic and practical.
1. Leggings will be your best friend
The best part about leggings, other than the comfort factor, is that they're designed for exercise and therefore, to absorb sweat. Pack a couple of pairs for both safaris and days when travelling.
Lulu Lemon Wunder Under High-Rise Tight 28", $109, lululemon.com.au
2. Bring a backpack
One of the most necessary parts of my trip was the backpack I used to store my camera, a jumper (morning safaris generally start at 6am when it's still cold out and evening safaris can often end when the sun is down), sunblock, a hat, water and snacks.
Fjällräven Art Summer Landscape, $149.95, Fjallraven.com.au
Despite thinking you need proper camping boots and Tevas for the trip, we actually lived in our normal, everyday sandals most of the time, especially for afternoons by the pool.
St. Agni Mae Knit Loafer, $69.75, st-agni.com
4. Tank tops
Despite thinking I was being practical and packing lots of t-shirts, in reality, it's hot - like, really hot - and the thinner the material, the better. You can't go wrong with khaki green for the occasion, either.
Mango Strap Linen Top, $29.95, Mango.com
5. Comfortable shorts
Denim shorts may look good, but sitting in them on the back of a bumpy vehicle for four hours is another story. Try to find a pair of shorts that will be both breathable and comfortable (but bring the denim anyway).
Matin Elastic Waist Pinstripe Short, $295, Mychameleon.com.au
6. A swimsuit
Yes, you'll spend the majority of your time exploring the great outdoors, but for afternoons in between safaris and days you opt to relax, remember that you're in a warm climate staying somewhere where there's likely a pool. Suddenly Africa feels more like Europe.
Peony Swimwear, Cornflower Hi Cut Pant ($99) and Panelled Crop ($99), Peonyswimwear.com
7. A hat
Despite bringing a cute straw hat, I lived in a bucket hat the entire trip purely because it wouldn't fly off during fast-paced lion hunts.
My Chameleon Exclusive Bucket Hat, $150, Mychameleon.com.au
8. A Sarong
Great for not only walking from your room to the pool, but also for popping on as a skirt for safaris and as a sun cover on hot afternoons when it streams into the vehicle from all angles.
Year Round Red Striped Sarong, $60, Yearround.co.nz
Again, the heat. Instead of looking to longer, maxi dresses, opt for mini dresses or tea length dresses in breathable fabrics.
Rouje Robe Rosalie, $276, Rouje.com
10. A jumper
Depending on the time of year you go, you'll likely barely need a jumper at all, but the one I brought I used a couple of times in the early morning and late night safaris. Add each location on your weather app and if it doesn't drop below 20 degrees at night, you'll be fine with just this.
Marle Mimi Jumper, $360, Marle.co.nz