And I’ve done considerably more than glance at Out of Africa. I’ve read it several times. And seen the film. I’ve read West with the Night, Beryl Markham’s book, I’ve read a biography of her – Straight on ‘til Morning, I’ve read Circling the Sun, a fictionalised account of the lives of Markham, Karen Blixen, and Denys Finch Hatton. It’s safe to say that I’ve fully bought into the romantic ideal of that fabled, if troubled time in the history of East Africa, sometime between the turn of the last century, and the start of the second war.
So when I went on an African Horse Safaris adventure to Zimbabwe at the end of the summer, I had to seriously consider how to merge what I thought I should wear, with what I should actually wear – for comfort, function, and of course a little bit of style. Finding very little guidance online beforehand, and armed with a comprehensive packing list from the lovely people at African Horse Safaris, I decided to do my own research, so here’s my guide to what to wear to tread that line between the functional and the chic while on safari.
1. The Everyday Safari
You will be living in your jods – out of the nine days we were there, we rode for six of them, so comfort in the saddle is paramount. We were in Zimbabwe in early September, which is the start of spring/summer in the southern hemisphere, and each day temperatures started off in the teens and rose quickly to the high twenties. I brought four pairs of breeches, only wore three, and pretty quickly made the AA Platinum Summer Silicone my go-to. They’re incredibly lightweight, with fabric that somehow seems to stay cool, and they come in tan, which I had decided – in homage to the Blixen/Markham heritage – was going to be my main colour.
Refusing to let go of my romantic ideals, I brought several flowing white shirts but again, found myself going back to the same lightweight, breathable, wicking ‘technical tops’ I’d wear riding at home on a hot summer day – like this AA Platinum Pula Short Sleeve.
Turns out, this is a sort of safari uniform, as Isabel from African Horse Safaris and I were regularly sporting almost matching outfits.