10 Best Safari Shorts for Men and Women

and, best, for, men, safari, shorts, travel, women - 14 minutes to read


Need a pair of safari shorts for your trip to Africa? You’ll need a pair of shorts that will hold to your trip to Africa and remain stylish. We love a pair of safari shorts that are comfortable, durable, weather-resistant, and blend in with the environment. It’s a lot to consider, especially when you’re getting ready for a trip to Africa.

We’ve put together our list of the best safari shorts on the market, along with a detailed hit-list of the most important aspects to consider before purchasing. So read on, and get geared up for your adventure.

Do not fear wearing shorts while on safari! Most safaris are very easy-going affairs that involve riding in the back of the vehicle. You don’t need pants to ride in a game viewer, and it is tough to beat shorts on a hot day!

Whatever you pack, you should consider the location, time of year, and activity level. We spend most of our time in Africa in a pair of shorts and sandals. If you want to learn more, read about more of our favorite safari shorts.

Men’s Safari Shorts

ShortsPriceShopPatagonia Quandry Shorts$69LinkColumbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts$45LinkprAna Stretch Zion Shorts$69LinkOutdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts$70LinkTopo Designs River Shorts$79Link

Patagonia Quandry Shorts

Specs: Price – $69 | Material – Nylon/Spandex

Pros

ComfortMobilityVersatilityMaterialStyleZippered Pocket

Cons

No BeltStandard Color Options

Patagonia’s Quandry hiking shorts are a classic from the company that delivers comfort and versatility. We love the look of these lightweight men’s hiking shorts with their clean cut. With the slimmer cut, they still move well with your body due to the lightweight material that moves with your body. It’s also lovely to see Patagonia utilizing material that is 65% recycled and blue-sign certified.

The material works well as a bathing suit, like many of our favorite hiking shorts for men. Due to their versatility, they make a fabulous pair of travel shorts that can do just about everything. There aren’t many drawbacks to the shorts, but we’d love a few more color options and a built-in belt to save weight.

Shop For Men’s Quandry Short

Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts

Specs: Price – $45 | Material – Nylon

Pros

ValuePocketsBuilt-in BeltComfortClassic

Cons

Not Much Stretch to MaterialCheap Quality

Columbia’s Silver Ridge Short is a classic staple and an excellent balance between function, fashion, and price that can be the perfect sidekick for your safari. These shorts also feature a DWR finished to support water repellency during those wetter days. Additionally, they also support UPF 50 sun protection to assist in the hotter and sunnier occasions.

A two cargo pocket on the thigh helps keep gear where you need it during longer days, while the nylon material allows for a nice stretch on your adventures—all in all, a solid choice for your safari adventures that won’t break the bank either.

Shop For Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts

prAna Stretch Zion Shorts

Specs: Price – $69 | Material – Nylon/Spandex

Pros

ComfortStyleMobilityVentilationBelt

Cons

Material Retain HeatHolds Moisture

These tough hiking shorts men by prAna are built expressly for strenuous activity in the heat. They feature an exceptional moisture-wicking finish to keep you nice and dry if the sweat valves get turned on. The material, in turn, is quick-drying nylon that will help prevent moisture buildup.

The short goes even further in temperature control and includes built-in ventilation on the inseam, which keeps you cool and comfortable when it starts to get hot. Throw in UPF 50 sun protection and a highly abrasion-resistant material in addition to its excellent heat control, and you have a fantastic pair of shorts.

Shop For Men’s prAna Stretch Zion Shorts

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts

Specs: Price – $70 | Material – Ripstop Nylon/Spandex

Pros

Very LightweightPocketsFlexibleStrechTough

Cons

May Be Too Lightweight For Some

The Ferrosi is Outdoor Research’s take on the adventurer short. We love these pants as they deliver a compelling combination of good-looking ruggedness. The nylon-spandex blend keeps them nice and comfortable, but with enough freedom of movement for those crouching moments to snap the perfect picture or peer at wildlife through your binoculars.

The Ferossi shorts are similar to their pants, and they are some of our all-time favorite pieces of travel apparel for their lightweight nature and comfort. The handy zippered thigh pocket gives you a little more space for gear, while it’s low profile enough to make these shorts an excellent choice for dinner out with friends or a rough day on a safari.

Shop For Men’s Outdoor Research Ferossi Shorts

Topo Designs River Shorts

Specs: Price – $79 | Material – Ripstop Nylon

Pros

Quick Dry hiking shortsMobilityPocketsBeltColor OptionsLoose Cut

Cons

Tough Material is Slightly CoarsePrice

We both own a pair of shorts from Topo Designs, and they’re our go-to walking shorts in the summer. Not only are they lightweight, but they double as a bathing suit if you feel like taking a dip in a lake or need to cross a river. Awesome shorts if you like to canoe, raft, or kayak in addition to hiking. Material is not super stretchy, which allows them to hold their shape and resist wrinkles. However, it’s also a slight downside as it feels slightly coarse, but it’s never bothered us on a hike in testing.

A built-in rope belt keeps the hiking short secure on your hips and remains comfortable underneath a backpack. A zippered pocket in the back and two deep front pockets also help stash immediate needs like chapstick, map, or phone. The most significant drawbacks come with the high price tag for shorts and the slightly coarse material.

Shop For Topo Designs River Shorts

Women’s Safari Shorts

ShortsPriceShopTitle Nine Clamber Shorts$65LinkColumbia Saturday Trail Shorts$45LinkREI Co-op Sahara Shorts$44LinkCoalatree Trailhead Shorts$69LinkThe North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Shorts$40Link

Title Nine Clamber Shorts

Specs: Price – $65 | Material – ClambR™ (Nylon/Spandex)

Pros

Super Comfortable WaistbandPlenty of MovementPocketsGreat StyleFit

I just got my hands on these safari shorts and loved the stretchy waistband on them. They are super comfortable, especially if you’re going to be sitting in a game viewing vehicle for hours on end. A wide comfy waistband holds the shorts nicely on the waist, yet they still have functional pockets.

Title Nine is one of my favorite brands for women’s clothes. The Clamber is made of MoxieFlex abrasion-resistant fabric and is also suitable for all hiking, trekking, and scrambling.

Columbia Saturday Trail Short

Specs: Price – $45 | Material – Nylon

Pros

Quick DryingComfortableMobilityStyleValue

Cons

QualityNot Much Stretch to Material

The Columbia brand is always reliable for affordable outdoor wear. These trail shorts are perfect for a safari in Africa as they provide UPF 50 sun protection and insect repellant. Their stretchable fabric makes them ideal for sitting in a safari vehicle for long hours throughout the day.

Even though these are safari shorts, they are still fashionable enough to wear to dinner and other activities that revolve around your safari. The best part about these shorts is even after your African safari experience, you can take them home, and they are perfectly acceptable to go trail running, hiking, or errands around town.

Shop Columbia Saturday Trail Shorts

REI Co-op Sahara Shorts

Specs: Price – $44 | Material – Nylon

Pros

ComfortableValue LightweightQuick Drying

For more functional shorts for women, REI’s Sahara shorts are an excellent choice. They are for a more active traveler on a trip to Africa or South America. We love the Nylon blend with dual cargo pockets. Pockets are functional and deep enough to hold personal necessitates as they are for hikes.

The shorts sit high, and they don’t feel baggy despite the fact they’re cargo shorts. You can even save weight in hot weather and avoid a belt as these shorts have an adjustable waistband.

Shop For Women’s Sahara Shorts

Coalatree Trailhead Shorts

Specs: Price – $69 | Material – Nylon/Spandex

Pros

Very LightweightSuper ComfortableVery BreathableQualityWater Resistant

Cons

Style May Not Work For AllPrice

Coalatree creates eco-focused outdoor apparel that we’re learning to love. As far as comfort, these are the best on this list, and the only drawback is the price. They use a lightweight material that is a blend of Bluesign Nylon and spandex.

They’re super comfortable, and the combination of nylon and spandex allows them to stretch in any way you can move. The drawstring makes for an easy adjustment, and the spandex does an excellent job of hugging your hips.

Shop For Coalatree Trailhead Shorts

The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Shorts

Specs: Price – $40 | Material – Nylon/Elastene

Pros

Super ComfortableExcellent WaistbandCuteRelaxed Style

These drawstring pants are perfect for safaris. They come in various colors, perfect for the African bush, including khaki, but can also double as good beach coverups shorts if you decide to make your way to Zanzibar afterward.

These shorts use nylon and elastane for excellent comfort and performance. A wide comfy waistband sits low on your hips and feels soft and comfortable.

Shop For The North Face Aphrodite 2.0

Tips For buying the Best Safari Shorts

Research Your Destination

Don’t think that you’re just going to Africa, and it’s automatically going to be hot.  The weather there can vary in extremes, so proper research beforehand is pivotal. It’s important to note the region you are going to and the time of year you are traveling. The two main seasons is dry and rainy season.

For example, if you’re heading to Southern Africa during their dry months, April to October, be prepared for cooler mornings and evenings. If you’re heading to East Africa around this same time, however, from April to June, you’ll need to be prepared for much more humid and wet conditions. Read more in detail about how to plan a safari here. 

So as you can see, there’s variation! Depending on where and when you go, there will be sharp differences in the temperatures ahead. We therefore highly recommend that you plan your shorts selection accordingly.

Color Selection

The goal of the safari is to view wildlife, which in turn means that your goal is to not spook wildlife by wearing bright pink neon shorts when trying to see them. So while you’re researching the weather at your destination, take a look at a few pictures and get a feel for nature’s colors in that area, and dress to match. Khaki, dark green, beige, and grey are popular colors to wear on safari.

If you don’t have suitable color shorts, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it may make you stand out.

Durability

A safari isn’t precisely the cushiest environment for clothes. You’ll be climbing in and out of cars, hitting the dusty trail on bumpy roads, and walking through the bush. It’s therefore essential to make sure you opt for a pair of pants that have this kind of use in mind.

We recommend aiming for shorts designed for hiking or backpacking when shopping. You’ll then be sure to find some of the most rugged and long-lasting materials on the market.

Moisture and Ventilation Control

As you know by now, the weather for your safari can potentially be very hot or very wet, or both! Depending on what you’re facing, keep an eye out for pants that will perform well in those environments.

In the case of a toasty trip, pants with built-in ventilation and moisture-wicking technology will perform best. These will wick any sweat away from your body to keep you nice and dry, and at the same time, the pants themselves will dry quickly to avoid becoming sodden.

But when the weather turns wet, a water-resistant finish will help keep rain from soaking in. You’ll typically see this listed as a ‘Durable Water Repellent (DWR).’ Lightweight, quick-drying material will also be a plus in this department for any moisture that happens to sneak through.

Versatility

A safari often doesn’t allow for a wide range of clothing options. You’ll find that one pair of pants will need to last you for every aspect of your day, from early morning at camp to a day of wildlife viewing to an evening back at camp, or maybe even to dinner.

It’s therefore beneficial to find pants that embody the heavy-duty ruggedness of the trail but can also be just as acceptable at a casual evening event with your safari buddies.

Material

One of the first ways we pick out fashion and outdoor wear is to look at the material used in the pants. Even in a store one of the first things we do is check the tags to see the materials used because it will speak to the quality and performance more than any marketing ever will.

Synthetic

Lightweight, synthetic, quick-dry clothing is great for Africa. Synthetic fabrics have great durability, quick-dry properties, stretch, comfort, and strength. However, the downside to nylon and polyester is that they are petroleum-based products and support the “dirty industry.” However, they are plastic-based products so it’s possible to find recycled nylon materials in clothing.

There are a couple of synthetic materials to avoid, most notably Rayon. It can be billed as a “natural” product because is plant-based. However, when manufactured it releases a lot of toxic chemicals that are horrendous for the environment. It may feel soft to touch at first; however, it’s difficult to clean, prone to stretching, incredibly weak, and it often pills. This often found in cheap fashion.

Our favorite synthetic material is Nylon with an obvious reference to the recycled version of the product. We love GORE-TEX for rain jackets, but it should be noted that is simply a robust layered Nylon material with Polyurethane.

Natural

There is a number of natural materials used in outdoor clothing we love to see such as hemp, cotton, wool, and linen.

Everyone is familiar with cotton and it is a great product for its value, durability, comfort, and warmth. However, it does a poor job at moisture management. This means it’s slow to dry when hand washed on the road, poor for sweat management, and can make you cold in wet environments. Also, if possible opt for organic cotton as regular commercial cotton accounts for around 90% of all insecticides used in farming, so it actually makes a massive impact.

Cotton is not our favorite, instead, we’d recommend going for hemp, wool, or even linen. I love hemp for natural material and wish that it was used more in the fashion industry. It’s durable, handles moisture well, breathes, and feels really great to touch.

Wool is a favorite of many and for good reason. It’s one of the best materials out there for handling moisture and providing warmth. However, it’s also pretty pricey and it’s easy to spend over $100 on a shirt.

The brands on this list best for their use of sustainable organic materials are prAna, Patagonia, Fjallraven, and Filson. They all make high-quality products and share a passion for our environment. Patagonia has long led by example demanding suppliers to meet their controls and inspections.

Book A Safari in Africa

Traditionally if you wanted to book a safari you’d have to go to a travel agent and have them book your safari for you. They made suggestions for camps and lodges then presented you with a large bill. Most of the industry still operates in this fashion.

However, Timbuktu is a new platform that allows you to select the lodges you’d like and see the pricing per day that way you can select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you through booking your safari. With experts on staff, they can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details much like a travel agent.

Our Favorite Lodges in Africa

We’ve spent over a year on safari and tried out dozens of lodges and have visited nearly every park in Africa. While it’s impossible to say we’ve visited every lodge we’ve seen a fair amount. Check out our list of favorite lodges in Africa. Have you visited any yourself?

Use OutdoorFox to inform yourself, get all the tips on hiking and camping. Browse through our recommendations and product reviews and start planning your adventure today!

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