Planning a Post-Covid Trip to Africa? Here’s What to Wear
We are finally taking our reins back from Covid as more people get vaccinated all over the world and international travel picks up. This means that many holiday hotpots in Africa are opening up and it’s time to grab our suitcases gathering dust in our attics and basements, re-install that language app and stay up late Tuesday night browsing for flight and hotel deals to Africa.
With the flights and hotels booked, next is what to wear, especially if you are the kind of tourist who likes to be accommodating of your host country’s culture. I try to dress within what is considered respectful to the local culture, and appropriate for the climate when visiting some of my favorite holiday spots in Africa. Here is a quick and dirty guide on dressing during your trip to Africa.
Do you have to dress the same way as locals?
Africa is a melting pot of a culture with thousands of tribes spread across it’s 50 plus countries, so, it can be difficult to have a specific dressing code for your trip. Many tourist destinations are used to foreigners’ way of dressing, so there is no pressure to dress exactly like the locals. However, it’s always a good idea to dress modestly unless attending a specific function with a definite dress code, because in many local cultures, modesty takes centre stage when it comes to dressing. It will also help you to avoid uncomfortable stares from the locals especially when visiting rural areas.
Men can wear long pants, jeans, shorts and a t-shirt that covers your shoulders. It is advisable to avoid shorts that are not knee length especially when visiting rural areas in some African countries. A shirt is a viable choice depending on your level of comfort especially when visiting hot areas.
Women can wear knee-length or long dresses, skirts and pants. In large cities, the choice of clothing does not carry much weight because many city dwellers are familiar with and have adapted western dress-codes and mannerisms.
Conservative dressing is taken seriously in some areas like Zanzibar, Tanzania and parts of Northern Africa. In Zanzibar, Tanzania, locals might come up and ask you to cover up when your clothing is considered too revealing. It’s okay to wear a bikini while at the beach or your preferred swimwear. However, it’s advisable to cover up before you leave the beach.
In cities like Nairobi in Kenya, it’s normal to dress in a ‘westernized’ style.
Wear an Africa Themed T-shirt, Create Instant Rapport!
It goes without saying that Africans are some of the most friendly and welcoming people in the world. It doesn’t take much to create rapport and have great conversations with that cab driver on your way from the airport, or a vendor when exploring the narrow streets of Zanzibar.
One way that I would highly recommend is buying and wearing an African themed T-Shirt because many locals are known to look favorably upon tourists who appreciate African art and fashion. African themed t-shirts and accessories combine authenticity and comfort that will have you make friends in no time. Heck you can even have a deliberately mispronounced quote or phrase on your t-shirt that will have locals laughing with you as they directly let you know that your grammar sucks! In a nutshell, it’s normal to get it wrong with the dressing in some instances, but don’t sweat it, you will be fine.
Do you have any funny/horror/OMG stories about fashion faux pas during your trip abroad? Share with us and we might feature it in one of your future blogs!
P.S. Purchase African themed t-shirts with us! We offer a wide variety of designs, colors and quotes. Should you have a specific design in mind, let us know and we will customize it for you!