As the hottest continent on Earth, when planning your trip to Africa it’s important to consider your travelling attire and scheduled activities before hopping on your flight out there. While packing lightly may seem sensible, don’t be fooled by the soaring midday temperatures. Depending on your destination and the time of year you choose to explore, you may find yourself shivering in your sarong when the sun disappears and night falls.
Of course, as the second largest continent in the world, there are plenty of places to discover and explore. Therefore, when packing for your exciting trip it’s crucial to have done some research around the specific countries and areas in Africa that you’re intending to explore. This will give you some much-needed insight into the types of clothing you’ll need to keep you protected from the heat, while ensuring you make the most of your trip.
From picking practical clothing for your Kenyan safari, to choosing an adaptable and breathable fabric for your Moroccan market trawl, the abaya experts at AbayaButh are here to help you discover a variety of ways you can keep cool and comfortable for your upcoming African adventure.
Remain culturally aware
Depending on the region you’re visiting, religion and accompanying cultural traditions are vital factors to consider before setting off on your travels.
In North African countries such as Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia, be mindful of the historic Berber communities who live by the ancient, Sunni Muslim religion that requires visitors to cover up in the heat. The Mediterranean climate of these northerly countries means that while summers are hot and dry with little rainfall, you can expect a cool breeze that will keep you refreshed under your bold patterned scarf and adaptable abaya, as you trek through the picturesque Atlas mountains and busy village markets.
Dress for practicality
As with most places in the world, the weather in Africa can be unpredictable. If you’re headed to southerly regions of the continent, be prepared to layer up for all eventualities. Botswana’s semi-desert climate means that while the days are hot, the evenings can be extremely cold in comparison.
Therefore, opt for neutral linen trousers and loose-fitting, long-sleeved cotton t-shirts. Not only will these keep you cool during the day and are easy to wash and dry after a day of dusty travelling, but the longer lengths will protect you from pesky mosquitoes and prepare you for the chillier nights. In addition to this, remember your fleece or pashmina and wrap up against the cold temperatures that you’re destined to encounter south of the equator.
What to wear:
On the top
There’s no need to compromise cultural fashion for travelling practicality – after all, embracing the vivid African colours and decorative dress is all part of the experience! When travelling through the natural beauty of Namibia and the gorgeous green season in The Gambia, feel free to dress like the locals in lightweight, colourful fabrics that will keep you looking cool and feeling comfortable.
When visiting Morocco’s various souks, cloak yourself in weightless scarves that cover your head and shoulders to protect you from the heat as well as remaining culturally appropriate. Throughout Africa, it’s important to cover your head and keep hydrated as not to cause you a nasty case of sunstroke – so pop on a hat and invest in a pair of UV protected sunglasses to keep you healthy and aware throughout the day.
On the bottom
When it comes to dressing the bottom half of your body, comfort really is key. Prepare yourself for dusty dirt roads, the sandy Sahara desert and green African plains and pack accordingly. Long trousers will keep you safe from any unwanted insects that flourish in the heat, while also ensuring you don’t leave the continent with a tan line not worth showing to your friends and family on your return home.
On a Kenyan safari, choose linen, loose-fitting bottoms and stay away from blue/black colours which are likely to attract the African Sleeping Sickness fly – the tsetse. On your feet, it’s important to invest in a good pair of trainers or sandals that will support your body through bumpy backroads and sandy landscapes. This will enable you to walk for longer and explore further on your once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Rich in history and culture, diverse in landscapes and constant in heat, Africa is a travel destination that no budding explorer should miss out on. Remember that, ultimately, high UV sun cream will be your most treasured accessory – pack sensibly and dress appropriately to ensure you get from the experience exactly what you imagined and more.
Abi Proud is a content creator for AbayaButh, retailers of abayas, hijabs and a range of modest Islamic clothing for women.
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