The Best Shoes for African Safari

By on January 4, 2018 in Africa, Gear, Reviews, Travel Tips with 0 Comments


When we talk about African safaris, we often forget that we’re actually talking about activities which stretch across a huge swath of the continent.

What this means is that depending on exactly where you safari, climate, topography and altitude are all going to dramatically differ, which will of course have a profound effect on your safari experience and the safari gear you need too… and that’s without considering the season you visit in as well!

So when we’re talking about the best shoes for African safari trips, we’ve really got to take into account a vast range of factors.

Speaking from my own experience, for example, I wore sandals during almost all my safaris in Southern Africa because it was so hot, but in East Africa I wore nothing but hiking boots due to the wet and muddy conditions.

With this information in mind therefore, you can see that it’s actually impossible to nail down just 1 pair of shoes that are best for a safari in Africa.

It’s a bit like saying, what are the best shoes for your Europe?

Well, it depends on where you’re going, when and what you’ll be doing there.

Same applies to safari shoes, but based on my experiences in Southern, East, Northern and the Horn of Africa, I’ve come up with 3 great pairs that between them cover all eventualities.

Read on to discover what these 3 best shoes for Africa safari I’ve selected are…. and why!

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#1 Teva Women’s Tirra Sandal

Teva’s Women Tirra Sandals are certainly one of the best shoes for African safari adventures.

What I like most about these sandals compared to other women’s activewear sandals is their graceful appearance, with thin straps, which are perfect for long, thin feet like mine!

As one of the original activewear sandal brands Teva are experts in their field and these Tirra models are waterproof with a strong, secure strapping configuration that offers multiple adjustments to ensure a perfect fit.

In addition to this, the shoc pad technology offers superb comfort, with a durable footbed giving super support and spider rubbles soles providing some great grip.

Ideal for Southern Africa in particular, the great ventilation of these shoes is just want you want for the dry, hot conditions in this part of the continent in peak safari season.

Light, quick and easy to slip on and off, these sandals will take up little room in your luggage.

Available in a huge range of colours, the comfortable and supporting Teva’s Women Tirra Sandals would be an excellent choice as one of the best shoes for African safari experiences.


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#2 Saucony Women’s Grid Excursion TR9 Trail Running Shoe

Good for walking or cycling safaris like Hells Gate National Park in Kenya or Matapos National Park in Zimbabwe, a pair of trail running shoes are the 2nd pair on my list of the best for shoes for African safari.

With tons of great brand to choose from including Salamon and New Balance, I really love my pair of Saucony Women’s Grid Excursion TR9 Trail Running Shoes, which are great for all sorts of outdoor adventure, including safaris!

Light and durable, these are another top pair of travel shoes that won’t take up much room or weight in your bag.

They can also double as city footwear, perfect for the more urban areas of Africa or travel days, especially given their breathable mesh panels and excellent ventilation.

In addition to keeping your foot cool when on safari, the mesh panel’s of the Saucony Women’s Grid Excursion TR9 Trail Running Shoe are also great for keeping dust and dirt out – an excellent feature in the Africa environment!

In addition, the smart cushioning system and rubber outsole ensure excellent grip and traction.

Perfect for safaris across Africa, I wore my pair of Saucony Women’s Grid Excursion TR9 Trail Running Shoes a lot during dawn and night safaris when the cold weather meant I needed something that completely covered my foot, but was not over bulky or cumbersome.

When it comes to choosing the colour of your African safari shoes, you should really try to opt for less bright colours or nothing white that’s going to get filthy quickly!

Saucony Women’s Grid Excursion TR9 Trail Running shoes come in several dark colours, as well as the vibrant design shown here, making them perfect in this regard too!


#1 Binoculars – They don’t’ need to be expensive, but my cheap Eurohike pair were a great investment.
#2 Toilet Paper – Bush toilets don’t generally provide it!
#3 Natural Sunscreen & Sun Hat – things get hot on safari so do be prepared.
#4 Good Camera & Lens – an absolute must if you’re looking to capture the incredible landscape and wildlife. I love my mirrorless Sony A6000, which is light, compact and robust – ideal for Africa travel.
#5 Sarong – whether it’s covering your shoulders from the sun, using as a pillow on long bus journeys or protecting yourself from dust on safari, a sarong is a great multi-purpose travel item for Africa.


#3 KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot

When it comes to womens’ hiking boots, my go-to is now the Keen’s Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot, which offers unparalleled comfort and durability with excellent value for money.

Breathable, with a protective toe cap and excellent traction, these are definitely one of the best for shoes for African safari trips, such as gorilla trekking in East Africa where the ground is muddy, wet and unstable.

With an outstanding waterproof rating, the KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot would actually be the perfect pair of shoes for safaris across East Africa, where it can rain at anytime of year and where conditions can quickly become slippery.

In the dense jungle areas of Africa, fire-ants are an additional threat, so having a hiking boot, rather than a lower supporting shoe here, is going to help you combat these pesky insects too.

As hiking boots go, I love the look of the KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot, which is pretty stylish as well as practical. The brown, ‘shitake’ colour schemes they offer are almost fashionable and ideal for African safari shoes.

You can even wear these on travel days without feeling like the total tourist hiker!

As well as in East Africa, these are also one of the best shoes for African safari adventures if you are travelling in Southern Africa in the winter (when its freezing and you’ll likely need a boot!) as well as further north in the Horn of Africa.

For example, I wore hiking boots a lot in Ethiopia, in particular when trekking in Simien Mountains National Park and in the Danakil Depression.




So there you have it, my top 3 pairs when it comes to the best shoes for African safari trips.

Have you been on safari in this amazing continent?

What shoes did you take?

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About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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