It is entirely true what they say about Africa getting under your skin and getting into your blood.
I was lucky enough while living in South Africa for 5 years to be able to explore some of the southern part of the continent and enjoy a number of safaris during that time. Each was an amazing experience and on the return from a few of these trips, my husband and I said to each other, ‘ok, I think we’ve checked the safari box now’. But a couple of months later we would be talking about our next plan to get ‘back to the bush,’ as the locals call it. We could never get enough!
There is something magical about going on safari. The whole experience from watching those incredible animals – most often up close – in their own environment to the beautifully comfortable tented-camp accommodation to the outdoor lantern-lit evening meals served fireside in the boma that makes it such a romantic adventure. And a very civilized G&T at sundown out of the back of a landrover could convince any sceptic that this is living!
So given my love for the bush, I suppose it’s not surprising that I have a soft spot for safari-inspired style both in interiors and fashion. It seems to have such staying power with its classic prints, neutral hues and casual sophistication. Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Michael Kors, Nicole Miller and others have all come out with hits of safari in their catwalks over the last several years. Below are some examples of how to incorporate this look into either your wardrobe or your home.
Animal print is a definitive safari style print, which can be added to an outfit through accessories or worn from head to toe as your personality allows. Pair it with strappy sandals or boots and a chunky piece of jewellery and you have the look.
These khaki pants combined with a menswear-inspired shirt, leather accessories and beaded jewellery screams safari.
Blending into the environment is key when on safari so as not to arouse attention from hungry carnivorous animals, hence the use of many neutral hues reminiscent of the African Savannah.
The khaki clothing above paired with a hat, sunglasses and a sizeable bag all come together to create a good safari look.
Belted dresses and clothing with lots of pockets and accessorised with gold jewellery is also quintessential safari.
Earth, Wind & Style has a collection of game skin handbags that will coordinate beautifully with safari style (in fact one of our handbags is almost identical to the one that appeared in Michael Kors’ safari-inspired spring/summer 2012 collection!).
Safari lodge interiors, like fashion, tend towards utilising neutrals as a basis for their design. Most lodges are inclined to blend into the environment in which they are located. With the use of natural elements, such as rattan, wood and sisal it is easy to bring a sophisticated bush influence into the home. Layer in textures like cow hide rugs or ottomans, woven hemp or raffia fabrics such as bakuba, and baskets to up the African element. A bowl of ostrich eggs, a grouping of porcupine quills or some oversized seed pods will also add authenticity to your scheme if you can get your hands on them.
Lanterns are used generously at safari lodges, which definitely adds to the drama and romance of these venues.
The carved tables above, zebra ottoman and cowrie shell basket all lean toward this style.
If you have used a lot of wood in your design, you can soften the look by bringing in throw rugs and mosquito netting, which is almost always found around beds in the bush and definitely adds a touch of romance. But what could be more romantic than sleeping under the stars as above?
I think I feel another safari plan coming on…
What do you think about safari style? Do you already wear some of these elements or do you have some incorporated into your home? What are your favourite pieces?