When planning a safari, many of us have grand Out of Africa type images in our heads. You want to be out in the wilderness getting up close to Earth’s most majestic animals while still looking like you stepped out of a magazine. Making that happen practically though can be a challenge. But, that’s precisely why one ultra-luxe travel company will take you shopping for the perfect bush-and-runway-worthy wardrobe.
“The number one question I always get asked is ‘What should I wear on safari,” CEO and Founder of Roar Africa, Deborah Calmeyer, told Departures. “That’s why I decided to start helping my clients shop.”
Calmeyer, who lives between New York City and Cape Town, will set up private shopping appointments at designer brands such as Burberry, Ralph Lauren, and Brunello Cucinelli in New York City. She’ll arrive early to pull outfits, so there’s a room full of clothes when the client arrives to try on.
“As they test the options, I’ll make suggestions about what makes sense practically on safari as well as what standouts fashion-wise,” she said. “For example, certain fabrics will wrinkle, or don’t hold up well being hand washed by the staff at the lodge.”
Then, there’s also the consideration of luggage space. Since you’re only allowed to bring 42 pounds of belongings with you in a soft duffle, you have to be strategic with what to bring.
“The three key items that are practical but stylish are a beautiful jacket, a hat, and ankle boots,” said Calmeyer. “A soft canvas jacket from Ralph Lauren is perfect for staying comfortable and warm; a Worth and Worth hat allows you not to fuss with your hair while still looking chic; and Penelope Chilvers boots are easy to pull on and you can wear them to dinner, on the jeep or out for a walk.”
So, where did the emphasis for finding that perfect safari ensemble come from? “There are all these beautiful lodges that are stylish and high design,” said Calmeyer. “People want to dress for these destinations. And with Instagram, it’s become even more important. There’s an elegance one wants to deploy without looking like you’re in Miami.”
These shopping sessions are entirely complementary, and Calmeyer is also willing to travel to a client to help them shop. If that’s not an option, she will pull a selection on Net-a-Porter to ensure all of her clients (who spend around $20,000 per person for a trip with Roar Africa) are happy with their outfit options.
“I love my business and I love fashion,” she said. “So, taking my clients shopping for safari outfits is just fun for me.”