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Safari Binoculars

The right pair of safari binoculars will provide optimum viewing.

When choosing safari binoculars, consider the location of the safari. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
When choosing safari binoculars, consider the location of the safari.

Safari Binoculars

The importance of a good pair of safari binoculars should never be underestimated. The binoculars play a vital role in the success of a photographic or hunting safari. According to the African Travel Guide, binoculars should be considered essential necessities for any trip. Whether trying to capture the perfect photograph of an elephant in Botswana or scouting for big game on the vast plains of Tanzania, the correct binoculars provide optimum viewing of any animal or landscape. Knowing which safari binoculars to purchase is a matter of knowing what special features are required.

Safari Binocular Basics

Before purchasing a pair of binoculars, it is necessary to understand how they work. According to the University of Washington, a basic pair of binoculars consists of a right-eye and a left-eye barrel connected by a center hinge. The center hinge often has a focusing wheel to calibrate the binoculars to the eyes of the user. The majority of binoculars also have individual focusing wheels called diopters on each barrel so each eye piece can be calibrated for focus separately.

Those shopping for safari binoculars may want to consider porro prism binoculars. The eyepiece is at an angle to the objective lens (the glass at the wide end of the barrel) with reflective prisms in between. This design gives porro prism binoculars a greater field of view and lets in more light than other types of binoculars. This makes them a good choice for safaris.

Special Features to Consider

Safari binoculars are used to bring every detail of far-away game and geography into view. A high magnification is best (8x to10x) for viewing details at long distances. Wide objective lenses work best to gather as much light as possible during dusk and dawn viewings.

Personal Needs

With a large variety of binoculars on the market, it can quickly become overwhelming to choose the right pair for a given individual. Rather than researching hundreds of pairs that meet the same basic technical specifications, it may be easier to narrow the search by establishing a budget and determining individual needs.

When choosing safari binoculars, buyers should consider the following:

  • The location of the safari and whether waterproof or fog proof lenses are a priority
  • The weight of the binoculars (for packing and carrying considerations)
  • The time of the hunt and if wide objective lenses are needed for early morning or evening hunts
  • The desired magnification power, keeping in mind that game and other animals are not usually right in front of the viewer


Popular Brands

Experts recommend that a good pair of porro prism safari binoculars should cost (as of 2008) between $100 and $300. Cheap binoculars manufactured by unknown companies are usually inferior and a waste of money.

Popular brands and styles of safari binoculars in 2008 included:

  • Nikon 8 x 42 Monarch ATB
  • Meade Kestrel 8 x 42 Premium Field Safari Binoculars Ultra Close F
  • Bushnell 8 x 42 Legend Waterproof/Fogproof
  • Canon 10 x 30 IS Image Stabilized Binoculars
  • Steiner 10x26 Predator Pro Binocular

A good pair of safari binoculars can make the difference between taking in all the sights on safari and missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime sighting.

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