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How to choose binoculars for safari.

Consider the magnification, field of view, durability, the objective lens, the binoculars should be water/fog and shockproof, and choose the best brands with a reputation and warranty.

Bringing a pair of binoculars during a safari is very important in helping you spot wildlife and scenery. Having binoculars mean that you don’t miss the action whether you want to spot a zebra, a lion or any other animal.

Because of the fact that everything on a safari is rough starting from the road to dust, humidity, high temperatures, rain and accidental dropping of the gear, it is imperative to ensure that you have a pair that is up to the challenge.

How to Choose Binoculars for Safari

  1. Magnification

Magnification is one of the key factors to put in mind before buying binoculars for safari. The first number shows the magnification coefficient, which is used to describe how much the binocular can magnify the object. The notion that the higher the number of the magnification, the better is one of the biggest misconceptions there is. A number higher than 12 can compromise on the brightness and focus as much as it zooms in further. The best binocular magnification for safari is 8x or 10x

  1. Prisms

Binoculars contain either of two prism types which are a roof prism and a Porro prism. The two types of binoculars are different in the way the prisms are lined up with the eyepiece. A roof prism has the lens and the prism in line with the eyepiece while a Porro prism has a zigzag alignment.

A Porro prism has a traditional design and refracts much less light thus producing brighter and clearer images with higher depth. It is however much broader and bulkier than roof prisms which also lessens its durability.

A roof prism on the other hand has a complex manufacturing process to achieve precision and is more costly. It has prolonged durability, stronger magnification, lighter weight, and better waterproof quality.

Both types offer a decent experience with minor differences, so you can make a buying decision depending on your budget and space.

  1. Size of the objective lens

An objective lens is located on the tip of the binocular directed towards the object. The binoculars should have a broader actual surface to gather a lot of light. It makes an enormous difference in your sight in low-light situations. The tricky part is that the binocular size increases significantly with the objective lens. A range of 30 to 45mm should be ideal for safari purposes.

  1. Exit pupil

This refers to the ratio of the lens size divided by the magnification. Some binoculars can have this information in their specification hence it is important to know its function. A large exit pupil size lets the binocular gather more light enabling you to catch a clearer sight in low light conditions just like the lens size does. An exit pupil of at least 5mm would suffice for early morning and evening safaris.

  1. Field of view

The field of view shows the width of the picture a binocular can span. A higher field of view allows you to see a lot more. Even though a pair of binoculars with a small field of view can have image quality and magnification that is decent, you would still have to adjust and move it around to catch an animal sight.

A general rule of thumb is to have a field of view with at least 315 feet at 1000 yards.

  1. Waterproof, Fogproof, and Shockproof

Binoculars are susceptible to getting wet while on a safari. For that reason, it is essential to have a model that is waterproof and fog proof possibly. Some models can even be used underwater.

The binoculars should also be shockproof to withstand harsh safari conditions.

  1. Eye Relief

A long eye relief allows you to hold the binoculars further away from your eyes and still have a clear image of the target. It also ensures that eye glasses wearers still have them on even when looking through the binoculars. A 12mm to 18mm is ideal to suit your needs. You should also consider binoculars usable with or without eyeglasses.


Check out: the Best Safari Binoculars


Do I really need binoculars for Safari?

Yes. You might get lucky on some safari tours and find hundreds of animals loitering near the main roads. This is however never a guarantee and the large mammals are unpredictable with regard to where they want to hang out.

Having a pair of binoculars maximizes your chance and gives you a glimpse of the animals hiding deep in the thick bushes as well. Having a pair of binoculars is the best way to enjoy all scenery and views.

Do I need binoculars that are coated?

All quality binoculars are fully coated, multi-coated or fully multi coated. Coatings are crucial in determining image brightness through binoculars. Many budget binoculars have a number of uncoated surfaces which results in dim, washed-out images.

Should I have the highest magnification for my binoculars?

Not necessarily. The higher the magnification the steadier you must hold the binoculars. This is unmanageable in a safari vehicle that is in motion and you will not be able to use a tripod inside a vehicle to steady it. A tripod could be used on a walking safari or from a viewing platform at your accommodation.

What is the price range of safari binoculars?

A pair of safari binoculars normally costs between 100 and 500 Dollars. There are also some high-end ones that cost up to 3000 USD and have an excellent combination of features.


Binoculars come in handy during a safari as relying on the naked eye means that there is so much wildlife potential that we are unable to see. They are important gear to have as they let you have a closer view of the animals and birds that you are trying to see. The binoculars should be easy to use, easy to focus and easy to spot wildlife.

Read Also: How to Choose Binoculars for Wildlife Viewing