11 Best Binoculars for Safari 2020 Reviews

Best Travel Binoculars for Safari in 2020 Reviews

What are the best binoculars for Safari?

Binoculars for Safari:  When packing for a safari, the number one question people have is “Should I bring binoculars on a safari?” When people ask me this I scream YESSSSS!!!!!

I consider bringing binoculars on safari 100% an essential item to bring on safari. This is the pair of binocularsOpens in a new tab. I own and take on safari with me when I travel.

best binoculars for safari

Choosing the best binoculars for safari can be challenging.  There are so many different models out there and a range of prices.  Where do you even start? And what do the numbers (8×42) mean?

Don’t worry. This safari binocular buying guide has all the answers. Not only does it include binoculars for your safari reviews, but I have also included all the frequently asked questions about binoculars at the bottom as well.

I have researched all the best binoculars in this guide and created a comparison chart to make your safari the best adventure for you.

I have a confession to make – when I first went on safari, I thought I would see all of the animals just fine without binoculars. What happened instead is that I ended up using my guide’s binoculars the whole time.

safari binoculars

I wouldn’t have been able to see these two cheetahs unless I had binoculars.  I’m so thankful for that as it was a beautiful moment to see.

So before my next safari, I researched the best binoculars for a safari to make sure I was ready to bird watch and spot the elusive leopard.

There are so many amazing animals to see on safari but they are not just sitting there waiting for you. You will see cheetahs off in the distance on an ant hill and to see them you will need to have a pair of binoculars.

Best compact binoculars for safari to see the lions

I’ve been on over 20 safaris in Africa and visited 35 of the 54 countries on the continent and the first thing I always pack is my binoculars for a safari.

*Disclaimer: There may be some affiliate links on this page, which means when you click I get a small percentage of the purchase at no extra cost to you. This allows me to keep sharing great travel tips, so feel free to click away!

Best Binoculars for Safari Comparison Chart

I’ve prepared the following comparison chart of the best binoculars I have researched and/or used to help you find the best one.

best travel binoculars

TLDR: For me, the weight of the binoculars is an important feature. You do not want to have to lug around a large travel accessory.  These are the best lightweight binoculars for travel I recommend and they are the best affordable binocularsNikon 8252 Aculon.Opens in a new tab.

Another important factor is the magnification. I want to be able to see the animals clearly. The best binoculars for safari need to have a combination of these two factors.  I have a whole FAQ at the end of this article that covers all of the features to look for in safari binoculars.

Wondering what are the best binoculars for safari?  I’ve prepared the following comparison chart of the best binoculars I have researched and/or used to help you find the best one.  Here are some of the recommended binoculars for safari.

Nikon 8252 the best binoculars for safari
Celestron - a cheaper binocular for safari
Wingspan one of the best binoculars for safaris
Vemtona Lifetime Warranty Binoculars
Vortex Compact Binoculars
Name Image Best For Cost My Rating (/10)
Nikon 8252 AculonOpens in a new tab. Quality $$ 10.0 – THE BEST
Celestron 71322 Nature Waterproof $$ 8.5
Wingspan Optics WingcatcherOpens in a new tab. Bird Watching $ 8.0
Sky Genius Powerful BinocularsOpens in a new tab. Lifetime Warranty $ 9.0
Vortex DiamondbackOpens in a new tab. Compact $$ 8.5

Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars 

Quality $$$ 9.5
Vortex Optics Professional BinocularsOpens in a new tab. High Quality $$$ 9.5

The Winner and Best Binoculars for Safari

Nikon 8252 Aculon Binoculars – The best binoculars for the money

Nikon the best binoculars for safari

Nikon 8252 Aculon BinocularsOpens in a new tab. – with over 860 positive reviews these are the best travel binoculars for you.

One reviewer even said that they had bought several pairs of binoculars over the years and that they didn’t have the clarity that they had expected until they bought these.

These binoculars are crystal clear even when you zoom all the way in! And these binoculars are the perfect price point as well.  You will see why they are the best binoculars for a safari.

Quality and Affordability

“The ACULON A211 10-22×50 zoom binoculars feature adjustable 10-22-power multicoated lenses and 50mm objectives fabricated with Nikon’s exclusive lead and arsenic free Eco-Glass. The BaK4 Porro prism systems within all ACULON A211 binoculars deliver a high quality image under a multitude of lighting conditions, making these binoculars effective from dawn till dusk. All together the ACULON A211 10-22×50 zoom binoculars are a quality, cost effective choice.”

What does 22×50 mean?  22×50 binoculars have 22x magnification and the objective lenses are 50mm in diameter. The wider the objective lens, the more light the binoculars will take in making the image brighter.

I chose the Nikon 8252 because they are very ergonomic and comfortable to use and come with a neck strap as well.  Everything is so crystal clear through these binoculars and they are the best safari binoculars.  Also the best travel binoculars for safari.

Click here to see more information and the latest prices.Opens in a new tab.


Celestron 71332 Nature Waterproof Binocular – best lightweight binoculars for travel

Celestron - a cheaper binocular for safari

Celestron Opens in a new tab.is one of the cheaper binoculars on this list these binoculars have a huge magnification and lens diameter yet only 1.75 pounds and they are waterproof.

These binoculars are best for beginner to intermediate users because of their large magnification and small lens.  They do need to be held steady though when using them.

These binoculars would work best on a safari where you will also have a lot of bird life.  They are large binoculars and best used with a tripod.  Good if you are doing a walking safari or you are staying at a lodge that has a viewing platform for the wildlife.

Click here to see more information and the latest prices.


Wingspan Optics Wingcatcher – lightweight binoculars for safari

The Wingspan binocularsOpens in a new tab. are great binoculars that let you see farther and brighter with more clarity and color.  They are cheap binoculars for a safari that are good travel binoculars.

They have an extra wide field of view which makes it easier to spot animals in the grass and cover large areas to see if anything is out there such as lions in the tall grass.

With these lenses, you can experience unbeatable resolution and contrast.  This is the ideal magnification to capture crystal clear images.

The Wingspan binoculars come with neck strap, carrying case, lens protectors and cleaning cloths.

Click here to see more information and the latest pricesOpens in a new tab..


Sky Genius Powerful Binoculars – bush binoculars

compact travel binoculars

Sky Genius binocularsOpens in a new tab. are compact and perfect for your next adventure.  They also have a lifetime warranty, so if you are worried about how your binoculars will perform on safari you have extra insurance for them.

Sky Genius binoculars are waterproof and fog proof which is important for your sunrise safaris and the cold air outside and the warmth of your body up again the eye piece.  You do not want the binoculars to fog up just when you are going to use them.

They are made from durable materials with water resistance function fits for most outdoor scenes.

Click here to see more information and the latest pricesOpens in a new tab..


Vortex Optics Diamond Binoculars – safari binoculars

good travel binoculars

The Vortex Optics Diamond BinocularsOpens in a new tab. are efficient and high-performing optical binoculars with enhanced, multi-coated lenses (including Argon gas for anti fog), that provide stunning views and impressive low-light performance. One of the top recommended binoculars for safari for the price.

They have an ultra-wide, field of view, which you can use to effortlessly cover ground and acquire subjects with ease. They also have a sleek, short hinge design with rubber armor and thumb indents that leave more room for your hands creating an easier, secure, non-slip grip.

These binoculars are for those who are serious about seeing wildlife at a distance and can be used with a tripod to ensure a steady hand.  They come with a neck strap and case to protect your binoculars.

Click here to see more information and the latest prices.Opens in a new tab.


Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars – travel binoculars for safari

travel binoculars for safari

These are inexpensive binocularsOpens in a new tab., which are great for watching wildlife both in the national parks or open areas. The cheap binoculars for safari come with a pouch lens protector covers and a cell phone mount.

The mount helps you capture images that you would need an expensive DSLR camera to get a clear shot of so you can revisit the memories you have created.  The binoculars are easy to adjust and everything about this binocular is sturdy and seems well made.

Click here to see more information and the latest prices.


Viper Optics Professional Binoculars – lightweight binoculars for safari

The Viper Optics Binoculars are high end binoculars with all of the top specs.  Lifetime waterproof with Argon gas for anti fogging, customized eye relief, exceptional resolution and clarity, full size, yet compact with superior ergonomics.  Perfect for low light conditions.

This is the best safari binoculars for you if you have a big budget and will use them frequently.

“The Viper HD – Premium optics and rugged construction in a tremendously compact, lightweight package – What more could you need? Well, perhaps a quality chest harness to comfortably and securely carry your investment in the field, but that’s included, too! Hunters, shooters and outdoor enthusiasts alike are sure to benefit from the high performance of the Viper HD binoculars.”

Several reviewersOpens in a new tab. have said these binoculars are even better than the Swarovski’s binocularsOpens in a new tab..

Click here to see more information and the latest prices.Opens in a new tab.


How to choose the best binoculars for safari?  What magnification do I need?

My suggestion is to set a budget and then choose the best magnification you can afford.  Remember, magnification is the first number when stated at 10×50.  Binoculars with the specification of 10×50 can be adjusted to magnify the picture 10 times that of the naked eye.

The second number used in 10×50 refers to the binocular’s objective lens diameter. The objective lenses are the lenses at the front of the binoculars, furthest away from your eyes, and closest to what you are looking at. The objective lens diameter of the example binoculars is 50mm.  The larger the number, the larger the lens and that means the more light that will enter and create a clearer picture.  You will want larger objective lenses for low light conditions.  These are not always the most compact binoculars.

African Safari

Frequently Asked Questions

Wondering how to buy binoculars for safari?  Check out these FAQs on which binoculars are best for safari and how to choose the best binoculars for wildlife viewing.

Do I need binoculars for a safari in South Africa? YES.  I do not think it matters if you are going on safari in Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa the answer will be the same.  Yes, you should bring a pair of binoculars to spot the animals.  Your guide will have a pair to try and look for the wildlife and once he sees them then you can use your binoculars to see the animals on safari.  Do not rely on the zoom on your camera for this.

What is the optical quality of binoculars?  Lens come in four different types of coatings.

  1. Coated which is the lowest quality
  2. Fully coated which is quite economical
  3. Multi coated which is higher quality and
  4. Fully Multi coated which allows the best light transmission and brightest images.  Choosing a binocular with a good coating will give you the best outcome.

Do I need binoculars that are coated? Yes.  All quality binoculars are fully coated, multi coated or fully multi coated.  Coatings are one of the most important factors in determining image brightness through the binoculars.  Many budget binoculars have several uncoated surfaces – this is unacceptable, since each uncoated glass surface reflects about 4-5% of incoming light. This will result is a dim, washed-out image through the binoculars.

What do the numbers mean in 8×42?  The first number is the magnification and the second number is the objective lens diameter or the diameter of the lens.  The magnification is 8 and the diameter is 42mm.

So, I want the highest magnification for my binoculars, right? Not exactly.  The higher the magnification the steadier you must hold the binoculars.  This is impossible in a moving safari vehicle and you will not be able to use a tripod inside a vehicle to keep it steady.  You could use a tripod on a walking safari or from a viewing platform at your accommodation.

Which is the best magnification for binoculars? For a safari I recommend 8×42 or 10×50 binoculars.  These will give you great magnification, large eye pieces to let in light yet they will still work well even if you do not hold them perfectly still.

That’s why I chose the Nikon 8252 Aculon BinocularsOpens in a new tab. with their 10×50 view.

What are Standard Porro Prism Binoculars?  These are general purpose binoculars with lenses larger than 35mm.  An example would be binoculars that are 8×42 or 10×50.  They enable bright, high-contrast images through the binoculars to view wildlife from far away which is excellent for a safari.

I recommend buying binoculars with a roof prismOpens in a new tab. instead of a porro prism as they take up less space.


Conclusion – choosing the best binoculars for safari for you

The best binoculars for you are the ones that you are going to use.  They need to be easy to use, easy to focus, and easy to see the wildlife.

With so many different options to choose from I wanted to put together a guide that was easy to use and explained the different functions of the binoculars.

I have been on over 25 different safaris in Africa and have always used binoculars.  Its one of my top tips for going on safari.  I’ve included some more tips below to make your safari experience a great one!

Plan Your Trip to Africa

  • Water: The best thing I have ever bought for my travels is a  Lifestraw Water bottle to ensure safe drinking water and reduce my plastic consumption.
  • Guide Book: Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. I recommend picking up a Lonely Planet so you can mark out where you want to go and what you want to see.
  • Adaptor: I always use the universal travel adapter as I usually visit numerous countries at a time.  Remember that most of Southern Africa uses this travel adaptor,  while Eastern Africa uses the British Three Prong adaptor.

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Nicole

Nicole LaBarge is a travel expert who has been traveling internationally for over 25 years and she has visited over 115 countries all while working a 9-5. She has lived in England, Scotland, Japan and New Zealand. Check out her detailed destination guides and travel product guides.

12 thoughts on “11 Best Binoculars for Safari 2020 Reviews

  1. As an avid birder I know how much a quality pair of binoculars can affect your animal viewing experience. I have a pair of the Vemtonas that I love!

  2. I have plans on exploring the safari and I also thought I didn’t need the binoculars!! Thanks for the very comprehensive guide! Will start checking their availability here!

  3. Woow! I didn’t know there are a lot of choices for binoculars. Going to a safari without any binoculars, is like walking under the rain without umbrella. Yeah, I will definitely invest with one good pair of these if I find myself visiting many safaris frequently.

  4. We’re looking to head to Kenya for a blogging safari trip in October, so this is a great article, will have to save for a few months time when I get around to buying some binoculars.

  5. That’s a very detailed compilation of binoculars. Im glad i came across this post because a wilderbeest migration trip is on our minds right now and the right equipment would be very useful for sightings.

  6. You are so right about getting a good pair of binoculars for safari Nicole. If you’re on a once in a lifetime experience, you shouldn’t skimp on the glass. I would go with glass quality, field of view, and magnification simultaneously and not only focus of the magnification. Too often in my past, I bought cheap glass that was so hard to use and blurred once I got it working that I never ended up using it. Great guide.

  7. This is an excellent and detailed guide Nicole. Even though going on a safari is not in my immediate future, I appreciated all the tips you gave and reasons for investing in a good pair of binoculars. If you are going to spend the money to go on a safari, you might as well get the best possible animal viewing experience.

  8. This is a great guide, I love a good safari and this is so helpful for making the right choice to invest. I love that the Vemtona binoculars are compact, waterproof, fog proof and have a lifetime warranty!

  9. Thanks for a detailed guide with comparative charts of the various brands. I am planning my very first full-fledged bird watching trip with family and this post has come at the right time. I am not an avian person, but, would love to encourage my son to go bird watching. Shall look into your reccos of the binoculars.

  10. Very well researched guide. In fact, it Re emphasizes the need to plan well for those rare sightings. Nothing can be more disappointing than not getting to see the creatures clearly when they are right in front of you. Loved the consideration factors for the buy like magnification and water proof bit.

  11. This is a really useful guide! I remember scouring forums when trying to pick which binoculars to purchase for safari (in Tanzania) a couple of years ago. And funnily enough I got the Nikon Aculon! They were wonderful, good size, quality and affordable price, highly recommend! (Everyone on my trip wanted to borrow my binoculars ;).

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