The Best Binoculars For Safari: Top Brands Reviewed + Buying Guide & FAQ

group of people on a safari trip

Last Updated on by Garrett Hayes

You might already have a pair of killer binoculars for bird watching but going on a safari is a whole different ball game.

You’re going to want…  

… the best safari binoculars out there so you don’t miss a thing on your big trip. 

Compared to professional bird watching binoculars, safari binoculars need to be just as high quality but also lightweight and super durable.

As well as a range of exotic birds, you’ll get to see incredible animals from elephants to cheetahs on your big trip and what better way to see them than through the best binoculars for safari.

1. Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 – Best Overall

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)

The Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 has got to be the best overall binoculars for African safari because although they are professional quality, they are still reasonably priced which is always a winning combination in my eyes.

You might recognize the popular camera brand and the quality of their binoculars is just as good as their cameras. Nikon knows a bit about high-quality definition and lenses, so you can expect a crisp center focus with these binoculars. They are also built with Nikon’s Extra-Low Dispersion glass for a broad field of view, meaning you won’t miss a thing.

With a 42mm objective lens diameter and multi-coated eco glass, you’ll be able to see even in low lighting which is just what you want on a safari as you’re sure to be treated to a beautiful night-time session during your trip. 

Knowing that you’ll need a light pair of binoculars to travel with, this model is an ounce lighter than the previous model at 1.3lbs. Finally, built for extreme conditions; these binoculars are waterproof, fog-proof, and have a rubber-armored body so you don’t have to worry about any accidental drops or damage while traveling. Having said that, they’re not easy to drop anyway thanks to the non-slip grip.

The only issue customers have had is with the eye rubbers which can come loose but this can be addressed by making sure you attach them properly according to the instructions.

Pros

  • High-quality lens
  • Resilient (waterproof and fog proof)
  • Durable rubber-armored body
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Eye rubbers can come loose if not attached correctly

These are the top pick for the best binoculars for safari because of the high quality which comes at a reasonable price. We’re confident that they will suit most safari-goers.

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2. Eyeskey Pro Waterproof Binoculars – Most Affordable

Eyeskey 10x42 Professional Waterproof Binoculars, Best Choice for Travelling, Hunting, Sports Games and Outdoor Activities, Extremely Clear and Bright

Another very affordable option is the Eyesky Pro waterproof binoculars. As the name suggests, these binoculars are waterproof, fog-proof and rubber armor coated for durability.

The hardcore design is complemented by the full 10x magnification for spotting everything from large safari animals to unique birds. The multi-coated eco-glass lenses and phase correction coated BaK-prism might sound pretty technical but they basically just mean that you’ll be able to see well in low light and across the entire visible light spectrum so what you see looks crisp and high definition.

The angle of view also makes it easy to find your subject so you’re not aimlessly skimming the horizon for that rare bird. This definitely makes them one of the best safari binoculars for bird watching. Again, the lens is 42mm and although these binoculars are slightly bigger than the Nikon, they are easy to hold and aren’t too bulky, weighing just 1.42lbs.

Some customers have complained that the long-distance image quality isn’t as good as expected but the vast majority of users are more than happy with these and why wouldn’t you be for such reasonably priced professional quality safari binoculars.

Pros

  • Not bulky
  • Waterproof, fog-proof, rubber armor coated
  • Eco-glass, phase correction lenses
  • Easy view finding angle

Cons

  • Not the best for long-distance

If you are looking for an affordable option in the world of professional quality binoculars, these won’t disappoint. They are a great option for bird watching and safari.

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3. Celestron Outland Binoculars – Best Budget Buy

Celestron – Outland X 10x42 Binoculars – Waterproof & Fogproof – Binoculars for Adults – Multi-Coated Optics and BaK-4 Prisms – Protective Rubber Armoring

This popular and super affordable Celestron Outland Binoculars are the best budget binoculars for an African safari. For high resolution and contrast, they come with multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms. The glass used for these lenses also enhances color and provides a crisp view with up to 10 times magnification.

Waterproof and fog proof, you won’t have to worry about these binoculars when you’re out on safari, no matter what the weather conditions. For even more durability, they have been filled and sealed with dry nitrogen gas which also helps to reduce internal fogging of the lenses so you don’t lose that crisp view.

The protective rubber covering protects the binoculars and provides a secure, anti-slip grip surface. To adjust the view, you can also twist the eyecups which is easy to do and quick, for precise focus and a full field of vision. This makes them great for bird watching as you need to focus fast to spot moving birds.

Weighing 2lbs, these are slightly heavier than other options so if weight limits are a real concern on your trip, you might want to think about leaving a little room in your baggage. The lens diameter is also 42mm which is great for a budget option although some people have found that the focus isn’t always on point.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Fast and easy focus
  • Enhanced color
  • Secure anti-slip material
  • Durable waterproof and fog proof material

Cons

  • Heavier than other options
  • Focus can be off

If this is your first safari and you’re looking for a super budget-friendly option, these binoculars are a great choice. Just don’t expect them to live up to the quality of professional binoculars.

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4. Bushnell H2O Binocular – Other Budget Option

Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular, 8 x 42-mm, Black

Another good budget option is these Bushnell binoculars. With good HD clarity, BaK-4 prism, and multi-coated optics, you’ll get clear images with great light transmission.

The high-quality material is made to be waterproof, fog proof, and non-slip with a rubber armor which is comfortable thanks to the soft texture grip which absorbs shock so you can hold on to them all day, no matter how bumpy the ride.

With 8 times magnification and a 42mm objective diameter, these are certainly an impressive budget option. They also have a 12-foot close focus and 17 mm eye relief for long days out animal and bird watching, making these the best binoculars for comfort on an African safari. 

What’s more, the large center focus knob is easy to adjust at a moment’s notice when you spot the bird or animal you’ve been looking for all day. A simple twist of the eyecups allows you to adjust your focus immediately.

Weighing 1.56 lbs, these are some of the best compact binoculars for safari and you’ll barely notice them in your pocket. They are also a great option for beginners or your first-time safari as they won’t cost you much but you won’t miss out on anything.

Although the focus is easy to adjust and fast, some people did find it difficult to get just right which can be a bit frustrating when you’re out on safari.

Pros

  • Waterproof, fog proof and non-slip rubber material
  • Comfortable grip
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Fast focus

Cons

  • Can be difficult to get in focus with eyecup twists

These are another good budget option. The only issue is with the focus which can be difficult to get spot-on for those fast-moving animals and birds.

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5. Occer Compact Binoculars – Most Compact

Occer 12x25 Compact Binoculars with Low Light Night Vision, Large Eyepiece Waterproof Binocular for Adults & Kids,High Power Easy Focus Binoculars for Bird Watching,Outdoor Hunting,Travel,Sightseeing

With a 25mm objective lens, the Occer Compact is the best compact binoculars for safari as they are small enough to fit in one hand. They are also a great pick for kids because of their small size and ease of use.

The 12x magnification is great for long-distance safari animals and spotting smaller birds but using the full 12 times zoom can make it difficult to focus. However, the wide field of view also broadens the area you can see so you don’t miss anything and the BaK-4 prism ensure a crisp image. The adjustable eyecups make them a comfortable fit for everyone and you can even use them while wearing glasses or sunglasses.

To reflect the right amount of light, these binoculars feature FMC multi-layer broadband green film and the eyepiece is made of blue FMC coating. This means that you’ll get the closest colors to the real thing.

Made from ABS plastic and with non-slip rubber armor, these binoculars are very durable which is great considering they are super affordable. They are also shockproof and light and water-resistant. The only issue is that the low light features haven’t held up to customers’ expectations so you might not get the best views on your night safari.

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to use with one hand
  • Great for kids
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable eyecups
  •  Shockproof, light and water-resistant
  • Durable material

Cons

  • Not good in low light

For a beginner pair of binoculars, these are definitely a great choice. Just don’t expect top of the range professional features like low light vision.

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Why Do I Need Binoculars For Safari?

If you are going on safari for the first time, you might expect to see animals up close but, in reality, a lot of the rarer animals won’t come so close to your safari jeep so you’ll need binoculars if you really want to get the most out of your trip.

You might already have an expensive pair of professional bird watching binoculars but these aren’t ideal for safari either. What you really need is something compact, lightweight, and durable that can take on any weather and harsh environments. This is why it is important to have the best binoculars for safari. 

But of course, you can also take along your best birding binoculars even on a safari trip! 🙂

young girl on a safari expedition using binoculars

What To Look For In The Best Safari Binoculars

Magnification

Most binoculars can magnify between 8 and 12 times. Of course, you’ll want higher magnification for objects that are further away and you can expect a lot of animals you want to spot on safari to be in the distance. However, although some binoculars have higher magnification, the image is not always as clear as narrowing your field of vision will make the image more unstable.

The best magnification for safari binoculars is 8 or 10 times as they are still stable but allow you to zoom in on the animals and birds you really want to see without that annoying shakiness or lack of focus.

Objective Lens Diameter

The next thing to look for is the objective lens diameter. This review features safari binoculars of 25mm to 42mm. A larger lens means your binoculars will be able to take in light more effectively creating a clearer image. This means that larger lenses are better for low lighting conditions and, if you are going on a night safari, a larger lens is essential.   

Although a larger lens means clearer images, they are also bigger and if you really prioritize compact binoculars for safari, you might want to sacrifice lens size for space.

Eye Relief

Eye relief can be measured by the distance between your eye and the eyepiece lens at which you can still see the full field of vision. For greater comfort, you should be able to hold the binoculars away from your eye and still see clearly through them.

Although some people like to hold the binoculars to their eye to stabilize them, after a full day on safari you might need to allow your eyes to relax by holding the binoculars slightly further away. This is also especially important for people who wear glasses as you will need the added space to protect your glasses from colliding with the binoculars on the safari jeep.

Weight

Just like the size of the binoculars, weight is also a big consideration on safari as you might need to move around a lot with your binoculars and heavy pair are going to become quite cumbersome. For more compact binoculars for safari, you can easily get a pair around 1-2lbs which will be easy to transport both in your luggage and around your neck but you can get even lighter compact binoculars for safari if weight is a big factor for you.

Durability

All the safari binoculars in this review are designed to handle rough outdoor conditions well. They are all waterproof and feature durable rubber armor to protect the lenses from drops or bumps on the road. Of course, the more expensive the binoculars, the higher quality the material so if you are looking for the most durable pair, you might have to spend a bit more.

Which Are The Best Safari Binoculars For Me?

a man engrossed on the view from a binocular

The right safari binoculars will depend on what you need and how much of a safari enthusiast you are. All the binoculars in this review are fit for their purpose but some have specific features that might make them the stand out choice for you.

Best Compact Binoculars For Safari

If you are really pushing the weight limit on your luggage to the max or just don’t really want to be lugging around a heavy pair of binoculars on your big trip, the best travel binoculars for safari are the Occer Compact Binoculars weighing just 0.65lbs and fitting in one hand. This makes them the lightest, compact binoculars by far but the 12 times magnification might get a bit shaky with such small binoculars.

Best Budget Binoculars For African Safari

Similarly, if your biggest concern when looking for a pair of safari binoculars is the price, you can still get a reliable pair without spending a fortune. The Celestron Outland Binoculars are a great budget option as they are very affordable but still provide high-resolution images and are durable.

Best Safari Binoculars For Low Lighting

A great all-round pair of binoculars and also the best option for a night safari and low lighting is the Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5. The 42mm lenses mean high-quality images in both natural lighting and low lighting so you won’t miss a thing on safari. The 8 times magnification is also sturdy while providing crisp images which makes them even easier to focus in low lighting.


Conclusion

The best binoculars for African safari overall have got to be the Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5. They are built to handle any climate and lighting which is just what you want on an African safari when you just don’t know what to expect.

Made from durable, waterproof material with a rubber armor which will protect these binoculars from anything you throw at them, these are a mid-range product which is sure to last you for plenty of trips to come.

If you are looking for some solid binoculars for safari, all the options in this review are great choices, it just depends on which pair meet all of your needs.  

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