Best Binoculars for Safari & Travel: A Buyer’s Guide

Best Binoculars for Safari & Travel: A Buyer’s Guide

Going on African Safari with your family or friends is a great way to cool off specifically after some long duration in work. It should be a memorable experience and a right pair of binoculars can make all the difference.

African Safari trips are popular in the winter dry season from June to October when the grass is low and distance visibility is high. There is another season towards the end of the year during the longest holidays. When schools close and you want to take your family along the Savannah or for some high-end retreats along the beach it will be wise to arm yourself with some awesome optics.

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Safari with Binoculars


Choosing Best Binoculars for Safari

Before going through the detail reviews on the best binoculars for safari, you might be thinking of learning how to choose binoculars for safari. Here is a simple guide that will help to do just that.

Do you really need binoculars for safari?

Yes! Most of the times your vehicles will get very close to the animals. But sometimes you’ll find animals, for instance a leopard in the distance is hiding behind some rocks or bush and waving its tail. Also some shy animals like deer and bunnies are rarely close to the track and are very hard to spot! Don’t you think in that case a right pair of binoculars will help you make the most precious memories of your safari experience?

Do you need high magnification binoculars for safari?

No! In most of the cases you can use general purpose binoculars. It’s not wise to take high magnification binoculars either. Nor you need high quality expensive binoculars. High magnification full size binoculars are not recommended for safari because they are not easy to hold still in your hands.  As you will be viewing the wildlife from a vehicle, the image will appear shaky with high magnification binoculars.

Safari binoculars should be compact or midsize and ideal for travel. If you are a birdwatcher you can take your bird watching binoculars as well. A pair of 7x or 8x or at most 10x are the best travel binoculars for safari use. But remember again, optics specs are not all you will want; quality also matters.

What size objective lens (aperture) do you need?

The bigger the objective lens or aperture the brighter the image. However you don’t really need bigger objective lens (aperture) for safari as most of the safari tours occur in daylight and end before afternoon. You can choose any one from 7x28, 8x25, 8x30 0r 8x32 – all are excellent for daytime safari tour.

What should be the exit pupil for safari binoculars?

Well, exit pupil is another important factor while selecting binoculars for your safari tour. You cannot judge a binocular only by it’s ‘magnification’ and ‘objective lens diameter‘ combination. This is because when magnification number increases the objective lens diameter also need to be increased to get the same light ratio. Here comes the term exit pupil.

To determine your binoculars exit pupil just divide the objective lens diameter by the magnification number: (magnification number/objective lens diameter). The 8×32 binoculars’ exit pupil (32/8=4 mm) is bigger than 8×25 binoculars exit pupil (25/8=3.2 mm).

In daylight adult pupil doesn’t open at its fuller diameter and it could be approximately 3.00 mm. So, choose a pair of binocular that has exit pupil around 3.00 mm.

What should be the optimum weight of safari binoculars?

Safari binoculars should be compact or mid sized. If you want to avoid the lacking of compact binoculars, mid size binoculars are the best choice. The weight of a pair of mid sized best binoculars for travel shouldn’t be more than 500-600 gram. Mid sized binoculars are those that have decent magnification (8x or 10x) and big enough objective lens such as 8x30, 8x32, or 10x32.

Can I take a monocular in my safari trip?

Yes, you can use a monocular as well. The problem with monocular is that you cannot use both eyes at a time. However, monocular is a good option when you are on the jeep and you need one hand to keep free.

What other things determine the quality of view? 

Quality or type of view that you will enjoy is everything. It is what determines how much you will enjoy using your binoculars and if the experience will be as satisfactory as you may want it to be.

The quality of view of most binoculars will always be determined by the following things; the quality of the glass prisms and lenses, the objective lens diameter, coatings on the optics, and the optical alignment of the binocular barrels. Premium brands optics such as Steiner, Swarovski, Vortex, Pentax, or Kowa give always better performance.

Functionality Matters 

Ease of operation is another thing that you can never write off easily. It is important to understand that things like birds, game, and also cars will always move pretty fast. Because of this, you will be on the safe side if you have an easy to operate binoculars. Smooth focusing knob, long eye relief, waterproof design will certainly increase your safari experience.

How much should I spend for safari binoculars?

As binoculars industry is very competitive it’s very true that you will get what you pay for. Lens quality is more important than high-end specifications. This is why you will find many super quality binoculars (Steiner, Swarovski etc.) with low end specifications. My opinion is, if you don’t spend lots time outside for hunting or looking at birds then don’t spend much. For casual wildlife or bird watching, you will find pretty good binoculars at the range of $100-225.

To make your work easy, I have compiled some of the best budget binoculars for safari that you could take with you. Read through the best safari binoculars reviews.

Celestron Nature DX 8×32
  • Make/Model:Celestron Nature DX 8×32
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Diameter: 32mm
  • IPD: 56mm-74mm
  • FOV: 7.4° (118m)
  • Close Focus: 6.5 ft
  • Eye Relief: 17.5mm
  • Prism: Roof-BaK4, FMC
  • Phase correction: Yes
  • ED Glass: No
  • Nitrogen Filled (Waterproof): Yes
  • Weight: 510.0 g
  • Price: Under $100
Bushnell Nature View 10×42
  • Make/Model:Bushnell Nature View 10×42
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Diameter: 42mm
  • IPD: 56mm-75mm
  • FOV: 6.75° (108m)
  • Close Focus: 13.0 ft
  • Eye Relief: 15.2mm
  • Prism: Roof-BaK4, FMC
  • Phase correction: No
  • ED Glass: No
  • Nitrogen Filled (Waterproof): Yes
  • Weight: 654.0 g
  • Price: Under $200
Nikon Trailblazer 10×25 ATB
  • Make/Model:Nikon Trailblazer 10×25 ATB
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Diameter: 25mm
  • IPD: 56mm-72mm
  • FOV: 6.5° (104m)
  • Close Focus: 11.5 ft
  • Eye Relief: 10.0mm
  • Prism: Roof-BaK4, FMC
  • Phase correction: No
  • ED Glass: No
  • Nitrogen Filled (Waterproof): Yes
  • Weight: 284.0 g
  • Price: Under $100
Upland Perception HD 10x42mm
  • Make/Model:Upland Perception HD 10x42mm
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Diameter: 42mm
  • IPD: 56mm-75mm
  • FOV: 6.5° (104m)
  • Close Focus: 8.2 ft
  • Eye Relief: 15.5mm
  • Prism: Roof-BaK4, FMC
  • Phase correction: Yes
  • ED Glass: Yes
  • Nitrogen Filled (Waterproof): Yes
  • Weight: 653.0 g
  • Price: $200
Woodland Elbert 8×42
  • Make/Model:Woodland Elbert 8×42
  • Magnification: 08x
  • Objective Diameter: 42mm
  • IPD: 56mm-75mm
  • FOV: 7.5° (120m)
  • Close Focus: 7.0 ft
  • Eye Relief: 18.0mm
  • Prism: Roof-BaK4, FMC
  • Phase correction: No
  • ED Glass: Yes
  • Nitrogen Filled (Waterproof): Yes
  • Weight: 630.0 g
  • Price: Under $200
Celestron Nature DX 8x32

Celestron Nature DX 8×32 is one of the greatest budget binoculars on the earth that I loved so much (The other one that I loved most for the amazing blend of price and quality is the Celestron Granite model ). You might know by now, the Celestron brand is a revered brand among the best quality binoculars.

This Nature DX 8×32 Binocular does so much to make sure that you get the best safari experience. For starters, it uses the BaK-4 Prisms with phase coating to increases the image contrast and also resolution so that you can end up with sharper more specifically highly detailed images under your view.

The 8X magnification power and the 32 mm objective lens diameter will ensure that the image you are seeing appears 8X closer and that you have enough field of view to even capture other awesome scenery around the object under view.

By doing this, the Celestron Nature DX 8×32 ensures that you have a personalized viewing experience across your safari to savor.

And as if that’s not enough, in order to provide the maximum amount of light transmission through the optical path, this binoculars also gives you a cool treat of its fully multi-coated (FMC) optics – what every top rated binocular has.

One thing that you should remember before spending your money on any binoculars for safaris is the need to watch birds, butterflies or maybe sports as well.

This is important as safaris are meant to be enjoyed from every angle; this set of binoculars qualifies for this as it comes with a 6.5 feet close focus that will allow you to get a detailed and up close observation of every subject that you may need to view in close proximity along your safari.

Well, for the people who know what to look for in a safari binocular, the Celestron Nature DX 8×32 actually fits the choice. Thanks to its compact and lightweight design that allows it to fit perfectly in a pocket or even a glove box so that you can enjoy an easy carry on long all excursions.


  • Bak-4 prisms with phase coating
  • Specifically highly detailed images
  • 32 mm objective lens diameter
  • Personalized viewing experience


  • No carry-on bag
Bushnell 10x42 NatureView

Labeled one of the top rated best budget binoculars for birding, the Bushnell Nature View 10×42 binocular is yet to disappoint anyone who intends to use it for an all-round observation of nature, birding, beautiful sceneries, wildlife, insects, and even animals.

Equipped with a 10X magnification power, this set of binoculars is built in such a way that it will make any object that you view under its lens to appear 10X closer than it really is under the view of a naked eye.

More importantly, the 42 mm objective lens diameter also provides a wide field of view under any environment.

The wide view allows you to quickly acquire the entire subject that you are viewing and also enjoy the sight of a wider viewing area without having to move the binocular or even bother to follow your subjects when they move.

With a grooved shell to provide an airtight cover around the binoculars, you will enjoy a solid grip and a rugged design for any high demanding viewing experience. Indeed, you can also use the large adjustment diopter to track your object and end up with the best images.

The extra durable cover also works well to provide the binoculars with the perfect waterproof, dustproof, and fog proof touch so that you don’t have to experience any form of cloudy view due to a dirty lens.

The lead free glass ensures that you get clear cut view under misty, foggy, or low lit areas including when touring the savannah before the sun rises.

And as if that’s not enough, this set of binoculars also provides a longer eye relief so that you don’t have to strain when using your set of binoculars too.

So if you need top rated binoculars for your safaris and intend to spend less, you can always choose to go with the popular Bushnell Nature View 10×42 binocular.


10X magnification power

  • Wide field of view under any environment
  • Grooved shell to provide an airtight cover
  • Solid grip and a rugged design
  • Large adjustment diopter


  • No lens wiper
Nikon Trailblazer 10x25 ATB

From Nikon, the Trailblazer 10×25 ATB is typically one of the best safari binoculars under 100. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t perform, well it can actually work very well.

With a compact design and a rugged shell for a cover, the Trailblazer 10×25 ATB actually performs so well under the most demanding circumstances. In fact, it will make sure that you have the very best experience in the following way.

To get you a crystal clear view, the binocular comes with a 10X magnification power like most high-end binoculars that we have seen here do. This magnification power allows you to see any object that under your view 10X closer than they actually are.

More importantly, the 25 mm objective lens diameter; will amp your view in two ways. For starters, it will allow enough light to pass through so that you can get clear-cut images to view under your microscope.

Next, it will leave you with a wide enough field of view so that you don’t have to actually strain when watching your favorite birds under the microscope.

As a matter of fact, you will be able to see the object that you are tracking and enjoy the scenery around them without having to move your binoculars once you have set it in focus and chosen to enjoy your view.

Even better, the Trailblazer 10×25 ATB is actually compact enough and you can easily slip it inside your pocket for a quick withdrawal whenever you intend to capture the best scenery around your safari.

Ideally, this set of binoculars also comes with the perfect Porro prism and fully multi-coated lens/ optics that will guarantee the perfect phase correction and a quick elimination of the color aberration effects that might leave you with color fringe.

You don’t have to worry about putting your image under focus though as the adjustable focus knob is usually easy to access and use. It is also reliable and for a better word view friendly across all terrains.


  • Compact design
  • Rugged shell for a cover
  • Crystal clear view
  • Wide enough field of view
  • Compact enough and you can easily slip it inside your pocket


  • No nitrogen filling

Another top rated best binocular for safaris is the Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm Hunting Binoculars.

This one of the best binocular brands with a high level of adaptation and which makes it one of the most reliable flexible edges.

Because of this, it can easily double up as a bid watching binocular and also a camping, hiking, or mountaineering binocular.

To add on its exceptional quality, the Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 comes with a strong and durable cover that befits any gadget that will be used for the most demanding and highly rugged activities in the wild.

The cover is also grooved so that the binoculars get a non-slip grip, a sleek style, and a safe landing upon an accidental fall.

Because hunting sprees, bird watching, nature views, or trail finding might occur under low lit areas and environments, this 10X42 binocular compensates for such poor lighting with its exceptional clear extra-low dispersion (ED) glasses.

In addition to that, the 10X magnification lens ensures that you view the object under the binocular in a 10X closer pane than it actually is when viewed under plan eyesight.

The need for maximum lighting is also boosted by the presence of a 42 mm objective lens diameter which will ensure that enough light streams through the lenses and into the binocular prisms.

The best thing however about this set of binoculars is that the device is actually built to survive the rough patches of the safari by its waterproof, fog-proof, and a durable rubberized body design.

And just to be sure that it will stand the test of time is a lifetime warranty that makes sure that your binoculars are kept in shape every time it gets damaged. This also amps the lead-free glass that keeps the cloudy touch off your lenses.

This binocular comes with a soft carry case, neck strap, and flips down lens protectors to prevent dust from blurring your view and the clarity of the lenses. And if you intend to clean up the lenses you can use the included lens cloth.


  • Perfect porro prism
  • Fully multi coated lens
  • Perfect phase correction
  • Water proof, dust proof, and fog proof touch
  • Lead free glass ensures that you get clear cut view


  • Extra light
Woodland Elbert 8×42

The best experience of the top-rated safari binoculars never gets better than with the Woodland Optics Elbert 8×42 HD BAK4 Roof Prism Binoculars.

Simple as you may find it to be, you shouldn’t get deceived by this binocular’s compact design really. The designer captured every detail that you might require to get the best outdoors views into the best and most comfortable focus.

The high performing extra wide field of view HD binoculars enjoys some of the best features that any safari binocular should have.

Now we all know that some of the best moments to catch the beauty of the savannah is during the early morning. But most of these times the sky is usually still dark and the lighting is obviously low.

Using a set of binoculars that allows you to get the best pictures irrespective of the lighting will be super cool, and this set of binoculars is one.

With its BAK4 HD glass prism and a compact roof prism, you will be able to get some of the most crystal clear images.

Indeed, the extra-low dispersion (ED) glass also helps to easily correct all the color aberrations that may cause color fringing and blurring to leave you with a true and clear image under your view.

More importantly, the fully multi-coated lenses come with a dielectric coating that is basically designed to increase or boost reflectivity for better color and phase correction coating and improved light resolution.

For a more pleasant experience, the binoculars use sealed O-rings with a gas purged touch for an extraordinary fog proof performance.

And if we say it’s one of a kind, believe it since it comes fully equipped with an IPX7 waterproof rating which means that you can even go with underwater for submersion of up to 30 minutes too.

Apart from a safe storage and harness box, that provides a comfortable hands-free carrying experience, the set also comes with twist-up eyecups for the most comfortable viewing for people who use glasses too.


  • Longer eye relief
  • Fully multi-coated (FMC) optics
  • 5’ close focus
  • Fit perfectly in a pocket
  • Sealed O-rings
  • Dielectric coating
  • ED glass


  • No anti-scratch on the lens