The 8 BEST Binoculars To Take On a Safari! [2023]

Are you going on an African safari?


First, I want to say CONGRATULATIONS. You must be extremely excited! Taking a safari and looking for nature’s most spectacular wildlife is on almost everyone’s bucket list.


Second, I’m sure you are thinking about the gear you need to pack!

*Table of Contents: The BEST Safari Binoculars*


Specifically, one of the most common questions that arise is:


What type of binoculars should I take?


family on safari in Africa


In my opinion, binoculars are one of the most important pieces of equipment that you must bring on a safari. Even though you are going to see many animals up close, many of the creatures will be quite far away, across a river or high in a tree.


Binoculars will enhance your animal watching and safari experience!


Before we begin, I thought it would be helpful to provide some recommended features you should keep in mind while shopping for safari binoculars:


A. 8x to 10x is an ideal magnification power for safaris.


A 10x binocular is the closest you can get to the action and still keep the image steady with your hands. If you use optics that have more magnification power, it’s going to require the use of a tripod.


And unfortunately, there is little chance of taking a tripod on a safari. Between the bumpy ride and small spaces in the vehicle, it’s almost impossible.


B. Objective lens diameter should be between 32mm to 42mm.

choosing binoculars

The objective lens is the glass that is furthest away from your eyes as you look through a binocular.


The larger the objective lens diameter, the more light that can enter, which helps improve the image quality.


But as the objective lens diameter increases, the heavier the binocular becomes, which is why I recommend finding a product that is between the lengths of 32mm and 42mm. These measurements hit a sweet spot that provides adequate light, but the optic is not too heavy.


C. Don’t forget about how much your safari binoculars weigh!

heavy binoculars

Remember that whichever binoculars you choose, they will be in your hands or around your neck most of the day.


Please consider the overall weight before purchasing and compare amongst similar optics.


D. Make sure your binoculars are waterproof, fog proof, and durable.


You are taking your binoculars on a safari! Your optics will be exposed to long, bumpy car rides where they may be dropped or banged against doors. There is also extreme heat, humidity, and possible monsoons to think about!


Can your binoculars stand up to the challenge?


E. The more money you spend, the better quality binocular you can expect! 


It’s a fact of life and no different when shopping for safari binoculars.


As you spend more money, you can reasonably expect better image quality and features!




You don’t HAVE to buy expensive binoculars to enjoy your safari experience.


Many affordable options are listed below in this article.


Safari Binoculars Over $1,500 (2 options)


1. Zeiss Victory SF (8×42)


Zeiss Victory - Best Binocular for Watching Birds

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Why you should buy:


Do you want one of the best binoculars for watching wildlife that money can buy?


If so, then you want to consider the Zeiss Victory SF. Outstanding image quality, wide Field of View, small Close Focus, sleek and comfortable design, and backed by a fantastic company and warranty. It’s hard to find better binoculars to take on a safari.

zeiss victory

Why you shouldn’t buy:


The biggest drawback to the Victory is the price!  For many adventurers, it is not affordable.


Read my complete review!


2. Leica Noctivid (8×42)

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Why you should buy:


The Leica Noctivid one of the BEST binoculars you can buy and take on your safari adventure!


Leica incorporated their latest technologies and best materials to create the Noctivid. As Mr. Hammond from Jurassic Park would say, Leica “spared no expense.”

Best Bird Watching Binoculars


Seriously, the image quality of the Noctivid is second to none. I am a huge fan. There is serious competition between the Noctivid and Zeiss Victory SF for the title of best binocular for a safari!

leica noctivid

Why you shouldn’t buy:


The Noctivid is too expensive for many travelers. Personally, it’s hard to justify spending more money on binoculars than my mortgage payment!


A less expensive safari binocular may be a better option before making such a significant investment.


The most noticeable difference observed in high priced binoculars is the brightness and quality of an image, especially in low light situations like sunrise, sunset, or a dark forest. If you are mostly using your optics in bright and sunny conditions (like a safari!), then spending this much money may not be worth it.


Read my Complete Review!


Safari Binoculars: $500 – $1,499 (2 options)

3. Zeiss Conquest HD (8×42)


best birding binoculars - Zeiss Conquest

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Why you should buy:


For less than $1,000, the Zeiss Conquest HD has very similar features to the Zeiss Victory SF! To the untrained eye, your friends may never know the difference when looking through your lens.


The Conquest is known to have a very sharp and clear image among many other features that are perfect for watching lions, hyenas, and giraffes. It has a wide Field of View and is excellent in challenging light conditions. It includes the same warranty, superior design, and fantastic engineering that we have come to expect from Zeiss.

zeiss conquest

Why you shouldn’t buy:


The Zeiss Conquest is slightly heavier than many of the other optics on this list, and many people complain about the quality of the lens covers (these can easily be replaced with a better set).


To save some money and still get a decent binocular, you can look below at something less expensive.


Read my Complete Review!


4. Leica Trinovid HD (8×42)

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Why you should buy:


The Trinovid is an excellent choice for safari binoculars. In many ways, it is very similar to its cousin, the Leica Noctivid, but for a fraction of the cost.


Thanks to the excellent engineering, which is characteristic of Leica products, the image is outstanding, bright, sharp, and displays vibrant colors.


I have always loved the ergonomic designs of Leica binoculars. They typically fit well in my hands and have a very compact design, and the Trinovid is no exception!

leica trinovid

Why you shouldn’t buy:


As mentioned, the Trinovid is very similar to the Leica Noctivid (Gold Class above). But the Noctivid does outperform in a few ways. And it should since it’s significantly more expensive!


If you are a fan of Leica and can afford it, why not just jump up and buy the Leica Noctivid?  It has slightly better materials, such as the quality of the Extra-Low dispersion glass,  which will give a better overall image.


Are your kids coming along on the safari?


GREAT news! The Trinovid HD is also a great binocular for children!


Read my full review!


Safari Binoculars: Under $500 (4 options)

5. Nikon Monarch 5 (8×42)

birding binoculars

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Why you should buy:


Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass! The Monarch 5 is the least expensive binocular that you can purchase that includes this sought after glass. ED glass has a great reputation for providing outstanding images. Hippos and leopards never looked so good! 🙂


Typically priced under $300, ED glass is not the only reason to consider the Monarch 5. Nikon is known for making high-quality products and provides as many features as possible for this low price.


The binocular is exceptionally light and comfortable to hold, waterproofed, and has a dielectric high-reflective coating on the prisms, which also helps let more light through to improve the image.


The Monarch 5 is an excellent choice for someone going on safari with a limited budget. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

nikon monarch 5

Why you shouldn’t buy:


One of my complaints is the Field of View, which is only 330 feet. One of my preferences for wildlife binoculars is a wide field of view. I don’t want to miss any action!


Read my full review!


6. Celestron Nature DX (8×42)

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Why you should buy:


The Nature DX is perfect for someone on a low budget, absolute beginners, or even guides that need to provide binoculars to an entire group.


They are VERY affordable, but still good enough to provide an excellent nature viewing experience. If you try to get cheaper than this, you risk having a very frustrating safari due to ineffective binoculars.

celestron nature dx

Why you shouldn’t buy:


If your budget permits, I recommend purchasing the best pair of binoculars you can afford.


It’s not that much more money to bump up to the Nikon Monarch 5 and get Extra-Low Dispersion glass which will significantly increase the overall quality of your image!


The Nature DX is also a tremendous binocular for kids!


Read my full review!


7. Nikon Prostaff 3S (8×42)

safari binoculars

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The Prostaff 3S binocular combines the prestigious name and expected quality from Nikon with an affordable price!


The optic lenses have multi-coatings that help avoid glare or reflection, and the binocular provides crisp views of animals from a distance. The lightweight should not strain your neck and will feel good in your hands.

nikon prostaff

Even at this low price, the Prostaff 3S is waterproof, fog proof, and durable with a rubber-armored coating, which also provides a secure grip and doesn’t allow it to slip, even under wet conditions.


8. Bushnell H20 (8×42)


cheap safari binoculars

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Do you need a cheap bincoular that will provide decent views on your safari?


The Bushnell H2O may be what you are seeking!


First, it’s typically priced well under $100, so it’s incredibly affordable.

bushnell h2o

Next, the binocular is durable and made of high-quality materials. The body is wrapped in a rubber, non-slip armor which helps protect it when it falls and provides a firm grip in your hands. And in case you drop your optics in the mud, they are 100% waterproof, O-ring sealed, and purged with nitrogen for fog-free performance.


The Bushnell H2O is perfect if you need CHEAP safari binoculars!


Final Thoughts

African savannah giraffes

Going on an African safari is one of the BEST experiences and adventures that Planet Earth has to offer. Before you go and watch rhinos, giraffes, elephants, antelope, and a host of other incredible mammals and birds, you need to make sure you bring dependable binoculars.


Your safari guide won’t be able to pull your vehicle next to every single animal that you see. Many will be hundreds of yards away or high up in a tree.


Without binoculars, you risk missing something incredible!


And remember that it’s next to impossible to take a spotting scope on a safari, due to the unstable nature of a safari vehicle. Binoculars that have a 10x magnification or less are ideal because you can keep the image steady in your hands.


Whether you have an unlimited budget, or can only spend less than $100, I hope you were able to find safari binoculars perfect for your travels!


Good luck!


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