In the excitement of shopping for safari clothes and shoes and planning for your trip you might forget some important items that would otherwise make your safari a much better experience. Some things seem quite small and insignificant and yet oh so necessary. One of the things you ought to pack is a pair of binoculars.
On an African safari, it might not seem like it, but binoculars are one of the most important items you should carry. Wildlife safaris in Africa are all about viewing magnificent wildlife in the various game parks. Binoculars help you get closer more detailed views of these amazing animals.
Binoculars come in different sizes and brands and with different specifications. You need to get go quality binoculars that will give you the best views possible. Some safari companies offer binoculars as part of the packages they offer but these are usually not that good. If you can, get yourself a good pair. Some of the common brand of good quality binoculars include: Nikon, Bushnell and Minox.
Here are a few tips on how to choose the perfect pair of binoculars for your safari adventure:
Things to consider are outer diameter of binoculars, power of magnification, weight, durability, field of view, quality of prisms and optical coatings, eye relief and affordability.
Let’s break that down a little bit;
Outer diameter: on game drives, the goal is to spot wildlife. In the morning and in the evenings especially, you need a pair of binoculars with a large outer diameter and pretty good exit pupil size in order to capture enough light, since these time of the day of the have low light. Go for exit pupil size of about 5.25 mm or more than that.
Magnification power: binoculars basically draw things in a distance closer using magnification science. The higher the magnification power, the more detail you will be able to see from a distance. But it shouldn’t be too high because it is quite difficult to keep a pair of binoculars with very high magnification power steady without a tripod stand. Recommended magnification power is 8 X 42
Field view: for safari binoculars the field view should be as wide as possible. This makes it easier to spot animals as you scan across plains, and in bushes and under trees. Recommended field view is a minimum of 330 feet viewing at 1000 yards.
Weight: Light and compact is what you are aiming for. Such a pair of binoculars is easy to carry around, and will give you room to carry all the other things you need. Try getting one that weighs about 13.7kg or something close.
Durability: Africa has some really rough terrain, especially in areas with wildlife so the rides might be bumpy. You binoculars should be tough enough to withstand the bumps and a few slips from your hands.
Prisms and coatings: get a pair with very good quality prisms and optical coatings. These reduce light reflections and make your viewing easier. Try binoculars with fully multi-coated surfaces, and BAK 4 prism.
Eye comfort: your eyes should be comfortable. This is harder to achieve if you are wearing spectacles or sunglasses, so get a pair that can accommodate these eye accessories comfortably. Eye relief should be 18 or more.
Lastly, do not spend all your money on a pair of binoculars, taking everything into consideration; get the best pair that you can afford. Don’t over spend on binoculars, there are a lot more things you will need to spend on for your safari.
There is quite a lot to see in Africa with a good pair of binoculars. You will be able to zoom in on the tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda, you might get to see golden monkeys, zoom in on the wildebeests and they proceed in the migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania, see the details of the spots on the leopard that you might see in various national parks and so much more.
For bird watchers, birding is so much easier and fun with a good pair of binoculars to see birds that might be a good distance from you.
So as you prepare for your safari in any part of Africa, do not forget your pair of binoculars, they make all the difference.