In the world of safari, once you go Swarovski, there’s no going back. Ever. They are the holy grail of binoculars and they truly take game drives and nature walks to the next level (and then some). In light of our exciting Swarovski brand partnership (more on that in just a moment), I was fortunate enough to take a coveted pair of Swarovski Optik CL Companion 8×30 binoculars with me on safari to &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. As elegant as they are iconic, Swarovski Optiks are arguably the world’s best binoculars, and I can now (finally) see what all the fuss is about. Extremely reluctant to give them back, I have now officially been spoiled for life and will now be attempting to save up for my own prized pair.
Beyond the expected
The exciting news is that, as of June 2019, all guests visiting our &Beyond safari lodges in Africa will now enjoy the exclusive use of a complimentary pair of Swarovski Optik CL Companion 8×30 binoculars (and the Swarovski Optik EL Range 10×42 at &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge in Botswana) for the entire duration of their stay (one pair will be allocated to each room). Each of our guides has also received a pair, ensuring that our world class guiding remains at the top of its game.
This all forms part of our ‘beyond the expected’ guest experience, which comes at no extra cost. We have spent the last year re-imagining the entire &Beyond guest experience, from start to finish, looking for new and inventive ways of taking it from the exceptional to the truly extraordinary.
There’s no denying that our global economy is challenged more so now than it has been for some time, so our intention is to go beyond our guests’ expectations, at no extra cost to them. This includes the complimentary use of Swarovski Optik binoculars; the option to purchase a unique range of exclusive &Beyond-branded Thule luggage; brand new guest collateral (including our annual Bateleur Magazine); redesigned safari vehicles; restocked and re-envisioned safari shops, boutiques and galleries; and the theatre of safari brought to life with bush cappuccinos, new and improved sundowner cocktails and so much more.
A safari essential
So, back to &Beyond Phinda. I had four days of twice-daily game drives with our excellent guide, Rigardt Hoffman, and his gifted tracker Pat, so there was plenty of time to test out my new (though, sadly, not-for-keeps) toy. By the way, Rigardt and Pat just so happened to find us a gorgeous female leopard with two very relaxed cubs as our very first sighting just minutes away from Rock Lodge, so the bar had been set. High!
Safari confession: I have never owned a decent pair of binoculars. I have always spent my time on safari taking photos and scribbling notes for upcoming blogs. However, having just returned from an extraordinary mobile (luxury) camping small group journey in India (read all about it here), exploring blissfully remote areas where the wildlife was far less habituated, I was reminded just how much value a decent pair of binoculars can add to the safari experience and I realised how much I’ve actually been missing out on over the years.
Rigardt and Pat pulled out all the stops during our Phinda adventure, ensuring those world-class binoculars were tested on all sorts of memorable sightings, from lazy leopard cubs hanging off tree branches and regal lionesses perched high on rocky outcrops, to bolshie rhino calves and mud-soaked elephants. Having experienced the crisp, close-up clarity afforded by the binoculars, I now realise that binos really are a must-have on every safari. Thankfully our guests are now happily equipped with state-of-the-art Swarovskis to enhance their already unforgettable safari experience.
An additional safari lens
Camera and smartphone lenses aside, the complimentary Swarovski Optik binoculars enable you to witness your safari through a completely different lens. I just love how one of our expert trackers at our brand new &Beyond Tengile River Lodge, Busani Mtshali, describes the Swarovski Optik experience. “It’s like looking into the future,” he exclaimed with contagious enthusiasm.
These binoculars enable you to see and experience so much more than meets the naked eye. Get a crisp, close-up view of the fur in a lion’s shaggy mane, the shimmer on a butterfly’s wing, the shifting eyes of the chameleon, the black tongue of the giraffe and the perfectly poised whiskers of a leopard. You can even turn your binos into a convenient close-up lens to view the smaller wonders up close on a nature walk. On a recent nature walk in the Okavango Delta, I was taught a little trick. As our ranger held a tiny antlion (one of the Little Five) in the palm of his hand, we turned our binoculars around and looked through the objective lenses (the larger ones further from your eyes) for a perfect magnified close-up of the larva and its fierce, predatory jaws.
So what puts the Swarovski Optiks ahead of all the rest? Their high performance, long-range optics enable perfect, crisp image clarity at a distance, adding more depth and dimension to the game viewing. They are compact and lightweight, their soft rubber eyepiece covers slide off and the iconic army green wraparound grip and shoulder strap ensure comfortable, steady and high quality viewing.
With a 132 m (433 ft) field of view, the CL Companion 8×30 offers a smooth, jitter-free view at eight times the magnification, while the EL 10×42 (available at &Beyond Sandibe only) captures even more detail at an even longer distance with its 10x magnification and rapid, precise focusing mechanism.
Swarovski is the first manufacturer in the world to use a unique and highly reflective prism coating, which ensures vibrant, undistorted colour fidelity, contrast and resolution. Images appear brighter, the colours remain true and the glare/flare is decreased in low-light conditions.
The Swarovski Optik binoculars are the ultimate game viewing companion. They open up a whole new world and allow you, quite literally, to see what lies beyond.