i would not recommend anything like a panasonic superzoom for lack of high ISO perfomance, poor AF for action, and inability to make quality large prints - probably fine as a backup - i would seriously dispute that the performance is in the same class as a 40D
With all due respect, I think you might have missed the point here. There's no doubt that the 40D is in a different class than the FZ200 superzoom. For a start, you can't take a photo with the 40D. It's useless by itself. It needs a lens, and for an African Safari, as Neways has mentioned in his post above, you need at least a 500mm lens because most wildlife is far from the road. I imagine a 600mm lens would be better still.
The other issue, which you mentioned yourself, is the sheer inconvenience and nuisance of handling heavy equipment when you're part of a group tour. The FZ200 with 600/2.8 lens weighs a mere 600gms.
The quality issue is interesting, and may be quite surprising. I think most of us were a bit amazed when Michael, some time ago, compared his 40mp P45+ with a 10mp Canon G12 P&S, which has about the same size sensor as the FZ200, and found that at A3+ print size the image quality from both cameras was indistinguishable, apart from the shallower DoF of the P45+.
I can't help but speculate what the result of the comparison would have been had Michael not only equalised DoF, but also equalised shutter speed. Without getting into precise calculations, the comparison would have been something like, F3.5 at 1/250th sec and ISO 100, with the G12, and F22 at 1/250th sec and ISO 3200 with the P45+.
The P45+ doesn't even have an ISO 3200 setting, so it would be ISO 800 underexposed by 2 stops. Does anyone doubt that the image quality of the Canon G12 would have been noticeably better in such circumstances?
Now clearly for most landscapes, which are taken with a fairly wide lens, a high shutter speed is not required. For wildlife with a long telephoto, a fast shutter speed is mandatory, not only because of the effects of camera shake but because of subject movement.
There's no doubt in my mind that a a 40D used with a 5Kg, $10,000, Canon 400/2.8 IS lens would be capable of better image quality than the FZ200. But I'm doubtful that a 100-400/F5.6 zoom, or a 70-200/2.8 with 2x extender would produce better image quality when both lenses are fully extended. If you're not convinced, check out the DXOMark results comparing the FZ200's predecessor, the FZ150, with the Canon 7D.
I'll summarize them for you. At a real ISO 100 the SNR at 18% for the FZ150 is equial to the SNR of the 7D at ISO 635. The DR of the FZ150 at ISO 100 is equal to the DR of the 7D at ISO 500 (approximately). The Tonal Range of the FZ150 at ISO 100 is equal to that of the 7D at ISO 635, and the Color Sensitivity of the FZ150 is equal to that of the 7D at ISO 400 (approximately). All results at equal image/print size.
If one makes the reaonable assumption that the sensor in the new FZ200 will be at least marginally better than the sensor in the FZ150 which DXO have already tested, then I think it would be reasonable to assume that the FZ200 sensor at ISO 100 would produce similar quality to a 7D at ISO 400. Even if the 7D proves to be marginally better in some respects at ISO 400, we should all realise by now that marginal increases in noise which are only visible at 100% on screen, count for nothing on a print, unless it is an extremely large print, like 4ftx6ft.
In short, the FZ200 used at 600mm equivalent, F2,8 and ISO 100, might reasonably be able to produce image quality similar to that of a 40D with 400mm lens used at F5.6 and ISO 400. However, I'm not certain about this because of the unknown factor of lens quality. The FZ200 sports a modern Leica zoom lens, but the sample images I've seen so far from the FZ200, whilst appearing impressively sharp, are all downsized to approximately HD resolution or less.