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“Next Best Thing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Safari West

Safari West
3115 Porter Creek Rd., Santa Rosa, CA 95404
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Visit Safari West like an insider
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Ranked #1 of 77 things to do in Santa Rosa
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Group tours/safari, Viewing wildlife
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Attraction details
Owner description: Escape to Africa by way of Sonoma County…Come discover the Sonoma Serengeti. The classic African safari is a trip of a lifetime for intrepid travelers from around the globe - and, it is closer than you think! The entire Safari West experience is a kid-friendly adventure for families to enjoy together. Our tours are designed to educate guests of all ages and we have found that families are truly inspired as they learn from and share with one another. At Safari West we strive to actively promote conservation and environmental education concepts to our guests, whether they are with us for an hour or a week. The whole experience at Safari West is one of building connections and making discoveries; getting back to basics and enjoying the profound simple pleasures of family and nature that are all too often overlooked. If anything is “not to be missed,” it is that sense of serenity one finds while gazing at graceful giraffe nuzzling her newborn or the surge of raw adventure while witnessing an energetic herd of wildebeest galloping across the horizon. Overnight lodging is also available - the true 'glamping' experience!
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Next Best Thing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

Don't have the time or the funds to go to Africa for a safari? California has the next best thing! Safari West is a short drive from San Francisco and has some of the best-known animals and birds from Africa PLUS some very unusual ones.

We stayed overnight in one of their luxurious tents. Forget the rigors of camping and having to use a community restroom, etc. The "tents" are spacious with a large private bathroom (shower, no tub), and comfortable plush beds. The decor is rustic but totally comfortable with unique, original African artifacts. The walls/ceiling are heavy canvas but, other than that, you forget you are in a tent. The days are pretty warm during summer but the nights cool down for a really comfortable night's sleep. (The beds have dual-control electric blankets.) There is a really efficient space heater but the bed linens are such that you probably won't need the heater or the electric blanket at all.

There are numerous windows for daytime ventilation, and don't forget the view! It seems that every tent has a good view of the area housing giraffes, various antelopes and gazelles, and colorful birds.

After the tour, we had dinner in the outdoor seating area where a buffet is set up. The food was plentiful - you can go back as often as you like - including soup, salad, grilled chicken and b-b-q, steamed veggies, a rice dish, mac 'n' cheese, soft drinks, and a great dessert. Alcoholic beverages are available.

If you prefer restaurant dining, Safari West is about 20 minutes from a wide variety of dining choices in either the town of Calistoga (micro-breweries and TONS of Napa Valley wines) or Santa Rosa, a larger city with even more choices.

The safari tour includes a walking portion which takes you through an aviary, the primates exhibit (lots of unusual monkeys), also cheetas and servals. The driving portion of the tour takes you up close and personal with the giraffes (one came over to within touching distance to get his picture taken), numerous varieties of antelope and gazelles, wildebeests, water buffalo and even a curious feral pig who has "adopted" the place and came over to the truck to say "hello".

You don't have to stay overnight or partake of the lunch or dinner but it makes the perfect all-around safari trip to do so. There are numerous package choices on the website www.safariwest.com which offers choices of either the tour, dinner or lunch, over night in tent or cabin (which has a kitchenette w/microwave, mini-fridge, etc.) so you can go just for a wonderful daytime tour or enjoy the entire experience.

There are no lions or tigers (no "man-eaters") and no elephants ("they would de-forest the entire place within a month"). But everything else is totally fascinating.

I went on an actual African safari last Autumn in South Africa. I was not at all disappointed with the time spent at Safari West. A WONDERFUL get-away, right near home!

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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El Dorado Hills
Top Contributor
115 reviews 115 reviews
38 attraction reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Great adventure, but not for very young kids”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2014

We took our granddaughter to the park for her 4th birthday. It's great park with knowledgeable tours guides and healthy, beautiful animals. I would not recommend this experience for childen younger than 8 because the commentary is very adult and it's rather slow-paced. For example, the jeep stops often for 5 minutes or longer while the guide tells guests about the animals. Also, the pecking ostrich was a bit frightening for a young child. From the information we received, we thought the jeep tour would precede the hour-long walk through the aviaries and the monkey areas. Instead, that happened first, so our granddaughter was tired and bored before we got on the jeep. We highly recommend this attraction--just not for kids as young or as active as ours.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“mema's adventure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

Spent a great day at Safari West . Toured an aviery and went on a jeep safari which was both informative and enjoyable to both children and adults.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenwood Village, Colorado
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Excellent adventure, worth every penny”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2014

Everything is very well organized and planned at Safari West. They greet you and pick up your bags in a jeep wrangler and drive you up to your tent/room. The tent is awesome....large, clean, extremely comfortable and beautifully decorated. I was a little nervous about the add-on rollaway beds, but my teenagers raved about their comfort. One of them even asked to order one for her home bedroom (they must have been REALLY comfortable). They provided adequate blankets and of course because the weather is comfortable when you go to bed, you think it will be ok to leave the windows open....but trust me, it gets COLD at night. They warned us and we didn't listen, so one of the kids was pretty cold during the night. They do provide an in room heater, but she didn't know where it was located. We should've listened to the guide...

The safari is a 2 hour authentic safari bus ride and a 1 hour walking tour. It is pricey, especially for anyone over age 12, so be prepared. Also there are two seating options, 4-5 people can sit on top of the truck and the remainder inside. We let all the kids sit up top, but it is HOT and they need to be well-sun screened ahead of time. The giraffe came right over and was chewing a branch about a foot oboe the kids' heads...it was unbelievable to be that close! My kids thought they were in heaven, and the guide allowed us to just sit there for about 10-15 minutes since "Susie" was being so friendly. Truly an unforgettable experience to be that close. Be aware that the animals can "pet you" but you are not permitted to pet them, understandable but I wish I could've touched her.

The dinner was also better than expected...ribs, BBQ chicken, and several choices of side dishes. The quality was above average and there was more than enough to eat, with a good variety for my youngest (and most picky eater). The breakfast was a "heavy" continental, with healthy choices of oatmeal, yogurts, and fresh squeezed OJ.

The only person that was less than friendly was the gift shop attendant. She was a little on the snobby side and treated us like we were disturbing her. My children are older (14 and 10) so it's not like they are disruptive, but she made us aware that everything is very fragile. The kids saw a few items that they were interested in and I simply told them that I wasn't feeling the love to support the gift shop. One item I probably would've bought in lieu of her attitude would've been a photo album of the animals with their names, but since they didn't have it, we are going to make one for ourselves on snapfish. It was a great experience...pricey, but worth it. If you do it all...be prepared for $800-900 for 24 hours for a family if five.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Best Attraction for Non-Drinker”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2014

When I was hired to photograph a destination wedding in Napa Valley, I immediately started searching the web for fun things to do while I was there. After searching I found that most of the activities included wine tastings. Obviously. It is Napa Valley after all. The problem is, I don't drink. So what to do? Well thanks to additional Internet searches, I found the perfect way to spend my first evening in California. Safari West.

Safari West is exactly what it sounds like. It's a safari in California where you get to see African animals up close. If you're headed to Napa Valley and you are taking children with you it is worth driving a little further (only about 20 minutes) to experience this amazing adventure. After seeing photos online, I knew it was something I wanted to do. There are two portions to the Safari West Tour. There's the walking portion (which my group did first) and the second part where you get to ride in (or on) a pimped out vehicle that once served in a war.

I was very happy once I heard that the tour guides would let people take turns in the top of the vehicle. I think this is really smart and fair. This way, nobody gets disappointed.

My experience with Safari West was amazing from start to finish. When I arrived, two friendly attendants greeted me. They got me all checked in and told me where to go to meet the tour guides. When I got there, I noticed they were very organized about getting people onto the vehicles and getting others on the walking portion of the tour. I was totally impressed by the girl who was handling all the guests. I thought, "Surly all the tour guides here cannot be this friendly". I think they were! I was lucky enough to have Chelsea (the girl I mentioned earlier) as my tour guide, but the brief encounters I had with the other guides along the way were very pleasant.

I am already ready to go back to Safari West. Particularly with my kids. I was in a heap of trouble for going without them, but I still say it was worth it. I would like to make this a family vacation at some point. They have lodging right on-site and the cabins are way cool looking.

If you get a chance to go to Santa Rosa, Napa Valley or Even San Francisco, DO THIS OUTING! It was awesome.

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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