My husband and I stayed at the Vision Quest Ranch in March. We had read an article on the ranch a couple of years ago and decided to visit. We stayed in one of the cabins, which was cat-themed. We took the VIP tour and enjoyed "Butch's Bedtime."
Check-in is at 3 PM, and we met Charlie the parrot in the lobby/gift shop and looked at the pictures of the celebrities with the various animals. They gave us our key and we went to our cabin. The cabin had canvas walls, and was fully appointed - there was a heated bed, a shower with all of the amenities and a sitting area. The cabins overlook the yard where the elephants, ostriches, water buffalo and one zebra run and play. At 4, the staff brought two animals to each of the cabins and gave us information about each one. We met Hayley the Wallaby and Babs the Baboon. At 5:30 or so, we followed the handlers and fed the elephants before they were put down for the night. These animals were rescued from circuses and anywhere else where they were no longer "of use." The ranch has a charity called EARS - Elephants of Africa Rescue Society, and they raise money to help and care for the elephants. We fed the elephants bread, fruit and vegetables and the handlers used our cameras to video and photograph it all. The elephants are funny and if you don't give them enough, they hold their trunks out waiting for more. We were educated about the elephants and it was a thrill to be up close with them.
At night, we heard the lions roar and the hyenas call. It is peaceful out there, and you feel very safe.
The next morning, after all of the elephants had their bath, which we enjoyed watching, Butch the elephant brought us breakfast, which means we fed him breakfast. Again, the staff takes pictures of you feeding him. Breakfast for us was actually yogurt, bagels and juice in a box - not elephant food!
We went on the VIP tour later that day with Kristi, who is a dedicated handler who actually lives on site. During the tour, we learned about each of the animals and their history at the ranch, and then had a sit-down lunch with the staff. We took photos with Nadia the Lynx and with one of the Capuchin monkeys. We then went back to the elephants and gave Butch a bath. This was a lot of fun. Basically, they give you a hose, a long brush and some soap and you get to work. These animals are so gentle, and you feel safe at all times.
My husband and I are animal lovers and yes, you see these animals in small enclosures and you may feel sorry for them at first, but once you are educated about them and understand that a lot of these animals would not survive in the wild and they are treated very well, your outlook changes. Their enclosures are a safe place for them, and they are fed and loved. These people really care about the animals.
This was a unique experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who has a love for animals, even for those who don't because once you meet this group, you will come to appreciate them.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Listen to the lions and tigers roaring only yards away from your authentic African style bungalow...go on an African Safari in Monterey! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Vision Quest Safari Bed And Breakfast
- Vision Quest Safari Hotel Salinas