We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Frigid temperature, warm staff”
Review of Safari West

Safari West
Ranked #1 of 102 things to do in Santa Rosa
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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!
Reviewed December 16, 2013 via mobile

I had a certificate for an overnight stay at Safari West which was almost ready to expire. Of course we being the "non-outdoors" campers we are we actually were greatly anticipating this adventure!

Checked in at twilight so we could get our bearings for the next morning's tour. We were greeted by one of the parks 'rangers' (sorry, his name escapes me, however he has been there about 8 months), a most cordial, outgoing informative young man. He also assisted with our luggage, drove us to our grand tent cabin and invited us to the cafe for the social hour.

We were settling in, prepared for sub-freezing temperatures that night. A quick unpacking and off to the cafe we went. We met a number of other couples from the North bay. Two of them actually had family living and working in Africa so the evening became more interesting as we shared our stories. We gave a memorial toast to Nelson Mandela who we had found out had died earlier in the day.

We also had purchased the optional buffet which was hearty, well prepared and so plentiful. During dinner we also met the proprietor "Nancy" who gave us the background history of just how Safari West came to what we typically credit more for fine wines than an animal preserve. Very moving chronology to say the least.

Dinner over, everyone scurried to their tent-cabins to buckle down for the night. We were advised to allow a trickle of water to flow from the faucets to prevent pipes freezing over. The heated beds were amazingly inviting but the space heaters were no match for mother nature....once in pajamas, only the most brave ventured from beneath the covers. The sounds of 'the jungle' were a constant reminder we were in an oasis of wildlife and their time clocks have no limits. Throughout the night we were wondering what kind of animal was perhaps a few feet away from our 'cabin'. We couldn't identify any of the grunts, coos, snorts, fence testing and were too cold to research anything...constant chatter but eventually we fell into our deep sleep.

Breakfast was as good as dinner the night before with an array of cereals, yogurt, fresh squeezed OJ, coffee, oatmeal, toasted breads, etc. (Sorry, no egg station this 'safari'!)

Next, back to the cabins, gather the belongings and check out and stage for the 2.5 hour walking/safari vehicle tour. Our guide 'Robert' was an 8 year veteran of Safari West and was by far probably the best ambassador Safari West could have the good fortune to have working there. He was a superstar! I won't go into the details however...the time passed so quickly, we were shocked when the tour was concluded. A wealth of information regarding any aspect of this in-depth tour of the extensive compound.

When it was over, a nice visit to the gift shop, thank you's to staff and all of the guests who have been living here for decades scratching our heads and asking ourselves 'Why did it take so long to visit!!!'

That being said, this North bay attraction is now definitely going to be supported more regurlarly by this couple!!

Thanks to the owners for creating such a progressive/open destination, being a world renowned research center, species protector and employing such wonderful, patient and dedicated educators...Bravo!

10  Thank Dean G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (1,553)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

1,264 - 1,268 of 1,553 reviews

Reviewed November 28, 2013

This is a wonderful place to visit. Even better, reserve a tent cabin and either spend the night prior to your safari or stay the night after safari! I have been to Kenya on safari and stayed in a tent camp there. This is very close to the real thing! Lovely county, neat animals and the whole experience worth every penny!

3  Thank Carolie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2013

I have wanted to go to Safari West for several years but have avoided it because of the rather high cost. Finally, after a particularly long hard period of work, I decided to treat my 14 year old son and myself for my birthday. We rode in a Safari style jeep along with only about six other people. Because my son was the youngest (and only) child in our particular jeep, we got to sit in the up top seats in the jeep first and for an extra long time. These seats are definitely the best, and everyone who wanted did get a turn to sit in them as we rotated through out the trip. Our guide, Danny, was brilliant. He new so much about each animal and he was so excited about all of them. His love of the animals was so evident. He was also very patient, and we often pulled off to the side and waited for noisier, more crowded jeeps to pass so we could have time near the animals to ourselves. The very best part of the tour was when the gigantic Masai giraffe walked over to our jeep and put its head down three inches away from us in order to smell or perhaps lick the jeep. We could easily have reached out and touched him (but we had been told not to do so, of course). An ostrich came equally close to us. There were multiple kinds of antelope and other herd animals and some very cute baby zebras. The only slightly sad part of this experience was that some of the wild cats had very small enclosures. I think it would be better for them just not to have these animals.

4  Thank wishiwastheretoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013

I have lived in this area for damn near 20 plus years and only a short time ago heard about Safari West. I took my nieces and nefiews to the Safari and we all enjoyed it. I dont have a family of my own but I remember how hard it was to do any thing that we all liked to do because I was 7 years older than one sibling and 12 years older than another. Needless to say it was difficult to find an activity for everyone..... Well serch no further this is it!! They even have Yurts if you wanna spend the night. The other thing they do is an increadible dinner. These are add ons of coarse to the cool Safari that they take you on!! Now then its not inexpensive but hey it goes to the animals and is a great ineractive activity for all to enjoy. I guess its like the wild animal park in San Diego but better... smaller groups more Safari like... Anyway everyoine had a blast and we will talk about it for years to come....

2  Thank YoNicky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013

I've been on the real photo safari twice in Kenya and Tanzania, and nothing can take the place of that experience. But going to Safari West is a lot cheaper and closer and very enjoyable. I've done it three times and highly recommend it.

2  Thank cats4meSantaRosa_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Safari West also viewed

Santa Rosa, Sonoma County
Santa Rosa, Sonoma County
 
Santa Rosa, Sonoma County
 

Been to Safari West? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing