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“Surprisingly good!”
Review of Safari West

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Safari West
Certificate of Excellence
Oakland, California
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Surprisingly good!”
Reviewed May 7, 2013

I came expecting a pretty touristy experience, and the result was just the opposite. Rather than a zoo-like setting where you stare at animals in small cages, at Safari West you really felt like *you* were the exhibit, being invited into their homes for the animal's amusement... With 400 acres, they have different fences to keep some of the animals apart who might get agressive with each other, but other than that, the animals just roam the space. 6000 pound hippos, cape water buffalo, zebras (with babies!), giraffes and ostriches come up and to take a gander at you...

In one part of the trip, we were looking for a particular herd of something, and the guide said "they might be here, they might be there, but if not, we won't find them, they have 100 acres in this enclosure". And we didn't find them! It felt more wild to me than YellowStone natural, where the guides seem to know exactly where every bear is in the massive landscape.

The roads are rough, the jeeps are rugged and old, there is nothing touristy or packaged about this place. I was surprised and delighted. Great afternoon excursion for the family, and I'm looking forward to coming back to try the overnight camping experience...

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank acheyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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181 reviews from our community

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English first
california
Level 5 Contributor
42 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2013

My family took me to Safari West for my birthday. I had heard of it, but was not sure it would live up to the hype. It did!! We we able to see so many wonderful animals from the safety of our guile Alex's favorite truck. Alex was able to answer all our questions and brought some laughter along with it. It was so much easier to see the animals than in a zoo, where if there is a crowd, my 5'2" height is not good enough!! This trip made my birthday very special. I posted several photos here, but if you want to see more, I am posting them on: http://www.naturesbeauty…

I plan to make another trip up and spend the night.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank dbtravelor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Covina, California
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed May 1, 2013

I agree with all the good things said about Safari West. We had a wonderful guide named Terry who had spent a great deal of time traveling all over Africa and had worked on game reserves in Africa. Our two-level open-air jeep gave us a wonderful view of the animals. We rotated seats halfway through so everyone could be on the top. The explanations were excellent. The animals were, indeed, in a game reserve setting. The terrain was similar to what one finds in Africa. There are cheetah's, but no lions or tigers. The walking par-20 minutes is informative and gives a close up look to certain animals-bids in particular. Yes, the overnight is expensive, but you can have a good experience with the regular tour.

Room Tip: this was a safari park, not a hotel but he service and value are wonderful
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank mary m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwalk, Connecticut
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2013

Sonoma County offers a ton of attractions for the nature lover but as a former Petaluman who had done the wine country, the redwoods, Bodega Bay and many of the other SF sites, I was looking to do something different for my trek back to my hometown area. Safari West was the perfect afternoon excursion. We didn't overnight in the tented camps so I can't comment on the accommodations but I can say that the safari trek is worth the time and money. David (a new trainee) and Sarah were our guides and I have to say they both made the safari memorable. David was funny, great personality, knew his animals and the environment along with Sarah who offered guidance and humor along the route. The walking tour after the jeep tour was a nice way to have a close up view of the birds in the aviary and the cheetahs and monkeys - the overall feel of the property shows that the animals are well cared for, it doesn't have a 'zoo' feeling and it suits both children and adults. Having gone on an African safari six months ago, this brought back many great memories of my trip while we watched the giraffes, rhinos, zebras and wildebeest sleeping or grazing. While they can't have lions and elephants in the compound, they do have a wide variety of bird life and other animals that make up for it. If you're looking to do something for 2 or 3 hours that is out of the ordinary in Sonoma County, I would recommend taking a safari trip West Coast style - and if Tofani the giraffe is in the giraffe compound as you drive in you might get an up close and personal friendly visit!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Liv6610
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reno, Nevada
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2013

The staff is courteous and friendly and right from the start made us feel welcome. They even drove us back to our car to retrieve our bags before getting us to our tent.

The tents are wonderful and the electric blankets kept us cozy all night. Noise from the floor heater drowned out some of the animal noise, but no complaints there because the flamingos can get a bit noisy. We stayed in 19 and I highly recommend either 18 or 19 as you are far enough from the flamingos but still close to the giraffes and antelope/gazelle. The tent was a great experience but very pricy. If you have kids it is a must do at least one night. Bring things to fill the ice chest that they provide on the porch--there is nothing better than watching the giraffes and east African crowned crane while sipping a glass of merlot. Bring jackets because it gets a bit chilly at night. If you don't stay in the tents then the dinner buffet is a must do. So much fun chatting with everyone about your experiences and letting the kids play in the grass after roasting marshmallows.

The best part about our experience was the jeep tour. Steve was our guide and is very knowledgeable about all the animals as he has actually been to Africa 5 times. He's funny too. The ostriches are a kick in the pants. They wouldnt let Steve open the gates because they wanted us to stay and play. The zebras and rhinos are cool too. Of course the giraffes are the best and I recommend sitting on the top of the jeep for the first part of the tour so you get the chance at an eye to eye visit with them. They are very curious and will visit you when the guide stops.

I loved everything and highly recommend this as a spring break trip.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Livetotravel4321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reno, Nevada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2013

Investigated reviews etc. before booking, but was pleasantly surprised at the entire experience being more than we could have hoped for - that really doesn't happen very often. 9 year old daughter who is aspiring to be a wildlife biologist, loved every second and was in near tears when we had to leave. Every single staff member we encountered was pleasant, helpful and happy, including the owners who live on the property. There from Thursday to Saturday - stayed in Tent #15 - awesome beds with comfy bedding. We have stayed in some four star hotels that were not as comfy or clean as the tent. Not a criticism, just a suggestion - the bathroom was spacious enough to have at least a simple stool - you know, to sit on while putting on your socks/shoes and maybe a coat hook on the back of the door for your shirt, robe, etc. Otherwise, "glamping" at its finest! The dinner must be experienced - very casual, fun and great food, even for the price. We must have had a good group of guests, because we saw no mad rushes or lines to food. Very calm and organized, especially since everyone was eating inside because of the rain. There were at least 100 people and plenty of food - it appeared that only after the guests were eating that the owners and staff went through the line to get dinner. Plenty of food and seconds were available! You're paying in part for the atmosphere thing of being on safari. After dropping $75 + for 3 at a character buffet dinner at Disneyland, we would choose the Safari West dinner every time. While roasting marshmallows at the bonfire, we talked to a couple that live locally and come for dinner semi-regularly because they enjoy it so much. Now for the safari - OMG. Adrian our guide was the absolute best - you could tell he loved the property and the animals. He had great stories and insight on everything. And great driving too, especially with the roads having been so muddy and slippery - felt at ease the entire time. Very nice man and easy to ask questions of and talk with. We are so going back - planning an extended family outing next time! Loved, loved, loved it.

Room Tip: Antelope Alley is a little more expensive, but worth it to sit on the front porch of your cabin and...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Stacy H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
195 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2013

So where do i start...

This place is a unique but not run properly. First off you can stay at a 5 star hotel for the same price, so keep that in mind. We booked a special online and reserved our spots. We decided that we were going to do the dinner but to our dismay they called 24 hours beforehand and cancelled. We were upset becuase were looking forward to hamburgers and hot dogs and a relaxing time...Instead we had to scramble for a reservation at a resturant. There were only 5 cabins filled that night, they knew this a week before, would have been nice for them to give us a heads up more then 24 hrs in adavance so we can prepare. Next issue...There is nothign to do at night!!! We had to talk to the night watchman about making a fire in the pit which he did, thankfully he saved the night!!! The front desk people had no customer service skills! They asked my wife for her "certificate" which we didn't have, but we called in our reservation with the code on it....They proceeded to loose it, and we had to deal with it again. Upon checkout our bill was over inflated by 50 dollars....CHECK YOUR BILLS!!!! The area has no cellphone service, limited internet, and no tvs. I can deal withe the idea of being away from society but give me something to do! This place needs a consultant of a business/hotel management to help! It was a break from wine country but would have rather spent my money somewhere else.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Bryan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
safariwinecountry, Manager at Safari West, responded to this review, March 30, 2013
Dear Guest ...regarding your recent stay...

I am so sadden to learn about your recent visit. We are very concerned about each point you mentioned and appreciate the constructive criticism. Regrettably we failed to provide the experience we strive and promise to all our guests - to exceed your expectations. Safari West is a special place - our passion is to create wildlife advocates and provide an extraordinary experience. Our goal at Safari West is to actively promote conservation concepts to our guests, whether they are with us for an hour or a week. You have certainly provided me with a valuable level of insight which will assist me in discerning what occurred during your visit. I see this as an opportunity to improve our guest services as we continue to develop and refine our operations.

We are not a typical hotel and indeed, your cell phone does not work here and there are no TVs in the tent cabins...we encourage our guests to “unplug” the modern world for a while and experience nature. Our owners wanted to create an African Safari Tent Camp – they wanted to bring Africa to you!

To address your specific issues, I am very concerned that we had to disappoint you and cancel your dinner on such short notice. Unfortunately, you visited us during our slow season, and we didn’t have enough guests for our Chef to serve our Safari BBQ dinner. But, no excuse to let you know at the last minute - that was unforgivable. We can assure you that we will not let that happen again. Even though we may not serve dinner, In the evening, we always have a warm glowing low bonfire in our boma fire pit. It encourages our guests to relax and just connect to nature. We are so sorry you did not experience that when you arrived. As for your voucher, this is the first time we participated with Travelzoo to invite guests during our slower season. We are still trying to work out the hiccups. If there are still concerns, please contact me – we will rectify immediately.

Most importantly, thank you for taking the time to share the issues you encountered, it helps us to improve our services to the public, which is a critical part of our ongoing mission. Please know that we appreciate every single guest that visits our wildlife preserve and their comments. We do hope you return one day soon so we can meet you in person and personally see that your visit exceeds your expectations....without our guests, Safari West could not exist.

Warm Regards,
Aphrodite Caserta
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Safari West

Property: Safari West
Address: 3115 Porter Creek Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404-9655
Location: United States > California > Sonoma County > Santa Rosa
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Santa Rosa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Safari West 3*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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!. Families who are curious and wild at heart can get close to nature...very close! Marvel under the gaze of a graceful giraffe or explore the Sonoma Serengeti alongside romping rhinos. Our guests enjoy enlightening African wildlife safari drives, and “glamping” tent cabin accommodations. The sounds of Africa will echo in your dreams. Stay one night in a luxury safari tent located on Giraffe Alley, meet some giraffes and go on Safari! Is Safari West Family Friendly?The entire Safari West experience is a kid-friendly adventure for families to enjoy together. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Safari West Hotel Santa Rosa
Safari West Santa Rosa, CA - Sonoma County

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