Review: Safari West Adventures


3115 Porter Creek Road
Guest Entrance: On Franz Valley Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 579-2551

Bust out your binoculars and khakis and get ready for an encounter with lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). Okay, so you won’t actually meet any of those predators at the Safari West Wildlife Preserve (and, fashionistas, you don’t have to dress “rugged,” either)—but that doesn’t mean you won’t have an unforgettable experience.

From its post in the heart of wine country, Safari West offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the splendor of Africa’s amazing animals close to home (and in some pretty luxurious comfort).

The 400-acre wildlife preserve is set up to get visitors up-close-and-personal with giraffes, cheetahs, and zebras, who roam free in Sonoma’s exotic “savannah.” On the three-hour day tour (adults $78, kids $32), an experienced guide drives guests over the rugged terrain in an authentic open-air safari jeep, looking out for gazelles, wildebeests, and buffalo, before hitting the ground on foot to visit lemur island and the aviary.

Those looking for the full experience can opt to stay overnight—among grazing giraffes or overlooking a private lake—in one of the park’s luxury tents (from $210 per night). The tents, imported direct from Africa, come equipped with plush beds, polished hardwood floors, and even private bathrooms with a shower. There is also a two-bedroom cottage (from $350 a night) that sleeps up to six people.

And, since no getaway in the middle of wine country would feel right without a certain signature beverage, Safari West also offers tour options (Winos and Rhinos, Cheetahs and Chardonnay, or Brews and Buffalos… you get the idea) that promise a good, adult time.

Read about more “wild” adventures in the Bay Area.

Take Golden Gate Transit  bus #101 to Santa Rosa Transit Mall and transfer to Santa Rosa CityBus #1 towards Loop. Get off the bus at Stagecoach Road and Fountaingrove Parkway, and from there it’s about a 13-minute cab ride to the park. The entire journey takes about three hours and 20 minutes.