Stuffed Suitcase

What It’s Really Like to Stay at Safari West in Santa Rosa

By: Author Kim Tate

Posted on Published: April 23, 2021

collage image glamping tent deck giraffes and landscape view of safari west

If you’re looking for a wild safari tour in California, you’ve probably heard of Safari West in Santa Rosa. You’re likely dreaming of getting up close and personal with wild animals like monkeys, zebra, and of course, giraffes!

I’ve been to Safari West twice now, so let me share what it’s like to be a guest at Safari West. From what it’s like to stay overnight, to what to expect from the safari tour, here’s my Safari West review.

safari west in santa rosa title text image

Where is Safari West?

The Safari West animal park is located near Santa Rosa, California. It’s about 20 minutes outside of the main city center. It’s easy to get to the park and there is parking on-site for guests. Santa Rosa is in Sonoma County and just over an hour north of San Francisco.

Santa Rosa, California is a fabulous family vacation spot with lots of fun things to do including the Charles M Shultz (Peanuts) museum, many family-friendly wineries, and of course, Safari West.

Taking a Safari Tour

One of the ways you can experience Safari West is by taking one of their Classic Safari tours. These tours last approximately three hours and involve a jeep tour and a walking tour. You will want to bring water on the tour, but food/snacks are not allowed.

Just before your tour time, everyone will meet together and be assigned a tour guide who will be with you for your entire tour. Some tours start with the jeep tour and end with the walking tour and others start with the walking tour first and end with the jeep tour. You will be able to use the bathroom between the two parts of the tour.

Kids must be 4 years of age or older to participate in the Classic Safari Tour. If you have younger kids you can make arrangements for a walking tour. You can also book a private tour and keep young kids on your lap.

Current safety precautions mean that they’re not filling tours. We had three groups on our tour (9 people). For the jeep portion of the tour, one group rode up top, one in the front row behind the driver, and one group in the back row. There is a plastic barrier between the rows and masks are required.

family wearing masks riding on top of jeep at safari west

The jeep tours have three rows of seats in the lower part of the vehicle and one row on the top of the jeep. Each row can fit 4 passengers so my assumption is that tours can have up to 16 people. You must be 45 inches tall to ride on the top of the Jeep, so be sure you’ve prepared your kids in advance if they aren’t tall enough.

safari west overnight reviews

You’ll start your jeep portion of your tour by entering the main lower animal paddock, where you’ll most notably find the giraffes. They have Reticulated and Masai giraffes at Safari West, so you’ll learn how to spot the difference. And the giraffe can actually walk quite close to the jeep vehicles.

giraffes at safari west

Beyond giraffes, you’ll rumble your way around multiple paddocks where you’ll see a variety of animals. A couple of memorable animals for us were the ostriches which came right up to our jeep and were less than a foot away from my daughter. We also loved seeing the cape buffalo and southern white rhinoceros.

Note, you can’t touch or pet any of the animals, but seeing them up close is a fun experience and helps you learn more about these amazing animals that are half a world away from the US.

I also want to mention that every group is given the opportunity to ride in the top row of the jeep. The tour guide will pull over at certain points and allow a reshuffling of the groups so that each party can have the chance to ride up top.

view from riding in top row of jeep at safari west

Walking Tour

On the walking tour, you’ll walk around and see porcupines, fennec foxes, cranes, ducks, flamingos, hyenas, lemurs, and even cheetahs! The guides will give you a lot of facts about each of the animals, which is great for kids. They also encourage you to ask questions.

After you’ve done both tours, you’ll be done and free to explore on your own. Don’t forget to bring some cash to tip your tour guide!

Glamping in a Tent at Safari West

One of my favorite parts about visiting Safari West is staying in one of their luxury safari glamping tents. They have about 30 glamping tents around the property and all have different bed options. Some tents have a king bed and can have cots added for additional guests. Others have two beds and some even have bunk beds.

glamping tent in the trees at safari west

The glamping tents are truly the only type of camping I enjoy! They have full bathrooms with flushing toilets and showers. You’ll even have lights and an outlet (in the bathroom) that you can use for charging your phone. You’ll also find electric blankets and a space heater. These come in handy during the cool spring and fall nights.

You’ll leave your car in the main parking lot and a staff member will use an ATV to get you and your luggage to your tent. So pack smart and try to avoid having too many bags.

Keep in mind that the tents are made of canvas, not walls. You’ll need to keep your voices down and radios/audio are not allowed for the comfort of other guests.

Hillside King Glamping Tent Room Tour

Tips for glamping overnight at safari west.

If you would like to stay near the lower / main area where the giraffes are, you’ll want to book an Antelope Alley tent . They will cost more. The Hillside tents are located farther away from the main areas.

I’ve stayed at Antelope Alley once and in a Hillside King more recently. Both experiences were great. Sunsets across the pond from the Hillside tents are beautiful, and the Antelope Alley location is convenient and it’s fun to easily see the giraffes and antelope from your room and deck (during the day).

Look at the weather temperates for day and night . During our stay it was hot during the day but overnight it dropped into the mid 40s (F). We were thankful for the space heater and electric blankets. Note that there are not electric blankets on the cots that are added to King rooms.

Keep in mind that when you want to shower in the mornings you need to know if it will be cold overnight . You’ll keep the bathroom door closed at night so it won’t be heated like the room. If you don’t want to shower when it’s cold, I recommend packing a ball cap and some dry shampoo. :)

Safari West is a wildlife park and some animals don’t operate on the same sleeping schedules humans do. This means if you’re a light sleeper you might want to pack some earplugs or ask the office if they have any when you check-in.

When I stayed in a cabin on Antelope Alley I didn’t notice too much noise during the middle of the night. However, during my recent stay in a Hillside King (which is near a big pond) the Canadian Geese interlopers were extremely noisy during the night.

You will not need to bring anything extra for “camping” for your stay. Your tent will include basic hotel amenities including soaps, towels, and bedding. You will have one plug outlet in the bathroom.

At check-in, you’ll be given flashlights to use at night. Make sure you remember to turn on your porch light when you go to dinner so that you can find your tent in the dark.

There is free wifi near the Savannah Cafe and office. I also had cell phone reception (AT&T) during both of my stays (at Antelope Alley and Hillside). They do warn that cell reception might be spotty and the wifi doesn’t reach all the tents.

Dining at Safari West

One of the great things about glamping at Safari West is that you don’t need to worry about packing food like traditional camping. (which is why I made my printable camping meal planner ).

Safari West has an on-site restaurant called Savannah Cafe. You can eat at the Cafe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is included with your glamping stay, lunch and dinner are additional and not included. Although there is a Wild Nights in Wine Country package that includes dinner for two and a bottle of wine as part of your stay. But if you’re just there for a safari tour you can still enjoy a meal outdoors. Reservations are required .

outdoor dining table at safari west

Dinner at Safari West is relaxing. You can order from a set menu and you can also buy wine or beer to go along with your meal. The menu offers a few different options including gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian options. I am also happy to note that they were very helpful and accommodating for Mia’s nut and egg allergy.

Our menu offered an appetizer of soup or salad, main entrees were smoked chicken, brisket, and mac n cheese with sides of saffron rice and/or seasonal vegetables. The dessert was a brownie served a la mode. Again, they were very accommodating and brought Mia a popsicle for dessert since she couldn’t have the brownie and ice cream.

dinner menu at safari west in santa rosa

Breakfast was considered continental but actually had some great offerings. We had eggs, toast, yogurt, fruit, cereal, and bagels. We placed our breakfast order in advance while at dinner.

ordering breakfast in advance at safari west

There is plenty of outdoor dining at the Cafe and across by the Flamingo Terrace, which is near the giraffes. I will note that the flamingo area does have a bit of a smell that might be unpleasant for eating near. :)

You will have servers helping you with your meal so you stay at your table. This is part of Safari West’s current safety precautions as typically the meals are served buffet style. Don’t forget to have cash on hand to tip your servers.

There is also a snack shop at Safari West in case you just want to grab a drink or snack. They had some shelf snacks as well as refrigerated snack packs. Plus they had beverages including alcohol.

Special Packages and Add-Ons

If you want a unique experience at Safari West there are a few private adventures you can book.

Ultimate Private Safari

If you have kids under four or just want a private tour, you can book a private safari. The cost is $1100 ($1300 June-August) and includes a tour guide that will shape the tour however you want. You can also book a private tour called “Talk Nerdy to Me” which will include a biologist or naturalist that can teach you about the more scientific aspect of wildlife.

Wine / Beer Tasting Tours

If you’re looking for a private tour with your friends, one of Safari West’s Sippin’ Safaris could be perfect. There are a few different options, most involve a special overlook stop during your safari tour where you’ll do some tastings and nibble on snacks.

You can also book a private dinner package that takes place either “in the bush” or “on the treetops”. These cost $2500-$2750 for up to eight guests.

Wild Walk Behind the Scenes

If you want a private guide teaching you more about Safari West, this could be the option for you. It costs $275 for two people and $50 for each additional person up to six guests. It might include special behind-the-scenes stops at the giraffe barn, warthog pen, or Amani Oasis aviary. It is a walking tour and won’t include the jeep safari tour.

Rhino Encounter

Get up close and personal with Safari West’s southern white rhinos. You’ll learn more about these amazing animals and get some up-close photos. The cost is $250 for two people plus $50 for each additional adult ($30 for kids) up to six people.

Fast Cat Alley (currently unavailable)

If you love cheetahs this added tour will give you a chance to get behind the scenes with them. The cost is $250 for two adults (only adults are allowed). There is also a cheetah barn visit tour that allows for up to four guests, including kids.

Keeper for a Day (currently unavailable)

If you have a love of zoos and wildlife, this tour could be for you (or your zoo-loving travel partner). This experience lets you work with a Safari West zookeeper to help feed and care for the animals. There are two package options, a morning experience that lasts three hours and costs $300 per adult for up to two adults. And an overnight experience that includes lodging, meals, a bottle of wine, a t-shirt for $1500 for two adults. This experience lasts six hours (from 9-3).

How Much Does Safari West in Santa Rosa Cost?

Classic safari tours.

If you’re interested in doing the classic safari tour the price will vary based on when you’re visiting seasonally and if you’re visiting on a weekday or weekend (Saturday, Sunday, and holidays). Summer and weekends are more expensive.

Adults (18 – 61), Seniors (62+), Teens (13 – 17), and Children (4 – 12)

Jan-May: Adults $93/$103, Seniors & Teens $86/$95, Children $45 Jun-Aug: Adults $108/$128, Seniors & Teens $99/$118, Children $45/$50 Sep-Dec: Adults $93/$103, Seniors & Teens $86/$95, Children $45

Glamping Overnight

If you want to stay overnight in one of the glamping tents at Safari West the prices will also vary based on the season, the tent location, and tent layout. You should expect to pay about $310-$450 per night. Tents located along Antelope Alley (across from giraffes and closest to the main area) will cost about $50 more than the tents located higher up.

Again, your stay does include breakfast, but lunch, dinner, and alcohol will cost more. It’s also good to note that in the past there has been a two-night minimum requirement for stays during high season. I don’t think that is a requirement at this time but it’s something to be aware of.

You can check pricing and availability online .

map of safari west

What to Bring to Safari West

You don’t need to overthink packing for Safari West. Whether you’re just doing a safari tour or glamping overnight, you only need to remember a few key things.

  • Water Bottle – you don’t want to get dehydrated on your tour or while staying on-site. The days can be warm and if you’re hanging out outside the sun can really do a number on you. Make sure everyone has their own water bottle and remember to drink!
  • Sun Protection – again, if you’re going on a safari tour you’ll want to protect yourself from the hot sun. A hat is a good idea but make sure you’re prepared with sunscreen.
  • Bug Spray – it doesn’t hurt to pack a bottle of bug spray for your visit to Safari West. I didn’t notice it being too much of an issue, but since mosquitoes love me, I felt better protected, especially while eating dinner at dusk.
  • Overnight Bag – if you’re staying overnight with multiple people, you might want to combine your necessities into a single bag or two. You won’t drive to your tent. Instead, a staff member will drive an ATV to take you and your luggage from your car to your tent. Fewer bags means an easier trip and will make your check-out easier as well.
  • Warm Pajamas – if you check the weather and see it’s going to be cool overnight be sure you pack some warm PJs and even cozy socks.
  • Socks / Slippers – the floors of your tent and bathroom will be cool in the night and early morning, so pack some warm socks or slippers.
  • Cash for Tipping – make sure you bring some cash for tipping during your stay. You’ll want to tip the staff that helps you with your luggage, you’ll leave a tip for housekeeping, you’ll want to tip your tour guide(s), and you’ll tip your servers at the cafe.

view of antelope alley from tent deck at safari west

Is Safari West a Zoo?

I’m happy to say that Safari West is an accredited member of the  Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) . However, it’s not a traditional zoo. Their focus is being a wildlife preserve that aids in the conservation of African animals through education and breeding partnerships with other accredited organizations (like the San Diego Zoo).

As a private organization, the money you pay for tours and overnight glamping tent stays goes directly towards running the park and caring for the animals.

I hope this has helped give you the answers you’re looking for about Safari West in Santa Rosa. If you have any further questions, drop a comment below and I’m happy to help!

collage image glamping tent deck giraffes and landscape view of safari west

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Wednesday 11th of May 2022

Very accurate review. We live about 7 miles from SW, and it's one of my favorite overnite stays. It is pricey, but worth it!

Anne Rabbitt

Friday 12th of November 2021

I will be taking my 7 year old Grandson on December 20. I booked a "Hillside" room, but am a little worried that it will be a long trek up a hill at night. I thought the Hillside would be more fun for a 7yr old. We are checking in at 3 and dinner at 5 and going on our tour at 9 AM the next day (we did the tour once before). Since I am checking in right away, I am hoping I will have a choice of rooms, but all they said to me was to book Hillside or Base Camp and you'll be assigned when you get there. My grandson likes to explore and we will have after dinner to do that. Better at Base Camp or Hillside? Thanks!

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Hi Anne, I think you'll be fine with your 7 yr old grandson on the Hillside. You can always ask for them to drive you to your tent after dinner. They have little atv carts available to assist guests. They also give you flashlights to use to help navigate at night. Most of the exploration you might do after dinner would be around the restaurant and base camp area, although most of the animals have "gone to bed" later at night and so there might not be much to see. I don't think having a room at basecamp will be much different in regard to exploration in the evenings, although if your grandson wanted to sit on the patio after dinner he might see a bit more from a basecamp tent than he will from the hillside tents. He might really like using the flashlight to hike to the hillside tent after dinner and after walking around by the restaurant. So, I'd say that if you want to save the money, stick with the hillside and I don't think you'll have any issues, although you likely won't be able to really explore outside your tent much in the evening. If you can pay a little bit extra and don't want to hike up the hill with flashlights in the dark, then move to the basecamp to be closer to the "zoo" part of the property. Hope that helps!

Sunday 11th of July 2021

Hi - Thanks for a very informative article. My husband and I will be vacationing in Sonoma in October and I'd love to visit Safari West. My only concern is that I have a (probably irrational) fear of birds. I'm wondering how close you get to various types of birds on both the jeep and walking tour. What would be your thought on this? I'd thoroughly enjoy everything else. Thanks for any light you could shed on this.

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

Hi Mary, the ostriches did come close to our jeep during the tour, however when I was on the tour on another trip they did not get that close. There is a bird aviary you walk through during the walking tour, however you can easily skip that and join back with the group when they exit on the other side which is all part of the main walking path. Other than birds that are in the wild, those are the only two instances I can think of. You can tell your Jeep guide early if you want to avoid the ostriches. If you're on the top of the jeep at the beginning of the tour then you'd be away from them as they're at the beginning of the tour. However, they do typically try to put kids up top at the beginning of the tour, FYI. I'd also say to try and stay in the Antelope Canyon as the hillside cabins are near a large pond that attracts birds and so that might make you uncomfortable for the view from your cabin. Let me know if you have another question, I'm happy to help!

Friday 21st of May 2021

Thanks for the awesome review! I am thinking of booking a trip this summer. My kids are 2 and 3, so they are too young for the safari and we won’t be booking the private tour. We were thinking of just booking the walking tour and staying overnight. My kids love animals and we go to our local zoo weekly. Do you think the walking tour would be worth it? Are you able to see a lot of animals up close? Thank you!

Sunday 23rd of May 2021

Hi Jen, the main walking path does have a great view of the giraffe and antelope. The smaller paths through the other animal areas also offer chances to see many other animals, but of course, it's a bit like a zoo where you're never sure if the animal will be hiding indoors or in a spot that makes viewing limited. However, we were able to see a few monkeys, Fenix fox, cheetahs, porcupines, and lots of birds quite easily. If you can splurge for one of the tents on Antelope Canyon that are across from the giraffe area that would probably be really special. The tents have outside decks so the kids might like to have a snack while they watch the animals. You won't be able to see some of the larger animals like the zebras and cape buffalo, but I think your kids would probably still have a lot of fun. The lemurs are also super cute and easy to view.

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Safari West Review: Glamping in a Luxury Safari Tent in Santa Rosa, California

last Updated: August 14, 2023 california Northern California sonoma

FYI: Affiliate links may be sprinkled throughout the awesome, free content you see below. I’ll receive a small commission when you purchase from my links (at no extra cost to you), which I’ll totally blow on adult things like boba tea and avocado toast. As always, thanks for the support.

Looking for info on glamping at Safari West?! We spent a night here not too long ago, and I’m here to give you my honest Safari West review! Was it worth it? What’s it like?! Keep on reading for my ultimate Safari West review — full of my favorite parts, things that could have been better, and all the planning logistics you’ll need for a night of glamping amongst the animals!

Itching to go on safari but can’t fathom spending 15 hours on a plane to Africa? I feel you. You’ll absolutely love the Sonoma serengeti (and yes, that’s what Safari West is called)! 

safari west overnight reviews

If you live in Northern California (or visiting!), I can confirm that a night at Safari West is well worth it! I mean, an authentic African adventure right in the heart of California wine country sure sounds like an epic experience, right?!

When we had to unfortunately cancel our African safari due to the pandemic, we did the next best thing — a night glamping at Safari West in Santa Rosa! Although being here made me super antsy to get started planning our real safari in Tanzania… gotta get on that soon! Glamping at Safari West was actually part of our 6-month couples challenge — which I explain in some detail over here on my 101 in 1001 days list !

And better yet — this Safari West review is in no way, shape, or form sponsored in any way, so you know for sure you’re getting an honest review and if I felt it was worth the price. Not that I ever stray from the truth when an experience/stay is sponsored, but I just felt like I needed to tell you it wasn’t. 🙂

→ Read Next: The Ultimate Northern California Road Trip Itinerary  

Overview of Safari West

What exactly is Safari West you ask? Good thing you’re reading this super-comprehensive Safari West review! 

Safari West calls itself a Wildlife Preserve and African tent camp, and that’s exactly what it is!

safari west overnight reviews

For starters, Safari West is huge — nearly 400-acres in Sonoma County (yes, wine country in California!)! They’ve got both overnight stays (in luxurious glamping tents) and safari rides in jeeps (there’s about 1,000 animals here, no joke). It’s basically the closest you can get to Africa without a passport. 

The facility was founded in 1989 as a private ranch for breeding and species propagation, and it’s only grown ever since. Now they offer close-up looks of the space to the general public, and accommodations to stay over. 

Where is Safari West?

Safari West is located in the bustling little city of Santa Rosa in Northern California . It’s in Sonoma County, not far from the wineries everyone knows and loves up there. The wildlife preserve is actually kinda midway between Calistoga (in Napa County ) and Santa Rosa (in Sonoma County), so it’s a super easy trip from either. 

safari west overnight reviews

And what makes Santa Rosa a great spot for a safari?! Well, the weather’s pretty mild year round, the grassland and forest combo kinda resembles Africa, there’s lots of water (when we aren’t in a drought), and it’s wine country paradise!

I’m giving you travel time from lots of spots in NorCal below to show you just how accessible it is!

  • From Sonoma Town: 45 minutes (28 miles)
  • From Oakland : 1 hour, 15 minutes (70 miles)
  • From San Francisco : 1 hour, 15 minutes (66 miles)
  • From Sacramento: 1 ½ hours (95 miles)
  • From Palo Alto: 1 hour, 45 minutes (105 miles)
  • From San Jose : 2 hours (110 miles)
  • From Mendocino : 2 hours (102 miles)
  • From Santa Cruz : 2 ½ hours (140 miles)
  • From Lake Tahoe : 3 ½ hours (210 miles)
  • From Redding: 3 ½ hours
  • From Yosemite : 4 hours (200 miles)

Santa Rosa’s got a mild mediterranean climate, so it’s never a horrible time to visit! In general, the summers are long, dry, and sunny, while the winters are mild and somewhat rainy. But since I’m exceptionally wordy, here’s a proper breakdown for ya!

safari west overnight reviews

Spring : If I had to choose the best time to head over to Safari West and Santa Rosa in general, I’d most definitely say late winter to spring (late-March to May or so). The winter rains will most likely be over, the air will be crisp and comfortable with little humidity, and the temps won’t be scorching hot just yet.

Summer : Santa Rosa and the entire vicinity gets wildly hot in the summer months, so if sweating on safari doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, avoid the super hot temps of summer. And I don’t mean like mid-80’s or so, we’re talking easily 95 degrees, on average. It’s not on the coast like Mendocino or Santa Cruz , so unfortunately Santa Rosa doesn’t get that nice ocean breeze like other parts of Northern California .

For reference, we visited in early-August and it was BLAZING hot. My husband had planned this glamping trip as part of our 6-month couples challenge, so I didn’t have a say, haha. Although it sure felt like Africa in the baking sun! 

Psst — if you do visit in the summer, I advise you to book the safari ride in the morning. We had a 2pm afternoon ride, and let’s just say thank goodness there was a shower in the tent for cooling off afterwards.

Fall : While normally fall would be a great option, the fire situation as of late has really put a damper on trips to dry, desolate areas with lots of forest. And that includes wine country up north. The entire area was absolutely devastated by wildfires a few years back, and while it’s almost fully recovered, you just honestly never know when a fire’s gonna strike again. 

Before moving to San Francisco and experiencing the smoky air ourselves, we had zero clue there was actually a “fire season” here in California. If you’re traveling far to get to Santa Rosa/Safari West, avoid visiting mid-August to September/October (although fire season seems to creep up earlier and earlier every year).

Winter : I’d also avoid the winter if you don’t want chilly nights, although Safari West provides enough heat in the tent to keep warm and cozy (more on that below). Temps can drop to about 25 degrees on the coldest nights of the year (usually in December/January), so just be prepared with all your warm weather gear. 

Winter (November to March) is also the rainy season here in Northern California, and who likes a soaking wet safari? But there’s far fewer crowds this time of year and rates will be lower, so that’s a plus!

How Many Nights to Stay

safari west overnight reviews

We thought just one night was sufficient. You’ll most likely only do one safari ride, and besides that and chilling out, there’s not a ton to do at Safari West. And plus, you may want real walls after waking up to the sounds of animals in the super early AM (expect to hear guinea fowl and flamingos chattering up a storm in the morning).

Since the glamping tent is kinda expensive (in my opinion), I wouldn’t recommend staying here extra nights solely for accommodation. If you’re spending additional time in wine country, there’s a lot of other (less expensive) hotel options out there!

Who is Safari West for?

We were traveling as a couple without any kids (as we don’t have any!), so my Safari West review is skewed towards an adults-only experience. But that isn’t to say everyone had or didn’t have kids with them!

safari west overnight reviews

There were quite a few kids at Safari West staying overnight, and a handful on our safari tour. Do note that children must be 4 years or older to participate in a Classic Safari, so those with littles may wanna wait until they can join in on all the fun. Although I’m pretty sure under 4’s can sit on a parents lap — the website doesn’t make it super clear. I’d double check and ask before booking.

I have a feeling my niece (5 years old) and nephew (8 years old) would have loved both the safari ride and staying in a tent, so I can 100% recommend this for a family with young kids. Teens? I’m honestly not so sure, haha — unless they’re wildly obsessed with animals.

Ethics and Conservation Efforts of Safari West

Animal tourism has gotten a bad rep lately — and I can obviously understand why. Whenever we travel, we do tons and tons (and tons, yes actually) of research… especially when it involves animals. We’re animal lovers at heart, so of course want to make sure the experiences we partake in are positive ones that don’t harm the animals in any way shape or form.

safari west overnight reviews

The mission of Safari West is “to actively promote conservation, environmental education, and share knowledge that will help each individual make personal choices in regards to the environment and conservation efforts.”

The one thing to note is that Safari West is a private facility, meaning they’re for-profit. BUT the larger foundation (Safari West Wildlife Foundation) is a 501(c) — a nonprofit organization created to support the objectives of Safari West. I read that Safari West is aiming to become a 501(c) in the years to come. 

Safari West is fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which means they meet the “national” standard. AZA accreditation holds its member zoos to the highest standards of physical and mental care for wildlife — standards that are pretty much unachievable for the vast majority of zoos and wildlife parks/sanctuaries. So the fact that Safari West meets all these wildly high standards is amazing in my book!

safari west overnight reviews

I asked our guide a whole bunch of questions on the safari, and since Noah planned our weekend away, I did a lot of this research after the fact. Thankfully our guide was able to answer all my questions and I learned that Safari West aims to increase the gene pool of endangered animals — it is technically a breeding facility after all.

They do swap animals with other zoos/animal rescues (which I didn’t understand why at first), but it’s to increase the gene pool even further when breeding. And if the endangered animals go extinct in the wild, at least there’s the animal’s genetics still in captivity → which can then be bred, and then *fingers crossed* one day be released into the wild.

So after going on safari and talking to our guide, I felt okay partaking in the experience at Safari West. For starters, the larger animals were free to roam in their exceptionally large habitats, and these habitats mimicked the large open or wooded habitats the species would have in their natural environment (aka the wild).

safari west overnight reviews

There was absolutely no petting or feeding the animals, which is obviously a big no-no and a rule Safari West is super strict on (thankfully)!

I will say I didn’t particularly love the fact that some smaller animals were in smaller habitats, and this part felt kind of like a regular zoo (the walking portion of the safari — I’ll explain in more detail soon). 

The Safari West Experience

The rooms (tents).

We spent a night at Safari West in one of their luxury safari tents, and it was (way) more spacious than I had originally imagined them to be. Honestly, I really didn’t know what to expect (we had never gone glamping before!), but the space was private, luxurious, and super comfortable! And we couldn’t see anyone else from our tent — only some animals!

safari west overnight reviews

This was a true glamping experience, complete with linens, towels, and toiletries waiting for us in our tent, as well as running water and electricity. Glamping at it’s best! The tent was decorated with touches of animal print but it definitely didn’t seem gaudy at all — kinda what you’d expect to find in Africa on safari!

It was honestly kinda like staying in a hotel, but not! And oh that KING-SIZE bed; it was so comfy we didn’t wanna get up in the morning! We slept so incredibly well — even my husband couldn’t believe it (he’s the last person you’ll find willingly camping).

Let’s talk a bit about the canvas tents, because after doing a bit of research, I just need to share! First off; all the tents are custom-designed with private viewing decks, polished hardwood floors, and even en-suite bathrooms. So no, you don’t need to leave your tent in the middle of the night if you’ve got to pee! 

The heavy-lined safari canvas is imported directly from Botswana in Africa and the furniture is crafted almost entirely on-site from local wood. Talk about craftsmanship! We were able to roll up the thick plastic windows in the morning to let in all that gorgeous natural light.

safari west overnight reviews

Even if you’re not a fan of camping, I promise you’ll fall in love with your tent. It really didn’t feel like a tent at all, haha. And no, you don’t need to bring a sleeping bag, nor will you be sleeping in one (we slept peacefully in a king size bed!). Just remember the tents are literally in the middle of the wildlife preserve, so you’ll definitely hear all the wildlife sounds from your tent. Just something to keep in mind in case you’re a super light sleeper (bring earplugs!).

Do note there’s no AC/heating system in the tents themselves. Our room was equipped with a portable heater and electric blanket (yes, it’s a real thing, I had no clue!) in case the temps got chilly and we got exceptionally cold at night. Remember — we visited in August so thankfully the air never got cold enough to need extra warmth! But I loved knowing it was there if we needed it!

I didn’t realize that some rooms have way better views than others — after we checked in I noticed some rooms even overlooked the giraffes! And others had views of the lake! While our room was spacious and everything I imagined an African tent to be, I kinda wish the view was better!

One of the main reasons for coming to Safari West in the first place — to go on “safari”! I admittedly thought it’d be kinda cheesy at first, but we had a great time! Definitely opt to sit on the top of the safari truck — it was so fun! 

safari west overnight reviews

The Classic Safari, what we were on, is a 3-hour excursion to get up close and personal with nearly a thousand animals. Well, we obviously didn’t see all 1,000, but definitely a whole lot!

The safari is organized into two parts:

  • By foot on a safari walk (~45 minutes): see some of the smaller animals in their natural habitat, including some rare birds in the aviary, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and a parade of flamingos around the lagoon (they were so fun to watch)!
  • By safari truck to explore the “Sonoma Serengeti” (~2 hours) : this is where it really got fun! We spent a few hours on the custom safari vehicle pretending we were in the plains of Africa looking for animals! We saw zebras, blue wildebeest, African cape buffaloes, and so much more! Including a 5-day old buffalo hiding next to its mother, which was obviously oh so cute. 

safari west overnight reviews

Did it feel like a real safari? Hmmm… yes and no. While we were sitting in an open-air jeep-style safari truck and looking out for animals, the guides kinda knew exactly where they’d be so there was no real shock to the animal spotting. But this just meant we were guaranteed to see so many! Our guide was super knowledgeable and we learned so much about the exotic and endangered wildlife at Safari West.

I will say the safari was kinda bumpy, so just know that in advance. Also, there’s no bathrooms on the tour, so go beforehand! If it’s hot out, definitely bring something to drink as there’s no stops for water along the way. Once you’re on the safari jeep, you’re on for the remainder of the tour (1 ½ to 2 hours) and there’s no going back!

Yes, you can actually take the safari tour without staying overnight in a tent, but you need to make an advanced reservation to tour the grounds (you can’t just pop in for a look around).

While the classic safaris are the most popular (that’s what we did), there’s also exclusive private wine and cheese safaris! Chardonnay and cheetahs? Yes please!

Animals at Safari West:

I was surprised to learn just how many animals are at Safari West in Sonoma! There’s nearly ONE THOUSAND animals living here, and about 90 different species! A lot of the animals are endangered, which makes sense because of the mission of Safari West.

safari west overnight reviews

Most of the mammals found here at native to Africa (think antelopes, primates, and predators), plus a whole slew of avian life from around the globe (in and out of the aviary)!

Some of our favorites were the caracal (those ears!), the masai giraffe, the vulturine guineafowl, the trumpeter hornbill (listen out for it — the sound it makes is WILD!), the red-ruffed lemur, the warthogs (reminded me so much of the Lion King!), and the crested porcupines.

While you won’t check off the “Big 5” on your safari at Safari West (there’s no elephants, lions, or tigers here), you can still see a whole lot. Expect to see zebras, blue wildebeest, giraffes (hard to miss those!), guinea fowl (walking around everywhere!), cheetahs, and lemurs to just name a few!

Food and Drinks at Safari West

All Safari West overnight reservations include a complimentary breakfast at the Savannah Cafe. Lunch and dinner are by reservation only. The food was pretty good, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. We of course took advantage of the breakfast (hey, it was free!), and had dinner here the night of our safari.

safari west overnight reviews

There’s a cute little snack shop, called Delilah’s with you guessed it — snacks and drinks (including wine and beer). Thankfully there were large water jugs over here that we used to fill up our water bottles before and after the safari. I told you we went on a scorching hot day, right?! Gotta stay hydrated!

S’mores by the fire after dinner are available just seasonally (I don’t know when…) and I’m so bummed we miss this. This girl loves a s’more (or two… or three). It just doesn’t feel like true camping, er glamping without roasting some marshmallows by the fire. 

I recommend keeping it nice and simple and making a reservation for dinner at Savannah Cafe (and having breakfast here), but plan to eat your other meals elsewhere — you gotta check out before lunch the next day anyways. There’s lots of great food in Santa Rosa!

safari west overnight reviews

I won’t lie — Safari West isn’t exactly cheap. Although it’s definitely justifiable for a special occasion weekend or a one-time experience.

Overall, all things included (Classic Safari, one night of accommodation, and dinner), our 24 hours at Safari West was just over $800 for a Saturday night stay. Kinda steep, but it’s definitely not something we’ll be doing every month, haha.

The Overall Experience

safari west overnight reviews

Was the semi-high price tag worth it? I think so? It’s obviously way cheaper than jetting off to Tanzania, Kenya, or South Africa — that’s for sure! 

While we had fun and an overall positive experience, I wouldn’t travel far to Sonoma solely for Safari West. Hey, I told you this was gonna be an honest Safari West review, didn’t I?! 

  • Less-expensive than a safari overseas
  • A great weekend trip from the Bay Area
  • Everything’s in one place and it’s such an easy way to feel far away without going terribly far!
  • You get to don your safari outfit!


  • Not many activities once the sun goes down (apparently they do marshmallows by the fire some nights but not the night we were there — to say I was bummed was a MASSIVE understatement)
  • Some of the animals are in smaller habitats than I would have liked to see
  • It’s expensive; there’s no way around that, especially for a larger family

What to Wear/Pack

Thankfully you don’t need to pack anything you’d need for a true camping experience — you can leave your sleeping bags and camping food at home! While Safari West basically has everything you need for the night, there’s a few things I recommend bringing for an even-more-comfortable experience. 

safari west overnight reviews

  • Cards or an ipad with an animal-themed movie for once the sun goes down
  • Sunscreen and bug spray — 2 musts!
  • Water bottle ; gotta stay hydrated of course 
  • Camera with a fully charged battery!
  • A fully-charged flashlight , although Safari West does have a few out for loan at the Front Office
  • Drinky drinks ! We brought along a few hard seltzers (and had a bottle of wine waiting for us in our room) so we were well-equipped for the night. Coolers are provided on the decks of the tent cabins and you are welcome to bring your own food to put in them for a late night snack. Although they don’t provide ice in the coolers, which I thought was a little odd, so if you wanna use them to the max, bring your own bags of ice.

PS: Your cell phone probably won’t have reception (there is wifi but it doesn’t extend to all the tents unfortunately). Kinda nice to just relax without service to truly get away from it all. But if you’ve got AT&T, you can expect to have at least some service — there’s now AT&T coverage here! 

PPS: There’s no phone (or TV) in the tent. You can use the phone in the front office if you need to make a quick phone call.

What to Wear: 

  • Safari Outfit: Your most fun safari clothes! But keep them comfy and lightweight for the jeep ride! I wore a leopard-print midi dress, a cute felt fedora, and some animal-printed sandals! The next morning I threw on some cheetah-printed bike shorts and an oversized tee! Safari chic to the max! My husband went very literal and wore a short-sleeve button down with cheetahs all over!
  • Shoes: Make sure you wear comfortable shoes for the walking portion of the experience! The ground wasn’t necessarily dirty but if I remember correctly there’s some dirt/gravel pathways, so while you don’t need to worry about ruining your shoes, I wouldn’t wear anything you’d be especially sad over. I wore sandals and was fine, but would recommend closed-toe shoes to keep your feet protected.
  • Overall, I’d definitely dress in layers . Especially at night! Keep a jacket or light sweater close by, and if you’re visiting in winter, dress appropriately. It gets quite chilly over here from November to March-ish!

With that being said, I’m off to go make some microwave s’mores (and yes — they’re absolutely delicious!). Hope this Safari West review gave you lots of info and then some! When are you thinking of going?! Drop any additional questions down below in the comments section!

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October 7, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Great review, thanks! I’m definitely booking a trip and glamping experience!

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December 13, 2023 at 9:28 pm

Where did you get the information about AZA accreditation? I was researching wildlife experiences in California but was concerned when I read this.

I haven’t been able to find any information about it being reinstated, which is disappointing because otherwise it looks great!

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December 14, 2023 at 1:18 pm

wow that is so disappointing 🙁 we visited in January of 2021, and it looks like they were denied accreditation in October 2021 (they were apparently automatically granted an additional year due to the pandemic). What a shame, I really hope the company is doing their part to get it reinstated! Thanks so much for sharing this — truly appreciated. I will need to make those updates next time I update the post!

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Review of Safari West: One Night in the African Tent Camp

SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA – Review of Safari West Wildlife Preserve and African Tent Camp. Come along on our family’s Northern California glamping adventure at Safari West . Full review with details of our stay to help you plan your own family’s visit follow — and don’t miss the follow-up with our jeep tour: On Safari in Sonoma !


That the wood floor was polished to a higher luster than ours at home was the first sign there would be no roughing it in this particular tent. A king-size bed was the second.

And the presence of a private bathroom with a shower behind the children’s queen-size bunk beds clearly argued that our lodgings at Safari West Wildlife Preserve were more “cabin” than “tent,” although our walls and ceiling were no more than canvas and our windows a breezy mesh. (Ahhh…. California glamping!)

Perched on our lake-view porch amid the oak tree tops, we raised two glasses of a local Zinfandel, admiring the view from our temporary home on stilts. I whispered, “No worries of a snake crawling into  this tent cabin, dear—no matter what the kids try to tell us.”

We exchanged quick grins before retrieving the dry salami and cheeses we’d packed along from the tent’s ice chest, and called the kids who—now having conquered the hand-hewn bunk beds and confirmed the toilet in our tent really flushed—were busy chasing lizards and butterflies beneath our hillside dwelling.

I’ll admit I was a little disappointed during the escorted jeep ride up to our cabin after check in, when I realized we would not be staying in one of the tents I’d seen advertised with a porch view of giraffes. I’d already taken the photos in my mind, and who doesn’t love giraffes?

Yet, as we shuffled the deck of Uno cards with an exotic rumble of wild animals in the distance, and watched another iridescent bird of mystery flit to the treetop beside us, we had to admit this lakeside location, at the farthest edge of the tent cabins, was ideal for us.

Our driver, upon delivering us to our tent and carrying our bags up the several steps, gave us helpful tips and specific instructions to ensure an enjoyable stay.

Tips from our Safari West African Tent Stay:

1) Carry our flashlights to dinner—it will most likely be dark on our way back.

2) To stay cozy in our glamping tent, close the window flaps  before  it gets cold, and keep the door to the bathroom—which had open mesh for a ceiling—closed during the night.

3) If it gets really cold, which seemed unlikely as I felt the sweat trickle down my neck and watched my son crack open his second bottle of water in under 5 minutes—we could turn on our electric space heater and use the ceiling fan to force the warmer air down towards us.

“And if you’re still too cold in the night” (I think at this point I laughed out loud), he pointed out, “each bed has an electric blanket.”

Well, have no fear of snakes  or  getting too cold at night in this   tent. Or too hungry, I thought, looking forward to our dinner at the Savannah Grill. The concept of “Sonoma County glamping” was definitely growing on me.

After our snack, we would take a stroll back down to the Safari West village and get a closer look at the flamingos, lemurs, cheetah and other animals residing there, all before the family-friendly happy hour and buffet dinner at the Savannah Grill (included with some packages or $29 adults / $17 kids 4 – 12, reservations required).

The one do-over from our Safari West stay:

Our one mistake, however, was arriving on the later side for dinner, which  is  promptly served at 6:30 p.m. The line was long and the kids, having skipped the happy hour snacks and refreshments in favor of extending their visits to Fennec Fox and Felis Serval, were hungry. Trying to help them make their selections of unfamiliar dishes and juggle their plates in addition to our own was almost as challenging as finding something other than fruit for my pickiest eater to eat.

It’s not to say there wasn’t a wide selection of food at the buffet, or that the chicken and beef grilled Serengeti-style and salads weren’t enticing to me. It just would have been helpful to have a few more bland options for those young children who don’t recognize the lumpy (though delicious) homestyle macaroni and cheese by its name. Plain pasta or plain rice would have been helpful here. However, what the kids may have lacked in dinner they soon made up for in desserts.

After freshly baked bread pudding with whipping cream and a cherry on top was delivered to all of the tables, the child guests were invited to come out and roast marshmallows over the glowing coals of the enormous grill. What kid could resist? Not one in my camp.

The evening stroll… back to the tent

We strolled back toward our tent by way of reticulated giraffes and African crested cranes, glad to have the flashlight as it became darker and darker… and the kids spotted their first Sonoma-size toad. A new wildlife adventure unfolded as my husband and I took our seats on the deck, admiring the first stars shining above as the kids admired amphibians emerging below.

“Do you think I should start closing the windows?” I asked.

He chuckled. “You really think it’s going to get cold tonight?”

“I don’t know, it is pretty clear out. What’s our elevation?” We stepped in to the tent and took a closer look at the large canvas flaps and Velcro tabs. “Well, it’s not like it will obscure the view now—you can’t see a thing out there.”

That’s when the first child screamed.

Then the second.

And as the third child shouted, “SNAAAAAKE!” we could see them all standing at the bottom of the steps closest to our tent cabin door, their flashlight fixed on something.

“SNAAAAKE!” they all shouted, but without the hint of terror in their voices that I felt in my bones. How could there be a snake out at night? When it was cooling down? When snakes are supposed to be back in their sleeping dens and far, far away from our feet?

“Is it dead?” I asked optimistically.

The kids assured me—and all of our tented neighbors within three quarters of a mile—that the snake was not dead. “And it has something in its mouth!”

A garter snake, I assured myself. I’m sure it’s just a harmless garter snake. But as I took a few steps closer, I could see this was no type of snake I had seen in the wild before. Not that I go looking for them. And it did have something in its mouth—or rather, hanging out: frog legs.

As exciting as it all was, it was soon time to brush teeth in our gleaming copper basin in the tent’s bathroom which was, with certainty, getting colder. We shut the door to the bathroom, closed our window flaps, tucked ourselves into each cushy bed, and turned out the lamp on day 1 at Safari West. In the morning, we’d have to rise early to get breakfast back at the Savannah Grill (included with with overnight stays), before our 2 ½ hour double-decker jeep safari.

Dreams rolled over me and away again, and in between each I surfaced just long enough to catch bits of distant conversations punctuated by a deep and chesty “OOOOOHRAH! OOOOOHRAH!” and warbled “HOOO-HOO-HOO-HAW!” and I couldn’t be sure which speaker was native to my continent and which, if any, was not. But it didn’t matter.

I was warm and toasty in my bed, in an authentic African safari tent brought all the way from Botswana. We may have been just an hour and a half away from our home by San Francisco Bay, but in the hills behind us slept the zebras, wildebeests, and Cape buffalo we’d go searching for tomorrow. I knew my kids were thrilled to be there overnighting in the African tent. And best of all? I was, too.

Next up: Photos from our 2+ hour guided safari at Safari West

Thanks to Safari West Wildlife Refuge and Safari Tent Camp for providing this opportunity to review their accommodations and tours. For more information about Safari West’s guided safari tours, overnight accommodations, packages, and special offers, visit An earlier version of this review first appeared May 22, 2014, and has since been updated.

You might also like:

On safari in sonoma: our jeep tour of safari west, ten unforgettable california family vacation ideas, san francisco with kids family vacation guide, six great mexico family vacation destinations, kauai with kids family vacation guide, tips for buying sunglasses for kids, ten things you should pack for a road trip with kids, nine amazing family vacations abroad + tips for when you get there.

safari west overnight reviews

Shelly Rivoli

Shelly Rivoli is the award-winning author behind the Travels with Baby guidebooks and Travels with Baby website and blog , and is the founding editor of Family Travel 411 . When she isn't traveling with her husband and three children, she hangs her hat in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter: @travelswithbaby and Facebook: Shelly Rivoli .

On Safari in Sonoma: Jeep Tour Adventure at Safari West Wildlife Preserve

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safari west overnight reviews

What an adventure!!! Looks incredible (even though–that snake–eesh!).

safari west overnight reviews

The kids actually just spotted another snake identical to this on our recent (real tent) camping trip, but they swear… bigger! They were with cousins at dusk and were able to tell them on-the-spot it is a California king snake. Being from Oregon, I think they were impressed! 😉

safari west overnight reviews

Santa Rosa, California? Wow! Quite a traveler’s story!

Thanks, Alex! And thanks for reading. 😉

safari west overnight reviews

Pretty cool – and gross! 🙂

safari west overnight reviews

Oh my goodness, who would have thought this experience could be waiting so nearby. I want to go give it a try! Great review, Shelly.

Thank you! I agree – I know there are many great experiences so close to our home base, and I am going to be exploring them right here in this new blog. 😉

Great, I’ll stay tuned in!

safari west overnight reviews

What an awesome blog!

Thanks! 😉 Great feeling to (finally) get it off the ground. Appreciate your reading so much.

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Safari West

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3115 Porter Creek Rd, Santa Rosa, 95404-9655, CA

safari west overnight reviews

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safari west overnight reviews

Safari West seamlessly combines lodging accommodations with an onsite accredited zoo. Families will feel like they’ve left Northern California and arrived at an African safari upon entering through the gates. Located about 20 minutes outside of downtown Santa Rosa in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains is this 400-acre luxury glamping tent preserve that’s home to more than 800 individual animals. Families can visit Safari West for the day or spend the night.

The 30 glamping tents are more like mini-cottages with canvas walls and roofs. They each feature heated beds and their own bathroom with a shower, along with electricity and a heater. While you will be “roughing” it with no air conditioning or Wi-Fi in the tents, the sounds of the surrounding animals will have you feeling happy to unplug and enjoy nature.

Families can wander the property on their own and see monkeys, cheetahs, flamingos, lemur and tons of species of birds in the aviary. Or take a guided safari tour on an open-air safari vehicle that will allow you to see the larger animals like giraffe, rhino, antelope, zebra and much more. Families can start the morning with the free continental breakfast, and the onsite restaurant serves lunch and dinner as well. There are outdoor fires to cozy up to once the sun goes down and the staff is always on hand to answer any questions about the animals.

Safari West is a great destination for families who are looking for something more than a hotel and are ready to unplug, reconnect and bond with nature.

Our Editor Loves

  • Onsite safari animals and guided tours
  • Elevated glamping tents with bathrooms
  • Heated beds and electricity

Family Interests

  • Museum/Cultural

Family Amenities

  • Family Room 5+
  • Free Breakfast
  • Onsite Dining

Room Information

Find the best price for your stay.

The 30 glamping tents were imported from Botswana and customized for Safari West. They feature hardwood floors and canvas walls and roofs. Each has electricity and an en-suite bathroom. There is no television, air conditioning or Wi-Fi in the tents, and there is very limited cell phone service at all in the tents. But unplugging from devices and the sounds of the surrounding animals will easily put you to sleep.

The tents feature heated king or double beds, a bathroom with a standup shower, a large private deck with chairs and a large space heater, which is a must when it gets cool at night. The tents can accommodate up to four people and the Family Tents include bunk beds and can sleep up to six people.

The tents are mostly all elevated on stilts above the ground, but there are accessible tents. A staff member will drive families in a Safari West Jeep to your individual tent with your luggage as the tents are situated down dirt and gravel pathways. It’s about a five-minute walk to the cafe and safari tours from the tents. Flashlights are available to borrow.

by Damien B

I took my daughter and three of her "besties" for an overnight adventure for her birthday. The accommodation was fantastic - simple but completely adequate. Dinner was great and the staff could not have been more helpful. I highly recommend the overnight stay at an already terrific zoo.

by zapprint

A number of years ago we saw an article in the LA Times about Safari West. I thought it would be a great couples trip, but other destinations always came up. Finally an opportunity to take the adult “kids” and grandsons came up. We arrived early afternoon and checked into our tents 7/17. We wanted them a bit closer but ours, #17 had a great view of the antelopes and giraffes. The day we arrived was Very hot so everyone had to take a nap. We all arrived early for dinner, which was very good. After, the kids found other kids to run in the grass and visited the cheetahs. The next day we had the 10:00 tour with Sky who was great for the kids & adults. Being able to see most all the animals close up was great. I would highly recommend the experience, if you can, spend the night, if not. The tour & lunch or dinner, so you can walk around some.

Family Activities

The more than 800 individual animals at Safari West are the main attraction here. Families can wander the property on their own to see some of the smaller animals in more of a zoo-like setting. Or book a guided safari tour in an open-air vehicle where you can see the larger animals. It’s important to note that all of the animals at Safari West are wild animals and are never to be touched or fed.

Safari Tours Families can book a guided safari tour in an open-air vehicle that takes visitors throughout the 400-acre preserve to see the larger animals like giraffe, rhino, zebra, buffalo, antelope and more. Children must be at least 4 years old to go on a safari tour and must be at least 45 inches tall to sit on the rooftop seat of the safari vehicle. Expert guides explain all of the animal’s habits and where they come from along the two-hour, vehicle portion of the tour.

Then there is a 45-minute walking portion of the tour where families will be guided through the Aviary with its hundred different species of birds. The tours run rain or shine so be prepared if it rains and closed-toe shoes are recommended. Lunch, dinner or a wine tasting can also be added to these tours.

Aviary and Animals Smaller animals such as lemur, monkeys, flamingos and cheetahs can be viewed in a more zoo-like atmosphere on your own at no additional cost. The large Aviary is also home to a hundred different species of birds. A walk through the Aviary with a guide is included in the Safari Tour or you can view them on your own from outside.

Behind the Scenes Private safari tours are available to book, as well as a few behind-the-scenes private tours that get you closer to the animals. Some of these tours include closer encounters with the rhinos and cheetah. You can also be a Keeper for the Day, where you can care for and feed some of the animals.

Family Dining

Breakfast A complimentary continental breakfast is included in your stay. Things like cereal, pastries, coffee, fruit and oatmeal are available in the Savannah Cafe from 7 to 10 a.m. daily.

Savannah Cafe Lunch and dinner are available here in a South African-style called Braai (pronounced bry). Braai is similar to a BBQ buffet and features meats like chicken and pork grilled over a wood fire and tons of side dishes like macaroni and cheese, baked beans and vegetables. Reservations are required at Savannah Cafe and reservations must be booked with your overnight accommodations.

Delilah’s Snack Shop There is a snack shop with beverages and snacks available for purchase. Beer and wine can also be purchased here.

Planning & Tips

All About the Extras

  • Wi-Fi Complimentary Wi-Fi is available only in the Savannah Cafe. Internet and cell phone service in general is very limited at Safari West, and is mostly determined by your phone carrier. It’s highly likely that you’ll not have any type of cell service or internet connection from your lodging accommodations. Call boxes are situated outside of the tents for any emergencies or calls needed to the front desk.
  •   Parking Free parking is available.

The Best Time to Visit Safari West is a seasonal property open from March through December. It’s closed in January and February. Peak season runs from March through November with the summer months and school holiday seasons being the most popular with families.

Safari West is in Northern California so expect cooler temperatures at night. Temperatures range between 60 and 85 degrees most of the year, with it being a bit cooler in the winter and a bit warmer in the summer.

Getting There Safari West is located in Northern California about 90 minutes north of San Francisco. The Sonoma County Airport is located about 20 minutes away. The San Francisco International Airport is located about 90 minutes away and the Sacramento International Airport is about two hours away.

Getting Around Once on the property, all attractions, animals and restaurants are within walking distance from the lodging area. A vehicle is needed if you plan to explore outside of Safari West.

For Parents

  • Massage For those seeking a little more relaxation, an in-tent massage can be added to your overnight stay.

More Top-Rated Family Hotels in Nearby Area

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Spend The Night At Safari West In Northern California For An Evening Of Wild Fun

safari west overnight reviews

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As local travel experts, we know what travelers are looking for when it comes to finding the perfect accommodations for their next trip. To compile our lists, we scour the internet to find properties with excellent ratings and reviews, desirable amenities, nearby attractions, and that something special that makes a destination worthy of traveling for.

Spending a few hours at the local zoo seeing the animals is always a fun experience, but there’s something about spending the night surrounded by wildlife that can’t be beaten. Here in Northern California, there’s a wildly unique attraction that allows you to do just that. Safari West is unlike any place you’ve visited before. It’s both a zoo and resort, and they provide safari-style experiences to visitors that are simply unforgettable. If you love viewing animals then check out the overnight adventure at Safari West and prepare to be left in total awe.

safari west overnight reviews

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safari west overnight reviews

Did you know about this unique zoo and resort here in our state? This is one overnight adventure you’re bound to remember! If you thought this place looked amazing, then be sure to check out The Unique Park In Northern California That Everyone Should Visit.

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Featured Addresses

A safari experience like no other

Spend the Night

Welcome to Safari West

Go on safari.

Unleash Your Wildheart

Start the Adventure Group visits click here

Safari Glamping

Glamp Serengeti - Sonoma Style

Dining in the Wild

Sonoma's South African Braai Experience

Private Adventures

Come face-to-face with the wildest animals around on your very own Private Safari Adventure!

Flamingo, American

One of the most unique birds on the planet, flamingos are able to survive in harsh conditions through a variety of incredible adaptations.

Read More Show another animal

Safari West Happenings

See all Happenings

Safari West Presents! North Coast Conservation and Development Council

Conservation Dinner Series:   Oona Heacock of  North Coast Conservation and Development Council joins us in the elephant room after dinner to give a talk about bees.

Explore Share

Safari West Presents! MEarth

Conservation Dinner Series:  Karin Stratton of MEarth joins us in the elephant room after dinner to give a talk about environmental stewardship.

Inspiring Wildlife Posts

See all News

Good Morning America Wild Child 20% Special

Good Morning America visits Safari West! Safari West Promo Code: "GMAKIDS20" - Wild Kids 20% Off Promo Code: A unique promo code...

Conservation Success in the Sahara!

In April, Safari West welcomed two new baby scimitar-horned oryx to our herd! These births come at a time when...

The Incredible Story of the Laysan Duck

People usually come to Safari West to see the showstoppers—giraffes, rhinos, cheetahs, or zebras. While these are all incredible animals,...

Historic church, artwork 'completely destroyed' in blaze: fire chief

No reports of injuries at fire inside toronto church housing group of seven artworks.

St. Anne's church

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A historic church in Toronto's west end has been "completely destroyed," along with the artifacts it housed, says the city's fire chief, as firefighters remained on scene overnight Sunday to monitor the situation.

Toronto Fire said crews received report of a fire inside St. Anne's Anglican Church, on Gladstone Avenue near Dundas Street W., just before 8 a.m.

Firefighters stayed at the scene overnight at the church for fire watch, to assess hot spots and check what's left under the rubble. 

Toronto Fire said the Ontario Fire Marshal and Toronto police are expected to be back at the church Monday to investigate.

"The fire has not been deemed criminal in nature yet," it said. 

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop said the building is "completely destroyed" as are all the artifacts inside.

"This is a devastating loss for the community," Jessop told reporters at the scene.

Toronto police have set up an online portal where the public can submit any photos or videos that may help assist investigators. It can be found here .

Gladstone Avenue is closed between College and Dundas streets as crews work to bring the blaze under control. Police are advising motorists and pedestrians to use alternate routes. 

Rev. Don Beyers, a parish priest at the church, says the congregation is "greatly devastated," to learn about the fire damage.

"I'm crushed, I feel for my people. You can't imagine what this is like for a church community to come on Sunday morning to find that everything you worked so hard for and done so much for [is] gone in the matter of an hour," Beyers said outside the building Sunday. 

"Despite this terrible tragedy and loss, we as a church will continue on," he said.

Residents devastated, artwork destroyed

The church, built in 1907-1908 in the city's Little Portugal neighbourhood, houses early paintings by three Group of Seven artists that were installed in the church in the 1920s. The murals decorated the chancel and the dome, which was destroyed by the blaze.

Beyers said the "invaluable" works were lost to the flames.

"The artwork was priceless. It was murals, beautiful murals," he said. "They were stunning.

"This was the only church that featured artwork by members of the Group of Seven. And I'm sorry to say that's been lost, from what I can see."

Artwork on the ceiling of a church.

The church was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1996. In 1980, the City of Toronto also designated the church under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The St. Anne's website said the church in 1923 commissioned founding Group of Seven member J.E.H. MacDonald to oversee designs depicting the life of Christ on the building's interior. MacDonald then signed on nine other artists, including Franklin Carmichael and Frederick Varley.

Toronto Fire Services spokesperson Deepak Chagger confirmed the loss, saying there's no indication that anything was saved at this point.

​Coun. Alejandra Bravo, who represents the ward where the building sits, said residents are expressing "tremendous" grief over the destruction of a space that offered critical community support.

"This is much more than just a building. This is a place that has provided support, a home, love, brought people from the community together," she said.

'Real mystery' how fire started: priest

Jessop said the fire was deep-seated when crews first arrived at the scene Sunday morning. 

As flames began to shoot through the roof, firefighters pulled out due to the risk it would collapse. Crews extinguished the main body of the fire by mid-morning, Jessop said. 

"Nobody was here, the church was locked, secure, all the lights were off," Beyers said, adding that he is often the first person there in the mornings. "It's a real mystery to us how this even happened."

Police said they received reports of windows breaking and heavy smoke coming from the building. Water towers and crews were set up for exterior firefighting operations, they said earlier Sunday morning.

safari west overnight reviews

Historic Toronto church holding valuable artwork gutted by fire

Adjoining homes were evacuated as a safety precaution and have been protected from the blaze, Jessop said.

There are no reports of occupants inside the church or injuries.

Do West Fest still on: organizers

The organizers of Do West Fest, a street festival in Little Portugal that stretches from Ossington Avenue to Lansdowne Avenue on Dundas Street W., initially said it will have a delayed start on Sunday due to the fire at St. Anne's, just steps away from the festival. 

"Our first concern was for the safety of our community, and everyone at the festival's devastated, [the church] is such an important community landmark," said festival organizer Kristyn Gelfand.

"We're trying to work out the logistics with police and fire and entire emergency response teams to make sure we give them space to do the work that they need to do."

The festival will still be running until 6 p.m. on Sunday, organizers later said.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Crime and Public Safety | Man fatally wounded overnight in Woodlawn…

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Crime and Public Safety

Crime and public safety | man fatally wounded overnight in woodlawn neighborhood.

safari west overnight reviews

A man was fatally wounded overnight in a double shooting on the South Side in the Woodlawn neighborhood, Chicago police said.

Around midnight Thursday, a man described as in his 30s, and another man, 36, were standing in a vacant lot in the 700 block of East 67th Street when someone opened fire in their direction, police said.

The younger man suffered multiple wounds to the body, and was taken in critical condition to UChicago Medicine where he was pronounced dead. The other victim suffered two wounds to the wrist, and also was taken to the same hospital where he was listed in fair condition, police said.

No one was in custody for the deadly attack, and detectives were investigating.

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The recently-appointed head of a unit that reviews potential wrongful convictions for the Cook County state's attorney's office plans to step down in July, according to a source close to the administration.

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  1. An Overnight Safari in the Steppes of California

    safari west overnight reviews

  2. An Overnight Safari in the Steppes of California

    safari west overnight reviews

  3. What to Do at Safari West in Santa Rosa| Visit California

    safari west overnight reviews

  4. An Overnight Wildlife Adventure at Safari West

    safari west overnight reviews

  5. An Overnight Wildlife Adventure at Safari West

    safari west overnight reviews

  6. An Overnight Wildlife Adventure at Safari West

    safari west overnight reviews


  1. Safari West

    1,841 reviews. #1 of 148 things to do in Santa Rosa. Nature & Wildlife Areas. Open now. 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM. Write a review. About. Have a wild adventure at Safari West, home to nearly 1,000 creatures. There are several fun wildlife excursions you can pick from: join a safari adventure, go behind the scenes on a guided tour, or even come face ...


    Specialties: A unique destination for the curious and wild at heart. Safari West - The Spirit of Africa in the heart of the wine country. Explore the Sonoma Serengeti on an African wildlife safari, or relax in a luxury tent with a giraffe as your neighbor. With our deluxe African tented camp and onsite dining at the Savannah Grill, we have everything you need for an inspiring holiday, whether ...

  3. Safari West

    Book Safari West, Santa Rosa, CA - Sonoma County on Tripadvisor: See 213 traveler reviews, 250 candid photos, and great deals for Safari West, ranked #1 of 4 specialty lodging in Santa Rosa, CA - Sonoma County and rated 4 of 5 at Tripadvisor. ... Planned an overnight stay for my husband's birthday. Considering I scheduled 4 days out Safari ...

  4. Fun Overnight Stay

    Safari West: Fun Overnight Stay - See 1,842 traveler reviews, 1,148 candid photos, and great deals for Santa Rosa, CA, at Tripadvisor.

  5. Safari West

    Book Safari West, Santa Rosa, CA - Sonoma County on Tripadvisor: See 213 traveller reviews, 250 candid photos, and great deals for Safari West, ranked #1 of 4 hotels in Santa Rosa, CA - Sonoma County and rated 4 of 5 at Tripadvisor. ... Planned an overnight stay for my husband's birthday. Considering I scheduled 4 days out Safari West was ...

  6. Best if you can stay overnight

    Safari West: Best if you can stay overnight - See 1,840 traveler reviews, 1,148 candid photos, and great deals for Santa Rosa, CA, at Tripadvisor.

  7. What It's Really Like to Stay at Safari West in Santa Rosa

    The Safari West animal park is located near Santa Rosa, California. It's about 20 minutes outside of the main city center. It's easy to get to the park and there is parking on-site for guests. Santa Rosa is in Sonoma County and just over an hour north of San Francisco. Santa Rosa, California is a fabulous family vacation spot with lots of ...

  8. Safari West Review: Glamping in a Luxury Safari Tent in Santa Rosa

    For starters, Safari West is huge — nearly 400-acres in Sonoma County (yes, wine country in California!)! They've got both overnight stays (in luxurious glamping tents) and safari rides in jeeps (there's about 1,000 animals here, no joke). It's basically the closest you can get to Africa without a passport.

  9. Safari West Review: Is Safari West Worth The Money?

    The Safari West wildlife park is located in the outskirts of Santa Rosa, CA, about 20 minutes outside of the city center. Santa Rosa is located in Sonoma County and is situated just over an hour north of San Francisco, CA. The park has a private parking lot available for day tour visitors and overnight guests.

  10. Review of Safari West, Santa Rosa, CA

    A Great Staycation. Review of Safari West. Reviewed Nov 16, 2021. (Late review - actual time of travel was in October 2020 during the Pandemic). With travel severely limited these days, my husband and I celebrated our birthdays and anniversary at Safari West. My nephew and his wife had gone in September to celebrate her birthday, and they ...

  11. Spend the Night

    One night's stay in a Double or Hillside King luxurious Safari tent. A Classic Safari Tour of the Safari West collection. Dinner for two at the Savannah Café includes a select bottle of Sonoma County wine for your enjoyment. Pricing Details. To book, please call or email Reservations: (707) 566-3667 (800) 616-2695 [email protected]


    Specialties: A unique destination for the curious and wild at heart. Safari West - The Spirit of Africa in the heart of the wine country. Explore the Sonoma Serengeti on an African wildlife safari, or relax in a luxury tent with a giraffe as your neighbor. With our deluxe African tented camp and onsite dining at the Savannah Grill, we have everything you need for an inspiring holiday, whether ...


    Specialties: A unique destination for the curious and wild at heart. Safari West - The Spirit of Africa in the heart of the wine country. Explore the Sonoma Serengeti on an African wildlife safari, or relax in a luxury tent with a giraffe as your neighbor. With our deluxe African tented camp and onsite dining at the Savannah Grill, we have everything you need for an inspiring holiday, whether ...

  14. SAFARI WEST (Santa Rosa)

    Safari West. 213 reviews. #1 of 2 campsites in Santa Rosa. 3115 Porter Creek Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404-9655. Write a review. Check availability. Full view. View all photos ( 250)

  15. Review of Safari West: One Night in the African Tent Camp

    ONE NIGHT IN THE AFRICAN TENT CAMP…. That the wood floor was polished to a higher luster than ours at home was the first sign there would be no roughing it in this particular tent. A king-size bed was the second. And the presence of a private bathroom with a shower behind the children's queen-size bunk beds clearly argued that our lodgings at Safari West Wildlife Preserve were more ...

  16. Safari West

    Safari West is in Northern California so expect cooler temperatures at night. Temperatures range between 60 and 85 degrees most of the year, with it being a bit cooler in the winter and a bit warmer in the summer. Safari West is located in Northern California about 90 minutes north of San Francisco.

  17. Review of Safari West, Santa Rosa, CA

    Planned an overnight stay for my husband's birthday. Considering I scheduled 4 days out Safari West was great in getting us scheduled for a Safari tour and then dinner arrangements. The Safari was so fun. I saw baby giraffes running, a one week old baby lemur, and rhinos taking mud baths!

  18. Spend The Night At This Zoo And Resort In Northern California: Safari West

    This unique attraction is bringing the Serengeti right here to Northern California, and they'll even let you spend the night! Safari West/Facebook. Located in Santa Rosa, Safari West originally opened in the late 1980s. It started off as a place for the owner, Peter Lang, to put his growing collection of exotic wildlife.

  19. Fun Overnight Stay

    Safari West: Fun Overnight Stay - See 1,836 traveler reviews, 1,108 candid photos, and great deals for Santa Rosa, CA, at Tripadvisor.

  20. Safari West

    North Coast Conservation and Development Council. Safari West Presents! North Coast Conservation and Development Council. Saturday June 22, 2024 | 8:00pm - 8:30pm. Conservation Dinner Series: Oona Heacock of North Coast Conservation and Development Counciljoins us in the elephant room after dinner to give a talk about bees.

  21. Safari West overnight stay

    Safari West: Safari West overnight stay - See 1,829 traveler reviews, 1,076 candid photos, and great deals for Santa Rosa, CA, at Tripadvisor.

  22. Historic church, artwork 'completely destroyed' in blaze: fire chief

    A historic church in Toronto's west end has been "completely destroyed," along with the artifacts it housed, says the city's fire chief, as firefighters remained on scene overnight Sunday to ...

  23. Man fatally wounded overnight in Woodlawn neighborhood

    A man was fatally wounded overnight in a double shooting on the South Side in the Woodlawn neighborhood, Chicago police said. Around midnight Thursday, a man described as in his 30s, and another ma…


    Book Safari West, Santa Rosa, CA - Sonoma County on Tripadvisor: See 213 traveler reviews, 250 candid photos, and great deals for Safari West, ranked #1 of 4 specialty lodging in Santa Rosa, CA - Sonoma County and rated 4 of 5 at Tripadvisor. ... This year we spent New Years Eve at Safari West, and the overnight accommodations sparked a debate ...