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

safari west overnight reviews

View prices for your travel dates

  • Excellent 149
  • Very Good 51
  • All languages ( 213 )
  • English ( 211 )
  • French ( 1 )
  • Japanese ( 1 )
" Plan in advance and prepay. The experience can be pricey for a family but with far advance planning it can be more manageable. Worth it. "
" best views will be slightly higher elevation (but walkable) "
" In the summer it might get pretty hot… I’d bring water. Steps provided to get in/out. "
" Tuck the clothes you are going to wear the next morning under the blankets. They will be nice and warm in the morning. Trust me on this! "
" We felt that Cabin #18 was the best one to get. #19 and #20 are in the same area and are also very good "

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Safari West - UPDATED Prices, Reviews & Photos (Santa Rosa, CA - Sonoma County) - Campground - Tripadvisor

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Safari West

safari west overnight reviews

View prices for your travel dates

  • Excellent 149
  • Very Good 51
  • All languages ( 213 )
  • English ( 211 )
  • French ( 1 )
  • Japanese ( 1 )
" Plan in advance and prepay. The experience can be pricey for a family but with far advance planning it can be more manageable. Worth it. "
" best views will be slightly higher elevation (but walkable) "
" In the summer it might get pretty hot… I’d bring water. Steps provided to get in/out. "
" Tuck the clothes you are going to wear the next morning under the blankets. They will be nice and warm in the morning. Trust me on this! "
" We felt that Cabin #18 was the best one to get. #19 and #20 are in the same area and are also very good "

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

SAFARI WEST: UPDATED 2023 Hotel Reviews, Price Comparison and 250 Photos (Santa Rosa, CA) - Tripadvisor

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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!

Cons: 

  • 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. https://www.aza.org/aza-news-releases/posts/aza-statement-on-aza-accreditation-commission-decision-to-deny-accreditation-to-safari-west?locale=en

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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An Overnight Wildlife Adventure at Safari West

September 28, 2021

safari west overnight reviews

Wouldn't it be great if you could take your family on an amazing African Safari adventure, but still have the convenience of being in the Bay Area? Safari West, a wildlife preserve and private zoo located near Santa Rosa offers just that!

Tour this 400-acre preserve in Sonoma County's rolling hills and get up-close-and-personal with giraffes, rhinos, zebras, monkeys, cheetahs, and a huge variety of birds and African antelopes. Not only can you tour Safari West, but you can stay overnight in one of their luxury "glamping" tent cabins. We had a chance to stay over at Safari West and take one of their Classic Safari tours, and it was an unforgettable experience.

Safari West

We began our adventure at the office where a staff member picked us up in a Jeep and whisked us and our luggage up to our tent. The tents are scattered around a small lake and a wildlife enclosure where giraffes and antelope roam. Our tent was located up on the hill above the lake, and had fantastic views of the preserve from its deck. 

Safari West

Each tent has wooden floors, rustic African-inspired furniture and decor, and running water and electricity. While they're well appointed and cozy, they're still tents, and each one comes with plenty of blankets (including electric blankets) and a space heater to keep things warm and comfy. Safari West even provides a cooler, ice, and complimentary bottled water. Bathrooms, equipped with showers, sinks, and toilets, are semi open-air and can get a bit chilly at night. We loved relaxing on the deck, complete with furniture and an umbrella, and watching the animals down below.

Safari West

In the evening, we headed down for dinner at Safari West’s on-site restaurant, the Savannah Grill, which is centered around a traditional African fire pit or motu . Served buffet-style, dinner included smoked chicken and beef brisket along with green salad, clam chowder, macaroni and cheese (which my daughter declared to be the best she's ever had), vegetables, rice, and bread.

Safari West

Beer, wine, and soft drinks were available for purchase at the bar, and coffee, tea, and hot chocolate were included. After dinner everyone was provided with forks and marshmallows to roast over the fire.

Safari West

After dinner we explored the grounds and then returned to our tent, where we got a good night's sleep in anticipation of our adventure the next morning. There's nothing quite like drifting off to sleep to the exotic animal sounds coming from across the grounds.

Safari West

The next morning, after breakfast, we assembled for our 10 am tour. Our guide, Leslie, was extremely knowledgable and informative, and led us first on a walk through the aviaries and to see the cheetahs, monkeys, lemurs, African porcupines, and even cute little dwarf antelopes called blue duikers.

Safari West

We then climbed aboard one of the vehicles from Safari West's fleet of Korean-war-era Dodge Power Wagon off-road trucks. Participants can sit both inside on the truck bed and up above the cab on elevated seats for an unparalleled view of the animals in the preserve. The guides will make sure everyone who wants to gets a turn sitting in the upper seat. The morning was a little chilly, so fleece blankets were offered to everyone, which was a thoughtful touch.

Safari West

The ride through the preserve was slow but not boring, and we found new animals—including rhinos, zebras, Watusi cattle, elands, cape buffalo, and wildebeest—around every corner. In many areas there were no fences between you and the animals, which really gave the whole experience that authentic safari feel.

Safari West

Leslie, our guide, took the time to explain the background of the preserve and tell us about the animals, their behavior, and personalities. Many of the animals at Safari West are endangered species, and some are even extinct in the wild.

Safari West

We had a terrific time on our overnight adventure at Safari West, and we all agreed it was one of the most fun and rewarding activities we’ve done. The atmosphere was really magical, and the accommodating, friendly staff made us feel at home and really went out of their way to make our stay wonderful. We can’t wait to go back and experience it again! 

Safari West

For more information or to make reservations, visit www.safariwest.com or call 1 (800) 616-2695.

Safari West

Safari West is open throughout the year by advance reservation only. Classic Safari prices range from $45 to $148 depending on the season. Children must be 3 years or older to go on a safari tour, and it’s probably best for kids 5 and up. Other safari packages are available, too. The Classic Safari involves a two-hour ride over rough off-road terrain in an antique Dodge army truck, so pregnant women and those who might be uncomfortable on such a trip might not want to go. 

Safari West

Luxury tent accommodations start at $330 and up, depending on season and tent configuration. Family tents with bunk beds are available. Tent cabins have space heaters and electric blankets; bathrooms are open-air and unheated, so keep that in mind if you decide to stay the night. Since you’re in a tent, you’ll hear every sound in the preserve, including various animal noises and those of your neighbors. Complimentary earplugs are available at the front desk. An overnight stay includes a continental breakfast the next morning. Overnight stays are not available in January and February.

Buffet-style lunches and dinners are available by reservation only at Savannah Café. The adjacent Delilah’s Snack Shop offers reasonably priced and tasty sandwiches, breakfast burritos, ice cream, soft drinks, coffee, and even beer and wine. Coolers with cold water are located around the dining area. Tent guests can also get complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate in the Elephant Room.

Safari West

You’ll be doing a lot of walking along both paved paths and dirt trails, so make sure you wear sturdy shoes like hiking boots as well as clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Hats and sunscreen are a must, especially if you’re riding in the upper seat during the safari.

Safari West is located at 3115 Porter Creek Road in Santa Rosa. To get there from Marin, take Highway 101 north through Santa Rosa until you get to the River Road/Mark West Springs Road exit. Head east on Mark West Springs Road which turns into Porter Creek Road. Safari West will be on your left.

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.

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

Safari West African Tent

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 !

Photo inside African tent for glamping in review of Safari West Wildlife Preserve

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 “cabin” than “tent,” although our walls and ceiling were no more than canvas and our windows a breezy mesh. (Ahhh…. California glamping!)

inside a Deluxe Hillside Family Tent at Safari West Wildlife Preserve

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.

child outside African tent cabin at Safari West in Santa Rosa, California

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.

deck of lakeside Afican tent cabin at Safari West in Santa Rosa, California

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.

bathroom inside African tent at Safari West in Santa Rosa, California

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).

kids watching lemurs at Safari West wildlife preserve in Santa Rosa, California

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.

evening with roasted marshmallows at Safari West glamping resort in Santa Rosa, California

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.

Kid walking back to African glamping tent at Safari West

“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.

best travel strollers

“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.

I have since learned this frightening snake is the California King Snake, and is actually nothing to be afraid of at all. Unless you are a frog. Or are afraid of snakes.

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  https://www.safariwest.com/ 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.

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

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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! 😉

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

Thanks, Alex! And thanks for reading. 😉

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Pretty cool – and gross! 🙂

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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!

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What an awesome blog!

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

Comments are closed.

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Reviews of Safari West

Exceptional.

All reviews shown are from real guest experiences. Only travelers who have booked a stay with us can submit a review. We verify reviews according to our guidelines and publish all reviews, positive or negative. More information Opens in a new window

10/10 Excellent

Response from Safari West Reservations on May 3, 2023 Thanks for staying with us! We appreciate your feedback!

Great adventure esp for kids

safari west overnight reviews

They are the best

Fun space to stay..

Response from Abby - Reservations Manager on Dec 21, 2021 We're so glad you enjoyed your stay!

Verified traveler

When you can’t get to africa, fun place to stay.

Response from Jessica on Jan 4, 2020 Thanks for staying with us! We appreciate your feedback!

Response from Jessica, Reservations Dept. Supervisor on Dec 7, 2019 Thanks for staying with us and braving the rain! We appreciate your feedback and look forward to seeing you again!

Response from Jessica, Reservations Dept. Supervisor on Dec 7, 2019 We're sorry to hear you weren't satisfied with your visit. Please contact our office directly if you'd like to give us a chance to make your next stay a more comfortable experience.

Response from Jessica, Reservations Dept. Supervisor on Dec 4, 2019 Thanks so much for staying with us! We appreciate your detailed feedback!

Unique experience

Response from Jessica, Reservations Dept. Supervisor on Dec 4, 2019 Thanks for staying with us. We appreciate your feedback and we'll let Richard know how much you enjoyed your tour!

Response from Jessica, Reservations Dept. Supervisor on Dec 4, 2019 Thanks for staying with us. We appreciate your feedback!

Response from Erica Murphy on Oct 21, 2019 Thanks for staying with us. We appreciate your feedback!

Response from Erica Murphy on Oct 21, 2019 Thanks for staying with us.

Additional information about Expedia Group

Safari West

Safari West

rate per night

About Safari West

  • Caravan Park Pitch Where you can park your caravan in an allotted space
  • Freebies This stay includes Wi-Fi for free

Safari West provides guests with lodgings and activities fit for a safari across the Serengeti, all located on a 400-acre private estate in Santa Rosa. It’s ideal for couples, families, and those who want to get close to some of Africa’s most renowned wildlife.

Located in Santa Rosa, in the heart of California’s wine country, Safari West is a short drive from the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento, and is even closer to Sonoma County Airport. Here, guests will be near attractions including Shiloh Ranch Regional Park, Pacific Coast Air Museum, and Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, as well as countless wineries.

Accommodations are both thrilling and comfy. Guests are provided with luxury camping tents to complete the safari experience, all of which have private bathrooms and viewing decks. Guests may instead prefer to stay in two-bedroom cottages, which include king beds and bunk beds, kitchenettes, and bathrooms.

Each morning, guests are invited to partake in complimentary continental breakfast before exploring the safari grounds and visiting the wildlife. Nightly meals at Savannah Café provide guests with South African-style Braai cuisine, which includes barbecued meats, delicious side dishes, and dessert.

Safari West is part wildlife adventure and part educational experience, allowing guests to view more than 90 specifies of African animals via guided tours on safari trucks, an experience that is rarely experienced outside of Africa.

Safari West is the perfect choice for those who crave adventure and true destination vacations, all in the heart of California’s wine country.

Photos of Safari West

Latest deals for safari west.

* Total includes estimated local taxes & fees payable on check out.

Prices are based on the total costs of the stay, including taxes and fees.

Amenities at Safari West

  • Free toiletries
  • Increased accessibility
  • Storage available
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Disinfection of high-touch surfaces
  • Fire extinguisher

Health and safety

Parking and transportation

Accessibility and suitability

Reviews of Safari West

All reviews are collected from real users with a verified booking made with KAYAK or one of our trusted external partners.

Learn how KAYAK collects reviews.

What's nearby

  • Safari West 66 yd
  • Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market 5.3 mi
  • Luther Burbank Center for the Arts 5.3 mi
  • Pacific Coast Air Museum 6.8 mi
  • Children's Museum of Sonoma County 7 mi
  • Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center 7 mi
  • McDonald Mansion 7.4 mi
  • Spring Lake Regional Park 7.8 mi
  • Museums of Sonoma County 8 mi
  • Rosenberg's Department Store 8 mi
  • Valley of the Moon Pottery & North Eagle Gallery 8.1 mi
  • De Turk Round Barn 8.1 mi

Essential information about Safari West

When to book a room at safari west, top tips for your stay at safari west.

  • If you’re after a cheap room at Safari West, then you should consider staying during the low season. The cheapest deals can generally be found in September and October.
  • Prices can also vary depending on which day of the week you stay. For the best room deals at Safari West, plan to stay on a Sunday or Monday. The most expensive day is usually Thursday.
  • The cheapest price a room at Safari West was booked for on KAYAK in the last 2 weeks was $456, while the most expensive was $456.
  • How long should you stay at Safari West? KAYAK users usually book their rooms here for 1 day.

FAQs when booking at Safari West

Where is safari west located.

Safari West is located at , 8.1 miles from the center of Santa Rosa. Safari West is the closest landmark to Safari West.

When is check-in time and check-out time at Safari West?

Check-in time is 3:00 PM and check-out time is 11:00 AM at Safari West.

Does Safari West offer free Wi-Fi?

Yes, Safari West offers free Wi-Fi.

How far is Safari West from the airport?

Safari West is 7.2 miles from Santa Rosa Sonoma County. Safari West is 32.6 miles from Napa County.

How does KAYAK find such great Safari West hotel deals?

KAYAK scours the web for all room deals available at Safari West in Santa Rosa and lets you compare them to find the best rate for your stay. Many different travel sites will offer discounts or deals at different times for rooms at Safari West and KAYAK will provide you with prices from a huge range of travel sites. That means that you can always find a great deal for Safari West.

Nearby hotels and places to stay

Most recommended, good to know.

Most frequently asked questions

Safari West is a very unique property. We are a Wildlife Preserve and African tent camp. However, we are not your typical zoo nor a theme park, and we’re quite different from your normal hotel. We expect questions and don’t want any of yours to go unanswered. The Safari West staff is here to make your visit more enjoyable, so please make sure we have a chance to meet you and answer any questions you may have.

We compiled the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) and started with the top several questions people ask. Then, please scroll down…these are followed by questions under specific categories. If you don’t see the answer to your question, please call or email us .

The Top Questions People ask about Safari West

What kind of place is safari west, is safari west a non-profit organization, we were just driving by…can we drop in and walk around to look at the animals, how much does it cost to visit safari west, do you allow pets, what kind of animals do you have at safari west, can we pet the animals, can we feed the animals, what happens if it rains, what else is there to do, do i need a sleeping bag, is there a bathroom in the tent…what is a luxury tent, will my cell phone work at safari west, can i drive up to my tent cabin and leave my car parked there, about safari west, what is the purpose of safari west, are you a zoo, how long has safari west been around, how many people visit safari west every year, who owns safari west, tell me about peter lang., who is nancy lang, why did the lang’s choose to locate safari west in napa/sonoma wine county, how can i work at safari west.

  • What is the long term goal of Safari West?

Why visit Safari West?

Safari west animals, what kind of animals do you have, how many animals live at safari west, what is the feeding time for the animals at safari west, can we watch when the animals get fed, what happens to the animals when it rains, are the animals warm enough in the winter, do the animals have enough to do are they content, safaris and other wild activities, what happens on a safari west classic safari, if we are just driving by, can we stop in and hop on the next safari.

  • What time is the best tour to take?

What happens when it rains?

Do you have safaris accessible to guests with disabilities, do you have seat belts on the safari trucks, i’m pregnant…is it safe for me to go on the safari truck.

  • What age range is appropriate for the safari?
  • Can my child under three years of age ride on the seat next to me?

Can I take food on the safari?

What about the exotic birds, can i book a private safari truck, is it possible to arrange a special wildlife photography safari at safari west, do you have special animal encounters, overnight accommodations, what type of lodging is available at safari west, what is it like to stay in a safari tent cabin, do i need to bring camping gear, food, or linens to stay at safari west, do you have tent cabins that are accessible, is there a phone in the tent, is there internet access at safari west, is there a television in the tent, do i have to leave my tent in the middle of the night to use the restroom, do the animals wander around outside the tents at night, can the animals get into my tent at night, what are your rates for spending the night, do you really have a two night minimum stay, what does “selected days only” mean, do you offer any specials, other services and amenities, does safari west have a restaurant facility, does safari west offer massage, can we go hiking on the property, i saw a dog running around at safari west, how come i can’t bring my dog, how do i find out about special events at safari west, do you allow service animals, safari west wildlife foundation, what is the safari west wildlife foundation, is your organization a 501(c), how does the foundation support safari west, describe the foundation’s mission and the year it was incorporated., how can i make a donation to the safari west wildlife foundation, what is discover africa.

Safari West is proud to provide an authentic African adventure right here in the heart of California wine country! Our facility covers over 400-acres of oak-studded hillsides and Sonoma County grasslands. Our collections currently house nearly 1,000 animals representing over 90 distinct species, mostly comprised of African antelopes, primates, and predators, plus a variety of avian life from around the globe. Explore the Sonoma Serengeti on an African wildlife safari or relax in your luxury tent under the gaze of a graceful giraffe… The closest you can get to Africa without a passport! Safari West is open to the public only by advanced reservations.

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Safari West is a private facility. However, the foundation (Safari West Wildlife Foundation) is a 501(c) (3) Tax ID. No. 91-1837240 nonprofit organization created to support the objectives of Safari West. The Foundation’s main goal is to secure and preserve the legacy of Safari West for future generations and beyond. For more information, please visit the Safari West Wildlife Foundation website .

No. Admission and reservations are required to visit Safari West. The safety of our guests and the well-being of our animals are extremely important to us.

Please check our Pricing page for current rates.

No. Please make other arrangements for the care of your pet before coming to Safari West, as we do not allow pets on the property. This is for the safety of your pet, our guest as well as the safety of our animals. This extends to bringing your pet and leaving the animal in your vehicle while out on tour. Our staff will notify the office if they notice an animal in a vehicle in our parking lot.

Safari West Wildlife Preserve is home to over eighty species of animals. We have cheetah, giraffe, lemurs, addax, cape buffalo, and zebra to name a few. We do not have elephants, lions, or tigers. You can see a full species list here.

No. We cannot allow guests to touch our animals, as they are wild and can be very dangerous. This very firm rule is for your safety.

No, Safari West does not allow feeding of the animals by guests. The only exception is when you experience one of our special animal encounters under the direct supervision of one of our knowledgeable safari guides.

You will get wet…We put on rain gear and head out on tour! In the event of extreme weather, a tour may be canceled for safety reasons. Cancellation policies in the event of extreme weather are available from our reservations department.

A visit to Safari West is an opportunity to reconnect to nature by taking time out of your busy schedule to relax and take part in the many activities we offer. In addition to our Classic Safari, we offer an exciting variety of private animal encounters, educational animal presentations, good food, and good company.

If you have booked a reservation to stay in one of our safari tent cabins, expect that it will be like staying in any hotel. Linens, towels, and toiletries are provided in the tent cabins. The tent cabins are equipped with comfortable beds…we call it “glamping”.

The majority of cell phones and plans do not work at Safari West except for a few hot spots (way up on the hill and sometimes down in the parking lot). Generally, only high-end global satellite phones will work on Safari West property.

*The above applies to all cell phone carriers except AT&T as there is now service to Safari West and the surrounding areas.

We’re sorry. For safety reasons, we do not allow guests to drive up to their tent cabins. Our staff will take you and your luggage up to your tent cabin at check-in and bring you and your luggage back to your vehicle at check-out in one of our Safari West vehicles. The only exception to this is for our two accessible tent cabins which have an accessible parking space right outside the tent cabin.

Our Passion is to Inspire a Meaningful Commitment to Wildlife

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 non-profit arm is Safari West Wildlife Foundation.

Safari West is not your typical zoo or a theme park, nor are we a drive-through park. We are an African Wildlife Preserve and African Tent Camp. Safari West Wildlife Preserve is a private facility whose primary focus is on conservation through education. We are privately owned and our only source of income is from our guests. We have a lot of mouths to feed with our eight hundred animals. When you pay for safaris, overnight stays in our tents, and other services at Safari West, you are helping to feed and care for the beautiful new animal friends you will meet during your stay here. With friends like you, we can continue our mission to teach and promote conservation now and in the future.

Safari West was founded in 1989 as a private ranch for breeding and species propagation. In 1992, Safari West had gained membership in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, one of only six private facilities in North America to belong to that prestigious organization. We soon added children’s tours. In 1993 we opened our doors to safaris for both adults and children. We look forward to submitting a re-accreditation application to AZA on a future date to be determined.

We host over sixty thousand persons annually – families, students and business travelers.

Safari West is owned by Nancy and Peter Lang. Peter handles the larger animals and Nancy is in charge of the aviaries.

Safari West is the vision of Peter Lang. Peter was raised around exotic wildlife, thanks to his film and television director father Otto Lang, whose credits include “Daktari,” “Flipper” and “Sea Hunt,” among others. Peter is an accomplished wood sculptor and woodworker and has sculpted out of wood realistic replicas of skulls and horn structures of many of the African animal species found at Safari West. You can see one of Peter’s wooden Kudu skull sculptures in our Elephant Room. Peter also is a licensed contractor and operated his own urban tree lumber sawmill on the property and is responsible for much of the building and design of Safari West. When Peter is not on the ranch, he enjoys off-road auto racing (he participates in all the current circuits) and deep-sea fishing with his many good friends. Like Safari West, Peter enjoys an exciting sense of adventure!

Nancy and Peter married in 1993. They met in Africa while on a Safari holiday. At the time she was the curator of the avian collection at the San Francisco Zoo. It was love at first sight…together they lived at Safari West amongst the animals and wildlife they love. Nancy has a Ph.D. in zoological biology and is a raptor specialist. In the past, she has taught a zoological class at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The weather is ideal, the combination of grassland and forest are similar to Africa, the neighbors are friendly, there is plenty of water, plus it’s wine country and paradise! Indeed… a sip of chardonnay pairs marvelously with a spot of cheetah!

We are always looking for friendly faces and team players at Safari West. If you are interested in employment with us, gather up your resume and visit our employment page on the website for information on how to apply.

What is the long-term goal of Safari West?

Our long-term goal for Safari West is to transform the preserve into a non-profit wildlife, conservation and educational facility overseen by the Safari West Wildlife Foundation.

A visit to Safari West is an opportunity to reconnect with nature by taking time out of your busy schedule to relax and take part in the many activities we offer. In addition to our Classic Safari, we offer private safaris, an exciting variety of private animal encounters, educational animal presentations, school field trips, overnight stays in our authentic tent cabins, conference facilities, overnight packages, good food, and good company.

Safari West Wildlife Preserve is home to over eighty species of animals. Our mammals are native to Africa and our birds are native to many different places around the world. You can view some of our animals in our photo galleries on our website. See our full species list .

There are around 800 hundred individual animals at Safari West.

Some animals are fed once and others twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. Diets are AZA-approved and species-dependent. Some diets are tailored specifically for some individuals.

Generally, if you are present when feeding time occurs you can watch the process. With some of our animals, for safety reasons for the keepers and the animals, we ask that you do not remain in the area when the keepers enter the habitats. Our staff will let you know if this is the case.

No. Safari West does not allow feeding of the animals by guests. The only exception would be if you were on a special animal encounter tour under the direct supervision of one of our knowledgeable guides. In this case, you would be feeding only our approved diet to the animals which we would provide. All other feedings of the animals are prohibited at Safari West, even picking up a leaf off the ground and feeding it to a giraffe is not allowed. While at Safari West, as one who cares about animals’ well-being, the example you set will cue other guests around you. If they see you feed a leaf from a distance, they might believe that feeding the animals is alright and proceed to feed the giraffe a candy bar or other inappropriate food type. Yes…this has happened! And, the giraffe became very ill. Lucky for everyone, the giraffe eventually recovered!

Most animals like rain. We do provide shelter for all of our animals and they can move in and out of the shelters at will within their habitats. If you come to visit Safari West and it rains, rest assured, you will still see animals.

Yes, they are. We provide heated environments for those of our animal species that require a little more heat in the cold months. In general, most of our animals thrive in our Northern California Mediterranean-type climate, rain or shine.

When you visit Safari West you will notice that the majority of our animals have very large habitats. In the larger habitats, the natural environment around the animals provides their enrichment by mimicking the large open or wooded habitats the species would live in within their native environment. In the smaller habitats in the lower area of the preserve, we provide enrichment in the form of environmental features and in some cases, handler interactive specialized activities.

No. It is not permissible to pet the animals at Safari West. The animals at Safari West are wild. They are not pets and they have not been raised as pets. This very firm rule is for your safety.

You will spend an unforgettable morning or afternoon on safari with your knowledgeable guide and your fellow safari adventurers in an open-air jeep style vehicle tracking and learning about exotic and endangered wildlife including African cape buffalo, impala, eland, zebra, scimitar-horned oryx, addax, Nile lechwe, and blue wildebeest. If you’re lucky, you could look a giraffe in the eye! The safari either ends or begins with a walk on the lower premises of Safari West where your safari guide will introduce you to African cheetahs, lemurs, and giant porcupines, among others.

Our safaris are by reservation only. Reservations must be made in advance by contacting our reservations department. Occasionally there are last minute cancellations that may open up seating on our safaris. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by and check-in at our front office for more information.

What time is the best time to go on a safari?

All of our safaris are great! Rain or shine, morning or afternoon, you will see most of our species. You are not guaranteed to see all of our animals, or any particular species, as they roam Sonoma Serengeti. Our safari guides are very knowledgeable and dedicated to the Safari West mission of conservation through education.

We put on rain gear and head out on safari! In the event of extreme weather, a safari may be canceled for safety reasons. Cancellation policies in the event of extreme weather are available from our reservations department.

Our classic safari vehicles are customized Dodge Power Wagons and are not ADA accessible and unfortunately are not equipped to handle wheelchairs or other mobility assisting devices. If a guest utilizing a wheelchair can safely transfer themselves unaided or with the assistance of a family member, friend, or personal assistant, the Classic Safari Tour remains a viable option.

Please note: For those with limited mobility, we have a Paratransit Safari Vehicle available for our guests. This vehicle may be used by guests unable to transfer into our vintage Dodge Power Wagons. The vehicle accommodates four guests and one wheelchair or a power-driven mobility scooter primarily for use by individuals with mobility challenges. We do request that reservations for the paratransit safari vehicle be made at least two weeks prior to your visit.

Hearing Impaired: We request that arrangements for an ASL Interpreter be made at least two weeks in advance of your visit. Should this not be possible, you are also welcome to bring a certified ASL interpreter at no additional charge. Should this not be possible, reasonable accommodations will be provided such as a complimentary safari for the signer or the hearing impaired guest.

Vision Impaired: With advance notice, a tactile tour may be provided for a guest who is visually impaired. A sighted companion will almost always accompany a visually impaired visitor. Should this not be the case, the guest will be accompanied by one of our guest service personnel.

There are seat belts on the top seating bench only. The rest of the seats on the trucks (except for the passenger cab seat in some trucks) do not have seat belts at this time.

Our Classic Safari can be quite bumpy at times. This portion of the safari on the truck is approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours long. There are no restroom facilities available during this portion. In the event of extreme hot or cold weather, you may be uncomfortable. We cannot advise you as to whether or not it is safe for you to go on safari when you are pregnant. Your decision is ultimately your own. Please seek the advice of your doctor before engaging in any activity that may put you or your unborn baby at risk during pregnancy.

What age range is appropriate for the safaris?

For the safety and enjoyment of all our guests, children must be 4 years or older to participate in a Classic Safari. While the walking portion of the safari is great for kids of any age (even those who need a little help walking!) we have found that younger children can sometimes need extra attention on the driving portion of the safari, and this can be distracting to the other visitors. If the rest of your party is experiencing the full classic Safari Adventure, one adult can enjoy the walking portion with the toddler for the cost of $45, and the cost for the toddler is waived. Safari West continues to pride itself on being a wonderful and unique destination for the whole family. We introduce this age guideline to help ensure the experience is enjoyable for all of our valued guests. Private safaris are an excellent option for families – please ask our Reservations Agents.

Can my child under four years of age ride on the seat next to me?

If you are booking a private safari and have a child under four : There are no seat belts on our trucks at this time, we ask that you keep children under three on your lap and hold on to them. The ride can get a little bumpy at times.

Guests are not allowed to take food out on the Classic Safari, but water bottles are welcome. Reservations for lunch or dinner at our Savannah Café should be made in advance.

As part of the walking portion, your safari guide will also take you to visit our walk-through aviary where many beautiful birds from around the world surround the very footpath you will walk on including the brilliantly colored scarlet ibis and the unusual African spoonbill. Watch the birds building nests or tending their young during the breeding season.

Yes, you can. We offer very exclusive, private wine and cheese safaris. A sip of chardonnay pairs marvelously with a spot of cheetah. You and your special guest or guests get one of our very knowledgeable safari guides all to yourself for three hours. Bring your questions or just relax and enjoy the view! We also offer a variety of other private and specialty safari experiences .

Private photo safaris also may be arranged based upon availability. Please contact our reservations department at [email protected] or (800) 61602695 / (707) 566-3667 for more information. We also have a Photo Workshop with professional photographer John Burgess at select times of the year. Please visit our Calendar for dates and more information .

Guests at Safari West have the opportunity to enjoy very special Private Animal Encounters such as Behind the Scenes tours, Fast Cat Alley (a special behind the scenes interactive encounter exclusively with our cheetahs), Animal Presentations, plus Keeper of the Day. These activities are by advanced reservation only and must be made through our Private Animal Encounters Department.

The Safari West tent camp adventure, of course! Safari West’s Tent Camp Adventure treats our guests to a luxury African tent camp experience in the heart of California’s Napa/Sonoma wine country.

This is an African Tent camp…it works differently than your normal hotel. The heavy-lined canvas with thick plastic windows that form the walls is imported from Africa and the furniture is crafted almost entirely on-site from local wood. We expect questions and to make your stay with us more enjoyable, we have a few tips to keep in mind. Click here .

If you have booked a reservation to stay in one of our safari tent cabins, expect that it will be like staying in any hotel. Linens, towels, and toiletries are provided in the tent cabins. The tent cabins are equipped with comfortable beds…we call it “glamping”. 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. However, we do have a restaurant on site. Continental breakfast is included with an overnight stay. If you wish to have lunch and/or dinner with us, please be sure to make reservations.

Yes, we do. There are two accessible tent cabins with seating and rails in the showers and bathrooms, ramps to the deck and entryway, and both have parking next to the cabin.

There are no phones in the tent cabins at Safari West. If you need to make a phone call while visiting us, guests may use the phones available at the front desk in our office.

Yes. We offer wireless internet access to our overnight guests (available in our café). Ask how to access it at the office.

There is no television in the tent. When you come to Safari West, the idea is to get away from it all and experience the next best thing to being in Africa. Additionally, the tents are not soundproof and having a television on until late into the night would disturb your fellow guests. There are outlets in the tents and you can bring your laptop or a portable DVD player to watch movies if you like. We do ask that you keep the volume down or use headphones to be a good neighbor.

Absolutely not! All of our tent cabins have fully equipped bathrooms as a second room. The bathrooms have tiled floors with roomy hot showers, flushing toilets (just like in a house), and sinks with hot and cold running water.

No, and…yes… The animals are nearby and roaming around. However, they remain within their habitats 24 hours per day for your safety. You will hear lots of jungle sounds during the night and you might spot wildebeests on the hill from your window, but you won’t find any of our animals unescorted on your deck or under your tent cabin at any time… We can’t guarantee it, but, you may wake in the morning to see a giraffe peering at you with their big brown eyes from across the road…on the other side of the fence of course!

No, the Safari West animals cannot. As a wildlife preserve, we take the safety of our guests and our animal care very seriously. Our dedicated staff works diligently to keep fencing secure at all times. There is, however, local wildlife and we cannot guarantee that a raccoon or other local wildlife will not sit on your deck in the middle of the night.

Our rates are seasonal. You can view current rates for lodging at Safari West on our Spend the Night page and call our guest services to inquire about specials.

At this time we do not have a two-night minimum stay. You are more than welcome to stay for just one night.

Certain offerings at Safari West are discounted on selected days throughout the year. Please call our reservations department at (707) 566-3667 or 1 (800) 616-2695 or check our website regularly for dates.

We offer discounted rates on our safaris and tent cabins during fall, winter, and spring. We also periodically have specials. To be one of the first to know, please consider signing up for our email list !

Yes, we do! Join your fellow adventurers and enjoy classic safari-style fare hot off the grill. On those beautiful California days enjoy our spacious outdoor seating while watching giraffes and lemurs play. If it’s cold outside, cozy up in our indoor dining room and enjoy the beautiful artwork. Our restaurant is a little different than the normal sit down and order from the menu type of restaurant. If you want to dine with us, we have to know in advance so our chefs will cook up enough food for all! Please contact our reservations department to reserve your seat.

We have paused messages due to Covid, please check back as we hope to offer guests the pressure point therapy Swedish massage in the serenity of their own luxury tent in the future.

No, we currently are not offering hiking.

No. We are sorry, but we do not allow pets at Safari West. This is for the safety of your pet, our guests as well as the safety of our animals. This extends to bringing your pet and leaving the animal in your vehicle while out on safari. Our staff will notify the office if they notice an animal in a vehicle in our parking lot. If you are out on safari, your truck will be forced to come back so that you can remove your pet from the premises, inconveniencing not only yourself but the other guests on the safari. Please make other arrangements for the care of your pet before coming to Safari West. Thank you for your understanding.

There are currently four dogs that live full time at Safari West. They are working ranch dogs and they help our staff with their daily chores. We do not allow you to bring your dog for the safety of your dog as well as for the safety of our animals. For example, even a small dog running and barking at the fence line can spook a giraffe which could easily make the giraffe run right into the fence, injuring itself and possibly your dog, and our guests. Thank you for your understanding.

If you are looking for upcoming events, sign up to stay in the Safari West loop and/or regularly check our calendar page.

If you want to host or book a special group at Safari West, please contact our Groups Department. We do corporate retreats!

We welcome guests with special needs that chose to bring their service dogs to enjoy our beautiful surroundings and learn about our wonderful animals. It is our policy to assist all guests in making their time at Safari West more enjoyable.

For our guests requiring the use of a service animal please be aware that Safari West is a wildlife preserve covering 400 acres of rough terrain – it’s not a typical zoo or a drive-through park.

Due to the nature of the facility and the proximity to wild animals, a service animal’s presence could produce undue anxiety, stress, agitation, or possibly a direct threat to the safety of our animal collection. We do ask that you review our safety guidelines:

  • Service animals are permitted to visit Safari West. However, service animals are restricted in all areas where our exotic collection is not separated from our guests by a physical barrier.
  • Service animals may also be restricted in certain areas due to the sensitivity of our animal collection.
  • If you are spending the night, your service animal is allowed in one of our accessible tents.
  • However, your service animal may not accompany you while on tour.
  • If you are visiting for the day, while you are on tour, your service dog may stay with our staff in the office. We will provide water and a bowl, and it will be clean, safe and comfortable.
  • Service animals must be under the direct control of the handler at all times, preferably being held by a harness or leash no more than 6 feet in length.
  • Service animals must be housebroken.
  • Service animals may not display vicious or aggressive behavior toward other people or animals. This includes barking and/or growling. If your service animal is disruptive at any time, you will be asked to remove your service dog from the park.

Some background to help you better understand our guidelines, Safari West is a unique setting where live exotic wild animals roam freely. In fact, Safari West is home to over 90 different species, including cheetah, giraffe, lemurs, cape buffalo, and zebra to name a few. Often giraffe, zebra, and one of the world’s most dangerous animals, the cape buffalo — will come right up to the vehicle. While Safari West’s tour guides are trained and maintain safe distances when necessary, once inside the preserve, no fences or other barriers are keeping these exotic animals away from our guests. Due to the nature of the facility and the proximity to wild animals, a service animal’s presence could constitute a direct threat to the safety of our animal collection.

Thank you for your cooperation as we strive to provide you with a safe and positive experience for yourself, your service animal, and our animal collection.

For more information or assistance regarding your visit, please do contact our office or call 707-566-3620 as the guests’ experience is a high priority for all of us at Safari West.

Safari West Wildlife Foundation (SWWF) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization created to support the objectives of Safari West. The Foundation’s main goal is to secure and preserve the legacy of Safari West for future and subsequent generations. The president is Stephanie Larson.

For more information please visit the Safari West Wildlife Foundation website .

Safari West is a private facility. The Safari West Wildlife Foundation is a 501(c) – Tax ID No. 91-1837240.

With the assistance of the Foundation, Safari West has become a vital center for education and research in the Greater Bay Area. Students from all over Northern California call Safari West their Serengeti-like home, utilizing its resources for education, internships, and wildlife research.

Safari West Wildlife Foundation (SWWF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was incorporated in 1997 (originally under the name Friends of Safari West).

The Safari West Wildlife Foundation is a research and educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildlife.

The foundation helps the community develop a deeper appreciation for the natural environment and conservation through safaris, seminars, workshops, wildlife camps for children, and various other efforts.

Our Safari West Discover Africa program offers a priceless learning experience to children who might never otherwise have this opportunity. We find that even a simple and fun activity such as counting a zebra’s stripes leaves a lasting “conservation imprint” on young developing minds.

For more information about the Foundation, click here .

You can support the Safari West Wildlife Foundation either through a donation! Donations to SWWF help us provide scholarships for school field trip opportunities; support the costs of teacher Safari to Science workshops and advance endangered species education and research. To learn more about Donating and the Safari West Wildlife Foundation, click here .

Discover Africa is an educational field trip program at Safari West that is sponsored by the Safari West Wildlife Foundation. Discover Africa subsidizes the cost of one classroom Safari West field trip per month to schools that would otherwise be unable to afford this vital enrichment program. Safari West Wildlife Foundation is especially committed to giving at-risk students in our local counties and the greater Bay Area an opportunity to participate in this program. For more information on the Discover Africa program, click here .

IMAGES

  1. An Overnight Wildlife Adventure at Safari West

    safari west overnight reviews

  2. Places to Go on Your Birthday & Fun Things to Do: Safari West

    safari west overnight reviews

  3. An Overnight Wildlife Adventure at Safari West

    safari west overnight reviews

  4. An Overnight Wildlife Adventure at Safari West

    safari west overnight reviews

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

    safari west overnight reviews

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

    safari west overnight reviews

COMMENTS

  1. Safari West

    4.5 1,838 reviews #1 of 147 things to do in Santa Rosa Nature & Wildlife Areas Write a review About Have a wild adventure at Safari West, home to nearly 1,000 creatures.

  2. SAFARI WEST

    213 reviews #1 of 2 campgrounds in Santa Rosa Location 4.6 Cleanliness 4.7 Service 4.6 Value 4.1 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!.

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

    From what it's like to stay overnight, to what to expect from the safari tour, here's my Safari West review. Guide to Safari West in Santa Rosa, California 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.

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

    September 25, 2021 by Elle Leung Taking a trip to Northern California's Sonoma County? If so, you absolutely can't miss Safari West, a wildlife reservation in Santa Rosa where visitors can actually experience a slice of Africa without the steep safari tour prices or a plane ticket! In my opinion, this is the best-kept secret of Sonoma County!

  5. Fun Overnight Stay

    Reviewed May 7, 2021 My sisters and I spent two nights at Safari West. I arrived a little before the rest of the group and was impressed with what a tranquil space it is for watching and reflection. With the rest of the group, we embarked on a behind the scenes tour, which I highly recommend.

  6. SAFARI WEST

    SAFARI WEST - 3271 Photos & 1013 Reviews - 3115 Porter Creek Rd, Santa Rosa, California - Zoos - Phone Number - Yelp Safari West 4.5 (1,013 reviews) Claimed Zoos Closed 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM See hours See all 3.3k photos Write a review Add photo Show more review highlights Location & Hours Suggest an edit 3115 Porter Creek Rd Santa Rosa, CA 95404

  7. Safari West

    Book Safari West, Santa Rosa on Tripadvisor: See 213 traveller reviews, 250 candid photos, and great deals for Safari West, ranked #1 of 6 hotels in Santa Rosa and rated 4.5 of 5 at Tripadvisor. ... 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 ...

  8. SAFARI WEST: UPDATED 2022 Hotel Reviews, Price Comparison and 244

    Safari West, Santa Rosa: See 211 traveller reviews, 244 candid photos, and great deals for Safari West, ranked #1 of 5 Speciality lodging in Santa Rosa and rated 4.5 of 5 at Tripadvisor.

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

    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.

  10. An Overnight Wildlife Adventure at Safari West

    Safari West, a wildlife preserve and private zoo located near Santa Rosa offers just that! Tour this 400-acre preserve in Sonoma County's rolling hills and get up-close-and-personal with giraffes, rhinos, zebras, monkeys, cheetahs, and a huge variety of birds and African antelopes. Not only can you tour Safari West, but you can stay overnight ...

  11. Spend the Night

    Make your escape from the 9-to-5, the daily grind, the phone calls, errands, spouses, and kids. Get away from it all at Safari West with our Gal's or Guy's Getaway package! This package includes: Overnight lodging for two in a luxurious double tent. A Classic Safari Tour of the Safari West collection. Dinner for two at the Savannah Café.

  12. A Must Do Experience

    Review of Safari West Reviewed August 6, 2020 I have visited Safari West both as a day trip and as an overnight stay ... if you have the time and budget and can find availability, it's definitely worth the overnight stay!

  13. Safari West (Santa Rosa, CA): What to Know BEFORE You Bring Your Family

    4.5 691 Reviews Editor's Rating 5/5 Why this Rating? Overview Room Information Reviews Family Activities Family Dining Planning & Tips Overview by Courtney Elko Safari West seamlessly combines lodging accommodations with an onsite accredited zoo.

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

    Review of Safari West: One Night in the African Tent Camp written by Shelly Rivoli June 18, 2019 Inside our African Tent at Safari West Wildlife Preserve, set on 400 acres just outside of Santa Rosa, California. SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA - Review of Safari West Wildlife Preserve and African Tent Camp.

  15. Safari west with only walking portion

    The Safari keep tour would be hard for a 2 year old to sit for anyway- it's long, bumpy, and probably wouldn't hold his interest. Walking around looking at the giraffes, lemurs, birds, and cheetahs would be fun- especially staying overnight in the tents as an adventure. But 2 is pretty young.

  16. Safari West Reviews

    Reviews of Safari West. 2 out of 5. Safari West. 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, CA. Reviews. 9.4. Exceptional. 214 reviews. Verified reviews. All reviews shown are from real guest experiences. Only travelers who have booked a stay with us can submit a review. We verify reviews according to our guidelines and publish all reviews, positive ...

  17. SAFARI WEST: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

    Safari West could be renamed Tiger King West in that the animals seem miserable, pacing back and forth in over-filled enclosures. The facility may have acres, but so many animals are crammed into very small cages so it is basically a drive-thru zoo and NOTHING like an African safari at all. ... Staying overnight was the way to go because upon ...

  18. Safari West from $410. Santa Rosa Hotel Deals & Reviews

    rate per night Sun 1/28 Thu 2/1 1 room, 2 guests Room type Provider Nightly total Luxury room $410 View Deal 5 more Safari West deals About Safari West Caravan Park Pitch Where you can park your caravan in an allotted space Freebies This stay includes Wi-Fi for free

  19. SAFARI WEST

    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 ...

  20. SAFARI WEST (Santa Rosa)

    The whole experience at Safari West is one of building connections and making discoveries; getting back to basics and enjoying the profound simple pleasures of family and nature that are all too often overlooked. ... Overnight lodging is also available - the true 'glamping' experience! Read more. Features animals. Learn more about animal ...

  21. If You Can Spend the Night

    Safari West: If You Can Spend the Night - See 1,838 traveler reviews, 1,131 candid photos, and great deals for Santa Rosa, CA, at Tripadvisor.

  22. 30% Off Spend the Night Stay

    Please call our reservations team at (707) 566-3667 or (800) 616-2695 and mention this promo (30th Lodging Discount) to get 30% off your overnight stay; Kids stay free You may email our reservations team at [email protected] with any questions, but please note, that you'll need to call to get the discount.

  23. FAQs

    Overnight Accommodations. ... the foundation (Safari West Wildlife Foundation) is a 501(c) (3) Tax ID. No. 91-1837240 nonprofit organization created to support the objectives of Safari West. The Foundation's main goal is to secure and preserve the legacy of Safari West for future generations and beyond. ... agitation, or possibly a direct ...