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“A Great Day!”
Review of Safari West

Safari West
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Safari West Sonoma Admission and Jeep Tour
Ranked #1 of 102 things to do in Santa Rosa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Escape to Africa by way of Sonoma County…Come discover the Sonoma Serengeti. The classic African safari is a trip of a lifetime for intrepid travelers from around the globe - and, it is closer than you think! The entire Safari West experience is a kid-friendly adventure for families to enjoy together. Our tours are designed to educate guests of all ages and we have found that families are truly inspired as they learn from and share with one another. At Safari West we strive to actively promote conservation and environmental education concepts to our guests, whether they are with us for an hour or a week. The whole experience at Safari West is one of building connections and making discoveries; getting back to basics and enjoying the profound simple pleasures of family and nature that are all too often overlooked. If anything is “not to be missed,” it is that sense of serenity one finds while gazing at graceful giraffe nuzzling her newborn or the surge of raw adventure while witnessing an energetic herd of wildebeest galloping across the horizon. Overnight lodging is also available - the true 'glamping' experience!
Reviewed 4 September 2014

Only went for the day, did not spend the night, but wish we had! Great tour, we were a group of 4 adults, tour organizer took pains to make sure we got on a tour without small children which was greatly appreciated! Our tour guide was super, had excellent knowledge of all animals and history on the place. Really enjoyable day, and highly recommended!

1  Thank Lee Ann A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"walking tour"
in 100 reviews
"tent cabins"
in 58 reviews
"stay overnight"
in 51 reviews
"cape buffalo"
in 51 reviews
"african animals"
in 43 reviews
"electric blankets"
in 31 reviews
"space heater"
in 30 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 126 reviews
"bbq dinner"
in 23 reviews
"continental breakfast"
in 22 reviews
"amazing animals"
in 20 reviews
"walking portion"
in 16 reviews
in 17 reviews
"open jeep"
in 16 reviews
"hour tour"
in 35 reviews
"next morning"
in 31 reviews
"behind the scenes"
in 19 reviews

1,218 - 1,222 of 1,584 reviews

Reviewed 2 September 2014

This is the northern California alternative if you cannot get to San Diego Zoo Safari Park or to Africa.

By reservation only, no drop ins since each Safari truck holds around 12-15. I was here on Labor Day (Monday). You will NOT have the "Disneyland" or San Diego Zoo Safari wait or line experience with crowds since everyone has a reservation.

They request you check in about 15-20 minutes before your reservation starts. Tour for us started around 10-15 minutes late. They seemed to be making up assignments based on number of people (online site allows you to pick a Truck number so that should have been the assignments, see their online reservation system) hence the delay.

Free Parking (the San Diego Zoo Safari charges), gift shop (Cheetah cash coupon of $5 off $25). A "reservation only" lunch and dinner. If you want to partake then time your tour reservation.

Small beverage and snack shop in the shaded tour boarding area (Free ice water and cups). Nice restrooms. If you bring your own food, there is a shaded picnic area across from the tour boarding area (no eating during the tour).

Check in at the main office when you arrive (color paper wristbands for your tour). Check in again at the tour boarding area for assignment to truck and guide.

Knowledgeable guides. They stop the truck periodically and give a short lecture about the animals you see and answer all questions.

You can elect to stay at their safari premium camping tent hotel (see web site for prices).

Tour starts with an hour plus walk (aviary, cheetah, serval African cat, monkeys, lemurs).

Safari truck drives over rough ground. 4 guests can elect to sit over the truck cab for a 360 degree unrestricted higher view (driver changes out those who also want the top seats, halfway through the hour plus drive). No food on the truck but you can bring plastic bottles (no glass) for water or other beverages. Bring sanitary wipes for eyes as it can get dusty. Can use sunscreen but that depends on when you go and the sun (i.e. if sit on top with no shade at the height of the sun). A lot of the drive is shaded with trees for the animals.

Depending on the truck, there are several different routes taken since there are 4-5 trucks out at once.The last tour starts at 4 pm (we took our tour at this time and the temperature was not as hot, animals may be more active and it is near feeding time, so we may have seen more than other tours at earlier times).

Truck has a canopy that shades passengers (unless you riding on top). Saw Masai cattle, rhinos, giraffes, African buffalo, various antelopes, wildebeests, zebras, etc. Mostly "grazer" animals (no carnivores). Animals have no fear of humans so you can see them "close up front and in person". Areas are penned off but animals have no real motivation to stray. Rhinos are in their own pens for our safety.

See their web site at http://safariwest.com for prices and location, around $80 on weekdays with an increase to $90 on weekends. About 90 miles from the SF east bay over the San Rafael Bridge (toll). Online reservations.

Great experience for children and those who want to see these magnificent animals close up not in a zoo caged venue. You can go back again through the walking portion of the tour (except the aviary, need a guide to escort you with the birds) to view the cheetahs, monkeys, etc) after the safari drive.

Thank darthdes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2014

While Thanksgiving dinner at home is the norm for us, we needed a place to meet, and we had a great dinner at Safari West. A great choice for a local family reunion or dinner. Good was great, not too expensive, and we got to see the animals - a nice treat.

1  Thank Shayna B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2014

I hate camping. After checking out their site though, I was convinced that I could, however, "glamp."

The location is easy enough to find but traffic from San Francisco is always unpredictable. After a long trek north, we found parking easily and checked-in. The front desk was super perky and a orange jeep took us and our bags to our tent. We were provided a bag of ice and given the run-down of how to "survive" in our "tent."

Our tent had a King bed covered with throw pillows, and the kids were thrilled with their almost-full-size bunk beds. Lots of blankets, towels and eco-friendly toiletries. Bathroom was clean, hot water flowing and working latrine. I was digging this kind of camping.

We made reservations for dinner and enjoyed appetizers (giant bowl of grilled sausages, fruit and tomato-mozzarella-olive salad) at 630PM. We then walked around and enjoyed the animals who became more active at twilight including spotting the very shy hyena. Dinner buffet started at 7 and we had a great selection of "sides" (clam chowder soup, bread, mac-and-cheese, broccoli, potatoes and grilled vegetables.) Then you have choices of tri-tip and chilcken - both freshly BBQ'd on the central grill. The servers were helpful and kept offering more food. Beverages are self-service, and there is a cash bar for beer etc. They offer wine and charge cockage fee. I was grateful for the free flowing coffee. After dinner, someone came around offering chocolate cake.

The grill was "raised" and I regret not bringing out s'more kits. Next time!

The inside of the tent was extremely warm when we got back but left the flaps down slightly while we showered and got ready for bed. They recommend showering in the evening versus the morning and we were grateful 12 hours later for this tip :-).

We settled in for the night enjoying the whoops and chirps of our wild neighbors. Unfortunately for us, our smoke detector went off at 4:45AM. It was too high for us to disable so I ran down to the office to get help. Someone came up within 5 mins of me reaching them and as soon as he disable the alarm, apologized to us profusely and told us, without prompting, that he was going to tell the office to waive our tent fee and hoped we would come back again one day. It was very nice of him to do that at 5AM. BTW, it was around this time that the animals stopped making noises. Go figure!

We woke up a few hours later and enjoyed the continental breakfast before embarking on our tour.

The jeep was comfortable and they rotated folks to the "top bunk." It was great being so close to the animals and learning more about them. it was also sobering to observe the two rhinos knowing sadly that in about 10 years, no more will exist in the wild (STOP RHINO POACHING FOR THEIR HORNS PEOPLE!). There were two families with small kids (<3.5 years would be my guess) and they clearly were bored and restless about 45 mins into the three hour tour. Please be considerate and do not bring small kids - not fair to you or fellow guests.

The walking tour was great too - being close to the birds and other mammals. Again, not for smaller/younger kids who insist on chasing the cute pink bird ... just sayin'.

We'll definitely be back. This time probably armed with Ambien or Benadryl to sleep through the night!

3  Thank May P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 August 2014

Husband and I took our 3.5 year old son here for an overnight trip before the start of preschool. I thought it was going to be good, but it was AMAZING! Why haven't we been here before? Stayed in a Hillside King tent cabin (#9) with great comfort and amenities. They even set up a cozy little bed/cot for our son. Heard the safari guides saying that the hillside rooms are a quieter choice as the animals can be quite loud at night. We slept good and our son even slept until 0700 hours. Oh and I forgot to mention, this place is spotless. Extra clean in all areas, common and tent cabins.

Splurge and pay for the BBQ dinner. Totally worth the money as the spread is huge (ribs, chicken, mac & cheese, grilled veggies, green beans, soup, salad, bread and homemade dessert). Alcohol isn't included in the price but available to purchase and the selection is wide and varies. We brought a smaller cooler with us that we left in our room filled with water, but on our next visit it will also contain a few bottles of wine. Free breakfast in the morning that is described as continental but I have to disagree. Way more then continental with a lot of good options.

My recommendation is drive up and check in at 3pm, hang out and let the kiddos play that day, have a nice supper and do your safari the next morning . We went at 0900 hours and because of the cooler temps the animals were up and about eating breakfast.

Only complaint is the gift shop. Pretty cheesy and the toy selection is pretty cheap and way expensive. Stop at Target prior and get much better theme related stuff for less.

One of our best family trips ever. We will be making this an annual trip before school starts in the fall.

4  Thank sweetonme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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