I recently had the opportunity to tour Safari West, a 400-acre private wildlife preserve right in my own backyard in Santa Rosa, CA. Having grown up in the area, I’d heard of Safari West for years; so I was thrilled when my mom organized a private guided tour of the preserve with my family.
We had a group of nine (eight adults + my 5-year-old niece), so we booked the Ultimate Private Tour. We had our own knowledgeable tour guide, Jeff, who was fantastic. He drove us around the preserve in our own private vehicle for about 2 1/2 hours, and described the animals in detail. We were able to get up close and personal with many exotic animals including giraffes, gazelles, zebras, rhinoceroses, and buffalo.
We then moved to a walking tour which lasted about 1/2 – 1 hour. We saw foxes, birds, monkeys, and cheetahs. It was close to feeding time, so many of the animals were out and about for us to observe.
We had a fantastic time at Safari West. It was a fun educational experience out in nature, and a great way to spend time with the family. Our time was mostly spent in the comfort of our vehicle, so it was not very strenuous and would be appropriate for people with disabilities or limited walking abilities. I highly recommend Safari West as a fun activity for the whole family!
Address: 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Phone: (707) 566-3667; (800) 616-2695
General: Tours happen year-round, though they will cancel tours if it is raining, as the conditions are too muddy.
There are several tours and packages from which to choose. We did The Ultimate Private Safari: weekdays starting at $700; weekends and holidays starting at $800. Reservations require a credit card, and the full safari cost will be charged at the time of booking.
There is also the option of spending the night in luxury tents. Rates are based on double occupancy and are seasonal and range from $260 to $375 depending on season, tent configuration and location. Each additional guest is $25 plus tax. A continental breakfast is included.
Tip: Book early! My mom booked our tour 3 months in advance.