Safari West

Safari Tent Interior

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  • Excellent 149
  • Very Good 51
  • All languages ( 213 )
  • English ( 211 )
  • French ( 1 )
  • Japanese ( 1 )

safari west santa rosa ca

" 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. "

safari west santa rosa ca

" best views will be slightly higher elevation (but walkable) "

safari west santa rosa ca

" In the summer it might get pretty hot… I’d bring water. Steps provided to get in/out. "

safari west santa rosa ca

" 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! "

safari west santa rosa ca

" 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

Safari West

Safari Tent Interior

View prices for your travel dates

  • Excellent 149
  • Very Good 51
  • All languages ( 213 )
  • English ( 211 )
  • French ( 1 )
  • Japanese ( 1 )

safari west santa rosa ca

" 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. "

safari west santa rosa ca

" best views will be slightly higher elevation (but walkable) "

safari west santa rosa ca

" In the summer it might get pretty hot… I’d bring water. Steps provided to get in/out. "

safari west santa rosa ca

" 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! "

safari west santa rosa ca

" 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 Prices, Reviews & Photos

Safari West

Photo of Safari West - Santa Rosa, CA, US. Safari West

Review Highlights

safari-west-santa-rosa photo h990kbJBaH0xQYJ_3lp25A

“ The giraffes are beautiful, enjoyed hanging out there for a bit learning about them and how graceful they are. ” in 300 reviews

safari-west-santa-rosa photo x6UR-mFMnJ4Pb-nPOF6Clg

“ Kimberly even went as far as getting the kids who were sitting on top an umbrella from another tour guide . ” in 238 reviews

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“ We also scored the convertible (no canvas top) jeep which was nice since it was a cool day, with nice sunshine. ” in 206 reviews

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Location & Hours

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Map

3115 Porter Creek Rd

Santa Rosa, CA 95404

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Amenities and More

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About the Business

Business owner information

Photo of Aphrodite C.

Aphrodite C.

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 visiting for the day or overnight. You'll discover the most unique photo opportunities in the world, short of flying to Africa. …

Ask the Community

Ask a question

Do the rooms have AC for the hot summer months? Want to book a stay but a bit worried it would be uncomfortable.

Are there less animals to see and learn about during the winter months?

No, our animals are active throughout the year. In case of inclement weather, some animals, like the giraffes, may choose to stay in their shelter. If this occurs during a tour, our guides will often extend the tour to include a visit to the giraffe… more

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  • 2 star rating Could’ve been better
  • 3 star rating OK
  • 4 star rating Good
  • 5 star rating Great

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Overall rating

1030 reviews

Photo of Jason K.

Wow, what a great experience, took my two sons for just the safari portion. Kimberly, was our guide and I'm sorry if I spelt your name wrong. She was knowledgeable and kind. Could really tell she loved her job and the animals that she works with. It was a gorgeous day and seemed as all the animals were out and about, I actually think I may have enjoyed it more than the boys. Next on my bucket list is to stay the night, this is truly an experience everyone should try!

Photo of Aphrodite C.

Business Customer Service

Apr 29, 2024

Hi Jason, Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience with us! We're thrilled to hear that you and your sons had such a memorable time during the safari portion of your visit. Kimberly will be so pleased to hear your kind words! We're lucky to have passionate guides like her who truly love what they do and care deeply for the animals they work with. It's fantastic that you had such a gorgeous day and that all the animals were active and visible. Your enthusiasm for the experience is contagious, and we're excited that you're considering staying overnight next time—it truly is an unforgettable adventure! We can't wait to welcome you back and help you check off that next item on your bucket list. Until then, take care! - Aphrodite

Photo of Valerie Y.

The absolute BEST experience with so many core memories made. If you're able, I highly encourage you to stay the night. The "tents" were so comfy, warm, and had all the amenities you could need. There's no need to cook, as you can purchase meals at their onsite restaurant. (Btw, they are incredibly thoughtful about food allergies... they called out everything in the buffet to avoid, and even substituted a dessert for my son, who has an egg allergy). The grounds are beautiful, as you're surrounded by amazing wildlife everywhere! The tour itself was fantastic. Cindy was lovely, funny, and so knowledgeable. You do a 2.5 hour tour in their 90acre lot, and then do a walk through their aviary and other animals after. They will allow the passengers to switch spots, so everyone has a chance to ride on top of the car. All in all, phenomenal experience. I don't know why It's taken me so long to do it! Would recommend and do it again!

Apr 9, 2024

Hi Valerie, Thank you so much for sharing your incredible adventure with us! Your detailed account paints such a vibrant picture of the magic of Safari West. I'm truly touched by your recommendation of staying overnight; it is an enchanting experience. Your description of the cozy tents and thoughtful dining arrangements speaks volumes about the care and attention to detail at Safari West. Also, it warms our hearts to hear how our chefs were able to accommodate your son's food allergy with such thoughtfulness. Exploring the expansive 90-acre lot with Cindy as your guide sounds like it was filled with laughter and discovery. Her warmth and expertise must have made the experience even more special. I'll be sure to share this with Cindy! Your recommendation means the world to us! We're honored to have made such a positive impact on your visit. We'd be thrilled to welcome you back for more unforgettable moments at Safari West.

Photo of Niketa R.

Had an AMAZING experience today! Our safari guide Zoey was simply beyond. Zoey first led us through each exhibit on the foot-walking tour, stopping in front of each aviary and habitat for the birds, cheetahs, fennec fox, lemurs, hyenas, and primates to tell us about the animals. There were a few very young children in our tour party, that weren't with our group - I was impressed with how well Zoey handled them, to keep them and the animals safe. After the walking tour, we boarded the safari truck (ours was called Rosie The Riveter). Zoey drove us through the entire preserve, stopping to admire all the animals and tell us about each one. We saw zebras, cape buffalo, and so many different kinds of antelope! We learned that white fur, often indicates a desert animal, as white fur refracts sunlight and helps keep the animal cool. Zoey had just an incredible knowledge of all the animals! It was just beyond what you would expect from a tour guide, so incredibly educated and invested. Zoey taught us about the 3 different purposes of antlers/horns: Display, defense, and thermoregulation. Early on, I thought we were approaching the red river hog pen. I got excited because I love the red river hogs! But instead, they were warthogs. I loved the warthogs too! But I guess Zoey knew that I wanted to see the red river hogs so much (I did!) that at the end of our Rosie the Riveter tour, she brought us by the red river hog pen so we could see them from a safe distance. I am already wanting to return for the overnight tent trip 20/10, would come again! Zoey FTW!!

safari west santa rosa ca

See all photos from Niketa R. for Safari West

Mar 28, 2024

Hi there - Things can get pretty wild around here, and I must admit, I'm fashionably late to the party! Nonetheless, I couldn't let your fantastic review go unnoticed. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a wonderful review! Zoey is indeed an exceptional guide, and we are delighted to hear that she went above and beyond to ensure that you and your group had a memorable and informative tour. It's wonderful to hear that Zoey's extensive knowledge and dedication to the animals made your experience even more enjoyable. We can't wait to welcome you back! P.S. the pictures are great!!!!

Photo of Chef Will G.

Where do I start? Safari West is a great experience. We first walk into a large aviary. Beautiful birds. Large flock of flamingos in a different section. Playful lemurs. Robert our tour guide drove the custom safari vehicle, we sat at the top seat and what a great view from there. A little challenging getting up there. Robert would make stops and gave us expert information on the animals, great time for photos. He is passionate about his duties. He also had to move an very large ostrich blocking a gate for vehicles to drive through, ostrich was not having it but eventually moved. Later he said there is a 'bonanza' up the hill meaning lots of animals together. He stated he has not seen this in years. See my pix. We get very close to animals, some maybe 5 feet away. A giraffe approached us curios why we were on his road. Zebras staring at us like we were their entertainment. We pre-paid for lunch and I was impressed on the quality of the food. Melon, caesar salad, grilled asparagus, mac and cheese real cheese, fancy bean dish, shredded pork, chicken breast with wing attached fancy. The grounds are very clean and the animals look well cared for and happy. A short story can be written on how magnificent this place is. You should come u leave feeling happy. This was worth every penny.

safari west santa rosa ca

See all photos from Chef Will G. for Safari West

Firstly, I want to extend my sincerest apologies for the delayed response. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a wonderful review! It's fantastic to hear that Robert provided you with an unforgettable safari tour, sharing expert information about the animals and ensuring you had plenty of opportunities for great photos. We're lucky to have passionate guides like Robert on our team! Come back soon!

Photo of Sandy C.

We went out with Gina and she was a hoot! She was so knowledgeable and stopped along the tour for as long as we needed to learn all we could about the animals. She was a great driver in the rough terrain and also eased my fears when on steep roads. She really went above and beyond to ensure our trip was magical. Thanks Gina!

safari west santa rosa ca

May 9, 2024

Hi Sandy, What a wonderful review! We're thrilled to hear that you had a fantastic experience with Gina at Safari West. It's great to know that she was knowledgeable, accommodating, and made sure you felt safe throughout the tour. We'll be sure to pass along your kind words to Gina. Thank you for choosing Safari West, and we hope to see you again soon! - PS Great picture of our safari truck!

Photo of Lloyd C.

Ok, I didn't know what to expect. We went during mid-January, so it was COLD and wet, but thankfully, there was no rain on this particular day. It was wonderful to see some exotic animals that you don't have far to travel to and see. It was worth it!

safari west santa rosa ca

See all photos from Lloyd C. for Safari West

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, and our apologies for the delayed response! We're thrilled to hear that you braved the cold and wet weather to visit us in mid-January. Despite the conditions, we're delighted that you were able to enjoy a rain-free day during your visit. It's always a pleasure to provide our guests with the opportunity to see exotic animals up close without having to travel far. We're glad that you found it worthwhile and that you had a positive experience with us. Thank you for your feedback, and we hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Safari West for more adventures in the future, rain or shine!

Photo of Hanh T.

This has been a long awaited review ! I went here for my Birthday and the experience was like no other ! I had so much fun learning about all the animals and seeing all the babies . As an animal lover each and every one of them fascinated me . And the staff was beyond amazing 5/5 experience. The love and care for the animals can be seen clearly .

safari west santa rosa ca

See all photos from Hanh T. for Safari West

Photo of Karen C.

We had the very best time today at Safari West. Our guide, Cyndy, was fabulous! She knew everything about all the animals. She was bombarded with questions from the 12 of us during the whole event. She was very patient and answered every question. These animals are treated so well and cared for in the highest possible manner. All their needs are met - heck, I would love to live there. This is a wonderful outing for the whole family. We had the buffet dinner after the tour. Oh it was delicious! The wait staff was excellent. Cyndy really made the tour fun and this was a delightful, magical experience! I can't wait for us to come back and do the overnight tent trip. I give this a 50 out of 10 for rating!!!

Dear Karen, What a fantastic review! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We're thrilled to hear that you had the very best time at Safari West and that Cyndy made your tour so enjoyable. We take pride in providing exceptional care for our animals, and we're delighted that you noticed. We're glad you enjoyed the buffet dinner and that our wait staff provided excellent service. We can't wait to welcome you back for an overnight tent trip! - Best, Aphrodite\

Photo of Penny And Art R.

Safari West is one of the most magical places if you like viewing wildlife. The personnel, the premises, the animals couldn't be better, and you get to sleep in a real life Botswana tent! Just don't forget to take your earplugs if you spend the night because there's a lot of wildlife noises BUT it's worth it!

safari west santa rosa ca

May 5, 2024

HI, Thank you for your wonderful review! We're thrilled to hear that you had a magical experience at Safari West. The founders wanted the experience to feel like you were on safari, and our authentic safari tents are favorites with our guests. We appreciate your feedback and thank you for choosing Safari West. As wildlife advocates ourselves, we're dedicated to providing unforgettable experiences for both animals and people who share our passion. We hope to welcome you back soon!

Photo of Jerry Y.

Pros: - What a fun glamping experience! Great to go with little kids since you have a full shower, beds, running water + bathroom... Yet the tents are thin so you can hear all the wild life around you - Our guide was the best and took us to variety parts to see animals with fun tidbits. Very neat experience to be on the top of the truck and got close with Giraffes, Rhinos, and an ostrich even came up to our truck! - All day coffee, fruits, and snacks in the restaurant that's open to guest staying over. Buffet breakfast, lunch, and Dinner (with smores at night) was delicious! Cons: - Pricey especially its a glorified zoo - Not for everyone since some would probably not want to do a 2 hour tour then stay over night or vice versa Overall, Fun experience and would recommend to families or elderly to be able to do unique way of seeing animals.

safari west santa rosa ca

See all photos from Jerry Y. for Safari West

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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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

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 santa rosa ca

  • 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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Safari West

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

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safari west santa rosa ca

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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Safari West Wildlife Foundation 3115 Porter Creek Road Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Safari West Wildlife Foundation

Beyond a zoo, far more than any drive-through park, Safari West thrives as a world-renowned preserve dedicated to conservation and home to the earth’s most graceful, majestic and exotic creatures. Here you can go on safari and see animals roaming wild and soaring free, just like they do in the wilds of Africa. Enjoy the zoological gardens and grounds complete with leaping lemurs, and other primates, birds winging in our tree top and Oasis open-air aviary and cheetahs splendid in the grass. Experience the most unique photo opportunities short of getting on a plane and flying to Africa. Reserve a guided safari through our collection and immerse yourself in the wonders of a truly wild world!

Wonderfully, the adventure doesn’t end with our safari tours -within our wild menagerie we built a safari glamping camp that is the pinnacle of luxury. Each of our richly appointed safari tent stands proudly on an oak-studded hillside overlooking a vista of browsing giraffes and prancing antelope. A night spent in the bush will change your world as you lie down to sleep serenaded by the sounds of the Sonoma Serengeti night. Safari West Wildlife Foundation (SWWF/SW) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization created to support the objectives of Safari West. Our mission is to raise awareness about the importance of protecting wildlife and their habitats today while inspiring people to care for its future. The Foundation advances wildlife stewardship beyond borders by providing conservation education tools and programs for children, their families and educators through three youth programs: Safari West LIVE an interactive safari trek adventure broadcast live to pediatric hospitals, Discover Africa a scholarship field trip program, and Junior Keepers a youth science and mentorship program.

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  1. Safari West

    Safari West Presents! Wildlands Network Friday May 17, 2024 | 8:00pm - 8:30pm. ... Safari West ® 3115 Porter Creek Road Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (800) 616-2695. High Contrast Mode Contact; Blog; FAQs; Maps and Directions; Employment; Internships; Media Kit; ...

  2. Go on Safari!

    Safari West is the home of more than 800 wild animals, with all their natural behaviors and instincts. They are not trained pets, so we must act in accordance with their world rather than expecting them to understand ours. ... Safari West ® 3115 Porter Creek Road Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (800) 616-2695. High Contrast Mode Contact; Blog; FAQs; Maps ...

  3. Prices

    Please be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before your safari is scheduled to begin! Please Note: ... Safari West ® 3115 Porter Creek Road Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (800) 616-2695. High Contrast Mode Contact; Blog; FAQs; Maps and Directions ... ©2001-2024 Safari West Wildlife Preserve and Tent Camp ...

  4. Safari West

    1,840 reviews. #1 of 148 things to do in Santa Rosa. Nature & Wildlife Areas. Open now. 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM. Write a review. About. Have a wild adventure at Safari West, home to nearly 1,000 creatures. There are several fun wildlife excursions you can pick from: join a safari adventure, go behind the scenes on a guided tour, or even come face ...

  5. SAFARI WEST

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

  6. Safari West

    Safari West. 213 reviews. #1 of 2 campsites in Santa Rosa. 3115 Porter Creek Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404-9655. Write a review. Check availability. View all photos(250)250. Traveller (244)

  7. 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 ...

  8. Home

    ©2001-2023 Safari West Wildlife Preserve and Tent Camp. Share: Safari Spotlight: Lesser Flamingo. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Twitter Pinterest Email

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

    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.

  10. Safari West Wildlife Preserve & African Tent Camp

    707-579-2551 [email protected]. Visit Website. Book Now. Save to My Trip. 3115 Porter Creek Road. Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Get Directions. Description Amenities. WELCOME TO THE SONOMA SERENGETI: EMBARK ON A WILD AND MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE.

  11. Safari West

    Safari West is a 400-acre (160 ha) private wildlife preserve located 12 miles north of the city of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, California, United States, owned and operated by Nancy and Peter Lang. The selection of wildlife emphasizes species native to Africa, including giraffes, rhinoceros, cape buffalo, watusi cattle, antelope, cheetahs ...

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

    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.

  13. Safari West Wildlife Foundation

    Safari West Wildlife Foundation3115 Porter Creek Road. Santa Rosa, CA 95404. DetailsOpen in Google Maps. Home. Share. Safari West Wildlife Foundation. Overview. Beyond a zoo, far more than any drive-through park, Safari West thrives as a world-renowned preserve dedicated to conservation and home to the earth's most graceful, majestic and ...

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  15. Don't use your GPS!

    Directions From Hwy 101 near Santa Rosa, CA. On the north side of Santa Rosa, take exit 494 (the River Road Exit) west to the Russian River Resort Areas and Guerneville (approx. 18 miles). From Guerneville, continue straight (West) onto Hwy 116 to Duncans Mills (another 8 miles). Turn left onto Moscow Road, cross the bridge over the river and ...

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  17. Online Reservations

    Advanced reservations are required to visit Safari West. Day Visit — Safaris, Dining and other Happenings. Book Your Day Activity. ... Safari West ® 3115 Porter Creek Road Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (800) 616-2695. High Contrast Mode Contact; Blog; FAQs; Maps and Directions; Employment; Internships; Media Kit ...

  18. Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker

    The biggest Christmas experience of the year! The original, direct from Russia, Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker! "Knock Out!" raves the New York Times. Enchant the whole family with larger than life magical props, a 60 foot growing Christmas tree and spectacular Russian-made costumes and sets. A must-see event, witness the world's best dancers on stage in your city!