Travel Thursday – Safari West = Happy Times

Safari West


Safari West – One word to describe it – amazing!

But since I am going to use more words to describe our experiences on our
trip out to Santa Rosa to see Safari West, I can also add that it is super-duper, awesome, wonderful (borrowed my kids’ words here).

If you cannot make it to Africa or to the out-of-Africa wonderful safari experience in Taman Safari, Jakarta which I posted about here, and if you are in North America, then your sure bet is Safari West – it is a corner of Africa tucked away in wine country, CA.

Safari West is a privately owned wildlife preserve in Santa Rosa, CA whose mission is ‘wildlife preservation through breeding, education, research and public interaction‘.

Safari West is a 400 acre nature preserve which has known species like giraffes, zebras, wildebeests as well as lesser known but equally wondrous species like the addax, bongo, oryx and more roaming the open spaces there. There is also an aviary with exotic bird species and cheetahs as well as rhinos, warthogs, lemurs and other animals.

Our Experience

Our way to enjoy the day after Thanksgiving meant being away from wild crowds in malls on Black Friday and being with the wonderful wild creatures at Safari West instead! And our trip definitely was worth it.

We reached Safari West around 1 pm for our tour at 2 pm. After checking in at the office, we spent a few minutes looking at the lemurs from Madagascar all content in their world while we waited. Our guide arrived soon after and we were off on a wild ride!

We took our turn on the top of the jeep first and to our excitement, the first stop – the giraffes! Dozer, a handsome fella and friendly too, ambled over to us and stopped right out of my arms reach – a few inches closer and I would have been able to pet him or he would have been able to – aww, missed chance, since the jeep that followed us parked a little closer to Dozer and the little girl who was sitting in the exact same place i was in our jeep got special attention from Dozer. (envy, you spare no one! not even me).

We then moved on to see the rhinos, could not see much of them except a backside with a tail of one and the massive horn of the other and moved on hoping to have better luck on our way back.

As we continued on our wild way, we saw the bongo, the eland, the amazing Watusi cattle,(the females have the bigger, longer, sharper horns), zebras, the Aoudad and more species. We learned lots of fascinating and fun facts about each species we saw there.

After close encounters with the Cape Buffalo, we were then taken on the walking tour which concluded our safari experience. We toured the aviary, watched the cheetahs (these are the only big cats here and are in cages), enjoyed watching the prickly porcupines pose for a picture.


  • You have to book the tour in advance – they get filled out
    pretty quickly especially during long weekends/holiday seasons. 
  • Plan to sit on the top of the open jeep during that part of the tour when you will be visting the giraffes – that will be an expreiernce in itself – in order to ensure that, do arrive a little early so you can talk to your assigned tour guide to find out this information since if more than 4 people in each tour want to sit on the top, they switch spots in the middle of the tour. 
  • Dress in layers since it tends to get chilly suddenly. 
  • Ask questions – anything you want to know about the animals – all the guides there seem to be knowledgeable and full of interesting tidbits about the unique animal species there.
  • We booked an afternoon tour and in our case, this was OK since it was
    November and it does not get too hot in the afternoons unlike summer
    where the animals might disappear for a siesta. But our guide did
    mention that when it gets hotter in the afternoons, the morning tours
    are the best because you can be more guaranteed to see all the animals out and about. 
  • You can also stay there overnight for a ‘glam’cation but I am not sure if an overnight stay there is worth the money though the safari tour itself is worth its weight in gold!

Theme Thursdays

‘Happy’ is the theme this time over at ‘Reading Between the Pages’ who hosts this weekly meme. The rules are:

  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)

“For a minute, Bean felt happy. She loved making Nancy mad. But when Nancy was gone, Bean began to worry.”

Barrows, Annie (2007-04-01). Ivy and Bean 1: Bk. 1 (p. 33). Chronicle Books. Kindle Edition.

“Hari was the youngest among all the shop assistants. He was a careless, cheerful, young man with a cheeky face, who often got shouted at by Mahajan.”

The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa

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