Have you ever wanted to take an African Safari? Drive by wild Ostrich, Giraffe, Warthog, Cape Buffalo, Eland, Gemsbok, Impala and many other African mammals and birds in an open air authentic Safari vehicle? Walk among trees and bushes harboring several dozen varieties of exotic birds? Spend the night in authentic luxury tent cabins like those used on the Serengeti?
African Safari adventures are available at a 400-acre wildlife preserve and tent camp called Safari West in Sonoma County Wine Country about an hour north of San Francisco.
Safari West was founded in 1979 by Peter Lang with a mission of wildlife preservation through breeding, education, research and public interaction.
In 1978 Safari West became one of only six private facilities in North America to gain membership in the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
Over 400 exotic mammals and birds live in a wildlife preserve where the whole family can experience some of nature's most beautiful animals in a natural habitat.
Visit the Sonoma Serengeti
in the Heart of the Wine Country
Are you a family visiting the wine country who wants the kids to have as much fun as the adults? A couple wanting a unique honeymoon? Wine country visitors who are wildlife enthusiasts and naturalists? A corporation looking for an alternative retreat location? Or anyone with a taste for adventure? If so Safari West was made for you.
As soon as you enter the Safari West main gate you're immediately transported into an exotic, new world. Dirt pathways wind through beautifully landscaped grounds lined with the sights and sounds of the Serengeti.
Before departing on a safari tour, visitors can view Giraffes and exotic birds and might even catch a glimpse of an elegant Serval or beautiful Cheetah.
At Safari West you'll experience an array of wildlife from antelopes to zebras. For your safari tour you'll join a small group in an authentic Safari vehicle and head for the hills for an hour and a half to see Zebras, African Cattle - Watusi, Water Buffalo, Gemsbok, Thompson's Gazelles, Warthog, Wildebeest and many types of African Antelope.
A knowledgeable tour guide keeps you informed about each species and what makes them special. The guide will point out the follow-me markings that herd animals display, that neither Zebras nor Cape Buffalo can be tamed and many more details specific to each animal.
Did you know that for humans the Cape Buffalo is the most dangerous African animal? Or that an Ostrich can live for 75 years in captivity? You may see a freshly laid Ostrich Egg like I did when I visited Safari West.
After a short break and a cool drink the Jeep tour is followed by a guided walking tour of the grounds of Safari West where you'll be able to feed the Giraffes, meet the Cheetahs and become acquainted with the Lemurs. Your guide will continue to identify the various species and give you a little insight into their individual character.
You'll probably see Delilah the Great Indian Hornbill wandering freely about the grounds. Great Indian Hornbills are an endangered species. Indian hornbills are mainly fruit eaters but also actively hunt and eat insects, lizards, snakes and even nestling birds. You may be surprised at what a large bird Delilah is, though she's not nearly as big as the several Ostriches you'll see at Safari West.
You'll walk through the aviary on your guided walking tour where you'll view a wide range of birds such as the Cattle Egret, Cape Thick-Knee, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, African Spoonbill, Trumpeter Hornbill and White-crested Laughing Thrush, plus many other exotic birds.
Along the way on your total walking and driving safari tour you'll have seen several other endangered species Such as the Addax, Cheetah, Ring-tailed Lemur, Scimitar-horned Oryx and Victoria Crowned Pigeon.
Meals at Safari West are at their own restaurant, the Savannah Cafe, featuring the finest in California Wine Country cuisine as well as African themed meals.
Ample indoor and outdoor seating is available. An Elephant Sculpture Room, with a capacity of 80, has a striking bas-relief wall sculpture made from African railroad ties.
African gifts, art and artifacts are available at the Safari West Trading Post. It's a small area and you might have to actually hunt for it unlike so many places that funnel you through the shop before you get to the animals.
A complete Safari experience includes an overnight stay in one of Safari West's luxurious tent cabins. Each cabin has a deck where you can enjoy a view of grazing giraffes or watch a variety of African birds floating on a private lake.
Each comfortable tent cabin has a hardwood floor, beautiful handmade wood furnishings (manufactured at Safari West), and plush bed and soft linens (with an electric blanket for cool evenings).
There's a full bathroom in each tent cabin.
You will be amazed how well you sleep after a full day in the wine country and on the Serengeti as you snuggle up in an authentic safari tent that, like the safari vehicles, was shipped from Africa to Safari West.
African movie nights and storytelling around the campfire, wildlife lectures, concerts and "Wild Kids Night" add to the family experience.