by Courtney Elko
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 Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 those seeking a little more relaxation, an in-tent massage can be added to your overnight stay.