Anyone else think a private bathroom would make camping absolutely perfect? That feature alone makes glamping at Safari West a dream come true because the tents here all have their own showers and bathrooms and feel a lot like hotel rooms. But if you think waking up to giraffes and flamingos is magical and you love learning about helping animals, I can’t imagine a more incredible place to stay and it’s only about an hour’s drive from San Francisco making it a very accessible safari adventure for a family from Seattle. We started our one night stay with a 4 pm safari tour and a dinner. I was a little worried about my timing (it worked out fine!) because I had seen a lot of people book the 10am safari tour for the morning after they checked in but I wanted to head off early to go see San Francisco and I wanted to have a little time to see a few things in Santa Rosa before we arrived like the Charles Schulz museum (next time I want to leave time for the ice rink next door: Snoopy’s Home Ice and the Warm Puppy Cafe) and the Kendall-Jackson winery. We checked in at Safari West around 3pm and our grand adventure began.
The tent itself was roomy and comfortable for a family of four and sure enough there was a toilet and a shower and sink so this was luxurious. There was a cooler on the balcony with ice and water to keep snacks chill. Snacks at the canteen on site were a lot more reasonably priced than I thought they would be. I gave the kids $10 for three ice cream treats and they came back with change!! We were in cabin 3 and from our balcony we could see giraffes frolicking in the morning and it was an easy walk to see many other animals all day long.
When we checked in for the Safari tour my guys (the hubby included) all wanted to sit on top of the caravan vehicle (while I was scared but decided to try it anyways) and the guides have a really great way to make sure everyone who wants to sit on top gets a chance. They survey at the beginning and then divide the time accordingly-since there were twelve in our group and only 8 wanted to ride on top of the vehicle (Kids need to be 4 years old and 48 inches), we ended up sitting on top for half the time. And I am glad I braved it. It was really hot the day we toured and we had seen others bringing their umbrellas from their tents to shade them on the ride up top. When we entered the giraffe enclosure, one of the giraffes took interest in our umbrella and our shoes! We sat as still as we could and the giraffe sniffed us and hung out with us for a while. It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. And then we kept driving through the 400 acres and we saw zebras up close and water buffalo up close and the twelve of us strangers riding together all forgot that we were strangers or even that we were in California as we were spirited away to what felt like a dreamy Jurassic Park, Lion King-esque land and we ooo’d and ahhh’d together as we spotted animal after animal.
By around 6pm we headed back to where we started and I saw people heading towards dinner but we were not finished our safari tour yet. We still had a bit of a walking tour and we wandered through an enclosure full of birds and then learned about some of the more carnivorous animals at Safari West. I will never forget the feeling of being watched and then spotting a cheetah staring at us through some of the vegetation in his enclosure. We also loved checking on the Fennec Fox and at night we saw him up and about too.
I did not know what to expect with how dinner worked but when we finished our tour we headed to our meal and there were appetizers for us to start with before our buffet meal. Everything was labeled clearly and we really enjoyed the food. They even offered a vegetarian bbq option and my husband really enjoyed it. The vegetables and macaroni and cheese were a big hit with my kids. At around 8pm there was a marshmallow roast and in the morning there was a buffet breakfast included with the the overnight stay in the same area and it was quite good too. Ultimately I really enjoyed how we planned our stay here-starting with the tour, having dinner onsite and then waking up to the noises of all the animals and walking to breakfast made for a wonderful overnight stay at Safari West.
If you noticed my outfit, PrAna also sent me some clothing from their organic cotton line to try, the Paulina Dress in Bone and the Shoal tunic . I love the clothing I’ve received from them before and I love that their clothing is packaged free of plastic and unnecessary tags. Using organic cotton means that there are less chemicals that affect the workers creating the clothes, less pollutants in our environment as a result of making these clothes and less water used in clothing creation too. Ultimately I like that prAna organic clothing is clothing that makes me feel better about buying and wearing it and I thought this was a good place to wear an outfit like this.
(PS. I partnered with tourism Santa Rosa for a tour of Safari West, but paid for my own stay and my family’s meals. I’m so thankful for places like Safari West for teaching my kids about the incredible animals that share our planet and I couldn’t recommend a visit here more.)
(PPS. If you are interested in places like Safari West, we have also visit the Toucan Rescue Ranch in Costa Rica, Trentham Monkey Forest outside of London and stayed at the Belize Zoo. In and around Seattle I would recommend visiting Woodland Park Zoo and the Point Defiance Zoo where they have recently opened an amazing new aquarium as well.)