Most frequently asked questions
Safari West is a very unique property. We are a Wildlife Preserve and African tent camp…Safari West is fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. However, we are not your typical zoo nor a theme park, and we’re quite different from your normal hotel. We expect questions and don’t want any of yours to go unanswered. The Safari West staff is here to make your visit more enjoyable, so please make sure we have a chance to meet you and answer any question you may have.
We compiled the most frequently asked questions (FAQs), and started off with the top several questions people ask. Then, please scroll down…these are followed by questions under specific categories. If you don’t see the answer to your question, please call or email us.
The Top Questions People ask about Safari West
- What kind of place is Safari West?
- Is Safari West a non profit organization?
- We were just driving by…Can we drop in and walk around to look at the animals?
- How much does it cost to visit Safari West?
- Do you allow pets?
- What kind of animals do you have at Safari West?
- Can we pet the animals?
- Can we feed the animals?
- What happens if it rains?
- What else is there to do?
- Do I need a sleeping bag, is there a bathroom in the tent…what is a luxury tent?
- Will my cell phone work at Safari West?
- Can I drive up to my tent cabin and leave my car parked there?
About Safari West
- What is the purpose of Safari West?
- Are you a zoo?
- How long has Safari West been around?
- How many people visit Safari West every year?
- Who owns Safari West?
- Tell me about Peter Lang.
- Who is Nancy Lang?
- Why did the Lang’s choose to locate Safari West in Napa/Sonoma Wine County?
- How can I work at Safari West?
- What is the long term goal of Safari West?
- Why visit Safari West?
Safari West Animals
- What kind of animals do you have?
- How many animals live at Safari West?
- What is the feeding time for the animals at Safari West?
- Can we watch when the animals get fed?
- Can we feed the animals?
- What happens to the animals when it rains?
- Are the animals warm enough in the winter?
- Do the animals have enough to do? Are they content?
- Can we pet the animals?
Safaris and Other Wild Activities
- What happens on a Safari West Classic Safari?
- If we are just driving by, can we stop in and hop on the next safari?
- What time is the best tour to take?
- What happens when it rains?
- Do you have safaris accessible to guests with disabilities?
- Do you have seat belts on the safari trucks?
- I’m pregnant…is it safe for me to go on the safari truck?
- What age range is appropriate for the safari?
- Can my child under three years of age ride on the seat next to me?
- Can I take food on the safari?
- What about the exotic birds?
- Can I book a private safari truck?
- Is it possible to arrange a special wildlife photography safari at Safari West?
- Do you have special animal encounters?
- What type of lodging is available at Safari West?
- What is it like to stay in a safari tent cabin?
- Do I need to bring camping gear, food, or linens to stay at Safari West?
- Do you have tent cabins that are accessible?
- Is there a phone in the tent?
- Is there internet access at Safari West?
- Is there a television in the tent?
- Do I have to leave my tent in the middle of the night to use the restroom?
- Do the animals wander around outside the tents at night?
- Can the animals get into my tent at night?
- What are your rates for spending the night?
- Do you really have a two night minimum stay?
- What does “selected days only” mean?
- Do you offer any specials?
Other Services and Amenities
- Does Safari West have a restaurant facility?
- Does Safari West offer massage?
- Can we go hiking on the property?
- Do you allow pets?
- I saw a dog running around at Safari West, how come I can’t bring my dog?
- How do I find out about special events at Safari West?
- Do you allow service animals?
Safari West Wildlife Foundation
- What is the Safari West Wildlife Foundation?
- Is your organization a 501(c)?
- How does the Foundation support Safari West?
- Describe the Foundation’s mission and the year it was incorporated.
- How can I make a donation to Safari West Wildlife Foundation?
- What is Discover Africa?
The Top Questions People ask about Safari West
We are an authentic African adventure in the heart of California wine country! Explore the Sonoma Serengeti on an African wildlife safari or relax in your luxury tent under the gaze of a graceful giraffe… The closest you can get to Africa without a passport!
Safari West is fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. However, Safari West is open to the public only by advanced reservations.
Safari West is a private facility. However, our foundation (Safari West Wildlife Foundation) is a 501(c) (3) Tax ID. No. 91-1837240 nonprofit organization created to support the objectives of Safari West. The main goal of the Foundation is to secure and preserve the legacy of Safari West for future generations and beyond.
For more information, please visit the Safari West Wildlife Foundation website.
Please check our African Safaris and Pricing page for current rates.
Please check our Spend the Night page for current rates.
Mid Week and Seasonal safari and tent rates may also be available at a special price. You may also want to check out our current specials.
No. Please make other arrangements for care of your pet before coming to Safari West, as we do not allow pets on the property. This is for the safety of your pet, our guest as well as the safety of our animals. This extends to bringing your pet and leaving the animal in your vehicle while out on tour. Our staff will notify the office if they notice an animal in a vehicle in our parking lot.
Safari West Wildlife Preserve is home to over eighty species of animals. We have cheetah, giraffe, lemurs, addax, cape buffalo, and zebra to name a few. We do not have elephants, lions, or tigers. You can see a full species list here.
A visit to Safari West is an opportunity to reconnect to nature by taking time out of your busy schedule to relax and take part in the many activities we offer. In addition to our Classic Safari, we offer an exciting variety of private animal encounters, educational animal presentations, Swedish pressure-point massage and good food, and good company.
The majority of cell phones and plans do not work at Safari West with the exception of a few hot spots (way up on the hill and sometimes down in the parking lot). Generally, only high end global satellite phones will work on Safari West property.
*The above applies to all cell phone carriers except AT&T as there is now service to Safari West and the surrounding areas.
We’re sorry. For safety reasons we do not allow guests to drive up to their tent cabins. Our staff will take you and your luggage up to your tent cabin at check-in and bring you and your luggage back to your vehicle at check-out in one of our Safari West vehicles. The only exception to this is for our two accessible tent cabins which have an accessible parking space right outside the tent cabin.
About Safari West
What is the purpose of Safari West?
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.
Our non-profit arm is Safari West Wildlife Foundation.
Safari West is fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. However, Safari West is not your typical zoo or a theme park, nor are we a drive through park. We are an African Wildlife Preserve and African Tent Camp. Safari West Wildlife Preserve is a private facility whose primary focus is on conservation through education. We are privately owned and our only source of income is from our guests. We have a lot of mouths to feed with our eight hundred animals. When you pay for safaris, overnight stays in our tents, and other services at Safari West, you are helping to feed and care for the beautiful new animal friends you will meet during your stay here. With friends like you, we can continue our mission to teach and promote conservation now and in the future.
Nancy and Peter married in 1993. They met in Africa while on a Safari holiday. At the time she was the curator of the avian collection at the San Francisco Zoo. It was love at first sight…together they lived at Safari West amongst the animals and wildlife they love. Nancy has a PhD in zoological biology and is a raptor specialist. In the past she has taught a zoological class at Santa Rosa Junior College.
The weather is ideal, the combination of grassland and forest are similar to Africa, the neighbors are friendly, there is plenty of water, plus it’s wine country and paradise! Indeed… a sip of chardonnay pairs marvelously with a spot of cheetah!
A visit to Safari West is an opportunity to reconnect to nature by taking time out your busy schedule to relax and take part in the many activities we offer. In addition to our Classic Safari, we offer private safaris, an exciting variety of private animal encounters, educational animal presentations, school field trips, overnight stays in our authentic tent cabins, conference facilities, all-inclusive overnight packages, Swedish pressure-point massage, good food, and good company.
Safari West Animals
There are around 800 hundred individual animals at Safari West.
No. Safari West does not allow feeding of the animals by guests. The only exception would be if you were on a special animal encounter tour under direct supervision of one of our knowledgeable guides. In this case, you would be feeding only our approved diet to the animals which we would provide. All other feeding of the animals is prohibited at Safari West, even picking up a leaf off the ground and feeding it to a giraffe is not allowed. While at Safari West, as one who cares about the well being of animals, the example you set will cue other guests around you. If they see you feed a leaf from a distance, they might believe that feeding the animals is alright and proceed to feed the giraffe a candy bar or other inappropriate food type. Yes…this has happened! And, the giraffe became very ill. Lucky for everyone, the giraffe eventually recovered!
No. It is not permissible to pet the animals at Safari West. The animals at Safari West are wild animals. They are not pets and they have not been raised as pets. This very firm rule is for your safety.
Safaris and Other Wild Activities
All of our safaris are great! Rain or shine, morning or afternoon, you will see most of our species. You are not guaranteed to see all of our animals, or any particular species, as they roam Sonoma Serengeti. Our safari guides are very knowledgeable and dedicated to the Safari West mission of conservation through education.
Wheelchair users are afforded many safari options, including a Serengeti Trek in our Paratransit Safari Van Tour and our Classic Safari Vehicle for anyone who is capable of transferring into our vehicles by themselves or with the assistance of a family member, friend or personal attendant.
Serengeti Trek in our Safari Paratransit Van
For guests that are unable to transfer into our vintage Dodge Power Wagons and/or who choose a less jarring ride for medical reasons, we offer a paratransit van Serengeti Trek. This vehicle is not a four wheel drive and does not have the ground clearance of the military-style Power Wagons. However it does have large viewing windows, a wheelchair lift, and can accommodate two wheelchairs and/or scooters, in addition up to four other family members or other guests. It is equipped with secure tie-downs for the wheelchairs and four seats. The Serengeti Trek covers our preserve’s savannah grassland tour route. Like the Classic African Safari tour, the Serengeti Trek can vary by animal location and weather. Generally, this is a one and a half hour trek. And like the Classic African Safari tour, it is led by one of our experienced safari guides.
To confirm availability, we ask that you call our Reservations Department at 707 566-3667 and reserve the Serengeti Trek within 72 hours of your arrival. The tour price is $48 per person.
Guests that choose the Serengeti Trek will take a journey through the Sonoma Serengeti for a glimpse of majestic giraffes and many other four legged friends — and then are on to visit the White Rhinos in their creek side enclosure. When possible and with advance notice, Safari West will alter the feeding location of animals to increase the chances that the animals will be nearer the Serengeti Trek route. Our goal is to increase the likelihood that our Serengeti Trek guests will have a greater likelihood of seeing each type of animal. The Serengeti Trek is something that is not typically available to smaller groups.
Classical Safari Drive
Currently, our safari vehicle is not wheelchair accessible. Safari West will take anyone who is capable of transferring into our vehicles on a safari to enjoy our beautiful surroundings and learn about our wonderful animals. Most of our guests with limited mobility ride in the front seat, as it is the easiest entry/exit point. Family members or friends can assist in transferring you into and out of the safari vehicle. Our safari guides are ready to help a guest, but please note, that our staff members are neither trained nor permitted to physically transfer guest from wheelchairs. The guest must be able to sit by themselves on the vehicle or with the help of a caregiver. If you have a wheelchair, it is safe to leave it at the boarding area. It will be brought to you either by your family member or friend or one of our staff upon return from the safari. We do invite you to check back as we have plans in place to accommodate guests in the near future.
Walking Portion – The walking portion is approximately 30-45 minutes long. Areas covered by the walking portion of the safari are accessible by wheelchair… Some areas such as dirt paths, may require minor assistance by a member of their party for those with limited mobility. Wheelchairs are also available free of charge.
We request that arrangements for an ASL Interpreter be made at least two weeks in advance of your visit. Should this not be possible, you are also welcome to bring an interpreter at no additional charge. Should this not be possible, reasonable accommodations will be provided such as a complementary safari for the signer or for the hearing impaired guest.
With advance notice, a tactile tour will be provided for a guest who is visually impaired. A sighted companion will almost always accompany a visually impaired visitor. Should this not be the case, the guest will be accompanied by one of our guest service person. Upon request, web materials (18 point font) will be sent or emailed to you.
Our Classic Safari can be quite bumpy at times. This portion of the safari on the truck is approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours long. There are no restroom facilities available during this portion. In the event of extreme hot or cold weather, you may be uncomfortable. We cannot advise you as to whether or not it is safe for you to go on safari when you are pregnant. Your decision is ultimately your own. Please seek the advice of your doctor before engaging in any activity that may put you or your unborn baby at risk during pregnancy.
For the safety and enjoyment of all our guests, children must be 4 years or older to participate in a Classic Safari. While the walking portion of the safari is great for kids of any age (even those who need a little help walking!) we have found that younger children can sometimes need extra attention on the driving portion of the safari, and this can be distracting to the other visitors. If the rest of your party is experiencing the full classic Safari Adventure, one adult can enjoy the walking portion with the toddler for the cost of $28 and the cost for the toddler is waived. Safari West continues to pride itself on being a wonderful and unique destination for the whole family. We introduce this age guideline to help ensure the experience is enjoyable for all of our valued guests. Private safaris are an excellent option for families – please ask our Reservations Agents.
If you are booking a private safari and have a child under four: There are no seat belts on our trucks at this time, we ask that you keep children under three on your lap and hold on to them. The ride can get a little bumpy at times.
Guests are not allowed to take food out on the Classic Safari, but water bottles are welcome.
Reservations for lunch or dinner at our Savannah Cafe should be made in advance.
The Safari West tent camp adventure, of course! Safari West’s Tent Camp Adventure treats our guests to a luxury African tent camp experience in the heart of California’s Napa/Sonoma Wine country.
This is an African Tent camp…it works differently than your normal hotel. The heavy lined canvas with thick plastic windows that form the walls is imported from Africa and the furniture is crafted almost entirely on site from local wood. We expect questions and to make your stay with us more enjoyable, we have a few tips to keep in mind. Click here.
Yes we do. There are two accessible tent cabins with seating and rails in the showers and bathrooms, ramps to the deck and entryway, and both have parking next to the cabin.
Our rates are seasonal. You can view current rates for lodging at Safari West on our Spend the Night page and call our guest services to inquire about specials.
At this time we do not have a two night minimum stay. You are more than welcome to stay for just one night.
Certain offerings at Safari West are discounted on selected days throughout the year. Please call our reservations department at (707) 566-3667 or 1 (800) 616-2695 or check our website regularly for dates.
During the winter season we do offer special rates for safaris and on selected days for spending the night. We also have Moonlight Madness specials on selected dates. In November and December, be sure to visit us during our Open House Sundays where day guests receive a little taste of the Safari West adventure for a very special price.
Other Services and Amenities
No, we currently are not offering hiking.
No. We are sorry, but we do not allow pets at Safari West. This is for the safety of your pet, our guests as well as the safety of our animals. This extends to bringing your pet and leaving the animal in your vehicle while out on safari. Our staff will notify the office if they notice an animal in a vehicle in our parking lot. If you are out on safari, your truck will be forced to come back so that you can remove your pet from the premises, inconveniencing not only yourself but the other guests on the safari. Please make other arrangements for the care of your pet before coming to Safari West. Thank you for your understanding.
There are currently four dogs which live full time at Safari West. They are working ranch dogs and they help our staff with their daily chores. The dogs are named Luna, Marty and Junior and they belong to the owners of Safari West. We do not allow you to bring your dog for the safety of your dog as well as for the safety of our animals. For example, even a small dog running and barking at the fence line can spook a giraffe which could easily make the giraffe run right into the fence, injuring itself and possibly your dog, and our guests. Thank you for your understanding.
If you are looking for upcoming events, sign up to stay in the Safari West loop and/or regularly check our calendar page.
If you want to host or book a special group at Safari West, please contact our Groups Department. We do corporate retreats!
We welcome guests with special needs that chose to bring their service dogs to enjoy our beautiful surroundings and learn about our wonderful animals. It is our policy to assist all guests in making their time at Safari West more enjoyable.
For our guest requiring the use of a service animal please be aware that Safari West is a wildlife preserve covering 400 acres of rough terrain – it’s not a typical zoo or a drive through park.
Due to the nature of the facility and the proximity to wild animals, a service animal’s presence could produce undue anxiety, stress, agitation or possibly a direct threat to the safety of our animal collection. We do ask that you review our safety guidelines:
- Service animals are permitted to visit Safari West. However, services animals are restricted in all areas where our exotic collection is not separated from our guests by a physical barrier.
- Service animals may also be restricted in certain areas due to the sensitivity of our animal collection.
- If you are spending the night, your service animal is allowed in one of our accessible tents.
- However, your service animal may not accompany you while on tour.
- If you are visiting for the day, while you are on tour, your service dog may stay with our staff in the office. We will provide a kennel/crate free of charge, water and a bowl, and it will be clean, safe and comfortable.
- Service animals must be under the direct control of the handler at all times, preferably being held by a harness or leash no more than 6 feet in length.
- Service animals must be house broken.
- Service animals may not display vicious or aggressive behavior toward other people or animals. This includes barking and/or growling. If at any time your service animal is disruptive, you will be asked to remove your service dog from the park.
Some background to help you better understand our guidelines, Safari West is a unique setting where live exotic wild animals roam freely. In fact, Safari West is home to over 90 different species, including cheetah, giraffe, lemurs, cape buffalo, and zebra to name a few. Often giraffe, zebra, and one of the world’s most dangerous animals, the cape buffalo — will come right up to the vehicle. While Safari West’s tour guides are trained and maintain safe distances when necessary, once inside the preserve, there are no fences or other barriers keeping these exotic animals away from our guests. Due to the nature of the facility and the proximity to wild animals, a service animal’s presence could constitute a direct threat to the safety of our animal collection.
Thank you for your cooperation as we strive to provide you with a safe and positive experience for yourself, your service animal, and our animal collection.
For more information or assistance regarding your visit, please do contact our office or call 707-566-3620 as the guests experience is a high priority for all of us at Safari West.
Service Animal Safari Trek in our Safari Paratransit Van
For guests with disabilities who choose to bring their trained service animal on a tour, we offer a Service Animal Trek on our paratransit van. The van has large viewing windows and can accommodate up to four guests. The Service Animal Trek covers our preserve’s savannah grassland tour route. Like the Classic African Safari tour, the Service Animal Trek can vary by animal location and weather. Generally, this is a 90 minute tour. And like the Classic African Safari tour, it is led by one of our experienced safari guides.
Guests that choose the Service Animal Tour will take a trek through the Sonoma Serengeti for a glimpse of majestic giraffes and many other four legged friends — and then are on to visit the White Rhinos in their creek side enclosure. Their is no walking portion of the tour nor is the aviary included, however; we do try and cover several areas in the lower compound that are accessible by the vehicle. Our goal is to increase the likelihood that our guests will have a greater likelihood of seeing each type of animal. The Service Animal Safari is something that is not typically available to smaller groups.
To confirm availability, we ask that you call our Reservations Department at 707 566-3667 and reserve the Service Animal Safari Trek within 72 hours of your arrival. The tour price is $38 per person.
Safari West Wildlife Foundation
Safari West Wildlife Foundation (SWWF) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization created to support the objectives of Safari West. The main goal of the Foundation is to secure and preserve the legacy of Safari West for future and subsequent generations. The president is Stephanie Larson.
For more information please visit the Safari West Wildlife Foundation website.
Safari West Wildlife Foundation (SWWF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was incorporated in 1997 (originally under the name Friends of Safari West).
The Safari West Wildlife Foundation is a research and educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildlife.
The foundation helps the community develop a deeper appreciation for the natural environment and conservation through safaris, seminars, workshops, wildlife camps for children, and various other efforts.
Our Safari West Discover Africa program offers a priceless learning experience to children who might never otherwise have this opportunity. We find that even a simple and fun activity such as counting a zebra’s stripes leaves a lasting “conservation imprint” on young developing minds.
You can support Safari West Wildlife Foundation either through a donation! Donations to SWWF help us provide scholarships for school field trip opportunities; support the costs of teacher Safari to Science workshops and advance endangered species education and research. To Learn more about Donating and the Safari West Wildlife Foundation, click here.
Discover Africa is an educational field trip program at Safari West which is sponsored by the Safari West Wildlife Foundation. Discover Africa subsidizes the cost of one classroom Safari West field trip per month to schools that would otherwise be unable to afford this vital enrichment program. Safari West Wildlife Foundation is especially committed to giving at-risk students in our local counties and the greater Bay Area an opportunity to participate in this program. For more information on the Discover Africa program, click here.