When Peter met Nancy…
Safari West was born in the late 1980’s when a man by the name of Peter Lang purchased 400 rolling acres in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains. Relocating his small but growing collection of exotic wildlife, Peter quickly converted the former cattle ranch into a world class conservation breeding facility.
As Peter set to work establishing captive breeding programs for the varied and often critically endangered species in his collection he worked closely with local zoological facilities, including, of course, the San Francisco Zoo. It was there that he met lead curator, raptor-specialist, and his future wife, Nancy Lang. Combining their unique skill-sets, the pair set about turning this vast swath of oak woodland into the world class wildlife preserve it is today.
The mission of Safari West is to actively promote conservation and environmental education, while sharing knowledge that empowers each individual to think sustainably about their role in the environment and the world at large.
From the Sound Stage to the Serengeti
Peter Lang’s love affair with wildlife began at a young age. As a boy, he spent many days running around the back lots and sound stages on which his father, Otto Lang, was hard at work directing. Otto’s film credits include many projects, among them the most formative for young Peter, shows like Daktari and Sea Hunt.
These shows often co-starred exotic animals like lions and chimpanzees, a fact Peter took full advantage of. These up close and personal encounters with amazing creatures not normally seen in North America sparked a deep-seated passion in Peter; a passion that would eventually find expression in the hills and savannahs of Safari West.
A Focus on Conservation
After four years of operating a conservation breeding facility behind closed doors, Peter and Nancy opened their home to the public for the first time on July 4th, 1993. From the very beginning, their mission was centered around conservation and education. Peter, Nancy, and all of us who’ve worked with them over the years, firmly believe in inspiring and nurturing conservation advocates of every stripe.
To accomplish this aim, we began by offering guided field trips to local schools; a practice that continues to this day. As the park has developed, so too have offerings. These days alongside the school treks, we proudly offer the Classic Safari, a variety of private excursions, some Behind the Scenes Adventures, and even a chance to be a Keeper for a Day. All of these offerings have at their core, a focus on the wildlife and our role in shaping their future on this planet.
Around the Clock Adventure
With a full array of wildlife excursions on offer, we found that our guests always wanted more! For that reason, in the late nineties, we began construction on the Safari West Tent Camp. With the biologically diverse Catfish Pond serving as the center, the tent camp radiates out between the Gazelle Pasture, the Hundred Acres, and the Vista Enclosure.
Within the camp, our guests now enjoy luxury stays in expansive, custom-built tents overlooking a panoramic view of antelope and giraffe. We import the canvas tents from a legendary manufacturer in Lobatswe, Botswana and then mount them of raised platforms here on site. With hardwood floors, electricity, running hot and cold water, and even en-suite bathrooms, these tents are more comfortable than most hotels!
As we look ahead, the future of Safari West looks brighter than ever. We now entertain and educate thousands of guests every year. Like the nearly 1,000 animals that make their homes here, we are constantly growing and developing. Each year we refine our breeding programs and educational outreach. Each year we take advantage of new, more sustainable technologies to make our operations greener. Each year we welcome more and more new, excited, and curious faces.
Join us in our ongoing exploration of the wonders of wildlife. Take part in the efforts to conserve these amazing creatures and their natural habitats. We can’t do alone and we’re always seeking out new wildlife advocates.