When the sommelier pairs a white wine with beef, we consider that quite the adventure. So imagine our excitement when we first heard about Safari West, a place that brings together glamping, wild animals and vino all in one spot.
Known as the Sonoma Serengeti, the 400-acre reserve in Santa Rosa, California is owned by Peter and Nancy Lang, a couple devoted to this conservation breeding facility. In fact, they’re so dedicated to this place that in the wildfires two years ago, Peter managed to protect nearly 1,000 animals and the majority of structures on this land, sacrificing the couple’s own nearby house in the process.
Of course, the wildfires in Sonoma County have been back in the news this year and actually began only a few days after we left our incredible, first-ever Safari West experience. So we figured it was perfect timing to get this magical place on everyone’s radar to book a bucket-list-worthy trip to Wine Country and help support the locals who continue to brave the unpredictable elements.
Luckily for us, American Airlines offers seasonal nonstop flights from DFW to STS (Santa Rosa’s Charlie Brown and Snoopy-themed Charles M. Schultz Sonoma County Airport). Non-stops return in 2020 starting April 7 and last through the fall. Even if you schedule a trip when non-stops aren’t available, it’s totally worth connecting to fly directly to Santa Rosa versus driving in after a San Francisco landing.
With more than 90 species to interact with on the property, every safari tour is a unique experience. Book a time slot from multiple options per day (up to five in peak season) and get ready to take some spectacular photos. Or simply kick back and marvel at the majesty of some of these incredible creatures.
Looking for a more VIP experience? Book a private safari for you and your travel companions. Or choose the “Talk Nerdy to Me!” option for a more in-depth, technical discussion of the animals and their habitat.
For us, of course, alcohol makes everything more fun and Safari West gets that. Safari West offers both wine-tasting and beer-tasting excursions that bring together booze and beasts in fun and informative ways. Why settle for a visit to a winery tasting room when you can sip on a Zinfandel with a zebra instead?
Sure, going on safari here is fun all on its own, but for the fully immersive experience, book an overnight stay in a luxury tent imported from Botswana. Featuring hardwood floors, indoor plumbing (!) and spectacular views of the grounds, you can fall asleep to the calls of the wild—after making your own wild noises in the privacy of your accommodations.
You don’t even have to leave the property for grazing if you want maximum mammal memories during your visit. The Savannah Café offers a continental breakfast complimentary with overnight stays, as well as reservation-only lunch and dinner options featuring meats grilled over the large open fire in the outdoor dining area along with a variety of salads and sides on the buffet.
Book Now, Kitty Girl
It’s never too early to reserve your accommodations and safari adventures, so if you’re up for a Wine Country experience like no other, we can’t recommend Safari West highly enough.
3115 Porter Creek Road
Santa Rosa, California
Main photo by Sarah-Jane Tarr