on March 7, 2010
Tucked into the rolling hills between Calistoga and Santa Rosa, Safari West provided an experience that exceeded our expectations. Though we opted to participate in only the Safari and not the cabins or meals, the experience was fascinating for our entire group, whose ages ranged between 3 to 68 years old. Let me preface by saying that I can't imagine how our tour could have been any better. We watched as a baby giraffe, born only 36 hours before our arrival, learned how to use his new legs. Over a dozen zebras dotted (or should I say "striped") a wooded hillside. Even the rhinos emerged from their barn to give us full-view of their enormity. Since it was still shoulder season, the price was discounted, yet the weather was a mild 70 degrees and only partly cloudy. Though our guide--Robert--seemed to know everything, he didn't cram us full of facts. Instead, he enthusiastically gave us just the right amount of information and insight. All the staff we encountered seemed to love their jobs.While one group's Jeep drove off to the open fields for their safari, Robert walked us amongst caged monkeys, cheetahs, and some of the most spectacular birds we've ever seen. Once onboard the Jeep, giraffes walked right by us, curiously ducking down to sniff and search us tourists. The ominous cape buffalo relaxed across the Jeep trail from the wildebeests, who seemed to be patched together with features of other animals. As if the fun of 4-wheeling along muddy trails wasn't enough, the amazing animals and our wonderful guide convinced us that even if we paid twice the price, it would have been worth it.Practical information:* There are 3 rows of bench seating behind the driver and one row on top of the Jeep. Each row accommodates 3 large people comfortably (4 if you're smaller or don't mind getting a bit friendly with your tour mates). I believe you must be at least 48" to ride up top.* Use the restroom before your Jeep ride!
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009