(Photos and Photo Art by Sandy Zimmerman)
I found some very exciting attractions while touring northern California! Safari West is compared to the African Serengeti! The sounds of animals greet you at the entrance. Safari West is not a zoo.
Terry, one of the guides, drove me up to the mountains around the 400 acre wildlife preserve in an authentic Safari vehicle. It was an eerie feeling when he got out to open the gate, drove in and closed the gate behind us. We were in the enclosure with the wild animals! The public must stay in the truck during the tour and are not allowed to walk around. There were antelopes and giraffes close enough to take their pictures.
We could see how the animals live in their environment. The rhinos sat sunning and rolling around in the mud but they were too dangerous to allow anyone to enter the gate. Some of the other dangerous animals were the Cape Buffalos.
Terry discussed interesting background facts, “Giraffes look gentle but their feet can kick a karate blow in any direction with enough power to crush a lion’s skull. Our animals do not come up to the truck to be fed. This preserve is a microcosm of southern, central and northern Africa. We have 750 animals and birds with 38 species of animals. They are fed a good diet, are safe with good shelter, good parasite control and seldom need a veterinarian. The only worry for them is to keep away from local coyote predators.
In Honduras, I learned how to be a dolphin trainer but here you can arrange to be on the feeding team. They dump the pallets of Alfalfa before the animals come to eat. Later the team counts all of the animals, looks for medical problems, and keeps charts. This is the
Minimalist way of not interfering with them.
It was thrilling with animals all around us as we drove further and further into the preserve. The two- hour tour was filled with surprises. After the tour you can stay for the day walking around the cages of monkeys, birds, foxes and other animals.
For information or reservations, call (808)-616-2695. Safari West schedules tours year round. Their restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. You also have the opportunity to stay in one of the African-style tents overnight. Safari West is located just two-and-a-half- hours from San Francisco, near Sonoma and Napa wine country, in Santa Rosa, California. You can fly to Santa Rosa or San Francisco Airports. www.safariwest.com
PLACES TO STAY
The Farmhouse Inn provides a luxury experience in the forest just a half-hour from Safari West. www.farmhouseinn.com
California’s North Coast boasts miles and miles of wide-open beaches that offer a contrast to the crowded coastlines farther south. Even in the summer, they are windswept, edged with redwood trees, and dotted with dramatic cliffs and rocky coves. This region also has many natural inland lakes that make for cool dips on hot summer days.
With 400 miles of rugged coastline, redwood forests, NASCAR, world famous spas, and lush vineyards to name a few, it’s no wonder the North Coast is the perfect destination for your next golf/wine, golf/spa, golf/culinary, or golf/anything you imagine vacation.
Coastal nature preserves and redwood forests offer plenty of hiking along rugged trails, along with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Avenue of the Giants in Redwoods State Park will remind you how small we really are. This region’s many rivers and lakes farther inland provide the ingredients for excellent fishing, waterskiing, swimming and boating. Visit exciting California and get ready for SURPRISES! Let them help you find your “Trip of a Lifetime!!! www.visitcalifornia.com