What a great weekend we had! My mother-in-law and her husband came to visit so we took them to a place we’ve always wanted to see and only 30 minutes from our home called Safari West. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Wine Country, this place is yet another reason to do so. Safari West is not a zoo, it’s a 400 acre preserve in the heart of Sonoma County that is home to several hundred animals and bird species native to Africa and South America, many of them endangered. Together with the kids and grandparents, we set out on a perfect spring day with sunny skies on a safari adventure!
In anticipation of the visit, I rented a 18-200mm lens like I’ve done before to capture the animals in their habitats. It came with a hood and allowed me to zoom out to capture wide panoramas and zoom in to capture faces!
I love the idea of “try before you buy” so this was a great opportunity to take this versatile lens out for spin – I rent from Borrow Lenses and pick up at a local photography shop. This one is so great for vacationing outdoors when you take along your DSLR – the range of 18-200mm allows you to capture so much while on the go and without ever switching lenses.
The adventure begins on an all terrain vehicle (it felt a little like Jurassic Park) with an experienced guide and you ride all the way through the preserve up and down and into valleys where different animals live on a two hour tour.
Some of the animals come up right next to the vehicle which is so cool but many of the animals are 20 to 100 feet away. Some habitats are enclosed (rhinos, cheetahs, monkeys) but many are not.
Antelopes and giraffes and zebras cross your path as you travel around, here’s a glimpse at a few of creatures captured on this beautiful preserve. There are hundreds of animals here, these are just a few favorite shots straight out of the camera using the borrowed lens.
You can stay at Safari West over night in open air tented African style cabins that have all the modern amenities and listen to the sounds of the animals at night… something we’d love to do in the future.
After the adventure, we spent the afternoon driving around the Napa Valley where the mustard flowers are in full bloom and I snapped a few photos with the inlaws – it’s so lovely here in spring!
Next week I’ll share a few of our favorite stops and wineries between Calistoga and St. Helena in the Napa Valley. . . . . .