Safari West resumes tours after Tubbs Fire

Safari West north of Santa Rosa resumed its tours Monday, six weeks after the Tubbs Fire burned small outbuildings and a few vehicles but spared the African animal species at the “Sonoma Serengeti.”

About 40 people signed up for the 10 a.m. tour Monday, Safari West’s marketing director Aphrodite Caserta said. Tours were planned for 9 and 10 a.m. and 1 and 2 p.m.

Safari West plans to hold Thanksgiving festivities Thursday.

A grand reopening celebration, which includes a “giraffel,” is scheduled for 1-5 p.m. on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3. Admission is $65 for adults and $20 for children, and proceeds benefit the Safari West Wildlife Foundation’s research, children’s programs, speakers and educational programs, Caserta said.

The Savannah Café is open for lunch to tour guests and group holiday gatherings, and visitors should be aware the café is not a full-service restaurant, according to Caserta.

No Safari West staff members were injured in the fire that sparked Oct. 8, but some lost their homes, Caserta said:

“The winds blew the embers over Safari West and the owners stayed behind to take care of spot fires.”

She said the animals remained outside during the fire:

“It was safer for them than being in a barn.”

A few birds and reptiles were evacuated by staff members, she said.

Staff has already begun reseeding the burned areas on the outer perimeters of Safari West, Caserta said:

“The animals are happy to have a lot more grass than before.”

The luxury tent camp is undergoing a deep cleaning and refurbishment and will open in March 2018, Caserta said.