Sunday, June 26, 2011


On a beautiful April day I drove up to San Francisco where I picked up Ashley and Alyssa.  We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge to Santa Rosa to celebrate Ash's birthday.

We had decided to go to SafariWest, an authentic wild animal preserve described as "the spirit of Africa in the heart of wine country."  We weren't sure what to expect, but were bowled over with the number of African wild life we got to see.  We boarded our safari jeep and our two guides quickly told us to hang on tight so as not to drop backpacks or purses, and with good reason.  We began our trek over bumpy dirt roads that meandered through lush green hills, with occasional dips and hills that lifted you off your seat.

Here are just a few of the animals we got to see:
 Ever since feeding and petting gentle giraffes in Kenya, I've been in love with these creatures - awkward and elegant at the same time.

At one point we went through a gate and were told very sternly that if we dropped anything to consider it gone forever as they would not be getting out of the jeep for any reason.  We rounded a bend and saw what they were talking about -- a herd of cape buffalo stood in front of us, sniffing the wind.
Suddenly, without warning, something spooked the herd and they began stampeding.  Every one held their breath as they flew past our jeep, turned a corner and came pounding back toward our jeep again.

With those horns and their well-known unpredictable nature, they are considered highly dangerous to humans so you don't want to mess with them!  After a few minutes of all of us sitting quietly in the jeep, they wandered off and we were able to move forward.

After the jeep tour, we went on a walking tour through an aviary, past the flamingo pond, and past the cheetahs and lemurs.  I don't know if you can see it, but there is a bird laying on her eggs in that huge bird's nest!

 The lemurs were quick and fun to watch...

This was a great way to spend Ash's birthday together.

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