If you're anything like me, one of my life goals, is to one day go on a true African Safari. I not only love animals, but I just think it would be absolutely life changing, to see these real deal wild animals in their true natural glory and habitat, before that is, the world turns into one giant shopping mall. I mean lets face it, there's a reason that Coyotes, Bears and Bobcats are seen more and more in residential neighborhoods, humans need more and more land, and by doing so, we are taking away from these animal's natural habitats. I digress.
Umm, did I mention that I want to one day go on a true African Safari? Yep, It's gonna happen, I just know it! the only minor, teensy, weensy, hiccup, to this life plan, is the fact that it takes dayssss to travel there, plus the time off work for vacation, plus the crazy malaria pills you'll need to stock up on, plus the god know's what other diseases you have to get shots for, oh annnnnd the thousands of dollars it takes to get you there. No big deal, right? But here's the silver lining to that Debbie Downer rampage that I temporarily just went on. I may have found travel lovers like myself, the next best thing to Africa! A travel understudy if you will, A true taste of Africa without all the fuss and hub bub of actually traveling there. Yep, I'm gonna call it a Safari in my own Backyard. I'm talking about the San Diego Safari Park's very own Caravan Safari. Okay so maybe you’re not quite getting the full sleeping in a hut, tracking through the sticks, African Safari experience with Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! (for the record Africa does not have Lions, Tigers and Bears, all grouped together.) But for those like myself who are on somewhat of a travel budget, and prefer to sleep in the confines of home, or a least a plush nearby hotel room, the Caravan Safari in America’s Finest City, is pretty darn close to the real thing, and a true bargain considering your getting a sampling of a Lux Safari Experience without all the headache of getting there. From feeding endangered Rhinos, rubbing faces with Giraffes that frolic and run alongside your open air Safari truck, and a quick exploration of both Asian and African birds and mammals that come in all shapes in sizes. This up close view of the animal’s almost, natural habitat is a once in a lifetime experience and true walk on the wild side.
How did I find out about this Caravan you may ask? Well I've been a zoo member for quite some time but never spent as much time at the Safari Park, so when I found out they had a private Caravan experience that gets you up close with the animals in a way you can't experience in the regular park, I said sign me up. I truly try to live my life with as many life moments as possible. (I want to one day look back as I write my life story and think, yep I got the most out of this whole living thing.) That's why If you're needing an animal fix like I do from time to time, or if you want a unique date idea or maybe you just want to go on a Sunday afternoon adventure and learn more about some of the world's most endangered animals. This tour is a real dream outing.
Here's how it works, you're going to need a pass to the Safari Park, Whether its a day pass or you a season ticket holder, you're going to need to have access to the park. Then once you're there, you're going to have to pay a small additional amount for the Private Caravan Experience. Depending on the amount of time you want to go out in the caravan prices may vary. But once you pick your time and get ready to go out, my advice is to have your cameras on standby as this truly a tour you'll never forget.
Personally for me, I love the idea for any sort of private one-on-one type of tour but the icing on the cake to this African Safari experience is the fact that you even get to feed and love-on some of these world renowned animals. A novel idea, that you may not actually get to do in the wild if you travel to Africa. My true living the dream, type bucket list moment was when I got to not only feed the Giraffes and Rhinos, but I also loved learning all about their unique bodies and habitats. For instance I never knew that Giraffes' only sleep 10 to 20 minutes a day, (and not all at once) as their body mass is so large and their blood pressure so high, that if they slept longer, or laid down to sleep, their body would actually crush their ginormous heart. Speaking of heart, its somewhat hard to imagine, but Giraffe's hearts are 2-3 feet long. That's insane to me, seeing as how I'm only 5'5" tall, thats nearly half my height. (I mean just check out my Giraffe Selfie above, his head is huge compared to my body!) Other quick observations that I made about the Giraffes, the adults, can be a bit aggressive and do not like to be touched, The babies on the other hand, a bit naive and hungry will allow you to gently pet them, if you come equipped with leaves that they like to eat.
As for the rhinos that I came in contact with, well there one sweet little girl whom I forgot her name, followed our caravan around diligently in hopes that someone would toss a quick bite of apple in her direction. Weighing in at a cool, couple thousand pounds, she wasn't fully grown yet but definitely could have taken the heavyweight title home. Rubbing her skin and forehead reminded me somewhat of a sandpaper meets knight's armor type of mix. A truly prehistoric looking creature that was just as curious of us as we were of her. Every time, she came in my direction, I couldn't help think to myself, real unicorns have curves!
Another interesting tidbit about this excursion was, that up until recently, San Diego's Safari Park even housed another extraordinary animal tenant named Nola, She was one of the four remaining Northern White Rhinos in the World, and up until recently, she could have be seen on this very special caravan. Sadly though, Nola's recent passing. marks an almost end to a critically endangered species of Rhinos. In fact, the three remaining northern white rhinos in the world currently reside at an animal preserve in Kenya. (Quick Side note: I also learned from this tour that it's never a good idea to keep all of an animal species in one place. If there was a disease outbreak of some sort, fire, flood, etc. this poor animal species would be a long lost thought.) #SaveTheRhinos
Oh and one other nugget of knowledge that I learned... Zebras are Assholes! (the guide's words not mine) He said when other animals act up, they put them in the zebra enclosure to correct their behavior. Evidently Zebras are aggressive and can be just all around a-holes. Again his words not mine.
So not to end on a sour note, but rather an uplifting tale of adventure and animals. Whether you're in it for the selfish Giraffe Selfie, or perhaps you actually care to see and feed these animals up close and learn all about them. These caravans are not only life changing and educational, but a true travel must do. I highly recommend embarking on this one of a kind travel adventures and getting a small taste of Africa and Asia's wildlife with the Safari Park's Caravan Safari Experience!
For a video exploration of my Carvan Safari, make sure you check out the link below:
Emmy Award-Winning Producer, TV Host, and All-Around Lover of Life. I'm a sarcastic, glass is half full type of gal, who wears too much red lipstick and bright colors, who loves to laugh til' it hurts, travel the world, pet animals, learn about new cultures, drive fast cars and oh yeah, go on spontaneous, adventures.