Did you know you can go on safari in Southern California? And drink wine there?
Ok, so it’s not exactly an African safari, but Saddle Ranch in Malibu is 1,000 acres of vineyard and animal park which you tour by safari truck. I will say drinking wine and hanging out with animals is pretty cool.
I had the pleasure of sipping on wine and feeding lettuce to zebras at the end of last summer. Full disclosure, I went for a friends birthday party, so I did not plan the event, but man was it fun! Hence why we are wearing matching outfits and plastic safari hats in all the photos. The tee-shirts say “Save the Wino’s” in case you were wondering. Anyways, I wanted to be able to share what a cool experience it was, as well as all the good info so you can plan your own trip.
This beautiful piece of property is nestle up in the the Santa Monica Mountains just east of Malibu. The ranch was originally filled with avocado groves but after a bad freeze in the 90’s where they lost their whole crop the family switch to wine grapes. Now the ranch is home to Saddlerock Malibu Estate Vineyards and a collection of exotic animals including a few retired Hollywood stars.
Safari Tour & Wine Tasting
The Malibu Wine Safari has seven different tour and tasting options, from the basic tour of the ranch and wine tasting to custom private tours. One thing to note, if you want to meet Stanley the Giraffe, one of those ex-show biz animals, he’s got his own specialty “giraffe tour”.
We did the “Explorer Tour” where we got tour the ranch and vineyard in an open air safari truck. We made several stops along the way to see and feed the animals as well as try wine at some truly beautiful lookout points.
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The tour started out with the history of the ranch and a drive through some beautiful old oak trees. Our first stop was by a little pond and a said trees to try some wine. We started out with whites and roses which were delicious. Next we were on to the animals, we drove through paddocks of llamas, horses, donkeys, even a yak!
We got to make a couple of stops to see and feed some furry friends, first was the llamas. For whatever reason, I love llamas, they are so weirdly cute. I was totally stoked to feed them some carrots. From there we walked over to the zebras! Generally zebras aren’t the friendliest of animals but for some big leafy pieces of lettuce they graced us with their presence and even hung around for a few pictures.
The tour around the vineyards continued up the hill to a look out spot where you could see for miles and miles of the Santa Monica Mountains. I loved the rows upon rows of grape vines covering the hills, it was beautiful.
Our last stop was to try a few more wines with a little charutery snack. It was getting late in the afternoon and golden hour hit the grounds just perfectly.
At the end of our tour week took a shuttle up the road a little ways to the Malibu Wine’s tasting room to try a few more wines. It’s a gorgeous garden with shady trees, live music, and excellent wine. It was the perfect way to end the day.
Important Things To Know
- All the tours are 21+
- It’s best to make reservations in advanced. Summer time is the busy season and we made our reservations about a month ahead of time.
- You need to get there 30 minutes before your tour starts to get all checked in.
- There is no bar or wine sampling at the tour office so when we got there early (like 45 minutes early) we had a little time to kill so we went up the road to the tasting room before our tour.
- You’ll get a wristband once you’ve checked in and that wristband will correlate to the safari truck you are in.
Overall it was an awesome experience and a really fun time. If you are in LA it’s an excellent day trip and a unique adventure.
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