A winery for those who like to stay local and are looking for a tipsy safari
BY GLORY CRUZ, VANESSA SAENZ, & CRYSTAL RIVAS
Malibu Wine Safari
32111 Mulholland Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
(818) 497-2206 | lasafaris.com
Hours: Monday - Sunday 10am-5pm
Cost: $65 - $155
What to expect
Tucked away in the lush mountains stretching over 1,000 acres, you can find Malibu Wine Safari nestled between Saddlerock Ranch and the scenic hills of Malibu. Malibu Wine Safari has been family-owned and operated since 1978 by the Semler family, and is one of Los Angeles’ one-stop shops for locals and visitors to enjoy award-winning wines and interact with exotic animals retired from Hollywood.
When reserving a tour there are six tour options to choose among for your outdoor adventure. Each tour has an age restriction of 21 and older - with the exception of the Family Tour which has an age restriction of 7 and older - and varies in time, amount of wine tastings and animal attractions. Prices increase with each upgraded tour. Attendees who arrive late will not receive a refund and will not be able to experience the full tour as expected. These tours allow people to get off the truck and feed animals on dirt roads and muddy grass, so dress comfortably. With the sunny California weather, it’d be best to come equipped with a hat, sunglasses, and sunblock since the trucks are open roof.
Upon arrival you will walk into a small wooden building where you can check-in, sign a waiver and look around the gift shop as you wait. It is recommended to arrive 30 minutes before the tour start time. This allows everyone to check-in and receive their specific bracelet in regards to their purchased safari tour. The tour is open-aired on a specific colored safari vehicle in which you then take a drive through the vineyards while learning about the history of the Semler Family’s property and visit its exotic residents.
The tour is led by a driver and guide who take you into the street and through the gates of the Safari entrance. You will pass by the buffalo and yaks before reaching the first stop. At this stop you will be let off the vehicle to feed zebras, alpacas, llamas and horses their snacks of lettuce and carrots. You will then pass by the “Door to Everywhere” a burnt down barn door in the middle of nowhere that was salvaged by the Semler’s when they purchased the property in1978. If part of the Giraffe tour, the second stop will be passed the cows and horses, straight to the Giraffic Park where the photogenic Stanley will eat his lettuce treat in any way he can. Visitors are then driven along the open vineyard hillside, passing the large yellow picture frame looking out over the hills, which depicts the family favorite view. As well as a sculpture of the military defense technology the family had designed and produced. After driving up the hillsides you will arrive at La Chateau, where they will find themselves enjoying six wine tastings along with a cheese and cracker plate, which is the final stop.
Driving back down the vineyard toward the check-in location, one can oversee the property Ron and Lisa Semler raised their family of nine, and the streets and buildings named after them. After dropping off all other Safari riders at check-in guests can then be taken to the company’s tasting room where they can relax and buy a bottle of wine. Malibu Wine Safari is a popular California adventure in which special occasions such as birthdays often bring people to the tour while also being a popular wedding venue. This is a must stop excursion so make sure to check their website for ticketing arrangements as soon as possible because the tours get sold out quickly.
If you are driving from Northridge to Malibu, we recommend you to take the US-101 N. Take exit Kanan Rd, turn left, and follow signs for Mulholland Hwy. When driving upwards on Mulholland highway you will reach a sign on your right that reads, “Malibu Wine Safaris.” You will pull into the open dirt lot and park anywhere. As this is a Wine Safari, it is recommended to have a designated driver or be dropped off.
Tours offered include: Explorer Tour, Family Tour, Giraffe Tour, Mimosa Tour, Vintner Tour and the Vineyard & Lunch Tour. Customized tours are also available.