By Chris Moran
You can see baby camels in Nevada — and sleep in a Mongolian ger — but you’re going to have to drive a little way to do it.
Camel Safari in Bunkerville, about 487 miles southeast of Reno and near the golf mecca of Mesquite, is set to re-open Aug. 1. The 176-acre animal sanctuary focuses on conservation and education, owner Guy Seeklus says, and now is offering Desert Ranch Experience packages that include interaction with the animals and a stay in a ger, a traditional Mongolian dwelling.
“Our goal is to provide a safe, outdoor experience for people who want to learn about animals,” Seeklus said.
People who want to see baby camels are in luck, too. Three babies were born earlier this year — Fauci, Darlene and Sam — and two more are on the way. Camel Safari, home to 35 camels — both the dromedary (one hump) and Bactrian (two hump) variety —also has armadillos, woolly opossums and hedgehogs, among other creatures. In November, the facility will host two Papua New Guinea singing dogs, a rare breed known for its unusual vocalizations.
Visitors can learn about the animals by booking Desert Ranch Experience packages (day-only or overnight) for small family and friend groups. Seeklus said he moved to this new business model to offer the public a safe, outdoor experience where they can socially distance.
Bunkerville, where Camel Safari is located, is a small community of about 1,100 people. If you’re there, you also may want to check out neighboring Mesquite, about 10-minute drive to the east. The community is home to seven golf courses, all in and around the Virgin Mountain foothills. Explore the surrounding Mojave Desert on an off-road trek (Adventure Time in Mesquite offers OHV rentals and guided tours) and learn about local history at the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum.
Also within a day’s drive of Mesquite: Cathedral Gorge State Park (about 137 miles to the north, but you’ll have to swing through Arizona and Utah to get there), known for its slot cave formations. There’s also the Lost City Museum in Overton (about 40 miles to the south), which preserves and interprets artifacts left by the Ancestral Puebloan people.
For details on Mesquite lodging, see VisitMesquite.com.
Chris Moran is a public relations specialist at the Nevada Division of Tourism (Travel Nevada) and has lived in Reno since 1996. She is a former editor and writer at the Reno Gazette-Journal, and has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Her hobbies include skiing, hiking, reading, photography, coffee and coffeehouses, and exploring Nevada. Check out her blog at www.ChrisinNevada.wordpress.com.