The Kanto Safari Zone (Japanese: サファリゾーンSafari Zone) is a special Pokémon preserve in Kanto that Trainers can enter to capture Pokémon. It is owned by Baoba.
For 500, the player can play the Safari Game (Japanese: サファリゲームSafari Game) and receive 30 Safari Balls. Trainers are limited to 500RBY/600FRLG steps in the Safari Zone before the Game is over. A Safari Zone Exploration Campaign is also taking place, where the goal is for Trainers to find the Secret House (Japanese: トレジャーハウスTreasure House), located in the deepest area, Area 3. The prize for finding the house is HM03 (Surf).
In the Safari Zone, when a wild Pokémon appears, Trainers cannot send out Pokémon to battle it. Instead, Trainers must face Pokémon only with simple tools, and catching a Pokémon becomes much more reliant on luck, as Pokémon are able to run away from the Trainer at any time. Trainers may throw Bait to make a Pokémon less likely to run, but this also makes it harder to catch. Conversely, throwing Rocks will make a Pokémon easier to catch but more likely to run.
The Center Area: where the player enters the Safari Zone
Area 1: east from the Center Area
Area 2: north from the Center Area
Area 3: west from the Center Area
In the Generation I games, "Center Area" is actually used to refer to both the entrance area that acts as a hub to all the other areas, and the area east from this hub.
As with other Safari Games, Pokémon are made easier or harder to capture by modifying the Pokémon's catch rate. Pokémon can be in any of three states—angry, eating or neutral—with the angry state making them more likely to run but the eating state making them less likely to.
At the start of an encounter, two counters—an "angry counter" and an "eating counter"—are set to 0. Whenever Bait is thrown, the angry counter is reset while the eating counter increases by a random value between 1 and 5 (but to no more than 255). The opposite occurs if a Rock is thrown: the eating counter is reset and the angry counter increases on the same basis. The catch rate is doubled (to no more than 255) whenever a Rock is thrown, but halved (rounded down) whenever Bait is thrown.
At the end of each turn, if either the angry or eating counter is nonzero, it is decreased by 1; if the angry counter is decreased to 0, the modified catch rate resets to the Pokémon's initial catch rate. A random value between 0 and 255 inclusive is generated, and if this is less than half of the Pokémon's Speed rounded down (if the Pokémon is eating), double the Speed (if the Pokémon is in a neutral state), or four times the Speed (if the Pokémon is angry), the Pokémon escapes. A Pokémon will also always escape if its Speed is 128 or more, even if it is eating.
The Safari Game mechanics were overhauled to more closely resemble the one in the Hoenn Safari Zone. Like it, there is an additional "catch factor" that begins at 100/1275 of the Pokémon's catch rate (rounded down). Each species of Pokémon also has its own "escape rate", unlike in the Hoenn Safari Zone, which is never modified.
Like Generation I, a Pokémon will be angry or eating whenever Bait or Rocks are thrown. If Bait is thrown, it will be "eating" for 2-6 turns, during which the catch factor is halved. If Rocks are thrown, it will be "angry" for 2-6 turns, during which the catch factor is doubled. Being "angry" or "eating" is mutually exclusive, though modifications to the catch factors will stack (reverting to its original value whenever the Pokémon is neither "angry" nor "eating"). Whenever a Safari Ball is thrown, the catch factor is converted back to a catch rate by multiplying by 1275/100 and rounding down.
At the end of a turn, a random number from 0 to 99 is generated, and is compared to 5 times its "modified escape factor": 1275/100 of the escape rate (rounded down), which is doubled if the Pokémon is "angry" or quartered (rounded down) if the Pokémon is "eating". If the random value is less, the Pokémon escapes.
In Generation II, the sign outside the Safari Zone contains a notice about it being closed in that reads:
The WARDEN is
SAFARI ZONE is
In the anime, the Safari Zone is run by a gun-toting warden, Kaiser. Like in the games, Trainers are restricted to only thirty Safari Balls per challenge. It is explained that this is because of too many Trainers capturing all the rarest Pokémon too rapidly and due to searching for the extremely rare Pokémon, Dratini.
Ash captured thirty Tauros in his Safari challenge.
The Kanto Safari Zone appeared briefly in File 4: Charizard, when Red was seen confronting Chansey in there. Initially, he had trouble choosing between throwing a rock or a bait, almost causing the Chansey to run away, but eventually, he managed to catch it and register it with his Pokédex.
In the Red, Green & Blue chapter, Red visits the Safari Zone during Meanwhile... Vileplume!, Long Live the Nidoking! and A Hollow Victreebel. With the help of the two guide robots Pidgebot1 and Pidgebot2, Red goes through the jungle on a raft. He witnesses two Nidoking fighting over a Nidoqueen, and attempts to capture a Nidoking using a Poké Ball he had smuggled in. The targeted Nidoking deflects the Poké Ball, and it instead hits and successfully captures the Nidoqueen. This angers both Nidoking. One of them attacks Red, destroying both the raft and Pidgebot2 and damaging Pidgebot1's wing. Red tries to retaliate by throwing rocks, and though he puts its eye out, he only infuriates it further. Red then manages to flee with Pidgebot1's help.
Later, Red is captured by a Victreebel. He is not eaten, however, but tied up and stored with several Pokémon that had also fallen prey. This is necessary for a ritual that will evolve several Bellsprout and Weepinbell. Red and Pidgebot hatch an escape plan, which involves using a Poké Flute to awaken the sleeping Pokémon and ruin the ritual to cause a commotion, then fleeing using a Poké Doll as cover. Red also uses Safari Balls to catch some Victreebel in the process. Unfortunately, the two run straight into the Nidoking from earlier on. Using a caught Victreebel, Red was also able to capture the Nidoking.
Red captures several Pokémon in the Safari Zone. Despite the fact that he was not supposed to bring any regular Poké Balls, Red managed to smuggle one in and catch a Nidoqueen. The others were caught using the custom Safari Balls he was given.
The Safari Zone is a location in Generation II, but is very minimally programmed into the game. It can only be accessed by changing the warp pointers when a room is entered; however, when it has been accessed, the area is unmistakably the entrance area, complete with music. It is apparently a leftover from the development builds of Gold and Silver.
In Pokémon Yellow, Tauros's encounter rate at the Safari Zone is 10%, as opposed to the other Generation I-based games, where its encounter rate is only 1% or 4%, depending on the Area. As the Yellow Version is highly based on the anime, this can be taken as a reference to the anime episode EP035, where Tauros were seen in large numbers around the Safari Zone, as opposed to its rarity in the previous games.
Another reference to the aforementioned episode in Yellow may be the fact that Dragonair, which also appeared in EP035, is available in the Yellow Version, but not in the Red and Blue Versions.
In Generation I, a scientist in a house in the top-right corner of Area 2 states, "You can keep any item you find on the ground here. But, you'll run out of time if you try for all of them at once!". However, so long as the player can use HM03 (Surf) as soon as they pick it up, it is actually possible to collect all possible items in the Safari Zone in one visit.
Although bait makes Pokémon harder to catch, an NPC in Area 4 says it makes them easier to catch.
In the Western Generation I games, though the player receives 30 Safari Balls, it is only possible to catch 25 Pokémon: 5 to fill the party and 20 to fill a Box. In the Japanese games, however, the Box capacity is 30 Pokémon.
In Pokémon Yellow, if the player tries to enter the Safari Zone with less than 500, they can enter the Safari Zone for all of their remaining money but they get a number of Safari Balls proportional to the amount paid. If they have no money, they can enter for free after multiple attempts to enter, but only receive a single Safari Ball.