Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Photo: Governors’ Camp Collection

It’s hard to look on the positive side of things right now. COVID-19 has effectively shut down the world. The number of infections and deaths continues to climb every day. Billions of people remain quarantined in their homes. While a vaccine, needed to keep the virus from spreading, won’t be available anytime soon. There is one bright spot, though. It’s the environment.

With a large part of the economy paused, the environment is thriving. Air pollution has greatly decreased as transportation has come to a halt. CO2 emissions have been drastically reduced as production slows. Plus animals are taking back the land that was previously stolen from them. This includes the wildlife in Africa. They love their human-free parks right now.

Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of those parks. The game reserve—it isn’t a national park because it’s owned by the Maasai people—is in southwestern Kenya. The massive reserve extends into Serengeti National Park once it crosses the border into Tanzania. Together, they form one of the greatest wilderness areas in Africa. It hosts the Great Migration, in which millions of wildebeests and thousands of gazelles and zebras move toward water each year. It’s also home to the big five: Cape buffalos, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinoceros. Antelopes, cheetahs, giraffes, hippopotamuses, and ostriches live there, too.

So your first trip, after travel restrictions are ultimately lifted, should be Kenya. You can stay at Governors’ Camp. The first permanent tented camp in the reserve has one of its best wildlife viewing locations. You can sleep in a riverside tent. The large canvas tents are outfitted with a lot of leather and suede. You can eat three-course dinners by candlelight and the sound of nocturnal animals. Additionally, you can go on three game drives a day in search of herds of elephants, hunting cheetahs, playful lion cubs, and roaming wildebeests. It’ll be the safari of a lifetime.

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