Kenya Rwanda

Why a safari is the perfect post-lockdown therapy

When will we travel again? It’s the million-dollar question and we don’t necessarily have the answer, but we do know that right now everyone is dreaming of wild places, open spaces, thrilling adventures, vibrant cultures and stunning landscapes.

A safari experience like no other – photo credit Will Fortescue

Sadly, the travel industry, like many others, has been on a complete standstill for the last few months. The negative effects have been felt heavier than ever but we are staying focused and determined to weather the storm; hopefully we will come out stronger and be able to provide the best life experiences to all of you.

Amazing wildlife encounters – photo credit Will Fortescue

Recently, it does feel like so much has been cancelled – and indeed it has. We hear you! But here’s a positive note: Hope has not been cancelled. Worldly compassion and that neighbourly ‘over the fence’ kind of chitter chatter hasn’t been cancelled. Neither has community support or conservation efforts in the most vulnerable of areas. ‘Bucket list’, once-in-a-lifetime and off-the-beaten-track style adventures are all still ahead of us. The Coronavirus and its entourage of travel restrictions, curfews, lockdowns and loss have ploughed their way through each and every corner of the earth in the last three months – but – our urge to connect to the great outdoors is stronger than ever.

Community support in the time of Covid – photo credit William Karoki

It’s our job to keep up to date with what’s happening at the forefront of international travel, of course our entire business depends on it – but we also have a duty to keep all our guests informed. We know that a lot of you have missed out on what was supposed to be a green season safari in the months of March, April and May – maybe even June, and we can only imagine how disappointed you must be. We have been working closely and tirelessly with our travel partners and would-be visitors, to help postpone safaris to another date that is better suited. In March, we launched the Governors’ | Flex Policy, which is giving our guests peace of mind to book. After all, we do not want people undertaking what should be a trip of a lifetime, under duress and uncertainty.

Meanwhile, and until travel restrictions are fully lifted, we know that the pandemic has certainly made a lot of us rethink the future of travel: when, where and why will we go? The industry experts are predicting that spiritually connecting, soul enhancing and life enriching experiences will be the top picks for most people. To ‘travel with purpose’ has never been more important.

A chance to get involved in community programmes – photo credit Will Fortescue

At Governors’, we can only hope that our long term green initiatives, our community and conservation programs, our best wildlife locations, our diversity of experience, our stunning collection of properties as well as an endearing cast of characters who have a million stories to tell, will somehow play in our favour. After all, we are pioneers of the ‘classic African safari’ – under canvas and immersed in the wild – with a huge commitment to sustainable ecotourism.

Solar power at Little Governors’ Camp – photo credit Will Fortescue

As of 2nd June 2020, we are very proud to have developed a Covid Policy, alongside our partners at Wilderness Safaris. Heading up the Covid-19 Response Committee is Governors’ co-founder and Director, Dr. Romi Grammaticas, who is also a UK-qualified medical practitioner.

“As one of the leaders in the field of safari tourism, we take great pride in the care that we extend to our guests in giving them a memorable holiday experience. Right now, I am personally and deeply involved in the provision of a safe environment in our camps during this time of Covid-19. We are putting in place extensive arrangements to make your stay as safe as it possibly can be, whilst giving you a wonderful time in the wide-open spaces of Kenya and Rwanda” – Dr. Romi Grammaticas.

Dr. Romi Grammaticas

You can find our policy on our website HERE and if you are compelled to hear more about the long and colourful history of Governors’ and the Grammaticas family, please watch this VIDEO.

If you are looking to really make your next trip an unforgettable memory, why not consider a hot air balloon flight with Governors’ Balloon Safaris – a chance to see the Masai Mara (and the Great Migration if you plan on visiting us in the next few months) from a totally different perspective! Gently floating across the Mara plains and following the Mara River in a southerly direction (best flight route available, just FYI!) at sunrise, before landing on the open savannah for a bush breakfast and champagne toast to Mother Earth!

Governors’ Balloon Safaris – photo credit Will Fortescue

You can even throw handfuls of ‘seedballs’ out over the riverine forest as part of our re-greening of the Mara efforts; help us make a big difference for just a small donation.

‘Seedballing’ – help us re-green degraded areas of the Mara – photo credit Will Fortescue

Speaking of the Great Migration, this is without a doubt, one of life’s most incredible wildlife events and an absolute marvel to behold. And despite all the obstacles we are currently experiencing, nature continues and we look forward to welcoming the huge herds again in a couple of months, as we do every year. The heavy downpours of March, April and May has resulted in fantastically long grasses on the Mara plains which have now begun to turn a slightly golden colour in preparation of the wildebeest. No one ever has the pleasure of predicting the exact day and time of their arrival, but we are feeling pretty confident that they will be with us in August.

The Great Migration – photo credit Will Fortescue

The good news there is that there is still precious TIME (time being the operative word) to try and catch this phenomenal annual wildlife movement of over two million animals migrating up from Tanzania’s Serengeti into Kenya’s Masai Mara. So, if you are feeling as optimistic and positive about the world of travel as we are, then here’s hoping for a stunning Migration Season ahead – a great ‘post lockdown’ opportunity to rejuvenate and experience the greatest wildlife show on Earth!

The Great Migration – photo credit Will Fortescue

Meanwhile, as we all settle into a new state of ‘normal’, where ‘distance’ and ‘isolation’ are the latest buzz words on everybody’s feed, it’s strange to think that we have actually been using these words to describe the safari experience for many years: Those of you who have visited beautiful wildlife regions like the Masai Mara, the infinite plains of Laikipia, the Great Rift Valley or the Volcanoes National Park will know that you could not be more distanced or isolated if you tried. After all, there are very few things more awe-inspiring than seeing a Silverback gorilla in the wild!

Rwandan Silverback gorilla – photo credit Will Fortescue

Mugie Conservancy – Laikipia – photo credit Alisa Karstad

Perhaps we are all in agreement that the current downtime is an opportunity to re-evaluate a lot of things; we do know that in order for us to travel tomorrow, we must stay home today. It’s like wanting something that is just beyond our reach – we only want it more so.

Maybe Ernest Hemingway said it best with “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy”. We are praying that this crisis ends soon and everything goes back to normal – in the meantime, please know that we are thinking of you all. Stay safe.

Waking up happy in Africa – one of life’s simplest pleasures – photo credit Alisa Karstad

By Jess Savage, Governors’ Camp Collection

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