The Sahara Nature Reserve
For profit, all things are possible.Once a growing desert threatening to drown a continent in sand, the Sahara Nature Reserve has been reborn as a vast and profitable land of lush jungles and vibrant savannahs. About a quarter of what was formerly desert has been revived and transformed through careful geo-engineering, reborn to a corporate purpose. It is one of the premier tourist locations in the world, with millions traveling to see the wilderness paradise every year. After all, there aren't many left. Tourists enjoy the hiking trails that wind through the Reserve and see genetically resurrected animals in their natural habitat (and are only on occasion eaten by - all rights to sue waived when they agreed to the terms). Others hunt, fish, or camp in the wild or in any of the luxurious resorts nestled into the jungle. All of nature's bounty is for sale here. Dozens of corporations compete for the Reserve and all living things within it, with predictable results. Far from the Megacity sprawl, Corporations find that they have much more elbow room to take a swing.
GeographyThe Sahara Nature Reserve is divided into two major biomes: the Coast and the jungle. Either zone is rife with corporate-run hubs of hotels, markets, and another thousand ways to drain visitors' wallets. Hiking trails sprawl across the whole of the Reserve, but only cross corporate-zones when such agreements are in place. Feuding Megacorps often post guides and advertisements along clashing borders to lure away customers from their rivals. When quotas are low, some guides resort to more extreme measures of making sure that tourists follow them.
The Reserve can be split again into the various corporate fiefdoms, travel agencies, and at least one rogue cult. At any given time, some part of the Reserve is fought over in courts and with illegal mercenary armies.
The Coast of Culinary DelightsThe seat of the initial geo-engineering project and the foundation for the rest of the Reserve's revival, the Coast is the oldest and most part of the Reserve. It is the entry into the Sahara, with high-speed shuttles running every few hours from Megacorpolis to the transit stations along the Coast. Well within view of cameras and rival advertisement firms, there's little open conflict between corporations here. Marketing campaigns refer to the Coast as a sanctuary of culinary delights. Kitchen-laboratories clone the tissue previously extinct species for consumption and chefs compete for recognition. It is a popular setting for various cooking media, such as reality TV or even live-audience competitions. Food from all corners of the world is sold the tourists, from towering skyscraper restaurants to street vendors with dubious permits.
Places of Interest
Atlantis ResortThe Atlantis underwater hotel will, according to its marketing material, transport the guests to an underwater wonderland that rivals the fable from which it draws its name. The fact that Atlantis supposedly sunk beneath the waves in a cataclysmic day of reckoning that killed all its inhabitants is not addressed.
There are many, many conspiracy theories happy to talk your ear off about the Atlantis connection here.
Museum of RestorationA monumental tribute to the generosity of the Megacorps and the failure of old nation-states, the Museum of Restoration is an interactive exhibit of grand proportions. It details the environmental devastation of the mid 21st century and how corporations save the world when nations would not. Great emphasis is put on how grateful everyone should be.
The Tower of Babyl-Noms"If it can't be found here, it can't be eaten anywhere" has been the Tower's marketing slogan for the last few decades and it is more than an idle boast. Restaurants, markets, and kitchen-labs of every variety can be found along its seventy floors. The prices rise as the Tower does, reaching astronomical levels at the top.
The Forest of Fierce BeastsPast the Coast and adjacent savannah, the Sahara Reserve blossoms into a thick, dense forest. Carefully cultivated trails snake their way through the dense brush and keep visitors on path to the most profitable sights. The more adventurous can, for a nominal fee, venture deeper into the jungle and come face to face with the wild themselves. Such expeditions are popular endeavors, and sight-seeing safaris are booming to the point where the introduction of additional extinct species are being considered. Tour guide corporations have running battles with one another over rights to particularly lucrative paths.
Others go hunting, usually from jeeps or on foot, although hunt by drone is becoming popular among the rich and the lazy. Illegal hunting is fined and sued as a matter of damaging corporate property.
Rumors of people being released in the Reserve to be hunted by the wealthy are probably an exaggeration.
Survival of the Fittest
The law of the jungle doesn't seem so bad once you've been in the boardroom.Restoring the lands of the Sahara was never about the environment on the part of the Corporations, but a long-term money-making scheme and one that has been wildly successful. Once eco-friendly tourism and eco-restoration became profitable, lands around the world became ripe for a second round of exploitation. Sahara is the biggest and most successful of these eco-restoration projects, but it isn't the only or the last.
Today, the Sahara is home to a few dozen different corporations of all sizes, each competing for a slice of the pie. From hotels and restaurants to tours, hunters, and other adventures, there's enough profit here for corporations to fight dirty. While the Gaia Sector in Megacorpolis is closer to home, the Sahara is many times bigger and much less controlled - the land is wild and the animals not under corporate sponsorship.
The Sahara Forest Project In response to climate change and spreading desertification, some scientist and entrepreneurs began to fight against it well before the Megacorp Enclave's resolution. One of the most prominent of these was the Sahara Forest project. Sahara was not always a desert, but over-exploitation and felling of its forest turned it into one in a few short centuries. By using solar panels for energy and shade, the Sahara Forest project powered desalination plants to feed small farms. These in turn increased rain in the region, allowing plants and trees to take root and stabilize the soil. Once it became clear that real money could be made here, the Megacorps had a new interest in environmentalism.
Corporate ConflictWhile corp-sponsored armies no longer wage open war on each other, that doesn't mean the battles have ended. The conflict between corporations continue, sometimes in the open but often out of public view. It is fought for market share, to enforce lawsuits, to break monopolies, and a hundred other reasons born from greed or petty slights. Citizens and Employees are unwitting pawns in these conflicts. A hotel's food might be poisoned to bring their rating down or raptors "accidentally" break free of their cages for some highly publicized carnage. Expendable assets and corporate assassin trade barbs and bullets, while lawyer-bots file unending lawsuits.
Geo-EngineeringMost of the early geo-engineering efforts went to preventing the spreading desertification of the Sahara. Soil erosion and rising temperatures turned spread the desert until it threatened to swallow the entire north of Africa. With the improvement in technology and access to clean, plentiful energy, the project moved from prevention to reversing to finally creating a new business. Geo-engineering is still in use across the globe, but each is a large-scale and slow-moving project. Only when there's a real chance of making a considerable profit do corporations bother healing the world.
The "fact" that Corporations saved the world from environmental apocalypse is a bludgeon they wield to justify all sorts of things. Whenever public sentiment turns ugly, another round of eco-terror-porn is blasted out across the airwaves. Movies, ads and discourse all turn towards the environmental disasters of the previous decades and how it'll all happen again until the Corps get what they want.