April 22nd is Earth Day, which aims to focus attention around the world on celebrating the amazing planet we live on and raising awareness about the importance of conserving our natural environment. Africa’s travel and safari industry has an important role to play in funding the continent’s conservation efforts, but it’s also crucial that the properties themselves are not compromising their surroundings or the natural inhabitants of the land. We’ve collected together a few of our favourite properties in Africa that have strong eco credentials.
Describing themselves as a place where ‘man treads lightly and nature is respected’, Etendeka Mountain Camp is an eco-friendly tented camp in Namibia’s Damaraland. Wholeheartedly committed to sustainable tourism, solar power is used extensively throughout the camp to enable them to offer all the necessary comforts without impacting the environment. The stylish but simple design blends in seamlessly with the arid surroundings.
The perfect place to base yourself for a gorilla tracking adventure, Volcanoes Virunga Lodge is a luxury eco-lodge with superlative views of Volcanoes National Park. This is one of four lodges operated by Volcanoes Safaris, who have been at the forefront of great ape eco-tourism for almost 20 years. The lodges work extremely closely with local communities to promote the conservation of great apes, restore natural habitats and reduce human-wildlife conflict.
Offering epic views of KwaZulu Natal’s bush and hills, Phinda Mountain Lodge is one of South Africa’s most dramatic safari lodges. This charming luxury lodge is run by &Beyond, whose strong conservation ethos is at the forefront of everything they do. Phinda Private Game Reserve is a great example of the positive work carried out by &Beyond, with their participation in the reintroduction of the endangered black rhino being one of their great success stories.
Nuarro Lodge is a magically remote eco-lodge on an idyllic crescent of beach in northern Mozambique. Combining rustic simplicity with totally spoiling service, this wonderfully relaxed lodge provides all the ingredients for a truly special beach escape, without compromising the local environment. Committed to sustainability, the lodge generates its own electricity and clean water using renewable energy, as well as supporting local community initiatives.
Tucked into the forest in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, The Highlands is comprised of eight elegant dome-shaped suites which seamlessly combine glass and canvas. The definition of eco-chic, the camp uses state-of-the-art technology to minimise its footprint, including a full solar plant and rainwater collection. The camp also works closely with the local community and supports Ochaniomelok Primary School.
Comprised of just two elegant bandas, Saruni Rhino is an intimate lodge in northern Kenya’s Sera Community Conservancy. Offering the first black rhino tracking experience of its kind in Kenya, Saruni’s latest property has pioneered one of the country’s most advanced conservation projects to date. Since launching in February, an additional male calf has been born and several females are expecting, which is hopefully a step towards a brighter future for Kenya’s black rhino population.
Hidden away on a cove of golden sand between the sparkling Indian Ocean and thick primary rainforest of the Masoala Peninsula, Masoala Forest Lodge is a unique eco-retreat dedicated to protecting the rich biodiversity of its surroundings. The seven palm thatched tree-houses are constructed using sustainable indigenous materials, and make use of natural lighting and ventilation as much as possible in order to reduce energy consumption.
Nkwichi Lodge is an alluringly remote lodge on the Mozambique shores of Lake Malawi, accessible only by boat. The lodge is situated within the 600km² Manda Wilderness Reserve, which is home to a plethora of plant and animal species. This high quality, low-impact lodge is a key source of income for this remote part of the world, and uses a lot of its profits to help with conservation initiatives and community development projects.