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Conscious Travel in Africa

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CONSCIOUS TRAVEL IN AFRICA

Our Top 5 Eco-Friendly Safari Lodges

There is a global rise in consciousness – consciousness about what we eat, where we buy, what we wear, and how we live. This has filtered into travel – the modern-day traveller is seeking out experiences and destinations that are sustainable, ethical and leave a positive eco-footprint.

Pembury has always made a conscious decision to ensure we support ethical travel. We always avoid activities such as animal rides and always ensure we support lodges that are leaving a positive impact in some way, be it community outreach or reduction of eco-footprint.

Of course, one of the biggest factors when it comes to travelling ethically and consciously in Africa is your choice of accommodation. Choosing the right safari lodge means you will be ensuring the protection of the surrounding wildlife, conservation of the indigenous flora, and development of the local community, all just by staying there.

Here are 5 eco-friendly safari lodges that will ensure both a life-changing and sustainable safari.

1. Singita Kwitonda, Rwanda

Singita’s Kwitonda Lodge, on the edge of Rwanda’s breathtaking Volcanoes National Park, has managed to strike the balance between creating a luxury safari experience, without compromising on sustainability and conservation. The lodge was opened with the intention of contributing towards the conservation of Rwanda’s critically endangered species and habitats, especially the Mountain Gorilla found in the area.

Singita’s approach is threefold: to restore and protect biodiversity, assist in community development and strive for sustainability. Across all their safari lodges, Singita is implementing strategies to ensure their sustainability, some of these being:

  • Providing education in local rural communities through digital learning opportunities and scholarships.
  • Providing professional cookery classes to people from local communities with the Singita Community Culinary School.
  • Empowering young men to enter the job market through skills development.
  • Rhino conservation, anti-poaching technology and wildlife reintroduction programmes.

At Kwitonda Lodge itself, there is a dedicated Conservation Lounge. This is an interactive and educational space managed by specialist conservationists which provides a unique perspective on the conservation of the mountain gorilla and their habitat. Before each gorilla trek, guests are invited to the Conservation Lounge where they are given details about the trek and how it contributes towards conservation.

They also have a farm-to-table approach for catering – delicious, healthy cuisine is prepared from the lodge’s vegetable garden.

Singita’s commitment to the protection of the gorilla’s habitat is reflected in their Akarabo Nursery – an on-site nursery with over 250 000 saplings used in the reforestation of the area.

Read more about their conservation efforts here:  https://singita.com/conservation-singita/community-conservation-singita-kwitonda/

2. Kiba Point, Tanzania

Kiba Point is an idyllic exclusive retreat in the Selous Game Reserve, one of Tanzania’s most game-dense areas. Kiba Point is a part of Nomad Tanzania and their conservation efforts are truly incredible. Born out of a love for the surrounding wilderness and communities, and the passion for their protection is the Nomad Trust.  The Nomad Trust has three core focuses – conservation, education and health.

Some of the ways that they do this are through:

  • Wildlife protection, monitoring and research.
  • Bee-keeping projects, tree nurseries and tree-planting initiatives.
  • Raising community awareness about wildlife conservation.
  • Safaris for local children.
  • Village clean-up days.
  • Plastic-free camps.
  • Nursery centres and meal provision for young children.
  • Scholarships, conservation internships and training programmes for students.

Read more about their conservation efforts here: https://www.nomad-tanzania.com/about/nomad-trust/

3. Tongabezi, Zambia

Voted the number one safari lodge in Zambia by Condé Nast is Tongabezi Lodge. A romantic hideaway, upstream from Victoria Falls, they have a two-fold approach to conscious tourism and ensuring conscious travel – uplifting the local community and reducing their eco-footprint. They also do this without compromising on an incredibly luxurious and exclusive safari experience.

When it comes to community outreach, Tongabezi is doing wonderful things. Some of these being:

  • The Tujatane School providing education to over 280 Zambian children.
  • The staff joining the Aids Council of Zambia and Share to participate in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
  • Donating 10% of proceeds from Livingstone Island to housing development for local teachers.

They reduce their eco-footprint by using solar energy. Water is recycled and used for irrigation and filling the Tongabezi wildlife dam. All cleaning and toiletry products used throughout the lodge are biodegradable. They cook with organically fed and organically grown ingredients. Tongabezi also has a water bottling system in place that reduced their use of plastic water bottles by 20 000 a year. This ‘going green’ lifestyle is also being taught to the students of Tujatane school – uniforms, books and educational supplies are recycled.

Read more about their conservation efforts here: https://tujatane.com/ and here: https://tongabezi.com/doing-good/going-green

4. Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya

In the Chyulu Hills of southern Kenya, lies Campi ya Kanzi, an award-winning boutique eco-lodge. The lodge is community co-owned by the local Maasai community and was founded with the aim of protecting the Maasai wilderness, wildlife and communities through eco-tourism.

The Trust has been established to ensure the conservation of the local community and wildlife by means of:

  • A conservation fee of $116 per guest for wildlife protection.
  • Employing game scouts to prevent poaching, water diversion, bush fires or deforestation.
  • Employing teachers to teach in 22 local primary schools.
  • To pay school and university bursaries.
  • To employ doctors and nurses to provide healthcare to 16 000 Maasai in 4 local dispensaries and 1 clinic.

The camp itself is eco-friendly. Electricity is generated through solar energy leaving no carbon footprint. The camp crops their rains with a special water catchment system leaving zero carbon footprint, recycles both grey and black waters, heats water with solar energy, and uses low-energy dishwashers and washing machines. All food is organic, locally grown and cooked using eco-friendly charcoal. Waste is either recycled or turned into compost.

Read more about their conservation efforts here: https://maasai.com/conservation/ 

5. Noka Camp, South Africa

Noka Camp is the first lodge to be opened by Lepogo Lodges in the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo province. It is a reflection of a true commitment to promoting conscious travel. What makes Lepogo Lodges so special is that it is 100% non-profit – all financial gains are re-invested back into the wildlife, local community and conservation. It is the ideal sustainable and conscious safari tourism model.

The wildlife is protected through means of:

  • A cheetah breeding, research and re-introduction programme.
  • A pangolin conservation programme.
  • Supporting Lapalala’s rhino sanctuary.
  • On-site safari guides, conservationists and ecologists who share information and knowledge with guests.

When it comes to their carbon footprint, Noka Camp is entirely off the grid. All energy is solar-generated, the lodge is plastic-free, and follows a reduce-reuse-recycle principle.

An initiative we particularly love is their Carbon Offset Programme. From the moment guests arrive, until they leave, their carbon footprint is calculated and then converted into a monetary value. Guests then decided which project they would like this money to go towards.

In regards to community outreach, they have an education programme with the Lapalala Wilderness School. They buy local products and source many of the items used in the lodge from local community programmes.

Read more about their conservation efforts here: https://lepogolodges.com/community, https://lepogolodges.com/environment and https://lepogolodges.com/wildlife.

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