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The Best Eco-Friendly Accommodation in Africa

The Best Eco-Friendly Accommodation in Africa

Although many African safari lodges and camps sell themselves as being eco-friendly, Colin Bell and David Bristow found that some merely “green wash”, meaning they are only claim to be eco-friendly accommodation.

The two recently released ‘Africa’s Finest‘, a comprehensive guide of the 50 finest, most eco-friendly accommodations throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Seychelles and Madagascar. The pair spent two years visiting over 1,000 properties, before narrowing it down to 170 finalists. They then invited nine environmental specialists to travel with them for another two years, as they extensively evaluated those properties.  Each property was also graded on a scale of ten, based on operation, conservation, and community effort. All properties that received an eight and higher score are featured alongside photos from many of Africa’s most talented photographers, and those that scored between seven and eight are also noted as ‘Other Green Places’ to visit in each country. Several of the worst safari camps that masquerade as green lodges were also included.

Bell and Bristow present their model of how they believe the safari industry should operate, and hope this blueprint will force all safari camps to adopt sustainable practices. Here’s a look at some of the top seven properties highlighted in ‘Africa’s Finest’.

Nkwichi Lodge – Lake Niassa, Mozambique

Nkwichi Lodge works with the Manda Wilderness Community Trust to protect the 120,000 hectare reserve. Nkwichi employs locals, fosters sustainable development and provides agricultural education to the community. The solar-powered lodge’s eco-friendly filtration system filters grey water with sand, and the toilets drain into eco-composting pits that eventually serve as the mulch for future trees.
solar-powered-Nkwichi Lodge-Mozambique

Elsa’s Kopje – Meru, Kenya

As the sole lodge in Meru National Park, Elsa’s Kopje reduced its environmental footprint by running on LED and energy saving bulbs, solar power and dead or renewably sourced wood for timber. Elsa’s Kopje also supports local schools; in the past year alone the camp raised $10,000 to support the 340 children and teachers at Ura Gate primary school through textbooks and school repairs. Due to these projects, Ecotourism Kenya awarded Elsa’s Kopje with a Silver Level.
Elsa’s Kopje Lodge-Kenya

Sindabezi – Zambezi River, Zambia

Sindabezi is located on a small piece of paradise close to Victoria Falls, and is entirely off the grid; solar power keeps the resort and its waste water system running smoothly. All the camp’s cleaning products are biodegradable, and the chefs cook produce from its garden on gas stoves. Additionally, Sindabezi uses a Vivreau still and sparkling water system that annually saves 20,000 plastic water bottles and 2,000 tin cans. The majority of the resort’s wood is sustainably farmed from forests near Ndola, and the resort has a purification plant.
Sindabezi – Zambezi River, Zambia

Leshiba Wilderness – South Africa

Located on a remote mountaintop in the Limpopo Province, this stunning lodge is largely self-sufficient and runs on solar panels and boreholes, and relies on their garden for fresh produce. The Permaculture garden was established to explore new farming techniques and provide staffers with fresh produce.
Venda Village Lodge at Leshiba Wilderness

Serra Cafema – Kunene, Namibia

Located on the banks of the Kunene River, near the sublime Namib Desert, Serra Cafema is one of Africa’s remotest camps. Serra Cafema is owned, operated, and staffed by the indigenous Himba people, one of the last semi-nomadic people on earth. The camp is also involved with the Namibia Sea Turtle Project, which works with the Angolan and Namibian governments to protect the sea turtles that congregate near the mouth of the Kunene River.
Serra Cafema, Namibia

Majete National Park – Malawi

The Majete National Park, in the Great Rift Valley, is committed to maintaining its biodiversity and restoring tracts of land depleted by heavy poaching in the 80s and 90s. Due to the park’s conservation efforts in the past decade, 2,500 species of animals have successfully been reintroduced to this former wasteland. The Park also employs locals, so they become invested in wildlife preservation. For those seeking a luxurious experience in Majete, Robin Pope Safaris’ Mkumuladzi is right on the Zambezi and offers exciting activities.

Majete Wildlife Reserve-Malawi

Mombo Camp – Okavango Delta, Botswana

Mombo Camp is involved in multi-platform conservation efforts such as the Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project that reintroduced the white rhino to the Okavango Delta. Mombo Camp employs different ethnic groups to engage with the local community. The camp has minimized its carbon footprint through solar power, thermodynamic geysers, rainwater harvesting, and passive environmental architecture.
Mombo Camp, Botswana -Africa

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