As we enter what feels like the eighth year of lockdown, many of us are desperate to escape South Africa and travel. But unfortunately that’s still a long way away. But in the meantime you can plan the ideal holiday that will satisfy your wanderlust without damaging the environment in the process with these eco-destinations:
1. Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia
Having had their Damaraland Camp highly commended in the 2007 International Responsible Tourism Awards, Wilderness Safaris (again voted second best tour operator in Travel and Leisure’s 2008 World’s Best Awards) clinched a win at the Imvelo Awards for Responsible Tourism with their Skeleton Coast Camp, winning Best Overall Environmental Management System. (Their Kalamu Camp in Zambia was also highly commended: Best Single Resource Management Programme – Energy.)
For more information, check out Wilderness Safaris
2. Ol Malo Lodge, Kenya
This eco-lodge and charitable trust is situated in the deserts of Samburuland in northern Kenya, on what was an overgrazed cattle ranch. One of their key achievements is the establishment of the Ol Malo Eye Project, which successfully eradicated trachoma, an infectious and preventable disease that causes painful blindness, affecting over 80 percent of adults in the Ol Malo area.
For more information, check out Ol Malo
3. Il N’gwesi Community Lodge, Kenya
Run and managed by the Ilaikipiak Maasai Il N’gwesi community, this is a successful cohabitation system in which both wildlife and humans “share” and own the area. Since the mid 1990s, profits from the lodge and generous donations have contributed to secondary and university school fees and provided funds for local school buildings, health personnel and buildings, and enabled the community to buy additional land to ease grazing pressure.
For more information, check out Il N’Gwesi
4. Chumbe Island Coral Park, Tanzania
Tanzania’s first privately run marine park, with only one small lodge (seven thatched huts) run on the strictest ecological principals. All profits go to the upkeep of the reserve and a strong education and outreach programme, including free visits to the reserve for local school kids. It’s an idyllic Robinson Crusoe escape, with the most exclusive snorkelling (350 reef fish) on the East Coast of Africa.
For more information, check out Chumbe Island
5. Asilia Lodges, Tanzania
Asilia offers a great combination of “living lightly” with luxury in its Tanzanian bush camps. There are a number of semi-permanent camps in the Serengeti (moving to follow the migration), but our favourite is Oliver’s Camp in the Tarangire National Park. There are 10 tents (including 1 four-sleeper family tent and a honeymoon tent), attentive staff and opulent furnishings, not to mention plenty of ice for your gin and tonic. Plus, you can even do a hot air balloon safari.
For more information, check out Asilia Lodges
6. Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique
Nkwichi Lodge, a 2008 Green Spaces Travel Award nominee, and winner of Best Small Hotel in the 2008 World Responsible Tourism Awards, is on the shores of Lake Niassa – an idyllic eco-lodge with just seven spacious chalets set on a sandy white beach. A percentage of every guest fee goes towards conserving the 100 000-hectare Manda Wilderness Reserve, as well as the Manda Wilderness Community Trust, which to date has built five schools, one maternity clinic, one maize mill and two church roofs.
For more information, check out Manda Wilderness
7. Singita Grumeti Lodges, Tanzania
Following on the success of their SA lodges, Singita was approached by US billionaire and wildlife philanthropist Paul Tudor Jones to help manage his Grumeti concession (adjoining the Serengeti), until recently devastated by poaching and hunting. Jones formed the Grumeti Community and Wildlife Conservation Fund; thanks to his efforts, game numbers have soared in just four years, as has employment and investment in the local communities. The lodges (a choice of three) offer the finest accommodation in East Africa and 100 percent of the profits are ploughed back into the fund.
For more information, check out Singita
And there you have it, these seven eco-destinations are sure to be an amazing way to start travelling again.