According to Statista, when surveyed in 2022, over 80 percent of global travelers said sustainable tourism is important to them. Other research shows approximately 60% of travelers are even willing to prioritize eco-friendliness over convenience when making travel decisions.
But what if you could travel sustainably without sacrificing convenience or comfort? In Africa, it’s possible.
Countless travel suppliers are taking steps to empower guests to ‘give back’, both to the environment and local communities.
The question is, how do you go about ensuring your stay is a sustainable one? Whether you’re headed to Kenya or South Africa, Namibia or Zimbabwe, we’ve done the homework for you.
All of the preferred travel suppliers we’re about to highlight do their best to ensure a lighter carbon footprint – but they also have some unique approaches to sustainability, many of which guests can either contribute towards or actively participate in. Let’s dive in!
Camp Jabulani – Kapama Private Game Reserve, Greater Kruger National Park
At the core of Camp Jabulani is rescuing and reintroducing orphaned elephants to new herds. The camp also dedicates time and resources to its elephant dung eco-projects (such as using dung to make soap and paper as part of a community empowerment initiative) and its bana grass project (the camp has its own homegrown bana grass plantation which produces an extra source of food for its elephant orphans).
Babylonstoren – The Cape Winelands
Famous for its beautiful gardens, Babylonstoren is 100% dedicated to making ‘greener’ choices across the farm’s operations. For example, bees have VIP status here. The staff safeguards these precious pollinators by removing foreign predators, installing and maintaining hives, and planting insect hotels. They also take composting very seriously, with their dedicated Head of Composting ensuring all the good stuff, like eggshells and coffee grounds, goes back to the earth to continue nourishing the farm’s plants naturally.
Delaire Graff Estate – The Cape Winelands
Delaire Graff Estate’s philosophy is: Create responsibly. Give whole-heartedly. Leave no trace. Its FACET Foundation (For Africa’s Children Every Time) is well-known for its wonderful work, including the dispatch of eight Graff Mobile Learning Centers. These mobile units tour the Winelands to give children access to books and computers in conjunction with an engaging program comprising educational activities and after-school clubs.
Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel – Cape Town
Located within Cape Town’s pulsating Kloof Street Neighborhood, Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel prioritizes sustainability in the same way it prioritizes the guest experience. One of the hotel’s main beneficiaries is Injongo Educare Crèche in the underprivileged area of Mfuleni, and guests are encouraged to pay the crèche a visit, spend time with the children, and build a deep connection with the community during their stay.
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge – De Hoop Marine Protected Area
The Alien Clearing Lekkerwater project is the star of the sustainability show at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, located three hours outside of Cape Town. The project aims to eradicate alien plant species, specifically black wattle and rooikranz, within the De Hoop region for the benefit of indigenous plants and animals. By staying at the beach lodge, guests are directly contributing to the project’s success – and they can even volunteer to get their hands dirty to help out.
Lolebezi Safari Lodge – Lower Zambezi National Park
This sought-after lodge supports the nearby Maunga Primary School and Maunga Health Centre. At the school, the team has given the nursery classroom and ablution blocks a fresh lick of paint, supplied learning materials and textbooks, repaired all the windows, and installed solar power and burglar bars for the computer lab. Then, in 2022, Lolebezi sponsored construction of accommodation for medical personnel at the clinic, with plans to continue upgrades in the near future.
Singita Kataza House – Volcanoes National Park
Among an array of other sustainability-focused projects, Singita Kataza House seeks to educate all guests on conservation through its dedicated Conservation Room. The room is an interactive space managed by Singita’s specialist conservationists with information specific to the conservation of the resident mountain gorillas, and presented in various formats, including a private collection of the legendary Robert Ian Martin Campbell’s travel and photographic equipment.
Zambezi Queen Collection – Chobe River Region
Zambezi Queen Collection believes in creating mutually beneficial partnerships with members of the local Chobe region community. They’ve spearheaded numerous community development projects, and also employ many locals. One of the collection’s most outstanding projects revolves around empowering female students, in partnership with Leafline, by producing reusable, washable sanitary towels to ensure local girls don’t need to miss out on school each month due to menstruation. Along with delivering these essentials, the collection also provides the recipients with an insightful sex education and gender empowerment workshop.
Desert Rhino Camp – Damaraland
All properties within the Wilderness Collection have a distinct purpose when it comes to ‘giving back’. Unsurprisingly, Desert Rhino Camp’s primary focus is rhino conservation. The camp has partnered with three local community conservancies and Save the Rhino Trust Namibia to safeguard these gorgeous giants. Every stay makes a difference towards protecting Namibia’s treasured rhinos and their natural habitat.
Matetsi Victoria Falls – Matetsi Private Game Reserve
Matetsi is the gift to Zimbabwe that keeps on giving. To date, the lodge has helped to protect 136,000 acres of wilderness, nine miles of rivers, and over 400 bird and animal species. It has also employed over 130 locals, supported four NPOs, provided two scholarships, donated four vehicles to anti-poaching initiatives, and built 16 solar-powered watering holes.
Mahali Mzuri – Masai Mara, Motorogi Conservancy
The main priority for Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri is to safeguard the under-threat route of the Great Migration. Other interesting projects include the construction of a solar farm, which will eventually provide 100% of the camp’s energy, supporting the local school (including building a dining hall and computer lab), and employing locals. As of 2023, over 80% of the staff at Mahali Mzuri were born and raised in the local community.
Angama Mara – The Mara Triangle Conservancy, Masai Mara Game Reserve
Angama Mara has its own foundation, Angama Foundation, with a focus on education, healthcare, and conservation. The best part? Guests actively contribute to the Foundation endeavors with a US$20 per night donation. There are so many to mention, but one of the Foundation’s most impactful projects was starting Angama’s Little Clinic, an onsite clinic servicing the lodge’s guests, staff, and members of the surrounding communities.
Ishara Mara – Masai Mara National Reserve
Ishara Mara is celebrated for its unique tower farms, where the staff grow most of the produce for the lodge’s restaurant. The vertically-designed farms are the first of their kind in the Masai Mara and use 95% less water than traditional growing methods – they’re also 100% solar-powered and aeroponic. As a bonus, guests are encouraged to harvest produce for the chefs to use when preparing their meal for a truly hands-on farm-to-table experience.
The pioneers we’ve showcased are leading the way when it comes to embracing travel for change and turning sustainable tourism into a powerful movement with a far-reaching ripple effect.
Your African adventure awaits, and GILTEDGE is here to craft it with the utmost respect for the planet and our local communities. Choose to intertwine luxury with legacy and make your travels matter. Take the step. Be part of the transformation. Travel with purpose.
Contact GILTEDGE today to begin planning your sustainable African escape.