7 South African hotels and lodges successfully promoting sustainable tourism

In support of the UNWTO 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development initiative and in partnership with TourismTattlerEco Atlas, Fair Trade Tourism, and Green Pearls, here are a few case studies on African hotels and lodges who have successfully implemented sustainable tourism practices in their business operations and consequently deserve the support of eco-conscious travellers.

Karongwe Portfolio (South Africa: Limpopo)

7 South African hotels and lodges successfully promoting sustainable tourism

Karongwe Portfolio consists of six luxury lodges set in the 9000-hectare Karongwe Private Game Reserve, bordering the Makutsi, Lourene, and Greater Makalali game reserves near Tzaneen in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.

What sets Karongwe apart from similar properties in the province is its commitment to working hand-in-hand in uplifting surrounding communities both in terms of employment and wildlife conservation. The environment is both honoured and preserved, with all six lodges in the reserve having been carefully built around pre-existing trees to secure as small a footprint as possible. In addition to the close relationship with the local community regarding the awareness of conservation; Karongwe Portfolio places great emphasis on the youth in terms of education. Karongwe’s involvement with local schools and an orphanage has been a rewarding experience for all involved.

Furthermore, the Portfolio has embarked on a successful training program for unemployed adults in the area in various departments of the hospitality industry to assist them in gaining the necessary skills to find employment. Karongwe remains dedicated to this fruitful relationship. Support of local art also plays a significant role, with impressive South African paintings being celebrated on a gallery display wall in the communal area of Becks Safari Lodge.

Karongwe Private Game Reserve has six luxury lodgings; the recently launched Becks Safari Lodge with 8 safari suites and 2 family or couples-oriented suites, Chisomo Safari Camp (which means ‘blessings’) with 24 en-suite tented rooms, Kuname Lodge with 5 luxury chalets, Kuname Manor House which can accommodate up to six guests, Shiduli Private Game Lodge with 24 suites, and Karongwe River Lodge with 11 spacious air-conditioned suites and en-suite bathrooms.

Community staff are also trained at the Karongwe Portfolio Spa, which uses the heavenly aromas and herbal purity of the unique Thera Naka body range to create a mesmerising and innovative body and sense-soothing safari, replicating the earthy scents and the awe-inspiring wonder of this most profound continent. Overall, the Karongwe Portfolio meets the sustainable tourism expectations of the most discerning of ecotourists. Travel. Enjoy. Respect. #IYSTD2017

Contact: +27 11 817 5560 | [email protected] | www.karongweportfolio.com

Hotel Verde (South Africa: Western Cape)

7 South African hotels and lodges successfully promoting sustainable tourism

Hotel Verde, situated at the Cape Town International Airport has recently been certified by Fair Trade Tourism — a prestigious accolade for both Hotel Verde and tourism in South Africa, showing leadership in the rapidly growing ‘green experience’ tourism market. Hailed as “Africa’s Greenest Hotel”, the multiple award-winning Hotel Verde has been set, since opening in 2013, on proving that luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand. The 145-bedroomed hotel earned its spot as one of the most sustainable hotels in the world, after becoming the first hotel worldwide, to receive a double-platinum green building certification.

The Fair Trade certification brings new weight to Hotel Verde’s commitment to responsible tourism principles, verifying the sustainable practices of more than just the hotel’s design and building operations. The certification was audited extensively by KMPG and focused on aspects such as fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing and operations, equitable distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

Mario and Annemarie Delicio are the owners behind Hotel Verde, who initiated local community ‘Eco Outings’ to educate school and university students. Dedicated and passionate about sustainability, they have transformed what was initially just a sensible business proposition into a showcase for all to follow.

Contact: +27 (0)21 380 5500 | [email protected] | www.hotelverde.com

Jaci’s Lodges (South Africa: North West Province)

7 South African hotels and lodges successfully promoting sustainable tourism

Jaci’s Lodges is the epitome of eco-friendly luxury safaris in South Africa’s Big-5 Madikwe Game Reserve. Jaci’s promises an authentic, friendly and welcoming safari experience for eco-conscious guests. Jaci’s Lodges takes its commitment to sustainable tourism to heart. Aside from the Jaci’s staff trust, which empowers staff with a shareholding in the business, Jaci’s is involved in a number of conservation and eco-friendly community projects.

Some of the conservation and eco-friendly community projects include (but are not limited to): Nature and wildlife conservation (including rhino anti-poaching), Community support & upliftment projects, Use of non-toxic cleaning products and amenities, Waste reduction (bulk amenities instead of individual packaging), Waste recycling (community operated Collect-a-Can project), Community employment (staff and delivery of firewood), and Water Conservation (grey water recycling and towel/linen re-use).

Jaci’s Lodges is an ideal destination for honeymoons, intimate weddings, amateur and professional photographers, birding safaris, family getaways and that much-needed bush escape — all wrapped in a sustainable tourism package!

Contact: +27 (0)83 700 2071 | [email protected] | www.jacislodges.co.za

Grootbos Forest Lodge (South Africa: Western Cape)

7 South African hotels and lodges successfully promoting sustainable tourism

Nestled in ancient Milkweed forests on the slope of a 2500 hectare botanical treasure trove between mountain and sea, Forest Lodge is strategically placed to provide guests with privacy and uninterrupted panoramic views over Walker Bay to De Kelders and Gansbaai along the scenic Cape Whale Coast Route in South Africa’s Western Cape province.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve has an enviable track history of implementing sustainable tourism initiatives. So successful in fact, that a separate Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) was formed to help other hospitality businesses implement their own ‘green’ initiatives. The Grootbos Foundation facilitates three integrated programmes: ‘Green Futures’ which focuses on conservation, the ‘Football Foundation’ which focuses on utilising sport for development, and ‘Siyakhula’ which focuses on the creation of sustainable livelihoods.

For more about Grootbos’s sustainable tourism development, read TourismTattler’s review ‘How to Apply Responsible Tourism Practices’ or ‘Ecotourism: A Case Study’ and our Property Review on the reserve and the three lodges; Forest Lodge, Garden Lodge and the Villa. But why take our word for it — experience Grootbos yourself.

CONTACT: +27 (0) 28 384 8008 | [email protected] | www.grootbos.com

Sibuya Game Reserve & Tented Camps (South Africa: Eastern Cape)

7 South African hotels and lodges successfully promoting sustainable tourism

Located on the coast at Kenton on Sea in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa and spanning the magnificent Kariega Estuary on its course to meet the warm Indian Ocean, the malaria-free Sibuya Game Reserve and Tented Camps is South Africa’s only game reserve accessed solely by boat. Sibuya provides a personalised African bush experience that is acknowledged as being ecologically, socially and financially sustainable.

A few of the myriad ways that Sibuya maintains its low-impact, sustainable tourism reputation as a Big-5 safari attraction includes: • Recruiting and training staff from the local community; • Purchasing goods and services locally, • On-site recycling and composting; • Restricting energy consumption to solar power, • Using low-energy light bulbs and slow-burning lanterns; • Using CFC-free refrigeration and gas grillers and hobs for cooking; • Providing guests with still-water decanters and re-usable water bottles (Sibuya recently installed a desalination plant to produce their own prepared water for decanters and ice), • Regular river clean ups.

Sibuya’s list of eco-friendly initiatives is extensive and includes ongoing environmental rehabilitation of purchased farmland surrounding the reserve.

CONTACT: +27 (0)46 648 1040 | [email protected] | www.sibuya.co.za

Safari Lodge at Amakhala (South Africa: Eastern Cape)

7 South African hotels and lodges successfully promoting sustainable tourism

African tribal design-inspired owners and artists, Mike and Justine Weeks’ meticulous attention to detail is reflected in the fine African beadwork and handcrafted designs that are evident throughout the prestigious Safari Lodge on the northern boundary of Amakhala Game Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.

But Amakhala Safari Lodge is more than just a celebration of tribal culture. Through the Amakhala Foundation, founded in 2009 and funded through guest bed levies and donations, Safari Lodge contributes significantly to local community education, training, HIV/AIDS awareness and support, and income generation through the Amakhala Craft Centre. In addition, the Conservation Centre established in 2013, provides support for research and monitoring, environmental education and conservation initiatives. Read more about the work of the Amakhala Foundation at http://www.amakhala.co.za/conservation/amakhala-foundation.

Amakhala Safari Lodge’s responsible tourism and Ecotourism initiatives focus on six guiding principles, namely (1) Minimising environmental impact, (2) Building cultural awareness and respect, (3) Providing positive experiences for both visitors and hosts, (4) Ensuring direct financial benefits for conservation and (5) for local people, and (6) Raising sensitivity to South Africa’s political, environmental and social climate. Read more at http://www.amakhala.co.za/conservation/sustainable-tourism.

CONTACT: +27 (0)+27 082 659 1796 | [email protected] | www.amakhala.co.za/lodges/safari-lodge

Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve (South Africa: Northern Cape)

7 South African hotels and lodges successfully promoting sustainable tourism

As South Africa’s largest private game reserve Tswalu exists primarily as a conservation project started 20 years ago, which seeks to restore denuded farmlands in the Northern Cape’s Kalahari savannah eco-system. Today Tswalu covers an area of over 1,000 sqm and is an ecological work in progress, contributing significantly to biodiversity conservation and recognised as a renowned centre of research.

The Tswalu Foundation was established to provide support to a range of scientific research projects, including community upliftment projects and studies to understand the impact that climate change will have on marginal species such as the endangered pangolin. The reserve offers an authentic African wildlife experience with a limited number of beds (30 in total) and just seven safari vehicles traversing the area at any one time. While Tswalu is home to most of the “charismatic” African big game species, the arid habitat also supports an array of smaller animals, birds and plants and guests are encouraged to explore all aspects of the ecosystem.

The word ‘Tswalu’ means ‘a new beginning’ and Tswalu Kalahari is driven by two ambitions: to create an inspirational experience for its guests; and a conservation vision, to restore the Kalahari to itself. These two goals sit in perfect equilibrium with each guest contributing directly to the sustainability of the reserve in a true model of eco-tourism.

CONTACT: +27 (0)53 781 9331 | [email protected] | www.tswalu.com

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