Top 10 Africa Eco Lodges

Courtesy Campe ya Kanzi

Everyone agrees it’s important to preserve Africa’s natural and cultural wonders for the future. But are you a green traveler? A responsible eco-tourist? A sustainable supporter? By being a conscientious traveler and staying in accommodations that put high value on preservation and minimizing the negative impact on your surroundings, your stay can have a positive impact. To help you in this quest, we’ve listed a few places you can stay on safari that are eco-conscious. Also see: Planning an African Safari? 4 Tips for Traveling Green.

Courtesy Campe ya Kanzi

Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya

Green Lodge: Campi ya Kanzi was the first camp in Kenya to be gold rated by Ecotourism Kenya for its efforts in sustainable tourism. It’s also co-owned by the local Masai. There is an additional US$100 per-person, per-day conservation fee, which entirely benefits the local Masai community.

Full Review: One of the most environmentally friendly camps in East Africa, this lovely camp, whose name means "Camp of the Hidden Treasure" in Kiswahili, is in the Kuku Group Ranch, the . . . Read more.

Courtesy Sindabezi Island

Sindabezi Island, Zambia

Green Lodge: Sindabezi Island is the Zambezi’s most environmentally friendly property. The island makes use of recycled wood chips and solar power for heating, all the gray water is recycled, and the chalets are constructed mainly from sustainable forests. There’s a strict 10-guest limit and each of the island’s chalets is raised on a wooden deck built artistically around the existing trees&mdash. There is absolutely no electricity on the island, and hot water is provided on demand. If your party takes Sindabezi exclusively, the guide, boat, and land vehicle are at your disposal. Dinner is served by lantern and candlelight on a sandbank or wooden deck under the stars.

Full Review: If you're looking for a truly African experience, Tongabezi and Sindabezi, its satellite island 4 km (2½ mi) downriver, won't disappoint. Never formal but flagrantly romantic . . . Read more.

Courtesy Porini Rhino Camp

Porini Rhino Camp, Kenya

Green Lodge: Porini Rhino Camp is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. The camp has no permanent structures and is strategically constructed around trees and shrubs to minimize the human footprint on the natural landscape. The camp uses solar power for electricity, and water is heated with eco-friendly, sustainable charcoal briquettes; there is no generator. The conservancy is owned by the local Masai, and the camp is run with the aim of creating income for the tribe.

Full Review: Opened in summer 2007, this delightful ecofriendly tented camp is nestled among Kenya's ubiquitous acacia tortilis trees in a s ecluded valley in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. This 90,000-acre stretch of game-rich wilderness . . . Read more.

Courtesy Il Ngwesi Camp

Il Ngwesi Camp, Kenya

Green Lodge: Il Ngwesi Camp is a shining example of how a safari lodge can reduce poverty and strengthen partnerships between the tourist trade and local communities in Africa. Built only with local materials, the camp is completely solar powered, and its water comes from a nearby spring and is gravity fed to the lodge. The local Masai community helped build and continues to run the camp through a communal group.

Full Review: Situated on a rocky outcrop in the north of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, this intimate and environmental award-winning lodge prides itself on its successful efforts to integrate community development and sustainable environmental management . . . Read more.

Courtesy Damarland Camp

Damaraland Camp, Namibia

Green Lodge: Set on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast between Khorixas and Torra Bay, this beautiful 10-tent camp manages to integrate conservation and community development with the tourist mission of the camp. With the assistance of the Integrated Rural Development & Nature Conservation (IRDNC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and other sustainable development organizations, Wilderness Damaraland Camp has included local indigenous tribes in the protection and management of wildlife and the land surrounding the camp, giving them an income, training, and the feeling of ownership in the community. Elephant, black rhinoceros, oryx, kudu, springbok are just a few species that might be spotted at Damaraland Camp. There are also opportunities to visit the nearby Twyfelfontein engravings, one of the most unique rock art sites in Southern Africa, which provide evidence of human habitation of life at Twyfelfontein more than 6,000 years ago.

Full Review: A joint community venture with the local riemvasmakers (thong makers), this desolate camp is on the Huab River in central Damaraland, midway between Khorixas and the coast . . . Read more.

Courtesy Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa

Green Lodge: Only two hours from Cape Town, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is home to the largest private fynbos garden in the world. Set on 2,500 acres of Western Cape landscape overlooking Walker Bay, Grootbos offers up-close observation of Protea, fynbos, milkwood forests, and tropical rain forests as well as aquatic life including penguins, dolphins, seals, and Southern Right Whales in early spring. Luxury accommodations include private cottages with fireplaces and sundecks, and exquisite cuisine is enhanced by vegetables and herbs grown on the premise. The reserve’s foundation works to educate and employ the community with a variety of conservation, research, and sustainable living projects.

Full Review: Only a 15-minute drive from Hermanus and two hours from Cape Town, this private nature reserve is on 2,500 acres of Western Cape landscape overlooking Walker Bay. Here you . . . Read more.

Courtesy Islands of Siankaba

Islands of Siankaba, Zambia

Green Lodge: Islands of Siankaba is about 48 km (30 mi) upstream from Victoria Falls. Awarded the Environmental Certificate by the Environmental Council of Zambia in 2002, shortly before its opening, the lodge is on two forested islands in the Zambezi River. A suspension bridge links the two islands and leads to an overhead walkway in the tree canopy that connects the elevated chalets to the lodge’s restaurant. The walkways protect the islands’ delicate riverine environment. The lodge was constructed with mostly commercially grown, nonindigenous pine. Where local wood was used, the lodge planted hardwood saplings to replace them. Electricity is drawn from the Victoria Falls hydroelectric plant, and river water is recycled and treated on-site for use in the camp. Local tribes are employed by the lodge, where sunset cruises, mokoro rides, guided nature walks, white-water rafting, and bungee jumping are all on the menu.

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Courtesy Hal Thompson/Chumbe Island

Chumbe Island, Tanzania

Green Lodge: Chumbe Island, between the Tanzanian coast and the islands of Zanzibar, is the country’s first marine national park. It’s home to 400 species of coral, 200 species of fish, and a boutique luxury hotel. The island’s ecotourism concept was the brainstorm of a German conservationist who, since the early 1990s, has succeeded in developing it as one of the world’s foremost marine sanctuaries. Seven thatch bungalows with specially built roofs catch rainwater that is funneled into bathrooms through a tank in the floor. Electricity is solar powered, and toilets are doused in sweet-smelling compost and later cleaned. Scuba diving, snorkeling, island hikes guided by expert rangers, and outrigger boat rides leave you with plenty to do while you absorb the lesson of sustainability at Chumbe.

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Courtesy Chief's Camp

Chief’s Camp, Botswana

Green Lodge: Chief’s Camp is in the exclusive Mombo Concession of the Okavango Delta’s Moremi Game Reserve. The area is home to the rare white rhino and is the only area in Botswana where these animals can be seen in their natural environment. Also, the limited number of suites is part of the camp’s commitment to low-impact tourism. The camp works in partnership with the nonprofit Friends of Conservation in an effort to involve the local community in the running of the camp.

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Courtesy Hog Hollow Country Lodge

Hog Hollow, South Africa

Green Lodge: Just outside Plettenberg Bay, Hog Hollow Country Lodge is a beautiful oasis run by Andy Fermor and Debbie Reyneke, a conscientious couple dedicated to employing local people. The lodge, in a private reserve, has views of the surrounding valleys and Tsitsikamma Mountains. Personalized service is one of the hallmarks of a stay at Hog Hollow. The main lodge and 12 cottages straddle a central dam, creating a serene hideaway that blends with the landscape and indigenous forest. The house includes a pool overlooking the Matjes River gorge, and one of the outdoor lounges has a grand old fig tree sprouting up through its wooden deck, providing an excellent perch for bird-watchers. Hike through the surrounding forest or take a quick drive to Keurbooms Beach and Nature’s Valley, both just 10 minutes from Hog Hollow.

Full Review: Vistas stretch into the misty green distance at this lovely lodge set among gardens on the edge of a forested gorge. Rooms are decorated in a modern African motif, with . . . Read more.