6 of the best …African eco-lodges
A new breed of African eco-lodge is emerging. One which fuses ethical development and the latest eco practices with the opportunity to encounter Africa’s wildlife and natural beauty. Cox & Kings’ Africa Product Manager, Gary Tombs, picks out six extraordinary lodges, which all go the extra mile to make a positive impact on the world around them.
Greystoke Lodge, Tanzania
Just because a property has an eco-friendly ethos doesn’t mean it can’t be luxurious or offer extraordinary experiences. A prime example is Greystoke Lodge in Tanzania’s Mahale National Park. This idyllically located camp, set at the foot of the Mahale Mountains with the gentle waves of Lake Tanganyika lapping at its toes, has the wow-factor of a high-end resort, but its six thatched bandas (bungalows) have been built using the latest ecological techniques and designs. The owners have also forged close ties with the local community, allocating some of their profits to improve local lives, including an investment in an education programme teaching how protecting rather than hunting wildlife will generate a more sustainable source of income for all. On top of this, Greystoke also offers its guests the opportunity to visit one of the world’s largest populations of chimpanzees, which thrives in the nearby forest.
Book Greystoke Lodge as part of our Wonderful Western Tanzania private tour.
Greystoke Lodge, Tanzania
Okonjima Plains Camp, Namibia
Tourism is becoming an increasingly important force for good in the fight to conserve some of the world’s endangered species. Take Okonjima Plains Camp in central Namibia. The camp is located on the Okonjima Private Game Reserve, home of the AfriCat Foundation, a non-profit organisation working to better manage the relationship between humans and wildcats. One of their aims is to reduce the risks big cats pose to livestock and thereby reduce the number of feline deaths caused by local farmers trying to protect their livelihoods. Land is also used for the rehabilitation of sick or orphaned cats, giving them a safe environment to grow or regain strength before, hopefully, being returned to the wild. Few places offer visitors the chance to see such high numbers of lions, leopards and cheetahs in such a relatively small space. The camp offers 30 comfortable guestrooms and all the amenities you would expect from a fine hotel.
Visit the Okonjima Plains Camp on our Namibia: Untouched Wilderness group tour.
Buhoma Lodge, Uganda
Imagine opening your curtains in the morning and watching a mountain gorilla ambling down your chalet stairs! Stay at the Buhoma Lodge in Uganda’s Impenetrable Forest and there’s a small chance you will. Set close to the starting point of the gorilla trails that are helping put Uganda firmly on the must-see map, it’s not unheard of for the giant apes to save guests the trouble of trekking into the mist to find them. The lodge, which fully practices the principles of ecological and responsible tourism, recruits its staff from the surrounding communities, was built using local materials bought from nearby villages and uses solar energy
to power its 10 individually designed guestrooms and relaxing communal areas. The elevated platforms on which the chalets are built also afford guests sublime views across the evergreen forest canopy. Truly an immersive experience you will never forget.
Stay at Buhoma Lodge on our Classic Uganda private journey.
Buhoma Lodge, Uganda
Simien Mountain Lodge, Ethiopia
Ethiopia remains a hidden gem in terms of the outstanding natural attractions, ancient man- made structures and unique wildlife experiences it has to offer. The Simien Mountain Lodge, at 3,260 metres, is actually the highest hotel in Africa, and with a range of fauna on the doorstep that includes endemic species of wolves, ibex and monkeys, there is no shortage of reasons to stay in one of the 28 well-appointed guestrooms. The lodge has the welfare of the local community at its core and over recent years has been involved in countless projects to improve the lives of nearby villagers. Recent donations made by the property include: buses to provide vital transport links; hundreds of clay ovens to reduce wood consumption; and cataract microscopes to help fight eyesight complications caused by intense sunlight. The area is a joy to explore, whether hiking or biking, and offers incredible panoramic views.
Learn more about the Simien Mountain Lodge on our Ethiopian Odyssey group tour.
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Woodbury Lodge, South Africa
Private game reserves, or ‘concessions’, are an increasingly common feature across the African continent, their on-site lodges guaranteeing a more intimate safari experience than the public national parks. With far fewer cars competing for prime photography spots, more time can be spent with the animals and more natural behaviour can be observed. The Amakhala Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, home to the Woodbury Lodge, also contains a conservation centre where school children learn about the methods and importance of wildlife conservation. There is also a craft centre, where unemployed members of the community can generate an income through the sale of handicrafts. The family- run lodge contains just seven rooms, but its plentiful amenities and excellent levels of service have seen it win several luxury travel awards over recent years.
Experience the Woodbury Lodge for yourself on our Cape Town, Garden Route and Safari private journey.
School children, Amakhala Private Game Reserve
Eden Lodge, Madagascar
Madagascar is a very different beast to mainland Africa. With over 90% of its flora and fauna appearing nowhere else on the planet, the protection of its unique ecosystems is a fundamental part of the country’s tourism development plan. Perhaps one of the best examples of this can be found on Nosy Be, a small island in the north of the country, and home to Eden Lodge. Not only is the lodge built from local, sustainable materials and powered by solar panels, but for every guest that stays there, a tree is planted, helping to combat the threat of deforestation. With water, waste, conservancy and community schemes also practised by the eight-room lodge, and idyllic beaches, rare lemurs and incredible marine life lying in wait outside, the Eden really is paradise on Earth.
Eden Lodge can be visited on our Madagascar: Lemurs Rainforests & Islands private journey.
Eden Lodge, Madagascar
All of these lodges can also be easily included in a private, tailor-made tour. Contact our team of Africa specialists for inspiration or complete our tailor-made request form and one of our experts will get back to you to help you plan an itinerary.