AFRICA’S ECO-FRIENDLY GEMS
As an international influence for travel in the content of Africa, the Tourism Tattler Travel Trade Journal has joined global media in promoting the aims and aspirations of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.
Through a series of editorial features published throughout this year, TourismTattler.com is profiling case studies of African destinations and Africa based tourism products and services who meet and in many cases exceed, sustainable tourism practices in their business operations.
1.Tanzania / Kenya: Roho ya Selous (Asilia Africa)
Roho ya Selous, in the UNESCO world heritage site of Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania, is the latest addition to the Asilia stable of ecotourism camps. As an impact company, Asilia is a leader in the African eco-tourism industry.
So, what is impact investing? It’s a very specific type of investing, which occurs across all types of asset classes. Its basic premise is to have a positive impact on society and the environment. It can also be thought of as sustainable philanthropy. Operating 18 camps in East Africa, Asilia’s vision is to turn vulnerable ecosystems into viable conservation economies.
Operating 18 camps in East Africa, Asilia’s vision is to turn vulnerable ecosystems into viable conservation economies. A number of turnaround stories bear testament to Asilia’s vision. The establishment of Sayari as a semi-permanent camp in an area that was overrun by bushmeat poachers, and as a result was devoid of tourists, was pivotal to the northern Serengeti’s turnaround.
In 2010 Rekero Camp in the Masai Mara Game Reserve joined the growing Asilia tribe. Since then Naboisho Camp in the all-important Naboisho Conservancy (itself nurtured into being by Asilia and other stakeholders) showcases the benefits that local people can derive from nature if the will and know-how exist. For its innovative and exemplary governance model, the Naboisho Conservancy won the prestigious African Responsible Tourism Award in 2016.
Asilia’s model of tourism employs large numbers of rural dwellers where few other opportunities exist. With over 800 continental citizens on its payroll, it is a growing employer generating sizeable revenues to national governments in the form of fees, levies and taxes – approximately US$7.8 million in 2016/17. In addition, Asilia raised a further $236,000 for conservation and social development projects in the areas where it operates. Direct contributions from the company to the same projects amounted to $137,000, over and above this. The extra $370,000 was donated to effective and vetted partners in East Africa. For more information on Asilia’s partners and their projects please go to Asiliagiving.org.
This sense of making a difference to real people and places is an attraction to international tourists. It also helps ensure the sustainability of the wild areas where Asilia operates.
2.Mauritius: LUX* Resorts and Hotels
LUX* Resorts and Hotels has embarked on a journey towards a carbon-clean future, known as ‘Tread Lightly’. Working with Ecosur Afrique LUX* asks for a voluntary donation of €1 per room night – 32.5 per cent of which goes towards carbon-offsetting projects in LUX* regions while 67.5 per cent is invested in reducing the carbon emissions of LUX* properties.
Other earth-friendly measures employed by LUX* include energy-management systems, in-house water bottling, locally sourced ‘Earth & Dance’ waters, paper-reducing technology such as iPad room and reservation services, low-carbon Scrucap wines, all-organic spa rituals, energy-efficient LED lighting, and kitchen-oil recycling. Further renewable-energy projects and water-optimisation programmes are in the pipeline.
3.Africa: The Mantis Collection (9 Countries)
With properties comprised of hotels, eco-escapes and lifestyle resorts located in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Seychelles, South Africa, and St. Helena Island, the Mantis Collection is deeply rooted in African conservation; with a vision for sustainability and a world in which people and animals co-exist.
Mantis is a family run collection of award winning, privately owned, five-star properties located around the World. Divided into five distinct groups, its specialist areas include Boutique Hotels, Game Reserves, Eco Lodges, Ski Lodges and Chalets and Yachts. Officially founded by Adrian Gardiner in 2000, Mantis is committed to conservation and restoration, and each property is sensitive to its surroundings in respect of the building, environment and local community.
More recently, Mantis signed a Memorandum of Understanding with EcoPlanet Bamboo – a leader in the industrialization of bamboo as a commercial fibre through the restoration of degraded land by transforming it into sustainability certified global bamboo plantations. (See page 09).
EcoPlanet Bamboo and Mantis kick start this long term relationship with the utilization of a unique bamboo charcoal air purifier in all Mantis hotel rooms which is aimed at improving the quality of indoor air and reducing moisture in humid locations. The partnership will also introduce a specialized bamboo charcoal for the filtration of water, thereby reducing the use of plastic water bottles.
Short term commitments include moving the hotel collection’s use of packaging for cosmetics, food and drinks to a renewable and compostable bamboo alternative, while the partnership’s long term commitment is to provide a tree-free, deforestation-free toilet paper. Eventually, Mantis aims to use EcoPlanet’s bamboo fibre and clean pulping technology for the production of luxury textiles.
As a pioneer in the conservation of natural resources, this family run business is an inspiration for any entrepreneur.
4.South Africa / Ghana: EcoPlanet Bamboo (Sustainable Solution)
EcoPlanet Bamboo represents the first successful and the only sustainability certified commercial bamboo farms in Africa and has set the platform for certified bamboo to provide a viable tree-free, triple bottom line solution to Africa’s deforestation crisis.
With commercial operations in South Africa, Ghana and a smallholder expansion in East Africa underway, EcoPlanet Bamboo is leading the way for the tourism industry and others to become truly deforestation free.
EcoPlanet Bamboo has successfully restored more than 15,000 acres globally through the conversion of severely degraded land into bamboo forests that provide a suite of ecosystem services as well as the creation of more than 750 employment opportunities.
In South Africa, EcoPlanet Bamboo chose an area in the Eastern Cape where chemically heavy commercial agriculture had left soils denuded and the decline of the pineapple industry had left communities with high rates of unemployment. Since 2012 the company has owned, developed & operated the Kowie Bamboo Farm representing South Africa’s first successful commercial bamboo operation with an investment of more than US$5 million. The Kowie Bamboo Farm is the first African bamboo operation to achieve certification under the Forest Stewardship Council & has become a global showcase of landscape restoration.
EcoPlanet Bamboo is designed to provide the raw resource & an innovative manufacturing solution to industries, allowing them to switch to tree free, deforestation free products across a range of sectors. In South Africa, the bamboo farm has been developed in conjunction with onsite manufacturing by the company’s subsidiary, EcoPlanet Core Carbon with product development guided by a full R&D centre, EPB Laboratories.
The bamboo from the farm is manufactured on site into a range of speciality carbonized products for water and air purification. Other applications for the sustainable tourism & hotel industry include a renewable & compostable bamboo alternative for the growing market for disposable tableware and take away food & drink packaging and with a range of side products including bamboo essential oils for cosmetics.
We are proud to be launching our products through our partnership with the Mantis Collection (see Eco-Friendly Hotels: Mantis).
The company’s long term vision from its larger operations is towards the production of a clean, deforestation-free toilet paper, and luxury textiles.
Note: World Bamboo Day will be celebrated on 18 September 2017.
5.South Africa: Coffeebeans Routes (Western Cape)
Travel is about sharing experiences and few tour operators enable guests to immerse themselves in South Africa’s extraordinary mix of culture and creativity better than Coffeebeans Routes.
Established in 2005, Coffeebeans has created a formidable reputation as a cultural and creative tour operator, by focusing on stories. As founder and creative director Iain Harris puts it: “We build experiences around stories because everybody has them. In South Africa, where most of the population was legislated into silence, our stories can be equalisers. And this is African tourism’s great opportunity.”
Coffeebeans Routes prioritises creativity. They create travel experiences around South African stories – contemporary, urban, African experiences that provide nuanced insights and complexity. They offer experiences in Cape Town and Johannesburg, working with a network of locals, from tourist guides, cooks, musicians, fashion designers and artists, to architects, spiritual leaders, brewers, winemakers, historians, and everything in between.
Using tourism as a key to unlock economic potential, Coffeebeans enables visitors to explore the country’s cultural diversity and legacy, and they manage it by creating sustainable development. Their approach to sustainable tourism practice is to focus on social justice, while in parallel implementing tangible sustainable tourism projects.
Says Iain: “Environmental impact starts with social justice. If radical social and economic disparities are reduced, if society becomes more equal, environmental sustainability is a natural byproduct. So the starting point for us is social justice, and our biggest impact is through a responsible approach to how we engage with people, communities, and stories, and how positioning new narratives at the heart of tourism starts to level imbalances. When we start to take ownership of the environments we live in (given that so much has been taken away, making us indentured tenants rather than curators), we naturally minimise impact on the natural environment.”
Coffeebeans Routes storytelling tours have become so successful that they have been the recipient of many award accolades, including the African Responsible Tourism Awards.
6.South Africa: Spier Wine Farm (Western Cape)
As one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms and a well-known Western Cape landmark, Spier is passionate about the environment and supporting the local community. It regularly buys from and supports trusted local suppliers, and its philosophy is to make a difference every day in the lives of its guests, staff, the environment, and community.
A sustainability pioneer over the past 15 years, Spier today recycles 100% of its wastewater and over 98% of its solid waste. It is a WWF Conservation Champion and is accredited by Fair Trade Tourism and the Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association. Its cellar carries FSSC 22000 certification and Fairtrade accreditation.
Three centuries since Spier’s start in 1692, the farm is still family-owned. The Enthoven family bought it in 1993, lives on the farm and works with the Spier team to bring positive change to the environment and community.
Today Spier has a fresh, conscious energy, and is focused on art and good, ethical farming. It produces six ranges of award-winning wines and serves seasonal farm-to-table food at its four-star hotel and three restaurants.
Spier’s Sustainable Conferencing Toolkit offers conference delegates wanting to do business in an inspiring environment, 12 different meeting venues with varying capacities and settings, as well as various picnic spots and open-air cocktail or dining spaces. Venues include the four-star, 153-room Spier Hotel with boardroom; 400-seater auditorium; historic Manor House and adjacent oak-shaded courtyard; and three river- and mountain-facing conference rooms which can be combined to seat 150 delegates in school room style.
7.South Africa: Parker Cottage (Western Cape)
Parker Cottage in the heart of Cape Town’s City Bowl is more than just another bed-and-breakfast hospitality establishment set in a heritage (circa 1895) building. It’s arguably the greenest heritage building in the city, and the country for that matter. The new owner, Pamela Nayler aims to prove that not only new build properties can be sustainably run.
And Pamela’s aim is being remarkably well achieved, as Parker Cottage’s recent Fair Trade Tourism accreditation testifies. Sustainable tourism practices include using rainwater for washing machines and irrigation of their indigenous gardens; water for showers, baths and rooms is heated using energy efficient air source heat pumps; and they actively separate waste for recycling by the needy through The Salvation Army.
In addition, Parker Cottage looks after their staff incredibly well. Permanent staff receive 50% higher wages than the minimum prescribed benchmark for the industry and are motivated with guaranteed Christmas bonuses and inflation-beating annual pay increases. Staff are also funded for at least one training course a year to ensure that they are upskilled and advanced on their career path.
Their commitment to community engagement and support includes anonymous funding of two school scholarships at St Pauls Primary in the Bo Kaap, regular donations of old linen, towelling, crockery, bedding and soaps to The Haven Nightshelter, supporting the work of Medicins Sans Frontiers with monthly donations, and sponsoring at least three room nights a year to charity organisations around Cape Town for raffles or other fundraising efforts.
Economic development projects include a policy to purchase supplies and services from businesses located in less affluent areas and owned by historically disadvantaged families and individuals. One such individual is their driver and guide, Chris Hannival, who was encouraged and supported to start his own transport business. Chris now offers work to a further two drivers as a result.
8.South Africa: Karongwe Portfolio (Limpopo)
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
9.South Africa: Hotel Verde (Western Cape)
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 Hotel Verde is the first hotel in Africa to showcase power generating gym equipment. Power generated from a workout is pumped back into the hotel.
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.
10.South Africa: Jaci’s Lodges (North West Province)
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!
11.South Africa: Grootbos Forest Lodge (Western Cape)
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.
12.South Africa: Sibuya Game Reserve and Tented Camps (E. Cape)
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.
13.South Africa: Amakhala Safari Lodge (Eastern Cape)
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.
14.South Africa: Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve (Northern Cape)
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.
15.Rwanda: How Permits Support Sustainable Tourism Projects
Rwanda is well-known for its mountain gorillas, with gorilla trekking being its main tourist attraction. Mountain gorillas are an endangered species with only around 880 remaining in the world. Of those in the Virunga Massif, Rwanda accounts for 62% of the gorilla population.
This endangered species has made a significant contribution to the nation’s travel and tourism industry and the Rwandan government aims to ensure the safety and long-term sustainability of its gorilla population.
To avoid ‘overtourism’ – a phrase that refers to the negative impact that hosting too many tourists simultaneously can have on a destination’s natural assets – the Rwanda Development Board increased the price of gorilla permits for all visitors with effect from 06 May 2017.
In line with Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy, the price increase aims to strengthen conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of communities living around the Volcanoes National Park. Along with the new tariff, the tourism revenue sharing rate for communities adjacent to the park will also increase from 5% to 10%, which will quadruple the absolute revenues received by communities.
Tourists who visit other national parks (Nyungwe and Akagera) for a minimum of three days, in addition to gorilla trekking will receive a discount of 30%. Similarly, conference tourists, who stay pre or post conference dates to see gorillas will be eligible for a 15% discount.
Over the last 12 years, more than 400 community projects have been completed including hospitals, schools, business development centers and water supply systems to facilitate access to clean water. These projects directly benefit the people living around the parks.
Tourism is a key pillar in Rwanda’s Vision 2020 as the top foreign exchange earner and the country’s largest employer, but Rwanda still needs revenue from permits and levies to implement the country’s sustainable tourism projects – and that’s where your help is invaluable.
16.Africa: Verde Hotels (Green Building)
The lessons learned in sustainable development and marketing of ‘Africa’s Greenest Hotel’ in Cape Town and ‘Zanzibar’s Greenest Resort’ in Tanzania is now being offered as a turnkey solution for hospitality investors worldwide through Verde Hotels.
Hotelier Mario Delicio and his industrious team at Verde Hotels have an ambitious aim – to establish green hotels throughout Africa, and abroad. “I had never imagined that my families’ humble pursuit to own a green hotel would become the exceptionally caring and inventive establishment that Hotel Verde Cape Town has become. I hope that people will see all of our cumulative efforts and that they will be inspired to implement small changes in their lives and businesses too,” says Mario.
And the “small changes” that Mario eludes to are coined in the phrase ‘Thrivability’ – meaning the act of thriving and prospering without damaging or causing harm and encompassing three core concepts: People, Profit, and Planet.
Verde Hotel’s ‘thrivability’ model provides sustainable hospitality solutions that meet stringent international green building certification system criteria. The model incorporates responsible design, construction, project, and operations management and training. As pioneers in green hospitality globally, Verde Hotels provides socially conscious investors, developers, and hoteliers with significantly reduced operating costs and increased profits by providing turnkey service offerings focused on new commercial construction and retrofitting of existing buildings.
“When we built Hotel Verde in 2012 we paid a premium of nearly 11% to build green. At that time we were expecting an ROI of around 7 years. However, the power crisis two years ago, and the water crisis now, have seen energy costs rise tremendously and due to this, our ROI has reduced down to 5 years. Today, so many products are available at no extra cost and other products such as solar PV panels have come down in cost to the point that the premium of going green today is only 7-8%. I’m not exaggerating when I say that green building is the only viable way considering that the savings over time are so great,” says Delicio.
Isolating quantifiable ROI’s, Verde Hotel’s green build project in Cape Town gained just over R30 million in free press exposure since the project commenced, reduced utility consumption costs by 70% (cost per room night based on utilities at Hotel Verde was R29.52 vs an average Cape Town hotel of R97.28 cost), and lowered energy consumption by 63,1% (94 kWh/sqm/annum vs Cape Town hotel average of 255 kWh/sqm/annum), which even beat the LEED model average of 159.5 kWh/sqm/annum by 41,4%. Overall, the Hotel Verde green-build project resulted in an average of 35% lower operating costs, a 70% reduction in energy consumption, 92% waste to landfill reduction, and 64.9% lower water consumption.
Overall, the Hotel Verde green-build project resulted in an average of 35% lower operating costs, a 70% reduction in energy consumption, 92% waste to landfill reduction, and 64.9% lower water consumption.
“At Verde Hotels we believe that the hotel industry has changed, and hoteliers simply cannot build or operate hotels in the same way as they have done in the past. Verde Hotels is the future of hospitality. Companies with proactive environmental strategies have a 4% higher return on investment, 9% higher sales growth and 17% higher operating growth than companies with poor environmental track records,” says Samantha Annandale, CEO of Verde Hotels.
As a hotel management company, Verde Hotels aims to spearhead sustainable hotel management throughout Africa by offering hotel investors and developers property management packages for both new construction projects and retrofitting of existing buildings.
17.South Africa: Marine Dynamics (Western Cape)
Taking eco-tourists on captivating trips at sea to cage dive with Great White Sharks and meet the rest of the Marine Big 5 is only a glimpse of many things that Marine Dynamics do to protect and conserve the critically important Dyer Island ecosystem around Gansbaai in South Africa’s Western Cape province. Marine Dynamics Shark Tours and Dyer Island Cruises whale watching have been Fair Trade Tourism certified since 2008 and in 2016 added their successful International Marine Volunteer Programme.
Marine Dynamics’ Responsible Tourism Policy is a credo that the group businesses all adhere to: “Our every activity is driven by our motto ‘Discover and Protect’. We consciously and actively: operate responsibly with due care for the marine and terrestrial environment; conduct ethical scientific research, which contributes to the conservation of species; create conservation awareness amongst locals and visitors; contribute positively to the community and the economy in which we operate; offer fair wages and good working conditions for our employees; and contribute positively to the protection of cultural heritage.”
Marine Dynamics is the eco-tourism partner of the owner established Dyer Island Conservation Trust helping save the endangered African penguin, the vulnerable great white shark through effective research, supporting community education, marine animal rescues, and marine pollution efforts.
Visit their key project, the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary on your next trip to Gansbaai.YOUR CHOICE MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
18.South Africa: Shamwari Game Reserve (Eastern Cape)
With pioneering safaris, conservation, and 5-star hospitality, Shamwari Game Reserve, the pride of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, welcomes guests looking for genuine conservation experiences. Shamwari is a proud member of Fair Trade Tourism and 2017 marks Shamwari’s 25th anniversary.
Guests can learn about conservation at the Animal Rehabilitation Centre the Born Free Foundation or the Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre whilst budding photographers can take advantage of the Pro Photo Safari to perfect their skills.
In addition to being passionate about nature conservation, Shamwari believes in educating and inspiring children, so younger guests can enjoy the Kids on Safari programme. The Relaxation Retreats offer treatments and therapies to awaken the senses and allow guests to rejuvenate body, mind, and soul.
So whether it is the call of the African bush to embrace the phenomenal flora and fauna that only Africa offers or you’re in search of a family or romantic honeymoon retreat, Shamwari is waiting for you to help conserve a vanishing way of life!