Eco Lodges: Africa

eco lodges, cabins and rural retreats in Africa.

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Egypt

Adrere Amellal, Siwa Oasis - http://www.adrereamellal.net
Beautiful desert eco lodge offering luxury accommodation set amongst the stunning desert landscapes at Siwa Oasis. For a luxury resort it is extremely rustic, with the buildings made out of local clay, no air conditioning and no reception. There is a pool and the extremely helpful owner can organise many of the local activities including quad biking, sand boarding or Berber experiences. The buildings were made from locally sourced and sustainable materials, the employees are all locals, the food is all locally sourced and organic and there is no electricity at nights, all contributing to the lodges status as one of the world's foremost luxury eco lodges.

Desert Lodge, Dahkala - http://www.desertlodge.net
The Desert Lodge is built in the traditional style of the local architecture and situated on top of a nearby cliff overlooking the world heritage Al Qasr Oasis. The owners are extremely knowledgeable about the local area and can organise a huge number of excursions including mountain biking, local homestays, desert 4x4 trips, camel treks and even multi-day excursions to Luxor and Aswan. The owners are extremely eco-conscious and use a wide range of measures to help the environment including, hydroelectric and solar power, re-harvested water, local and sustainable building materials and even a small organic patch for vegetables.

Gabon

Africa's Eden, Various Locations - http://www.africas-eden.com
A collection of incredible eco lodges around Gabon. Including bush camps in the stunning Loango National Park, a fantastic place to see wildlife in situ, including gorillas, chimps and elephants, Port St. Katherines, where solitude and humpback whale watching are kings, and Evengue lodge, on an island with an adjoining gorilla sanctuary. All the lodges are fairly eco-friendly, with measures including water harvesting, recycling and local education programs, and they run a wide reaching conservation project in tandem with the Gabonese government and a range of NGOs. Picture copyright Africa's Eden.

Gambia

Bintang Bolong Lodge, Bintang - http://www.bintang-bolong.com
A beautiful complex of wooden huts built on stilts along side the River Gambia, the stilts are necessary because at high tide large swathes of the camp are under water. The stunning location amongst the mangroves provides guests with lots of peace and tranquility, which can be forsaken in favour of scuba diving, quad biking, canoeing and excursions to visit the local community. Eco-friendly measures are important to the lodge and they run education programs in the local community as well as using wind power, composting, recycling and sustainable materials as part of their environmental policy.

Footsteps Eco Lodge, Gunjur - http://www.footstepsgambia.com
A much publicised, award winning eco-lodge on the coast of the Gambia. Accommodation is in locally sourced and designed wooden huts that are surprisingly comfortable, while the knowledgeable and extremely helpful staff are on hand to help with every aspect of your stay and can organise a range of activities including fishing, cycling, buggy safaris, beach trips, nighlife trips and many other local experiences. The lodge is also very eco-conscious using solar and wind power for all of the buildings, they also use recycling, composting, water re-harvesting and local education programs to help maintain the environment and limit their impact.

Kenya

Camp Ya Kanzi, Maasi Mara - http://www.maasai.com
Campi ya Kanzi (Camp of the hidden treasure) is a community project with the local Maasai on their Group Ranch. They offer walking safaris based out of a native styled and aesthetically pleasing lodge. The land around the lodge varies greatly in altitude, giving guests the opportunity to hike in different environments and therefore to encounter different wildlife. The Maasi also offer local experiences to engage with the community in addition to a large range of safari options. The camp uses solar power, sustainable materials and building practices and water reharvesting and other measures aimed at reducing its impact on the environment.

Loisaba Wilderness, Laikipia - http://www.loisaba.com
Constructed from stone, local timber and thatch, the lodge is perched high on the edge of the plateau looking south towards Mount Kenya. The lodge offers quite a high level of luxury including tennis courts, swimming pool and a spa, or there are a wide range of activities available including balloon safaris, mountain biking, river rafting and hiking. There is also a water hole underneath the lodge which attracts wildlife every day, affording guests spectacular views.

Offbeat Meru Camp, Nanyuki - http://www.offbeatsafaris.com/meru.html
Extremely comfortable and well known tented lodge in the spectacular Meru National Park, which provides tourists with an opportunity to encounter the "big 5" first hand. There are also only two lodges in the entire Meru, giving the safari experience a more personal feel. Obviously the main activities are game drives or guided walks around the park, but the lodge also offers a beautiful infinity pool where guests can cool off and watch the animals arrive at a nearby watering hole. The lodge uses solar power, recycling, water conservation and also encourages their guests to use greener practices after their stay is completed.

Ol Seki Mara Camp, Koiyaki Conservancy - http://www.olseki.com
Beautiful tented community set on a high plateau overlooking the Isupukiai River, north of the Mara, in the Koiyaki Conservancy. The camp comprises six tents with panoramic views, which are designed to blend into the surrounding bush. The area is teeming with game and the owners offer game drives, as well as cultural experiences with the Masai or the opportunity to simply relax with a massage or dinner overlooking the Savannah. Ol Seki is rated Silver by the Ecotourism Kenya board -sustainable efforts include recycling and composting as well as giving $10 to charity for every guest -future plans include powering the camp from solar energy.

Malawi

Kaya Mawa, Likoma Island -http://www.kayamawa.com
Remote lodge situated on 6 hectares of sunset facing beach on the south-west corner of Likoma Island. The bar and restaurant are perched on top of a rocky promontory with 360 degree views and surrounded by water on three sides, Accommodation is scattered around in ten iindividual cottages at varying distances from the central area, and the honeymoon cottage boasts the longest suspension bridge in Malawi. Do read the amazing history of the lodge and take a look at the photos -they are stunning.

Njaya Lodge, Nkhata Bay, 50km east of Mzuzu -http://www.njayalodge.com
In a beautiful setting overlooking Lake Malawi Njaya Lodge is Nkhata Bay's first responsible travel retreat. They work really hard to integrate with the local community including helping to build a new school block for the blind school. Njaya is built entirely from local materials and they have planted over 4000 trees to offset their carbon omissions. Activities include scuba diving, kayaking, horse riding, hill walking and trekking to remote mountain villages. Game viewing trips can also be arranged to Vwaza Marsh and the spectacular Nyika Plateau.

Morocco

Dar Itane Eco Lodge, Azilal - http://www.dar-itrane.com
Absolutely stunning traditional Berber Kasbah, that has now been converted into an eco lodge high in the Atlas mountains. The lodge provides guests with tailor made trips around the mountains, visits to local villages or simply a base from which to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the region. The owners are big on sustainable development and use ¤2 from every guest to fund development projects within the local community. The also used sustainable methods for the redevelopment of the Kasbah and also try to be environmentally friendly through recycling, water conservation and green "lessons" for the staff.

Mozambique

Guludo Beach Lodge, Pemba - http://www.guludo.com
Beautiful rustic hideaway on the beach paradise of Pemba. The lodge offers guests the chance to relax on beautiful white beaches lapped by aquamarine sea, observe humback whales in their natural environment, canoeing or enjoy world class scuba diving. The lodge can also organise local homestays and cultural trips or onward travel in Mozambique. They also take their protection of Pemba's environment very seriously using solar panels, water reharvesting, recycling and local education programs as part of this commitment.

Ibo Island, Quirimbas Archipelago, Northern Mozambique -http://www.iboisland.com

Located right on the waterfront on this undeveloped island, you can watch Dhows setting out to see on the high tide. This is a great base from which you can explore the beaches, scuba dive, fish and go on excursions to the mangrove swamps. The owners , Kevin and Fiona Record, are big on responsible tourism, and the hotel supports a number of local conservation projects.

Manda Wilderness Lodge, Lake Niaasa (Lake Malawi) - http://www.mandawilderness.org
Made using local materials and craftsmen in Manda National Park, the lodge offers a combination of luxury and adventure for travelers to experience. The shoreline of the lake features white sanded beaches and some spectacular snorkeling, as well as some beautiful hiking and canoeing. The lodge itself is perfect for relaxation and has some spectacular views over the lake. The lodge also uses eco-friendly measures to help protect the local environment including solar panels, water re-harvesting, locally sourced organic food and sustainable building materials. Winners of best small accommodation category at the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards.

Namibia

Nhoma Camp, Tsumeb - http://www.tsumkwel.iway.na/NhomaCamp.htm
Nhoma Camp is a tented camp situated in the north east of Namibia on the communal land of the Ju/'hoan Bushmen. The main activities centre around cultural experiences with the locals or tours of the national park to encounter the wildlife. There is also the opportunity to help out in community projects such as schooling and healthcare. The camp uses solar panels for its limited power resources and also uses sustainable materials to build and maintain the buildings and tents.

South Africa

Bulungula Lodge, Wild Coast - http://www.bulungula.com
An eco-friendly paradise in a remote traditional Xhosa community on the beach. The lodge is jointly owned by the local village and is actively involved in a range of community development projects. The lodge offers a range of community experiences along with the usual cannoeing, hiking, fishing and some fantastic surf beaches close by. It is also extremely eco conscious with solar and wind power for the buildings, heat and water conservation, low energy lighting and recycling programs. (picture by Mike Cohen)

Otter's Den River Lodge, Limpopo - http://www.ottersden.co.za
Set on a forested island in the Blyde River at the foot of the Drakensberg Escarpment, the camp accommodates up to ten guests comfortably in five canvas chalets overlooking the river. The central lodge area is where the meals are served and it has a dining room, timber deck, bar, braai, TV lounge and plunge pool. They provide an experienced field guide for hiking through indigenous forest and woodland -there are 111 tree species along with 220 species of bird, including Fish Eagle, and a variety of small game. It is an ideal base from which to visit the Kruger National Park,, the Blyde Canyon Nature Reserve, the Cheetah Breeding Project and the Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Centre, and they also offer hot air ballooning from first thing in the morning.

Tanzania

Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar - http://www.chumbeisland.com
Explore the Chumbe Island Nature Reserve with their park rangers or snorkel in the pristine shallow water Reef Sanctuary. If the tide is low you can walk around the island or alternatively relax in one of their eco-bungalows watching traditional dhows sail by. The eco-lodge uses state of the art eco-technologies with rainwater being collected from the roofs and heated by solar power for the showers; used water being filtered through plant beds to avoid contaminating the environment and toilets of the composting type, along with many other features forming part of their eco operation to protect the local environment. Picture copyright Craig Zendel.

Saadani Safari Lodge, Saadani National Park - http://www.saadanilodge.com
Beautiful location for an extremely comfortable lodge, in the heart of the national park, close to the Indian Ocean. The lodge offers a range of wildlife and cultural experiences including canoeing, snorkeling, wildlife walks, fishing, local homestays and even a turtle sanctuary. The local wildlife includes hippos, dolphins, turtles, crocodiles and flamingos. The owners use a range of eco-friendly measures including, solar panels, wind power, water conservation, recycling and composting amongst other methods. Picture copyright Saadani lodge.

Zambia

Croc Valley Camp, Mfuwe - http://www.crocvalleycamp.com
Croc Valley Camp is a small boutique lodge situated in a great location on the banks of the Luangwa River. The river is perfect for guests to encounter hippos and crocodiles, while venturing into the nearby national park means a high possibility of encountering lions, leopards, giraffes and elephants. The knowledgeable staff offer activities such as quad biking, night safaris and walking safaris as well as having a swimming pool in which to relax. The camp also uses a range of eco-friendly measures including water reharvesting, recycling and the use of sustainable materials amongst other measures.


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Featured books:
Green Travel: The World's Best Eco-Lodges & Earth-Friendly Hotels
Fodor's Travel Publications
Paperback - 29 April 2008
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Green Places to Stay: Eco-lodges and Other Green Places to Stay
(Alastair Sawday's Special Places to Stay)
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by Richard Hammond
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