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  • 8 most sustainable safari camps in Africa

Africa: Leading the way for sustainability.

Every year, the word luxury takes on a whole new meaning. As the hospitality sector introduces amenities like private butlers and state-of-the-art coffee machines, the importance of sustainability is often pushed to the back of the pile. Africa, however, is different. It is the continent leading the race in sustainability, innovative conservation projects and environmentally friendly accommodation. It is more important than ever to focus on protecting the natural environment as best we can and across East and Southern Africa, luxury does not have to come at the expense of sustainability.  Here are some of the most sustainable and conservation-focused camps across the continent.

Tswalu

Tswalu, South Africa

The word Tswalu means ‘a new beginning’ and that is what the family who bought the land wanted to achieve. They have taken former farmland to create the largest private reserve in South Africa and restored it to its natural state. The owners have re-introduced the indigenous flora and fauna to the area and it has thrived. This unique Kalahari ecosystem now draws researchers from all over the work to study its wildlife. The wildlife includes pangolin, aardvark, meerkats and the Kalahari Lion. Tswalu works with a Sustainability Officer to ensure the lodge maintains its commitment to conservation and eco-tourism. Tswalu also has an onsite health care and pre-primary school that is free for the local community. 

Photo: Tswalu

Bwindi Lodge

Bwindi Lodge, Uganda

Located on the border of Bwindi National Park in southern Uganda, Bwindi Lodge is the perfect blend of comfort and authenticity. This eco-lodge has 8 beautiful bandas, each with their own solar-powered showers, makuti-roofs (a local material) and stunning views out to the vibrant forest. As well as offering activities like gorilla treks, you can also visit Bwindi Bar which is in the town. This is a bar that employs local people, training them in hospitality to give them a better chance for employment going forward. 

Gibbs Farm

Gibbs Farm, Tanzania

Located on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania is the much-loved Gibbs Farm. As well as being a fantastic location for game drive descents into the crater, Gibbs Farm offers an authentic and serene experience. The food is all sourced locally, the vegetables are grown on the property and the coffee is roasted in nearby plantations. This offers a sustainable experience, as well as hiring people from surrounding communities to support local. 

Phinda

Phinda Forest Lodge, South Africa

Phinda is a haven for wildlife, it has seven eco systems, a 24hour anti-poaching unit and a team of conservationist and monitoring teams in place. Phinda’s latest success story is the rehabilitation and release of pangolins that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. These highly endangered animals have had their numbers decimated by the trade, now there are huge efforts to conserve these amazing animals. The lodge follows environmental principles including in house water filtration systems and the removal of plastic bottles.

Photo credit: Phinda

Honaib Skeleton

Hoamnib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is located in the arid and remote Kaokoveld area of Namibia. The area is home to specially desert-adapted wildlife that you will not find in other areas of Africa. The camp is a short drive from the infamous Skeleton Coast which is an area known for its shipwrecks and where the desert sands meet the Atlantic Ocean. The camp is part of a program to support research to conserve and protect the desert-adapted lions, elephants, and hyenas in the area. The camp has its own research station and guest can learn about the projects. The camp is also involved in helping local communities to live in harmony with the wildlife. In line with its environmental values, the camp is 100% solar powered and has a state-of-the-art water filtration and waste systems.

Mombo Camp

Mombo Camp, Botswana

Mombo Camp is the premier camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the area has some of the very best game viewing in all of Africa. This luxury camp was rebuilt in 2018 to the highest environmental standards. The camp is 100% solar powered and wastewater is processed and cleaned before being returned to the ecosystem. They filter all their drinking water on site and ensure all cleaning agents and chemicals are environmentally friendly to preserve the environment. Mombo is the home of the Rhino Monitoring Team, they have reintroduced rhinos back into the area and continue to monitor their progress.

Olakira Migration

Olakira Migration Camp, Tanzania

As part of the Asilia portfolio, Olakira is a migration camp which moves every couple of months with the location of the wildebeest herds. As the camp moves location, it packs everything up all of the tents, the main area and even the kitchens and plumbing for the ensuite bathrooms. It leaves nothing behind, allowing the landscape to recover and replenish. This makes it very environmentally friendly, and, with the new stargazing mesh tents, it is one of the most desirable ‘barefoot luxury’ camps in the Serengeti. 

Tafika

Tafika Camp, Zambia

Owned by Remote Africa Safaris, Tafika Camp and the work it does with the surrounding community in the South Luangwa National Park is truly inspiring. The Tafika Fund was set up by the owners (the Coppinger family) and runs successful initiatives with the community. These include paying for teacher salaries in nearby schools, building new wards and maternity wings in the Msasanga Clinic, and setting up a Football for Wildlife scheme which aims to build awareness and enthusiasm of wildlife through the love of football.