It’s Earth Day! To celebrate, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite eco-friendly lodges and camps around the world.
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
This year’s theme for Earth Day is “Trees for the Earth.” It’s a plan to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020, so we’re kicking off our list of favorite eco-friendly lodges with the lodges and villa at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, a longstanding favorite of Ker & Downey’s. Set among an ancient milkwood forest, Grootbos is dedicated to preserving the earth for future generations. After a fire in 2006 destroyed much of Grootbos Forest Lodge and the forest behind it, Ker & Downey made a commitment to assist in replanting the forest. For each client that visits South Africa, a tree is planted in a section of the Grootbos Forest.
This eco-luxury island resort makes use of contemporary Filipino architecture and green design in its 42 villas on the “Island of Sun.” The resort, defined by its eco-friendly soul, is rimmed by 820 years of white sands, and is a haven for divers, outdoor enthusiasts, and travelers in search of beach side luxury.
Bale Mountain Lodge is setting a new standard for eco-chic in Ethiopia. Set among 1,367 square miles of mountains, cloud forests, and plateaus, the lodge uses micro-hydro power and filters and purifies its own water. While its conservation practices are incredible,, the lodge doesn’t scrimp on creature comforts, and its unique access to Bale Mountain National Park creates a wholly unique experience in Ethiopia.
Six Senses Con Dao is committed to improving the ecological and carbon footprint of the resort. Built with local and sustainable materials, the resort makes use of natural ventilation wherever possible. But beyond that, its efforts to protect the dugongs and their habitat, which is directly in front of Six Senses, is remarkable. Dugongs are a globally endangered species, yet Con Dao is the only area in Vietnam where protection is enforced. Six Senses Con Dao is working with Con Dao National Park to both protect and restore the seagrass environment and the resident dugongs around Con Dao, where it’s thought that only 10 – 12 of the animals remain.
Set on the Cristalino River, Cristalino Jungle Lodge is setting the standard for conservation and sustainable tourism. Accessible by canoe, the secret haven has been constructed using an architectural style that allows for natural ventilation, minimizing the need for climate control. The lodge’s eco-friendly policies – making use of solar power, recycling, composting, and an advanced water treatment system – illustrate the importance of preservation and conservation while minimizing the impact on natural resources.
Adrere Amellal in the Siwa Oasis is another tried and trusted favorite of ours. The 40 rooms at the environmentally sustainable and socially conscious lodge are each unique – hand-built in the traditional Siwan style utilizing a mixture of mud and sun-dried salt for the walls, making use of desert breezes, and blending naturally into the landscape. There is no electricity, so rooms are lit by lanterns and beeswax candles. It’s a perfect escape into desert oasis tranquility.
La Selva is the premier eco-lodge in the Ecuadorian amazon. Originating before the dawn of ecotourism, La Selva Jungle Lodge is a unique experience on the Napo River that provides the ultimate experience deep inside the Amazon Rainforest. It has made use of dozens of conservation practices and building techniques, including the use of fast-growing bamboo for cabin construction, composting, water filtration, and providing jobs for the local community. They even have eco-friendly activities for kids to participate in to interact with their environment and the local community to protect the rainforest.
Take in the natural environment of Daintree National Park from Silky Oaks Lodge, set on the Mossman River among the lush rainforest. Silky Oaks Lodge’s sustainability practices are immense. For starters, the eco-friendly lodge holds an ‘Eco-Certified-Advanced Ecotourism’ status due to its work in reforesting the land the lodge occupies. In addition, all the water from the lodge is drawn from the river and treated with a sand and chlorination plant on site, resulting in the pure, minimally treated spring water.
Can’t get enough eco-friendly lodges? Check out some of our favorite eco-friendly African safari camps here.