With a diversity of city life and superb safaris, South Africa is a must on any African travel bucket list. Camps and properties are taking impressive strides to ensure eco-friendly practices are common practice to preserve the gorgeous landscape. Ker & Downey shares our favorites of the top sustainable properties in South Africa.
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Established in 2004, the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is surrounded by a blanket of blooming flowers. Fill your lungs with the freshest air, all thanks to the 385 trees that Grootbos has planted since 2013. Another 600 trees are on the way this year, and Ker & Downey guests directly contribute to the on-site horticulture and landscaping training for local communities. Grootbos Garden Lodge doesn’t hold back on luxury, goes big on environmentally-friendly practices, and the wildlife viewing is remarkable.
Sister properties Grootbos Forest Lodge and Grootbos Villa are also calming sanctuaries doling out huge helpings of land and sea. This tip of Africa is the meeting point of two oceans, home to the marine big five: great white sharks, seals, penguins, southern right whales, and dolphins. The astounding array of biodiversity effortlessly earned this region the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s easy to see why once you set foot in this natural paradise.
The Singita team takes great care to make the environment around their camps look untouched. After all, it’s the flourishing ecosystem and healthy animal population that keep visitors coming back. Anti-poaching units are on the prowl to keep the illegal wildlife trade at bay and that makes this a happy place for leopards with the area having one of the world’s best protected populations. Recycling programs reduce landfill waste, and plastic bottles have been replaced with reusable glass filled by their in-house water filtering system. Pairing up with the future leaders is also a big focus for Singita, who have reached some 2,000 students and teachers with their message of conservation.
Bird watchers flock to South Africa’s Kruger National Park for a reason. More than 350 bird varieties are found here, and their feathered mosaic of colors is glorious. Visit the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center to learn more about the Cape vulture. These distinct birds drop in frequently to dine on a buffet of leftover bones and meat. The numbers of this threatened species have been steadily declining across Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe; the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center is committed to reversing that trend. Animal lovers enjoy visiting the hospital where injured big cats are helped and then safely released into the wild. Guests can even help feed the littlest patients alongside the dedicated conservation staff.
The unforgettable Tswalu Kalahari is one of our preferred sustainable properties in South Africa. Baby lions frolic in the shade, giraffes gracefully wander through golden grass, and a remarkable number of butterflies flutter through the blue skies. There’s so much to preserve and protect in the inspiring Kalahari, and that’s the aim of the Tswalu Foundation. Tunnel farming using recycled water provides the properties with fresh produce for guests and locals without draining the already precious water resources. The Tswalu Foundation also established a community clinic to help the people living in this far-flung and fetching land.
Ready to do good while on safari? Contact your Ker & Downey travel consultant to plan a journey to sustainable properties in South Africa.