If you live on earth, love travelling and are passionate about all things green, our list of most sustainable lodges and hotels in Africa is curated for you! Whether you're a solo traveller looking to broaden your horizons, a digital nomad diagnosed with wanderlust, wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, longing for a little romance or bonding with friends and family, there's something for everyone at these most sustainable lodges and hotels in Africa for 2024.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
Before we get into where to go, let's talk about the lingo used when talking about sustainable travel. Most likely, your mind immediately goes to "'going green" 'or becoming more eco-friendly. While this is certainly a factor, the most sustainable hotels and lodges in Africa do more than just replace plastic straws (although that's important, too).
On an even bigger scale, eco-friendly hotels also do their best to care for the entire environment around their properties – an area experts refer to as the "tourism ecosystem". In other words, the goal is not just to do no harm but to help do good, too, which means you leave a destination better than it was when you arrived – environmentally, economically and within the community. And in Africa, there are so many sustainable lodges and hotels to choose from.
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is like the superhero of conservation projects. They're dedicated to restoring the Kalahari ecosystem through research and ecotourism. For example, black-maned lions, African wild dogs, and black rhinos are just a few of the animals that have made a comeback thanks to their research.
Plus, it's where the BBC's Meerkat Manor was filmed! As a final flourish, they've created a programme whereby top-notch South African artists stay over, soak up the scenery, and then create these jaw-dropping artworks inspired by the Kalahari's ancient landscape. It's like a fusion of creativity and conservation.
Where To Stay: Tswalu Tarkuni, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
The sustainably designed Tswalu Tarkuni homestead is honestly to die for! With a cellar filled with South African wines, a library that would even make Belle from "The Beauty and the Beast" a little jealous, a spa treatment room and a sundowner fire pit with the stunning Kalahari desert serving as your backdrop, this place is the stuff of daydreams.
Honestly, what doesn't Singita do? As one of the most sustainable lodges and hotels in Africa, they support an amazing line-up of projects that aid in their 100-year mission of ensuring wildlife and communities surrounding them thrive!
In the Grumeti Reserve, part of the larger Serengeti system, the conservation partner, The Grumeti Fund has worked wonders, transforming these barren lands into thriving habitats where buffalos, elephants, and those super rare East African black rhinos are bouncing back big time!
Singita supports The Malilangwe Trust’s work with increasing the populations of both the black and white rhinos in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in Zimbabwe which has been so successful that they help other reserves repopulate their own rhino populations. Guests can also support anti-poaching initiatives and units, help surrounding communities with digital learning platforms, and have three outstanding culinary schools.
Where To Stay: Singita Lebombo Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa
At Lebombo Lodge, Singita has taken the phrase "bird's eye view" and run, or rather flown, with it. The lodge's design is inspired by the eagles' nests built into the cliffs that face the riverbank, creating a very natural and light-filled structure floating between the river and sky. In other words, the lodge works in tandem rather than against the surrounding nature. Talk about living the high life – literally!
Londolozi’s Ripple Effect
You know when you toss a pebble in a pond, and those ripples just keep spreading out? Well, staying at Londolozi is like that pebble – tiny actions creating huge waves!
Take their Ripple Fund, for instance. They've helped a young entrepreneur begin to grow 100% organic vegetables, and it has bloomed into a booming business. She's keeping her community green, rivers clean, and selling her top-notch produce back to Londolozi! Plus, the Tracker Academy they've set up combines traditional tracking, ancient wisdom and anti-poaching training. It's like a masterclass in wildlife conservation, with 232 and counting trackers trained!
Where To Stay: Londolozi Tree Camp, Londolozi Private Reserve, South Africa
Tree Camp is an elegant hideout nestled among the Leadwood trees where lazy afternoons are spent on the deck with bubbly, watching elephants stroll by in the river below.
And when night falls, lanterns light the way. The décor is an interesting combination of Ralph-Lauren-style contemporary and African sophistication with its plush leather sofas and beautiful fabrics. Tree Camp is all about leopards, leadwood and lanterns!
Wilderness’s Network of Sustainable Lodges and Hotels in Africa
So, the Wilderness brand isn't just about travel – it's about a mission of using hospitality as a force for good. How? By whisking guests off to incredible African spots, they're not just helping you create long-lasting memories but also boosting local communities and creating a whole conservation economy.
This allows them to continue to be guardians of wildlife, such as desert lions and African wild dogs. It's like travellers become the heroes in Wilderness' quest to double the land they protect by 2030. Ambitious, right? Especially when they're already safeguarding six million acres of land!
Where To Stay: Mombo Camp, Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Visiting Botswana's Mombo Camp, one of the most sustainable lodges in Africa, is definitely a must if you're an eco-warrior. Offering a unique blend of sustainability chic and old-world safari charm set against the Okavango River splitting into different channels. This makes for some truly spectacular predator-prey interactions, especially with the big cats.
To Infinity andBeyond
You know that catchphrase from Buzz Lightyear, "to infinity and beyond"? Well, andBeyond really leans into it – they're all about endless possibilities, especially when it comes to making the world a better place through travel.
With their Care of the Land, Wildlife, and People initiatives, they strive to leave a positive mark wherever they go, especially through creating coalitions, just like the cheetahs and lions they protect.
Where To Stay: Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is a magical spot nestled in a desert wonderland of sand, stones, and stars. But its most fantastic feature is definitely its suites, which are little mini solar power plants. The energy from the suites can power cosy comforts as well as water treatments and recycling.
It has retractable skylights for epic stargazing from the comfort of your own bed, dune dinners on Namibia's famous star dunes, and even adventures like helicopter rides or hot air balloon trips. It's like this lodge is on a mission to outdo itself at every turn! And that it does.
Grootbos: Sustainability Pioneers
Grootbos is a pioneer of luxury travel with a sustainability twist – always looking at new ways of doing things. Just by staying at Grootbos and taking a sip of their fresh mountain spring water, you're actually supporting the local businesses in the community.
It's like luxury travel with a purpose, all wrapped up in a beautiful eco-friendly package that has earned several ecotourism awards for its efforts.
Where To Stay: Grootbos Luxury Private Villas, Grootbos Nature Reserve, Gansbaai, South Africa
Each of the Grootbos Luxury Villas, as well as the other properties on the reserve, are some of the most sustainable lodges and hotels in Africa. They're designed to exist in harmony with their natural environment.
Activities include marine safaris, whale watching, scenic flights, river cruises, and horse riding, making it all about getting back to basics, disconnecting from the digital, and diving into the natural world.
Tintswalo's dreamy hotels are dedicated to sustainability. As one of the most sustainable lodges and hotels in Africa, they're involved in rhino conservation and use solar power and amazing natural products made by Africology (our favourite!).
Plus, they're all about recycling, cutting down on plastic, going carbon neutral, supporting talented kids through performing arts, and even making sure African penguins at Seaforth Beach are safe from human fuss. It's like they've got a checklist of being awesome, and they're ticking every box!
Where To Stay: Tintswalo Atlantic, Cape Town, South Africa
Tintswalo Atlantic is like a secret boutique hotel, hidden away on the coastline along Chapman's Peak Drive, giving epic views of the chilly Atlantic Ocean. It's all about tranquillity, with city life close enough if you fancy it.
Also, there's loads to do nearby,, from exploring Hout Bay's lively harbour, hiking in Table Mountain Nature Reserve, and a quick drive to Constantia's wine country for a sip or two. Their suites are lushly designed, as are the restaurant, bar, and lounge – all overlooking those wild waves.
At Marvellous Manta, Fish Are Friends Not Food
Manta's Kwanini Foundation has an amazing mantra: "Take memories, leave footprints." They're all about empowering the locals on Pemba Island, off Tanzania's coast, to build sustainable communities through healthcare, environmental protection, and marine conservation.
Now, the coral reefs around the island are some of the most diverse found in East Africa. But here's the issue – the locals depend on these reefs for their livelihoods, and overfishing is causing some serious damage. So, the foundation set up a "no take zone", a protected area where fishing's a big no-no, to let the reef bounce back. They're helping fund this protection by offering incredible snorkelling experiences.
Where To Stay: The Underwater Room, The Manta Resort, Pemba Island, Tanzania
Manta Resort's Underwater Room is something straight out of a movie. Dipping below the ocean surface, you're in your very own turquoise blue bubble, watching shoals of colourful reef fish swim by.
The floating structure has three levels. Up top is a cosy lounge area with local hardwood and a bathroom below. And for that extra special touch, a sun-tanning bed that doulbes as the perfect spot for stargazing. Each level feels like it's got its own little tale to tell.
Sip Happens at Spier
Spier is a spot where sipping wonderful wine also means improving the world. Their Growing For Good initiatives empower locals in social and environmental change, spanning arts, entrepreneurship, farming, and eco-restoration.
For instance, Megan McCarthy teaches eco-friendly farming to disadvantaged communities. Then there's the Creative Block project, a hub for artists selling small blocks to patrons. These pieces unite into impressive artworks, inspiring Spier's Creative Block wine range. Artists get instant income, fuelling their passion while expanding creativity and reaching global art lovers.
Plus, Eagle Encounters lets visitors dive into raptor rehab and learn about balancing ecosystems. Spier chips in by providing land, electricity, and water for the project.
Where To Stay: Spier Hotel, Stellenbosch Western Cape. South Africa
Stay at Spier Hotel and take your pick of garden or riverside terrace views. Sip wine, picnic riverside, munch at Eight, and let the family dive into fun at the kiddies' clubhouse. Segway tours, eagle hangouts, and craft markets all happen at this serene, stunning estate.
The Vineyard Hotel
The Vineyard Hotel is taking sustainability to the next level by having its own Environmental Manager on board. Talk about commitment! This seven-acre beauty isn't just flourishing; it's a certified Fair Trade Tourism property and won the International Sustainable Tourism Award from Skål.
Their gardens? All are maintained using natural and eco-friendly techniques, even attracting owls to make their homes in the cosy boxes set up across the property.
Now, as part of the Petousis Group, they support a fantastic group known as the Kids of the Cape Initiative. It's all about caring for kids and youth by providing shelter, education, skills, and food. The staff also takes part in river and beach clean-ups and kicking invasive plants to the curb. These guys are all about sustainability and making a real impact!
Where To Stay: The Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa
The Vineyard Hotel is one of South Africa's top hotels since they love making their guests' stay as wonderful as possible. It's characterised by top-notch service, delicious food, and gorgeous gardens with stunning Table Mountain Views, all from swanky rooms that blend modernity and luxury.
The hotel strives to be eco-friendly and progressive, with the property being a haven for diverse wildlife and plants. From their start in the 1800s to now, they've kept the original flair of the property while being innovative and chic.
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