Ker & Downey Africa > Journal > The Little Black Book of Eco Lodges in Africa – Southern Africa Edition
Our team of LuxVenture® experts is here to share some of our favorite eco lodges in Africa, hand-picked by us for you – the discerning adventurer.
Our exclusive Little Black Book is a personal hotlist of our top camps, lodges, and hotels across the continent. This treasury of secrets holds the key to some of the finest luxury lodges in the land, and we’ve decided to share some exciting new additions with you.
Our first edition of the Little Black Book of Eco Lodges in Africa is a collection of the finest properties in Southern Africa that are pushing the boundaries of sustainability while maintaining high levels of luxury and exclusivity.
Are you ready?
Located deep in the north-west of Namibia, in one of the country’s most remote and rugged regions, Hoanib Valley Camp blends perfectly into the landscape of towering mountains, sand dunes and sprawling desert. The look and feel of this epic eco-conscious camp comprises rich ochre shades of the desert contrasted by geometric patterns of the Himba tribe and giraffes that inspired the project. Run entirely on solar, the camp was constructed entirely out of locally-sourced materials and furnishings shaped, carved and weaved by local communities.
Six luxurious en-suite canvas tents sit elevated on decks made of bamboo, wood, and recycled material, contributing to the camp’s green ethos which leaves virtually no footprint behind. As well as being environmentally aware, Hoanib Valley Camp focuses heavily on community upliftment and conservation. Guests can get involved in all kinds of activities during their stay including a visit to the local Himba village to learn more about the fascinating culture of this enchanting nomadic tribe. They can also spend a day in the field alongside resident giraffe experts from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, or track the resident desert-adapted wildlife like elephant, rhino and lion.
Singita’s unwavering commitment to environmentally conscious hospitality, sustainable conservation and the empowerment of local communities has been a major focus for almost three decades. Singita Pamushana Lodge, located within the 130,000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in Zimbabwe’s remote southeast, is a true reflection of this commitment, as well as Singita’s renowned reputation for upholding the highest levels of luxury and exclusivity. Set on a towering sandstone ridge overlooking a lake, the lodge comprises eight luxurious suites – all with private plunge pools and extraordinary views across the remote reaches of the reserve. The elegant and textured organic design was inspired by the region’s vibrant Shangaan history. Thoughtfully curated interiors are complemented by detailed thatch- and stone-work with magnificent views all round.
Singita is partnered with the Malilangwe Trust – a Zimbabwean NGO focused on harmonizing biodiversity conservation, community development and commercial tourism. Large scale work in wildlife protection, maintaining ecosystem integrity, sustainable tourism practices and community development take place within the Malilangwe Reserve in which Singita Pamushana Lodge sits. All revenue from the lodge helps to keep the incredible conservation and community work in the area going, and allows each guest who visits to make a positive impact on this incredibly beautiful land and the people who live here.
Located on the famous Chief’s Island in the Okavango Delta’s Moremi Game Reserve, Mombo is a flagship camp of Wilderness Safaris that truly embraces sustainability. Described as a ‘beacon of ecotourism’, the original camp was rebuilt in 2018 with repurposed material and green operating systems. These include solar (Mombo is 100% solar powered via panels and inverters), waste water treatment and reverse osmosis filtration to reduce the use of plastic water bottles.
The eight elevated luxury suites that make up this extraordinary camp are constructed of wood and canvas and sit amongst a giant natural thicket of fig and mangosteen trees. Guests can enjoy unparalleled views over the floodplains that boast prolific game viewing in an area dominated by big cats, as well as some rarer species like the pangolin and honey badger. Activities on offer at Mombo are all designed to immerse guests as deep as possible into the wonders of the camp’s private concession which is considered to be one of the most beautiful regions of the pristine Okavango.
Sindabezi Island is an exclusive bush camp located on its very own private isle in the heart of the Zambezi River, just 7 miles upstream from Victoria Falls. This idyllic luxury eco hideaway was voted one of Africa’s top 10 eco lodges by Fodor’s Travel Guide and operates completely off the grid. No WiFi provides the perfect opportunity to completely unwind and take in the views of the pristine surrounding floodplains and Victoria Falls National Park from your private deck.
Five open-sided thatched chalets have been thoughtfully crafted using building practices that minimize their environmental footprint. Designed to bring the elements of nature indoors and blend into their surroundings, they offer guests a tranquil retreat from which to enjoy the sights and sounds of the resident wildlife of the island and its riverbanks. There is no set itinerary at Sindabezi and guests have the freedom to go about their days at their own pace. Activities on offer include lazy sunrise and sunset boat cruises, guided nature walks, fishing, island lunches and visits to the local Tujatane School and local village where the camp is involved in a host of community upliftment projects.
Located near the coastal town of Gansbaai (about a two hour drive from Cape Town), Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is a multi-award-winning beacon of five star luxury and sustainable eco-tourism. Tucked between the mountains, forest and ocean, the reserve occupies 3,500 hectares of pristine wilderness which is a melting pot of biodiversity and natural wonder. 868 plant species (7 of which discovered on the reserve are brand new to science and 100 of which are critically endangered) occupy the reserve, together with 3 Milkwood forests of over 1,000 years old, 23 mammal species, and the entire Marine Big Five.
From its inception, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve has endeavored to go above and beyond to simply conserve the critically endangered fynbos of the region. The Grootbos Foundation works tirelessly to research, innovate and pioneer new ways of preserving the reserve as well as transform the lives of the local community members. And all this while offering the utmost in luxury to guests. Unique lodges and private villas blend seamlessly into the stunning natural environment, all enjoying 180 degree views of the eco-reserve and the bay where they can encounter pods of migrating whales swimming within meters of the rugged coastline during Whale Season.
Don’t miss out on experiencing these extraordinary eco lodges in Africa for yourself, and contributing directly to the incredible work being done. Get in touch with a LuxVenture® Designer and start planning your sustainable safari today!