Would you like to experience Africa’s wildlife and nature and enjoy some of the continents loveliest beaches, while knowing that your holiday was not damaging the environment? Sarah Peled from Tembo Kijani Ecolodge in Tanzania, shares her thoughts on what it takes to be eco-friendly and create an ecolodge?
Well, different countries – different customs, that’s also true for sustainability. Being eco is not a recipe that can be looked up and copied to all the corners of the world.
Sustainability, eco-conscious, being green – whatever you want to call it – was our leitmotif from the beginning through conception, design, creating and running. We, that is myself, Eyal and our daughter Timna, escaped the high-tech life to fulfill our dream of living in an eco lodge surrounded by nature and wildlife.
So where to start? We wanted to use natural building materials, that are found around the area and to use as little cement (a very uneco-friendly building material) as possible. We studied the local way of building, input lots of creativity, as well as time, to come up with some good and innovative ideas of eco-friendly building, especially designed for this area, using materials such as coconut leaves, burlap, sisal sticks, wood and doum palm leaves.
Placing the buildings on the plot was not an easy task either. When we started the thick bush made it virtually impossible to cross from the back up to the beach without having to crawl on all fours! So with nature and hence wildlife conservation in mind, we cleared up dead trees and branches and this alone made big enough spaces for the buildings – each guest unit is slightly different due to the size of the cleared area we found available. The result is wonderful, a place full of indigenous nature and wildlife – vervet monkeys, sykes monkeys, baboons, nile monitors, dik-diks, squirrels and more are still calling Tembo Kijani their home.
As well as enjoying the local flora and fauna around Tembo Kijani, guests can visit the nearby Saadani National Park or simply explore on foot, the local ecosystems such mangroves, baobab trees, a salt lake with an opportunity to meet the local tribe of the Mangati.
The lodge runs entirely on solar and wind power, through this alone we are able to keep the drinks cold and the lights on. A solar island system to supply electricity and a solar water heating system for each unit, provides our guests with a first-hand experience of the power of the sun, solar being the first choice of renewable energy when being located so close to the equator.
Being so far off in the bush, our food supplies come mostly from nearby villages – coconuts are taken from the trees in the lodge, fish is bought fresh from the fishermen on the beach, available fruits and vegetables change with the season – come in December and you get the best mangos and pineapples. Our German chef creates magical dishes from these fresh, local ingredients – you’ll be delighted to taste what can be created from tomatoes, coconut, pineapple and passion fruit.
Besides being eco in regards to pollution, eco also means supporting the local community, so as well as buying local produce, 90% of our employees are from the next village and we train them in their new profession as well as in sustainability.
Being eco cannot be done in the same way in all the places in the world, but with some creativity, open eyes and a passion for nature, a great eco resort can be established anywhere in the world and will surely be a unique experience for everybody visiting.
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I applaud any resort that is very eco friendly and leaves as small an imprint as possible while preserving the natural environment. This is luxury living at its finest!
I wouldn’t argue with that Noel. What a stunning location to wake-up in!
I have thought from time to time about going to Africa, but so far I have only looked briefly at a few options. If I do go, I will certainly look into this place as number one option. The ocean, the wildlife, Saadani National Park, and the accommodations look lovely.
Have to agree with you Lee, this does look like the perfect place to visit. I love the way the accommodation is right in amongst nature.
So great to hear that luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand and look amazing. Would love to visit.
Good to see minimal impact on the environment. When I went to Tanzania it was with CC Africa (the CC bit standing for Conservation Corporation, IIRC), now known as &Beyond. They have some great projects going on, whilst still keeping conservation at the forefront. When you have such natural beauty as it is, you shouldn’t need to make significant changes. 🙂
Wonderful work by Sarah and her family, it looks gorgeous and is as in tune with nature as possible. This is sustainable luxury, and Sarah’s encouragement regarding creating eco luxury is also uplifting.
We have yet to explore the continent of Africa in any sense but every time I read a post like this and see African National Parks and the corresponding safaris that are available, really makes me want to book a trip there soon!
The fact that the lodge runs entirely on solar and wind power is huge for the local economy and as you correctly indicate its overall sustainability. I know as a globe we are all trying to use more renewable resources, unfortunately the fact is we are for the most part failing, but to see this in action just goes to show what commitment can do!