Some time ago, the choice of real eco resorts and lodges was limited to the Amazon jungle or remote locations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nowadays the modern traveller is spoilt for choice with an abundance of environmentally responsible and sustainable locations to choose from. Here we present five of the top eco resorts worldwide that boast some of the best renewable technologies, making them true green stays.
1. Umlani Bushcamp, South Africa
The Umlani Bushcamp provides the authentic South African experience within the framework of sustainable tourism and environmental responsibility. Part of the Kruger National Park, the owners have made a concentrated effort to ensure the materials used in the construction of the camp remain true to the surroundings. With experienced staff on site to give guests the best understanding of the local area, including the abundant wildlife, the Umlani Bushcamp is a wonderful choice for those wanting a traditional African feel. With 100% recycling, lead-free paint, organically grown vegetables and water conservation policies the lodge is committed to reducing its footprint. A massive 70% of the energy used at the lodge is generated through solar power, which provides hot water throughout the year. By staying at Umlani guests can be assured they are doing their bit for responsible tourism.
- Prices start at R1996 per person sharing ($295)
2. Saadani Safari Lodge, Tanzania
Situated on the edge of the Indian Ocean the Saadani Safari Eco Lodge is a true gem. Committed to conserving the natural beauty of the surrounding national park, the owners offer a range of initiatives to support the local community, and expect their guests to get involved! A water mill has been built, which provides water to the nearby village and also provides a small salary for a local maintenance technician. The lodge has been helping local tribes to make charcoal from sustainable resources and not from log burning, which was their usual practice. A biogas burner on site provides fuel to the lodge, and proceeds from takings are being used to build an ecofriendly lodge for the village. This is ecotourism in the true sense of the word, as the lodge uses renewable and sustainable resources to not only sustain itself, but also the local community.
- Prices available on request from Saadani Lodge.
3. Matava, Fiji
This largely unspoilt island in Fiji is the perfect place for an eco resort. Coupled with stunning scenery and a laid-back local vibe, Matava is a welcome escape. The traditional honeymoon and ocean Bures overlook the ocean or a tropical jungle paradise. Committed to responsible tourism, management ensures that the principles of sustainability are adhered to, ensuring the local population benefits from the development. Solar panels provide the bulk of the energy needed here for day to day operations, is 100% off grid and the site ensures as much reliance on locally sourced materials as possible.
- For around $1,220 you can treat yourself to the ‘Matava Experience’ – 7 nights full board accommodation, return transport to airport by boat and a village tour.
4. Waianuhea Eco Resort, Hawaii
This small romantic hideaway in Hawaii, with fantastic views over the pacific ocean and surrounding hills, is definitely worth the trip. Providing the perfect base to explore the area and a relaxing retreat after a busy days sightseeing, this resort has the best of both worlds. A comprehensive Photovoltaic (PV) system provides all the necessary power, and the water supply is sourced from the lodge itself. The lodge is 100% grid free, uses organically grown produce in its compost-fed gardens, locally sourced materials in its spa and bathrooms and promotes sustainability wherever possible.
- Prices start at $210 a night for an ocean view room.
5. Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge, Alaska
The sustainable aspects of this retreat begin with the very structure of this lodge – made from materials found on local beaches. The owners are committed to reducing their impact on the natural environment and limiting waste, and have continued to develop their green policy since topping Forbes Top Ten Green Resorts list in 2007 and 2008. Hydroelectric power from a local stream, complemented by wind power ensure this resort is getting the most from renewable energy resources, and a dedicated recycling and organic food production policy ensure the healthiness of this lodge is topped only by the pure Alaskan air.
- Prices start at $550 per night all inclusive.