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Eco-Destinations in Africa:
Ecotourism in South Africa - Responsible Tourism   by Rosemary Grace Brooks

Since the end of the 80th decade of the twentieth century, ecotourism has been a major force in the tourism industry, with private game reserves being established with the goal of conserving the local ecosystems and helping the struggling local communities to live in harmony with the natural environment available to them. South Africa has become a major provider of these responsible tourism endeavours, hosting visitors in an immense luxury of incredible accommodation, sumptuous cuisine, incredible sights and unforgettable experiences.

In the Western Cape, there are now a few reserves providing the ultimate in luxurious accommodation and experiences whilst encouraging conservation pro actively, one of these is a Private Game reserve by the name of Grootbos.

In harmony with Nature
The Grootbos Private Game reserve is situated in Gansbaai in the Western Cape. Grootbos offers luxurious accommodation whilst their main agenda is to provide conservation for the game reserve, protect and educate the guests about the importance of the flora and fauna in the reserve. Grootbos prides itself on its conservation of the fynbos growing in the area which is unique to South Africa.

The Lodge at Grootbos provides the epitome of luxury to all guests. The accommodation is exquisite and available in individual chalets scattered around the main safari lodge, whilst the cuisine encapsulates the finest flavours and local wines. The activities for the guests to experience range from horseback safaris through the reserve, exploring the caves along the sparkling sea shore and guided safari hikes. The guests are led by experienced guides through the reserve and informed of the important progressions concerning the wildlife, flora and fauna.

The reserve is situated in one of the world's best sites for land based whale watching and observation during the spring when whales come close to the shore to mate and calve. The 1000 year old Milkwood Forests in the reserve are some of the oldest in the world.

Helping the Community
In terms of conservation, Grootbos is involved in many activities and plans concerned with the restoration, conservation and promotion of the ecosystems, habitats and cultures in the area. The Grootbos Foundation runs a programme involving the training and education of locals from the nearby township in the trade of landscaping using Fynbos. This sustainable development creates jobs and experience for locals whilst raising money from sales of fynbos to help fund the project. Other sustainable development projects include community soccer, employment of locals in the reserve, research on wildlife and flora and fauna, partner projects supporting sustainable development in close by areas. The partner projects consist of crafts, nest building for African penguins and alien vegetation clearing projects, to name but a few.

Creating a Heritage
Due to the input of Aquila and Grootbos Private Nature Reserves and the eco tourism, sustainable development and conservation provided by these efforts, a beautiful ecosystem has the chance to survive, whilst allowing locals to live in harmony with nature and benefit from its presence. Tourists and visitors are receiving education whilst relaxing and enjoying a holiday.

They have provided the opportunity for locals and visitors to help the environment, whilst still indulging in a bit of luxury with ecotourism. What better way to spend a holiday than by helping conservation efforts?



Diamond Beach Village, Manda Island, East Coast
Diamond Beach Village offers an alternative to the concrete hotel, more of a rustic Robinson Crusoe experience. We work very closely with the local Swahili people taking into account their culture and only using local methods and materials to create a refreshing, eco-friendly, alternative style holiday.  We have 6 locally built huts and a tree house for accommodation surrounded by gardens, hammocks, rock and drift wood art and bird baths. We have a fantastic restaurant serving traditional cuisine from 8am-9pm.  Come and relax, swim, eat, and be looked after by our friendly staff or go snorkelling, sailing, fishing, walkng, windsurfing, and see the markets and museums of Lamu town. The perfect place to chill out after a safari.
Mara Explorer, Luxury Tented Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve
Mara Explorer is situated on a broad, thickly forested bend of the Talek River in the middle of the Masai Mara National Reserve.  Mara Explorer is situated on a broad, thickly forested bend of the Talek River in the middle of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Mara Explorer’s own all-weather airstrip means you can be in the camp less than an hour after leaving the bustle of Nairobi. The well- maintained road from the capital provides a scenic ride of just under five hours.  Private game drives with experienced personal guides, Walking safaris in the Mara Conservation Area, Bush Breakfasts and dinners under the stars, Romantic sundowners in spectacular selected areas, Visits to Maasai communities supported by the camp, Transfers for early-morning hot air balloon rides...
Olonana, Luxury Tented Accommodation, Masai Mara National Reserve
Olonana is situated on the banks of the Mara River, in the heart of Kenya's Big Game country. This unique setting offers a world of remarkable opportunities for safari adventurers. In addition to big game viewing in the Masai Mara Reserve, visitors are offered a rare glimpse of the day-to-day lives of the Maasai people in the adjacent Maasai village or 'engang'. No other lodge in the Mara offers such a close cultural experience with the Maasai.  Our chefs will delight you with exquisite cuisine, which can be served al fresco perched on the Siria escarpment overlooking the Mara plains or as a picnic deep in the bush. Or you can sink into the comfortable sitting area with some books from the camp's library lounge, and then enjoy a delicious dinner in the dining room overlooking our private section of the Mara River.
Royal Mara Safari Lodge, Luxury Tented Accommodation, Masai Mara National Reserve
Welcome to the Masai Mara of Kenya (also spelled "Maasai Mara"), recently designated as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The Royal Mara Safari Lodge is situated directly on the wildebeest "Great Migration" route, near the two world famous wildebeest migration Mara River crossing points and near Leopard Gorge, all made internationally known by the BBC's Big Cat Diary television program. Our tented lodge and camp is located on the popular Hippo Bend Lagoon of the Mara River, amongst several elephant, buffalo and giraffe herds, and with close proximity to several lion prides, including the "Maternity", Musiara Marsh, "Aitong", and Ridge prides.Given the position of our camp in the richest game section of the Masai Mara, the Western Masai Mara, our camp guests are in the best location to most readily discover the Big Five mammals.


Djuma Game Reserve Bush Lodge, Sabi Sand Reserve, SOUTH KRUGER PARK
Djuma Game Reserve - named from the Shangaan word meaning 'roar of the lion' - is part of the world-renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve. This reserve borders on the Kruger National Park. There is no dividing fence between the two reserves and therefore Djuma's 9000 ha is part of the vast Kruger National Park ecosystem. We are the third largest land user in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Reserve, SOUTH KRUGER PARK
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is Sir Richard Branson's safari lodge located in the Western sector of the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. Guests can taste the spoils of Africa in peace and tranquility and book individual rooms or exclusively hire individual lodges or the hotel as a whole - ideal for weddings and celebrations. Ulusaba, meaning 'Place of Little Fear' strikes the perfect balance between nature and nurture - as well as being an excellent place to observe the 'Big Five', it is also an ideal place to kick back and unwind.
Budongo Eco Lodge, Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda
Budongo Eco Lodge, also known as the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site, is located in the heart of Budongo Forest Reserve in Murchison Falls National Park. This reserve has one of the largest forests in Uganda with an incredible biodiversity which includes nine species of primates and 360 different bird species. Budongo Eco Lodge consists of a visitor’s center, a restaurant, comfortable self-contained cabins and spacious dorm rooms with shared facilities. In addition, the lodge offers many different activities in the direct surroundings which includes chimp tracking, chimp habituation, forest walks and bird watching. 
Camp Amalinda, Matobo Hills
Tucked away into an ancient bushman's shelter, Camp Amalinda's charm will leave an indelible impression on every visitor. Some of the most majestic granite scenery in the world is found in the Matobo Hills. It is here that the hopes, trials and tribulations of the San Bushmen are recorded in the ancient rock art. Mammal and bird species are prolific and include the highest concentration of Leopard and Black Eagle in the world. Rated one of Africa's top ten boutique lodges by Conde Naste Traveller in 1998.
Drifters Inn, Victoria Falls, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe
Situated on the outskirts of “Africa’s adventure capital”, this Inn is the ideal place to spend your holiday, or to relax after one of our safaris. Victoria Falls has much to offer, from the world’s best white-water rafting to one of the highest bungi jumps at 111m. For the less active, the surrounding game parks are hard to beat, as are the river cruises and aircraft flips over the Falls. The Drifters Inn is well located, overlooking a wilderness area, and within easy walking distance of all activities. Accommodation is in twin rooms, some sharing bathrooms, and breakfast is included. For other meals, a choice of nearby restaurants is available. A swimming pool, garden bar, T.V. lounge, and laundry facility are provided for guests’ convenience.
Masuwe Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls
MASUWE SAFARI LODGE is situated 15 minutes from the centre of Victoria Falls, in a private 1000 acre concession which lies adjacent to the Zambezi National park.  The lodge accommodates up to twenty people in ten large, en suite safari tents, which are elevated on wooden decks. The thatched main area houses a bar, dining and lounge area and overlooks an active waterhole.  Daily elephant back safaris and exiting lion encounters take place from the grounds of the lodge. 

Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar/Tanzania
Private conservation project & Eco-Tourism venture created to  protect and manage Chumbe
Island and the Chumbe Reef  Sanctuary, one of the most beautiful shallow coral gardens in the world.



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