01 December 2011 by Denise Slabbert

Greener Holidays on the horizon

These days, holidays aren’t all about gas-guzzling flights, water-intense golf courses and creating piles of hotel laundry. Many of today’s travellers want to know that they can visit new places without impacting the planet.

The term eco tourism evokes images of visiting pristine nature reserves, and while South Africa does offer the likes of The Phantom Forest Eco Reserve (www.phantomforest.com), eco tourism can also be about checking out a holiday destination’s day-to-day management, and seeing how much of an impact that has on the environment.

If you want to make a greener choice when visiting South Africa, the good news is that more hotels, spas and B&Bs are making earth-friendlier choices. Here are some ideas on practical options for the eager eco-traveller:

  • A few country hotels and game lodges like Sefapani Lodge (www.sefapane.co.za) have set up vegetable and herb gardens to cut down on the amount they need to buy. An increasing number like Tau Game Lodge (www.taugamelodge.co.za) not only have their own gardens, but also incorporate their employees and immediate communities in their projects which help to uplift, educate and empower.
  • Opt for eco lodges and spas. While these aren’t the mainstay of destinations just yet, there are more of them available than ever before and give you the option of being as glamorous or rustic as you like. Some like five-star Duma Manzi Eco Lodge and Spa (www.dumamanzi.co.za ) and Cape Town’s beautiful Mount Nelson Hotel (www.mountnelson.co.za) list their green credentials on their website.
  • Stay local. Discovering destinations around one area in the country will reduce your CO2 emissions. If you do want to jet around, an option is to offset your carbon emissions.
  • Eat and drink local. Locally-produced food and wine will have less of an impact on the environment than the imported kind, and benefit people working in the immediate vicinity.


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