South Africa is well known for its incredible natural beauty, abundance and diversity as well as the many national parks (SANParks) and private nature reserves. These protected areas are of particular importance for wildlife, flora & fauna, features of geological or other special interest, and are reserved and managed for conservation purposes and to provide opportunity for study or research.
“TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES. LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS. KILL NOTHING BUT TIME.”
Nothing beats a breakaway in Nature and her pure natural state of splendour. 🍃 Below is a list of eco-friendly establishments set on private nature reserves or within national parks. We recommend you check in and grab the opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring natural surroundings and important ecosystems. Not only does your stay contribute to sustainable tourism in South Africa, but also help support the good work being done by the custodians of the land like reforestation projects, land rehabilitation, conservation of endangered wildlife and plant species, and the upliftment of local folk. All the more reason to get out there and go green!
STANFORD, WESTERN CAPE
Farm 215 is a private, intimate and secluded retreat on a pristine private nature reserve with undisturbed views over the Agulhas Plains towards the ocean. The retreat lies at the foot of “fynbos”-covered mountains in the middle of an 800 hectare pristine private nature reserve. The reserve is a protected area and a sanctuary for hundreds of rare, endemic and common fynbos plants of the threatened Cape Floral Kingdom, known for its weird and wonderful shapes and flowers.
As pioneers in sustainable hospitality, Farm 215 operates under strict “green guidelines” and place the integrity of the environment first while aiming to keep the footprint of both themselves and guests as low as possible. Years of clearing invasive alien vegetation has rehabilitated the reserve of Farm 215 to the pristine fynbos and healthy wetlands today. Trees for Tourism is a key joint initiative that creates forest eco-systems for the tourism industry in South Africa to counter-balance the tourism related footprint; under this program in excess of 13,000 trees have been planted in suitable areas of the Farm 215 reserve.
Farm 215 is represented in the boards of the Walkerbay Fynbos Conservancy, the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative and the Uilkraal Estuary Management Forum. The farm is also one of the proud initiators of The Skills Exchange Cooperative (SEC). The SEC is a Non-Profit Organization focusing on Social Development and Nature Based Development in the Uilkraal Vallei between Gansbaai and Cape Agulhas.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Responsible body products, Local & Organic produce, Sustainable energy acumen, Water Wise practices, Eco architecture, Land rehabilitation, Conservation, Community upliftment projects, Fair Trade Tourism practices.More Info / Bookings
MAGOEBASKLOOF, LIMPOPO PROVINCE
Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge is a 422 hectare Eco Lodge surrounded by mountains, indigenous forest, rivers and bushveld. With over 250 species of birds in 5 different habitats and award-winning local Bird guide, the Lodge boasts a phenomenal experience for birding enthusiasts. It is the owners’ vision to provide an opportunity for people to enjoy the unique beauty Kurisa Moya has to offer; to remain in awe and respect nature, and to develop Kurisa Moya to its fullest potential without sacrificing the wild beauty of the place.
All staff and directors staying at Kurisa Moya have a carbon-neutral footprint. Visitors can offset their carbon footprint from their journey / annual household usage in an environmentally and socially responsible way by contributing to their Carbon Offsetting Programme where trees are planted in local schools and crèches. Kurisa Moya uses its Carbon Credits to offset all its gas and fuel consumption, and also have an active alien eradication programme in place in order to rehabilitate the indigenous forests, grasslands and bushveld.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Water Wise practices, Sustainable energy acumen, Eco architecture, Land rehabilitation, Conservation, Fair Trade Tourism practices.More Info / Bookings
GANSBAAI, WESTERN CAPE
Platbos is a mystery forest. Growing upon an ancient sand dune with neither a river nor spring to sustain it, the forest survives the hot, dry summer months by drawing moisture from the morning mists that bathe its thirsty canopy. For botanists, the presence of Platbos Forest in this landscape, where only the drought-resistant and fire-tolerant fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom flourish, remains unfathomable.
Platbos has created 4 incredible venues where guests can truly immerse themselves in the peace and tranquility of this unique, beautiful and ancient forest. These camps are eco-friendly and off-the-grid, but still offer creature comforts. The units are built from alien trees (pines and gums) without cement foundations and are non-permanent, compact structures that have minimal impact on the forest ecosystem.
The Platbos Conservation Trust was created to protect and extend the forests habitat and diversity. Post the 2016 Greenpop Reforest Fest, over 40,000 trees will have been planted in their reforestation site since 2008. All newly planted trees at Platbos are automatically protected under the auspices of DWAF (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry) in hopes that they will live well over 100 years.
The owners of Platbos share a dream to live gently upon the Earth´s surface and to lead harmonious and sustainable lives on the planet. They are dedicated to the conservation and extension of this unique forest and all the animal and bird life that it supports.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Responsible body products, Sustainable energy acumen, Water Wise practices, Eco Architecture, Conservation, Land rehabilitation.More Info / Bookings
STANFORD, WESTERN CAPE
Phillipskop Mountain Reserve spans over 246ha of the pristine southerly slopes of the Klein River Mountains. Day visitors are welcome by arrangement, alternatively you can extend your stay by booking a lovely self-catering cottage. Adventure-loving guests can camp overnight in the cave (sleeps 8 people) which overlooks an uninhabited valley, about an hour`s hike from the main house. Your hosts, Drs Chris and Anna Whitehouse, share a love and tremendous knowledge of nature. As custodians of this precious environment they aim to preserve it and encourage an appreciation of the natural world through responsible exploration.
The reserve is a hiking hotspot in the Overberg. For those who would like to learn more about the natural history, the Fynbos and other vegetation of this unique and special part of the world can book personalized guided walks. The FGASA qualified guide, Chris, is an expert on the plants of South Africa and his botanical knowledge covers all flora of the area, as well as its natural history, birds, butterflies and geology.
Phillipskop Mountain Reserve has embarked on an ongoing land rehabilitation effort by eradicating invasive Port Jackson (Wattle) to allow indigenous fynbos to return to the cleared areas where visitors can come and engage with the amazing world around them.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Water Wise practices, Sustainable energy acumen, Conservation, Land rehabilitation.More Info / Bookings
PATERNOSTER, WESTERN CAPE
Sea Shack is located in a serene bay nestled in the wild West Coast seas within the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, just 5km from the popular fishing village of Paternoster. This intimate seaside retreat focuses on sustainable living in harmony with nature and offers a comfortable “glamping” experience as close to nature as possible.
The owner of Sea Shack has a deep and profound love of nature and has created this eco-friendly lodge to allow people to experience the beauty and tranquility of the area. As part of Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, Sea Shack is committed to the conservation of the natural environment, education and to rehabilitate previously damaged areas.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Sustainable energy acumen, Eco architecture, Conservation, Land Rehabilitation.More Info / Bookings
WILDERNESS, WESTERN CAPE
Reflections Eco Reserve is a 28 hectare rehabilitated pine plantation situated in Rondevlei, a picturesque area in the Wilderness Lakes districts. The reserve is surrounded by the Garden Route National Park on 3 sides and is rich in natural beauty. This family-owned and run self-catering eco-reserve is inspired to be as environmentally friendly as possible and is the perfect getaway for anyone wanting to retreat into nature. The lodge has 4 extremely well appointed luxury chalets that allow privacy and exclusivity; all of which are completely powered up by the wind and sun, creating the ultimate “clean holiday” experience.
Fantastic walks and outstanding birding (over 140 species) can be done at Reflections Eco Reserve; they have their own S.A.T.O.U.R & F.G.A.S.A qualified guide who is a very keen birder and provides an excellent naturalist guided experience. They also assist with the removal of non-indigenous trees and has an active land rehabilitation programme, already clearing over 26 hectares of alien vegetation. The reforestation programme aims to assist nature in returning the land back to its original state; simultaneously off-setting their carbon footprint.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Responsible body products, Sustainable energy acumen, Conservation, Land rehabilitation.More Info / Bookings
SEDGEFIELD, WESTERN CAPE
Teniqua Treetops is a rustic, ecologically sound development with 8 unique tree houses, situated at the foothills of the ancient Outeniqua Mountains in an area of outstanding natural beauty of the Knysna forests in the magical Garden Route. Careful attention has been paid to the positioning of the tree houses, each site carefully chosen to limit environmental impact in this private nature reserve. Teniqua Treetops offers excellent bird-watching with 128 species of birds identified on the property of which 23 are endemics and near endemics.
Teniqua Treetops is a low density and low impact eco-friendly resort that actively aims to live and operate in a sustainable way, protecting and supporting the indigenous forest on the farm. A portion of the magnificent natural environment where Teniqua Treetops is located was once a cattle farm; this has been completely rehabilitated and as custodians of this piece of paradise they are committed to protect and conserve the natural beauty for future generations.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Responsible body products, Sustainable energy acumen, Eco architecture, Water Wise practices, Land rehabilitation, Conservation.More Info / Bookings
STANFORD, WESTERN CAPE
Mosaic Private Sanctuary is a luxurious boutique guest resort set on the edge of the Hermanus Lagoon between ocean and glistening mountains in the Overberg region, expanding to a secluded part of the pristine Walker Bay Beach and Nature Reserve. Mosaic offers a range of exclusive accommodation, gourmet dining and a range of memorable experiences and activities. An important emphasis was placed on sustainable architecture at Mosaic; the stone used in the buildings are from Mosaic, and as this is a natural material, there was no manufacture pollution, nor any created from transportation.
Part of the mission at Mosaic is to eliminate invasive plants, restoring habitat for the indigenous plants, animals and birds, and to promote the conservation of this land’s extraordinary natural resources. In doing so, opportunities for employment and education for the local people are created through alien vegetation clearance and ecotourism. Mosaic Private Sanctuary is an active member in the non-profit Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy, and was also honoured by Helen Zille’s 110% Green Initiative.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Local & Organic produce, Responsible body products, Sustainable energy acumen, Eco architecture, Community upliftment, Land rehabilitation, Conservation.More Info / Bookings
STUTTERHEIM, EASTERN CAPE
Aiming to be as unobtrusive as possible, the The Shire Eco Lodge seeks to minimize its impact on the environment while providing a form of eco-friendly accommodation that eases guests into a serene natural environment through setting and architectural innovation. Promoting an appreciation of natural areas and the conservation of the environment are two key motivations behind the creation of The Shire.
The luxurious and elegant open-plan chalets rest on the edge of the indigenous Xholora forest in the Amatola Mountains, just a stream’s hop from the enchanted home of the rare Samango monkey and numerous rare species of plants, butterflies and birds like the rare Cape Parrot.
The land on which The Shire is built had previously been used for agriculture and was badly damaged. One of the key objectives in utilising the land was to restore it to its previous condition – prior to the intervention of farmers. The indigenous nursery was born of this rehabilitative objective and now houses a diverse range of indigenous plants, many of grow in The Shire’s natural gardens. Focusing on local species, the nursery is home to many rare and endangered plant species with the aim of conservation through propagation.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Local & organic produce, Eco architecture, Water Wise practices, Conservation, Land rehabilitation.More Info / Bookings
Thonga Beach Lodge is set above a secluded bay, nestled into a beautiful coastal dune forest with sweeping views of the stunning beach below. The thatched bush suites provide guest privacy and were carefully constructed to ensure minimal impact on the environment. The lodge offers luxurious accommodation, mouth-watering meals and one of the best dive sites in South Africa.
Thonga Beach Lodge is situated in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park which is a protected nature reserve; world heritage site and the third largest conservation area in Africa. They also support Turtle Tracking and other vital marine research within this protected marine sanctuary, are involved in numerous community projects, and the local community, through the Mabibi Community Trust, owns a 68% share in Thonga Beach Lodge.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Local & Organic produce, Responsible body products, Sustainable energy acumen, Eco architecture, Conservation, Community upliftment, Fair Trade Tourism practices.More Info / Bookings
MOSSEL BAY, WESTERN CAPE
Gondwana Game Reserve is located on an 11,000 hectare private game reserve in the world renowned Garden Route, providing a unique and authentic safari experience with free roaming Big 5 Game in indigenous fynbos vegetation. The reserve offers fantastic birding (300 indigenous and 30 endemic bird species) and guided nature walks through 1000 different species of fynbos in the Gondwana Reserve.
Together with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Working for Water, Gondwana has embarked on one of the largest full-scale Invasive Alien Species removal projects in the Southern Cape, which is focused on enhancing the region’s biodiversity and water sustainability. They work closely with the Gondwana Conservation Foundation granting them use of the Reserve and infrastructure to implement conservation projects, and their Tented Eco Camp provides an amazing opportunity to get involved and contribute to the important conservation work of a Big Five game reserve.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Local & Organic produce, Responsible body products, Green cleaning, Sustainable energy acumen, Eco Architecture, Water Wise practices, Community upliftment, Land rehabilitation, Conservation.More Info / Bookings
PLETTENBERG BAY, WESTERN CAPE
Hog Hollow Country Lodge is set on a private nature reserve on the edge of an indigenous forest, with breathtaking views of the Tsitsikamma Mountains and surrounding valleys. Hog Hollow Country Lodge has been mindful of their “footprint” on the planet since their inception, and have been working hard to minimize their impact by implementing various environmental programmes at the lodge. In 2008 they were one of the first South African recipients of the Wilderness Foundation Green Leaf accreditation.
The 9 hectares of land on which Hog Hollow is set was once as wattle plantation which caused enormous damage to the indigenous forest and fynbos. There is an ongoing land rehabilitation program in place to remove young wattles from the root as well as cutting down adult trees and maintaining a watchful eye on their regrowth, especially since there is a Wattle seedbed which will last for a 100 years. Hog Hollow is intent on preserving and protecting the property which is mainly indigenous forest, and they also plant indigenous trees throughout the year.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Local & Organic produce, Green cleaning, Responsible body products, Water Wise practices, Sustainable energy acumen, Community upliftment, Land rehabilitation, Conservation, Fair Trade practices.More Info / Bookings
KOSI BAY, KWAZULU-NATAL
Kosi Forest Lodge is a private lodge situated in the unspoilt wilderness that is part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, now internationally recognised as a World Heritage Site. The 16-bed lodge offers comfortable accommodation hidden in the sand forest of the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve, fine cuisine and caters for a host of estuarine, beach and wilderness activities. Between 15 November to 15 January guests can enjoy the privileged experience of turtle tracking, viewing Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles from a safe distance.
It is an immense privilege to have a lodge facility within this very unique and precious environment, and that the lodge makes it possible for people to access and enjoy the incredible variety and beauty of the lake system, Raffia forests, swamp forests, Estuary and Maputaland Marine Reserve. The responsibilities that come with this privilege are taken very seriously, both to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and its conservation ethics, and to the community. The Myayiza community owns the land that the lodge is built on and Isibindi Africa Lodges lease it from them.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Local & Organic produce, Responsible body products, Water Wise practices, Sustainable energy acumen, Eco architecture, Conservation, Community upliftment, Fair Trade Tourism practices.More Info / Bookings
Leopard Mountain Game Lodge is an award-winning 4 Star lodge located high up in the wild secluded hills of the 23,000ha Zululand Rhino Reserve, as such they share in the Reserve`s mission to conserve the biodiversity, promote conservation and to ensure the sustainable use of consumptive and non-consumptive resources. The 9 well-appointed, luxurious stone and thatch chalets are perched on a cliff top offering the most breathtaking views over this picturesque landscape.
Leopard Mountain has partnered with and supports Zululand Rhino Reserve’s community development initiatives. They have developed an environmental education program that has benefited underprivileged schools from impoverished villages, and their Local Schools Gone Wild program give local rural schools surrounding the reserve unique environmental education whereby the pupils are taken out of the class room to join the reserve’s game capture team for some hands on experience.
A conservation fee of R50 per person per night is payable on departure from Leopard Mountain Game Lodge. All funds derived from this fee go to conserving the Zululand Rhino Reserve`s Fauna & Flora, essential in preserving the wildlife heritage of the reserve for future generations.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Responsible body products, Eco Architecture, Water Wise practices, Community upliftment, Conservation.More Info / Bookings
MONTAGU, WESTERN CAPE
Kogman & Keisie Guest Farm is nestled between the charming village of Montagu in the Klein Karoo and the mountains of Montagu Nature Reserve. Guests are provided with eco-friendly, unique and stylish self-catering cottages or luxury rooms in the guesthouse.
The unique location between the village and the mountain reserve makes the owners of Kogman & Keisie feel a huge responsibility towards the wildlife & indigenous plants on their land. To this effect they have planted 60 indigenous trees in an effort to create biodiversity corridors through the farm, leading from the nature reserve and connecting with the river. These biodiversity corridors firstly create habitat for bird life, and secondly, pathways for tortoises and other animals.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Local & Organic produce, Responsible body products, Water Wise practices, Sustainable energy acumen, Land rehabilitation, Conservation.More Info / Bookings
CALITZDORP, WESTERN CAPE
The Retreat at Groenfontein is a gracious Victorian farmhouse in the lovely scenic Groenfontein Valley conservancy, bordering on the 129,000 hectare Swartberg World Heritage Site. Offering Klein-Karoo hospitality with a touch of luxury in a vast and unspoilt natural landscape, the secluded Groenfontein Valley with its historically intact, charming architecture is one of the Western Cape‘s best kept secrets.
The Retreat is situated in the middle of Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR), a conservation area established in the Little Karoo in 2011 that covers an area from the Swartberg Mountains in the north, to the Indian Ocean in the south; and from Uniondale in the east, to Montagu in the west. The GCBR aims to protect three international, biodiversity hotspots that overlap in this region, namely the Fynbos, the Succulent Karoo and the Valley Thicket. The Retreat is proud to be playing its part in these efforts with the conservation of the environment and heritage of the Groenfontein Valley.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Local & Organic produce, Water Wise practices, Sustainable energy acumen, Conservation.More Info / Bookings
Duma Manzi Eco Lodge and Spa is a luxurious wellness and wildlife retreat nestled in the forest valley, set amongst a backdrop of some of KwaZulu-Natal’s most spectacular scenery. This elegant boutique Eco Lodge lies on both sides of the Mkomazi River and is a 5000 hectare, malaria and predator free reserve.
Duma Manzi Eco-Lodge & Spa is a unique African Wilderness Sanctuary combining nature, wildlife, prolific bird life, a large diversity of fauna and flora, lodge activities, an ambience of simplicity and elegance, and holistic Eco-Spa treatments to refresh your senses. As an Eco Lodge and Nature Reserve situated in a pristine wilderness area, Duma Manzi Eco-Lodge & Spa is committed to helping in the preservation of nature through environmental and social responsibility practices through all areas of operation.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Responsible body products, Local & Organic produce, Sustainable energy acumen, Water Wise practices, Eco architecture, Conservation.More Info / Bookings
MARLOTH PARK, MPUMALANGA
Green Kruger Lodge is nestled in the conservancy area of Marloth Park, bordering the Crocodile River and Kruger National Park. The Lodge has taken a minimalistic, eco-friendly approach to the concept of luxury and comfort with a special consideration for environmental sustainability.
It is Green Kruger Lodge’s vision to consistently create awareness about the importance of being environmentally friendly while meeting the needs of eco-tourists and those wanting a Bushveld breakaway. Although luxury and service are of paramount importance, the primary focus from the beginning has been environmental sustainability and Fair Trade principals; having a genuine caring attitude and behavior towards the environment and the community.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Responsible body products, Local & Organic produce, Eco Architecture, Water Wise practices, Sustainable energy acumen, Land rehabilitation, Conservation.More Info / Bookings
Isibindi Zulu Lodge is situated in a private game reserve in the ruggedly beautiful Zululand; a peaceful bushveld retreat and offers a host of activities for guests wanting to experience a combination of luxurious accommodation, game-viewing, battlefields and Zulu cultural experiences. The 6 suites are all architecturally inspired by the traditional Zulu beehive shape and have panoramic views of the game reserve and its diverse habitats ranging from montane grassland to riverine forests.
Isibindi Zulu Lodge protects and conserves the diverse habitats and abundant indigenous game on the 4000 acre Isibindi Eco-Reserve. In keeping with their motto “tread gently”, the lodge has been constructed in the most environmentally-friendly manner. They are also involved in numerous community projects.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Green cleaning, Local & Organic produce, Responsible body products, Eco architecture, Conservation, Community upliftment, Fair Trade Tourism practices.More Info / Bookings
Rhino Post Safari Lodge is situated at the southern end of the 12,000 hectare private wilderness concession in the Kruger National Park. The concession shares a 15km unfenced boundary with the famous Mala Mala and Sabi Sand reserve with an abundance of wildlife moving freely between the two reserves. Set on the banks of the Mutlumuvi riverbed is the luxurious trails “base” lodge. From here guests can travel to Plains Camp for walking safaris, as well as overnighting under the stars at their unique “Sleepouts”.
Rhino Post Safari Lodge & Rhino Walking Safaris combine efforts with an array of partners to benefit the environment and the local communities. The lodges has been constructed in the most environmentally-friendly manner possible utilising natural materials, and have few permanent structures, minimising the use of concrete. They are sensitive to the environment and for this reason the lodges apply numerous methods to further minimise their impact by eco-friendly practices.
Extreme care is practiced at all times at Rhino Post to ensure that animals are not harassed or baited. All driving takes place on existing park roads and gravel roads. With the onslaught of rhino poaching within South Africa, Rhino Post Safari Lodge has supported many initiatives with raising funds for anti-poaching training, equipment as well as raising awareness globally of this terrible situation. Rhino Post Safari Lodge is also involved in numerous community projects.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Local & Organic produce, Responsible body products, Sustainable energy acumen, Water Wise practices, Eco architecture, Conservation, Community upliftment.More Info / Bookings
Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is situated on the western boundary in the first private concession within Africa’s oldest proclaimed Game Reserve, Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. Set in a 96 000 hectare park, Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge enables guests to enjoy 4 star luxury at a private lodge, offering spectacular wilderness and brilliant safari opportunities within the heart of Big 5 territory. The lodge has been constructed in the most environmentally-friendly manner, and the Mphembeni community have 49% ownership of Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge and operations, all in one company structure.
Green Acts for Sustainable Tourism: Recycling, Local & Organic produce, Green cleaning, Responsible body products, Sustainable energy acumen, Water Wise practices, Eco architecture, Conservation, Fair Trade Tourism practices.More Info / Bookings