6 Eco-friendly escapes in South Africa for conscious explorers

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve is actively involved in conservation efforts to protect its unique ecosystems and diverse flora and fauna. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve is actively involved in conservation efforts to protect its unique ecosystems and diverse flora and fauna. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Published Aug 18, 2023


Prepare to be dazzled, because South Africa is unleashing its eco-friendly wonders for the world to explore. Whether you're an intrepid explorer or a sustainability devotee, this country has plenty of unique destinations that will have you packing your bags.

We're talking wildlife havens that'll make your jaw drop and lodges so off-the-grid, you'll be on a first-name basis with the stars. Delve into a world where adventure and sustainability shake hands with these destinations.

Thonga Beach Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal

Thonga Beach Lodge.

Nestled along the pristine shores of the Maputaland coast in KwaZulu-Natal, Thonga Beach Lodge is a testament to eco-friendly luxury and environmental stewardship.

This secluded haven offers a unique blend of unspoiled beauty, cultural richness and a commitment to sustainable practices, making it an ideal destination for travellers seeking both tranquillity and responsible travel experiences.

One of the lodge's stand out features is its reliance on solar power for its energy needs. Solar panels harness the abundant sunshine of the region, minimising reliance on traditional power sources and reducing carbon emissions.

Additionally, the lodge is dedicated to water conservation, utilizing water-saving fixtures and implementing effective wastewater management systems.

Guests are encouraged to use water mindfully, contributing to the preservation of this precious resource.

Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve, Northern Cape

Room view, Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve. Picture: INSTAGRAM/ unearthexperience's

Nestled in the Northern Cape, Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve is the largest privately protected wildlife reserve in South Africa, with a great focus on conservation. Beyond its breathtaking beauty, what sets Tswalu apart is its commitment to sustainability.

Adopting an eco-tourism model and prioritizing a low carbon footprint, the reserve maintains a unique harmony between luxury and nature.

Impressively, it boasts the lowest guest-to-wilderness ratio in South Africa, welcoming a maximum of 40 guests across three luxury safari camps. This ensures that the delicate ecosystem remains undisturbed while offering a truly intimate and African experience.

Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve not only preserves the majestic landscapes and wildlife but also showcases how a stunning destination can be a shining example of eco-friendliness.

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve, Western Cape

In the Cederberg Mountains lies Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve, a truly unique destination in South Africa. This sanctuary offers a glimpse into the ancient history and natural wonders of the region, making it a haven for explorers seeking both adventure and a break away from the norm.

What sets Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve apart is its captivating blend of awe-inspiring rock formations and rich cultural heritage.

The reserve boasts a collection of distinctive rock formations that have been sculpted over millions of years, creating an otherworldly landscape that evokes a sense of wonder.

It's star attraction, the 'Kagga Kamma Open-Air Room,' offers guests the chance to sleep under the vast southern African sky, surrounded by towering sandstone formations.

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Adding to its uniqueness, Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve provides guest with a fascinating journey into the history of the indigenous San people. Guided rock art tours provide a glimpse into the lives, beliefs, and artistry of these ancient inhabitants.

The reserve's commitment to preserving and sharing this cultural heritage enriches the visitor experience, offering a deeper connection to the land and its people.

In addition to its captivating landscapes and cultural offerings, Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve embraces sustainability and responsible tourism. The reserve is actively involved in conservation efforts to protect its unique ecosystems and diverse flora and fauna.

Their dedication to preserving the environment ensures that future generations can continue to appreciate the reserve's natural beauty.

Starry Starry Night in Montagu, Western Cape

Starry Starry Night Eco Mountain Reserve. Picture: starrystarrynightroute62/INSTAGRAM

Prepare for a reality check, wanderers, because Starry Starry Night Eco Mountain Reserve isn't like any other getaway.

Found on the iconic Route 62, a mere stone’s throw from Montagu and Barrydale at the foothills of the rugged Langeberg Mountains, this place is your go-to antidote for that urban overload.

Starry Starry Night strikes the perfect balance between being surrounded by the hustle of towns yet far enough to embrace that "middle-of-nowhere" magic.

In your surroundings you will discover two stunning rivers, waterfalls, hiking trails that lead you to breathtaking views, an abundance of fynbos, organic herb, veggie gardens and the sweet symphony of tranquillity.

The reserve exemplifies sustainable land use. It nurtures local flora while reducing the need for external resources and transportation of produce.

Fresh air, check. Dazzling night skies that practically beg you to make wishes, check. And if you've got a furry friend in tow who's got their act together, they're welcome too.

There are pet-friendly accommodations open to sociable and well-behaved dogs. So, Nova StarDome can accommodate up to 2 of your fluffy sidekicks, while Luna or Gaia Mountain cottages offer a cosy spot for one four-legged pal.

!Xaus Lodge, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape

!Xaus Lodge, where eco-friendliness meets desert chic. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Ever heard of a lodge that's a solar-powered oasis in the midst of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park? !Xaus Lodge is where eco-friendliness meets desert chic. As a community-owned gem, this lodge is all about sustainable tourism and giving back to the land it calls home.

With a robust reliance on solar energy, !Xaus Lodge is effectively reducing its carbon footprint while offering guests an exceptional desert adventure.

So, if you're seeking to immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of the Kgalagadi while leaving the smallest environmental impact possible, you've just discovered your ideal desert retreat.

Their dedication to responsible practices, combined with its community ownership, creates a unique space where guests can experience the beauty of the desert while contributing to conservation efforts.

The Peech Boutique Hotel, Johannesburg

The Peech Boutique Hotel. Picture: INSTAGRAM

The Peech Boutique Hotel stands as a shining example of elegance and eco-consciousness harmoniously intertwined. This sophisticated and award-winning establishment has made sustainability a core pillar of its identity.

Waste recycling is a top priority, ensuring that materials are repurposed and diverted from landfills. By reducing its waste footprint, The Peech is making a tangible impact on the environment.

Additionally, in a city where water resources are precious, the hotel takes water conservation seriously. Implementing innovative technologies and mindful practices, the hotel strives to minimize water usage without compromising the comfort of its guests.

In the heart of Johannesburg, The Peech Boutique Hotel invites you to experience the harmony of style, comfort and sustainability.

By choosing this eco-conscious haven, you're not just booking a room – you're becoming a part of a movement towards a more responsible and conscious way of travel.