The Dumamanzi Lodge in KwaZulu Natal. Photo: Dumamanzi Lodge

The pressures on the environment have caused that travelers become more environmentally conscious in their decisions of which resorts to pick for their trips. This is a list of some of our favourite green establishments in the country and what green feature we love most. 

In no particular order: 

1. The Oyster Box, Umhlanga

This scenic hotel in Umhlanga, has a history of over 60 years of being the go to destination for weddings, engagements and other special occasions. Located directly on the beach, it provides scenic views for its visitors. And if you're a green friendly traveler, you can look forward to the efforts of the hotel's management team in running a 'green establishment'. Some of the green features include: 
The utilisation of heat (normally expelled and wasted from the hotel’s air-conditioning system) is used to warm the water of the 14 pools (swimming and decorative) on the property. Solar heating has been installed to assist with the heating of water in the Spa. ‘Grey’ water, is harvested from showers, baths and wash hand basins, filtered and pumped to holding tanks for flushing toilets and rainwater is directed off the roofs via an extensive underground pipe network to a large storage tank for use in the gardens.

State-of-the-art performance glazing has been used in windows and doors to assist in maintaining constant interior temperatures and reduce noise. Energy efficient lights and lamps have been installed where possible and sensors on bedroom sliding-doors switch off the air-conditioning immediately when guests open up access to the balconies or terraces. A sophisticated building management system controls the major service installations throughout the property to ensure maximum energy efficiency and control at all times. 

2. Dumamanzi Eco Lodge and Spa, KwaZulu-Natal

The lodge and spa is located one hour away from Durban and 45mins from Pietermaritzburg. Lying on both sides Mkomazi River, the 5000 hectares of malaria free and predator free land the place promises to be an oasis away from everyday city life pressures. The lodge uses power generated from a generator due to its electricity free nature. The lodge also utilises natural light and energy efficient light in all guest, employee and storage areas. The establishment's makes efforts to preserve water as well. The showers are fitted with water reducers, reducing water flow from 15 litres per minute to 9 litres per minute.The toilets are filled with an innovative water saving mechanism of water bottles in the cistern which has reduced the water usage by a third when flushing toilets and the pools are part of a pilot project by Eskom and use an ozone aerator – a first in South Africa to be tested at Duma Manzi Eco-Lodge & Spa. 

3. iKhayalamafu Eco Estate, Central Drakensberg. 

The name literally translated into home of the clouds,  the estate boasts being a secluded hideaway in the Drakensberg Mountains. With only two cabins, and strict rules that include only hosting at most four adults, the views are breathtaking. And the cabins provide wifi should the seclusion be a bit too much. The resort promises guests the experience of a zero carbon footprint.  Some of the promises made include:  electricity sourced from both solar and hydro-generation— which provides enough power to run lights, fridge, microwave and electric blankets. Loadshedding according  to the establishment, is not a problem of theirs. Water is heated with solar geysers, with gas geysers as back up. Because it's self catering, visitors cook using gas hobs. Sewage is handled using septic tanks and soak pits. 

          The Inyoka Cabin at iKhayalamafu Lodge. Photo: iKhayalamafu Lodge

4. The Peech, Johannesburg 

A boutique hotel, The Peech is a chic establishment located in Johannesburg minutes away from the busy city, in Melrose Arch. It has 16 suites and bedrooms. It is owner run, and has several green efforts in place such as: Hot water being  generated by solar geysers, grey water being used for watering the garden and timers are used where possible. All recyclables get recycled, food waste gets processed into garden fertiliser and they bottle their own water on site. There is at least 90 square meters of green space per guest and all batteries are rechargeable.

A special mention of the Phantom Forrest Eco Lodge in Knysna, which was the one of the leading destinations of green travel in the country. It was unfortunately completely destroyed by the fires in June in Knysna. 

     Views from the Phantom Forrest Eco Lodge in Knysna. Photo: Phantom Forrest