9 eco-friendly spots to visit in South Africa

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Western Cape. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Western Cape. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Published Jun 25, 2023


After the pandemic, people have become more conscious of their environmental impact.

They are actively seeking more ethical and sustainable ways to travel.

Eco-friendly places, such as eco-lodges, retreats and nature reserves, allow travellers to align their values with their holiday experiences.

By choosing these destinations, tourists can contribute to conservation efforts and minimise their carbon footprint.

Eco-tourism plays a crucial role in unifying conservation efforts, local communities, and sustainable practices.

These places focus on protecting fragile ecosystems, preserving biodiversity, and rehabilitating wildlife.

By visiting eco-friendly destinations, tourists support initiatives that strive to maintain the delicate balance of nature and safeguard endangered species.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Western Cape

Nestled between mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve showcases the wonders of South Africa's floral kingdom.

This luxurious eco-lodge combines sustainable tourism with conservation efforts, offering guided nature walks, botanical tours, and community engagement projects.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

At Garden Lodge, diners are treated to stunning views regardless of the time of day.

The restaurant offers a dreamy atmosphere in which luxury and nature-inspired elements come together to create a unique dining experience. Every dish celebrates the abundance and beauty of the Grootbos surroundings.

Babylonstoren, Western Cape

At Babylonstoren, a historic Cape Dutch farm in the Cape Winelands, organic farming takes centre stage.

The farm-to-table restaurant serves delectable dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients.

Explore the beautiful gardens, learn about sustainable agriculture, and indulge in a holistic farm experience.

The farm-to-table restaurant at Babylonstoren. Picture: Instagram

Babylonstoren boasts a fruit and vegetable garden with great botanical diversity.

Every aspect of Babylonstoren – including the farm hotel and spa, the farm shop and restaurants – is led by the ever-changing tapestry of the garden.

Isibindi Africa Lodges, KwaZulu-Natal

The River Deck Safari Tents at Isibindi Africa Lodges. Picture: Instagram

Isibindi Africa Lodges in KwaZulu-Natal provide a unique eco-friendly safari experience.

Committed to conservation, these lodges offer environmentally conscious accommodation and engage in community upliftment projects.

Embark on thrilling game drives, spot the Big Five, and contribute to wildlife preservation.

The River Deck Safari Tents take prime position in a beautiful, private space overlooking the river.

The tents are free standing and set well apart from one another, with approximately 20 metres separating each tent.

En suite bathrooms have a large indoor shower as well as a separate outdoor shower designed for bucket-list showers under the African sky.

Terra-Khaya Eco Backpackers, Eastern Cape

Terra-Khaya Eco Backpackers. Picture: Instagram

For budget-conscious travellers seeking an eco-friendly stay, Terra-Khaya Eco Backpackers is a hidden gem.

Situated in the Eastern Cape, this off-the-grid sanctuary promotes sustainable living and eco-tourism through eco-friendly accommodation and alternative energy practices.

The Test Kitchen, Cape Town

The Test Kitchen in Cape Town is renowned for its innovative cuisine and commitment to sustainability.

With a focus on locally sourced ingredients and zero-waste principles, the restaurant provides an unforgettable dining experience that showcases South Africa's culinary prowess.

The Test Kitchen in Cape Town. Picture: Instagram

Kosi Forest Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal

Nestled in the heart of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Kosi Forest Lodge is an eco-friendly retreat in pristine natural surroundings.

Explore the indigenous raffia forest, kayak through tranquil waterways, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the local community.

Leafy Greens Café, Johannesburg

Located on a working organic farm, Leafy Greens Café in Johannesburg is a haven for plant-based food enthusiasts.

Indulge in wholesome vegan dishes made from organic produce, enjoy freshly squeezed juices, and attend workshops on healthy living and sustainable practices.

Leafy Greens Café. Picture: Instagram

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, Western Cape

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat. Picture: Instagram

Nestled in the Cederberg Mountains, Bushmans Kloof is a conservation-focused retreat that offers luxury accommodation and a rejuvenating spa experience.

Immerse yourself in the rich biodiversity of the area, take part in conservation activities, and embrace the tranquillity of this eco-conscious oasis.

The Crystal Awards recently recognised this sanctuary as the best in Africa in the Wellness Travel Awards.

A tranquil haven, it allows visitors to immerse themselves in the African landscape, revitalising their senses and nurturing their spirit.

The resort’s therapists provide personalised treatments tailored to each guest's needs.

Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, Garden Route

Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre. Picture: Instagram

Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre near Plettenberg Bay is dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of indigenous wildlife.

Take part in guided tours to learn about the region's diverse ecosystems, encounter rehabilitated animals, and support their conservation efforts.

The importance of eco-friendly places cannot be overstated.

These destinations not only offer travellers unforgettable experiences but also serve as crucial agents of change, promoting sustainable practices, protecting biodiversity, empowering local communities, and raising environmental awareness.

By choosing eco-friendly tourism, we can ensure a harmonious relationship between humans and the natural world, making a positive impact that will resonate for generations to come.