National Geographic Traveller - South African Edition

50 best eco-lodges


The most earth-friendly retreats in the world's most spectacular wilds


A decade ago, you could count the number of true eco-lodges in the world on two hands. But today we are witnessing one the most significant transformations in the history of modern travel. Call it the new green standard. And ecolodges are at the forefront of the movement. Once located exclusively in the African bush and Central American jungles, these retreats now span nearly every ecosystem and every budget - and their mission has never been more vital. Top ecolodges today mean more than a light footprint. They have sparked some of the world's most meaningful conservation initiatives. Sure, they offer great service and comfort in spectacular locations, but they also support local communities, connect their guests to culture on an authentic level and increasingly place adventure at the centre of the experience. In this special feature, you'll find the most comprehensive ecolodge survey ever assembled, representing diverse landscapes and locales. From bring- your- own- bedroll bungalows to high-thread count villas, you'll discover 50 places to stay that are redefining travel for a greener generation.


2. Wolwedans Namibia


Wolwedans started when a Namibian businessman bought up desert farms to return them to nature. But Wolwedans, which offers four camps to suit all tastes, is anything but typical. Play Hemingway in a canvas and gum pole tent or in an elegant wood-and-canvas chalet -both staffed by trained villagers - and hike through the vast quiet of golden sand dunes, punctuated by oryx and springbok. Our advice: Splurge on hot- air ballooning at dawn. From R3900 per person, minimum stay two nights;