Ecotourism in Africa

Kenya Green Hotel

I have just completed research on ecotourism in Africa though haven’t covered all of its countries. Before I discuss my research let it be known that I was born in Senegal, Africa and one of my favorite books/movies is “Out of Africa”. The book was written by Isak Dinesen and is autobiographical and written in 1913. It is not so much the story line that caught my attention but the beautiful land and wild animals of what was to become Kenya. Africa is and will always be in my heart.

I have to say that Namibia really impressed me with it’s promotion of eco-tourism. They have added the protection of the environment into their constitution, where I think it belongs and wish other countries would follow their example. Around forty percent of its land is protected in some way. This has helped with the highly endangered black rhino. Namibia is one of the few countries with a rising population of this endangered species. To read more about Ecotourism in Namibia please go here: Namibia Eco Lodges-Tours

The government of Botswana has set a code for the operation of eco lodges and safaris to help insure preservation of that nation’s land and wildlife. To read more go here: Botswana Eco Lodges-Tours

The longest running Chimpanzee rehabilitation program is in The Gambia where at one point they disappeared but now there are 4 different social groups of chimps there. I definitely have a soft spot for all the wildlife in the world and this heartens me. To read more about The Gambia ecotourism go here: The Gambia Eco Lodges-Tours

Kenya is a well known spot for ecotourism in terms of its wildlife. It’s here people go to see the Big 5 animals. Read about it here: Kenya Eco Lodges-Tours. The newest Kenya Eco Lodge is pictured below. What’s hard to believe is that this is in a suburb of Nairobi.

Kenya Green HotelWildebeest Eco Camp.

Too see about ecotourism in Mauritius go here: Mauritius Eco Lodges
For Mozambique Ecotourism go here: Mozambique Eco Lodges
For the Seychelles: Seychelles Eco Lodges-Tours
For South Africa: South Africa Eco Lodges-Tours
For Uganda: Uganda Eco Lodges Tours
For Tanzania: Tanzania Eco Lodges Tours
For Zambia: Zambia Eco Lodges-Tours

One last thing I want to add is about the mass hysteria over Ebola. It reminds me of when I lived in Guam and my family and friends were so worried about the Brown Tree Snake that was taking over the island as the news reported it. I lived there for five years and only ever saw one. The news often gets things wrong and I would have no fear of traveling to the countries where there are outbreaks of Ebola. I would just use common sense and avoid areas where there are outbreaks but these are small and things are getting better. There is so much to see and do in Africa and the areas involved are so small and the only way to catch Ebola is if you’re close to a person with an actual outbreak. It is not transferable until a person is actively sick so don’t let the news scare you away!

If anyone has anything to add to eco-tourism in any of these African countries, please email me as I would love to add it! All my research was done online and I know that can be limited. Email me at lise(@)eco-tropicalresorts.com. Sorry about the (@) but I already get too much spam, as I’m sure you do as well!

Gifts galore for the children at Grand Fond School in Dominica

Gifts for the children in Dominica

Eco Lodges helping children

3 Rivers & Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge, is very proud to announce that as part of our partnership program with www.packforapurpose.org, Mrs. Angela Bailey and 50, yes 50, of her friends, self-named the “Splendidors” all disembarked The Carnival Splendor cruise ship today, bearing bags and bundles of useful items and gifts for the Grand fond school and its pupils. Pictured here with Jem Winston: The group that made these gifts possible

Mr Sheppee, from Sheppee tours, helped organize the event during one his exciting island tours, and Mrs. Leslie the school principal was there with me to greet our generous visitors. Over 200 lbs of goods makes it our pack for a purpose record. Thanks also to Carnival Cruise line for bringing them to Dominica.

3 Rivers & Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge works in collaboration with pack for a purpose to assist the Grand Fond Primary School.
The idea is a traveler fills up any unused baggage allowance with useful school items to fill up their bags. See all the gifts here: Gifts for the children in Dominica

Mrs Leslie at Grand Fond has created an ingenious rewards program, where each donated item is given a pints value, and the pupils earn points through work and behavior and can choose their gifts according to their number of points they have accumulated.
This teaches the children how to budget and the value of goods, even gifts!!!
3 Rivers eco Lodge encourages all visitors to Dominica to follow this splendid example, and help nurture and educate the children of the Nature Isle.

For more information about 3 Rivers eco lodge go here: 3 Rivers eco Lodge or to read about Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge go here: Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge.
Submitted by Jem Winston

Ecology in Bali

Submitted by Sumber Sari Eco Villas – www.sumbersariecovillas.com

Ecology in Bali improving. One of our Villagers, on the Reef Preservation/Conservation Project has only got a stump on one arm rather than 2 complete arms. He lost this half of one arm in dynamiting the reef to kill/catch fish in his younger days !!
Now, at least he understands that a healthy reef, brings in more fish that can be netted from the beach with a team of the villagers without damaging more coral – they are now catching as much fish as the village needs, and have set up a Reef Patrol to stop people (the Javanese, given the chance, still come across the Strait and do it, dynamiting that is) damaging our villagers livelihood and Bali’s Ecology.
Just an interesting aside, as to what education and understanding can do, with a bit of help with some Ecological thinking that benefits everybody !!

To see their listing on Eco Tropical Resorts/Sustainable Ecotourism Directory go here: Sumber Sari Eco Villas

Five Eco Resorts in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Eco friendly resorts

Sri Lanka is indeed a wonder of Asia. With its diverse flora and fauna, it makes a great touring destination. It’s no wonder that Lanka is one of the hottest travel destinations of the season. From exotic beaches to thick green forests, Lanka has it all. So without further ado, here are the top five eco resorts that will make your trip a memorable experience –

  1. Back of the Beyond Kahandamodera -

Located near the picturesque beaches of Tengalle, this resort combines leisure with pleasure. It’s a perfect spot to lay back, enjoy the silky smooth sand, and the tranquil peach as the ocean waves ripple to and fro. The villas offer you privacy as well as comfort. Each villa is split into two eco-friendly units, a three bedroom bungalow and a one bedroom cottage. Both come equipped with a ceiling fan, mosquito nets and neat bathrooms with hot and cold water facility. The bungalow boasts a separate dining area and an outdoor sleeping area. It offers stunning views of countryside as well as the sea, and is capable of housing roughly ten adults and three kids. It has to be booked as an entire house. The cottage can house three adults and is built apart from the bungalow and hence can be booked separately. The resort has a resident chef and staff to aid the tourists. The place gives an earthy feel, and has a friendly outdoor feel to it that makes it homely.

  1. Boulder Garden, Sinharaja -

It’s the Holy Grail for nature lovers. As the name suggests, the hotel is quite literally carved in jagged stones, and rooms are essentially caves in the rocks. Fret not; the USP of Boulder Garden is it’s unique combo of nature and technology. The rooms are modeled to resemble cave like structures, but they provide all the essential services. Natural light is used efficiently; the open rooms allow maximum sunlight in the rooms. It’s famous for its rustic, natural environment, and even has a rock-set swimming pool. It serves as a base camp for those interested in exploring the neighbouring rain forests.

  1. Kalundeva Retreat, Dambulla -

A perfect place to explore the cultural triangle, Kalundeva Retreat is situated among lovely green mountains and misty lakes. It’s a two chalets and a three-bedroom bungalow retreat. Each room is air conditioned and has a plasma TV of its own, although those lovely paddy fields and mesmerizing sunsets outside are far more inviting. It has a panoramic view of paddy fields and lakes, and serves as a perfect base to explore the Dambulla Cave Temples and Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

  1. Kulu Safaries, Yala -

They offer you the luxury to actually live in a national park, something that’s very rare and rewarding experience. Wake up to the melodious chirping of exotic birds, enjoy the sunrise, and feast on the local cuisine – it’s a complete package. Yala National Park houses a wide range of animals and birds, so if you are patient enough, you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful sighting of the Sri Lankan Big Four – the elusive Sri Lankan leopard, elephant, bear and wild buffalo.

  1. Madulkelle tea and Eco lodge, Kandy -

Housed in lush green Knuckles Mountains, Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge offers you a humble yet cozy abode. Secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city, the lodge has quality canvas tents. Each tent comes with a double bed, attached bathroom and wooden furniture, panning out into an outside terrace that overlooks the famous tea plantations. The separate dining building has a library, dining hall, and several indoor leisure activities. Adorned in traditional English furniture, it has an open fire place which perfectly complements the homely ambiance. Close to the Sri Lanka’s culture capital Kandy, it is a great place to stay and explore the northern country.

To see some of our Sri Lanka Eco Resorts, please click here:Eco Resorts in Sri Lanka

Apply and acquire your Sri Lankan Visa and be assured to enjoy your stay at one or more of the beautiful Sri Lankan Eco resorts.

Beyond Borders: Rethink ASEAN Ecotourism

Thailand Eco Lodges promoting Ecotourism

Workshop for ASEAN – Promoting Ecotourism

By Bronwen Evans, owner-operator of Faasai Resort and Spa: FaaSai Resort and Spa
In addition to its natural beauties, Southeast Asia has warm weather, cultural diversity, amazing eco-systems, easy accessibility and affordability. Little wonder that it is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. It is about to get even more popular, as next year it will join together in a new common market – the ASEAN Economic Community.  This means more roads and rail networks will go in and (in time) a single visa will be available for travel within the region. Obviously this will attract more tourists and this may disappoint ecotravelers who come to Southeast Asia because they are looking for authentic local experiences in quiet and unspoilt destinations.

Rice threshing the old fashioned way

Surin Laopha the owner of Faasai Resort threshing rice the old-fashioned way

It is heartening therefore to see that ASEAN is embracing the concept of ecotourism and Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sport, recently hosted a workshop for regional tourism leaders called Beyond Borders:  Rethink ASEAN Ecotourism

The workshop was supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Designated Area for Sustainable Tourism (DASTA) in Thailand and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). The Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute (CBT I) designed and facilitated the programme, with Jaranya Daengnoi and Peter Richards the lead facilitators.

The programme was very practical and in addition to talks by industry leaders there were field trips to ecotourism operations in south eastern Thailand.

The field trips were to the Jumrung Community, Rayong Province, a community initiative which offers visitors a chance to experience eco, agro and educational tourism; Huai Raeng Community in Trat province, a community-based initiative which offers boat trips to mangroves and homestay; and Faasai Resort and Spa, a small family-owned eco-resort which offers similar local trips, hands-on experience in the resort’s organic farm and “forest cuisine” – dishes based on locally-grown herbs such as Siamese cardamom.

Sites of Kung Wiman

Workshop attendees visited sites of Kung Wiman, near FaaSai Resort

 

All the places have a focus on agricultural tourism, supporting local communities, learning and sharing, and supporting cottage industries. There is also a unique Thai element to all three as they emphasize Thailand’s concept of the “Sufficiency Economy”.   This is not merely “sustainability” in the commonly understood meaning, but stress ethical values and “sufficiency” – living within your means, sharing resources, living as part of a community and cultivating resilience to external shocks.  This draws upon Buddhist traditions of kindness, tolerance and simplicity and the concept was developed by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Religion is an important part of Southeast Asian culture, and there is much common ground between Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, which have many devotees in the region. This was certainly evident in the people attending the workshop. When I spoke about values-based tourism from a Buddhist perspective, the Muslim members of the group were very receptive and enthusiastic about the idea and talked about their own heritage and experiences as we visited the sacred Bodhi tree at the resort.

While the group discovered many commonalities between eco-tourism practitioners in Southeast Asia, they also shared knowledge about how to develop successful ecotourism ventures. Ideas included creating memorable experiences, designing special packages to attract long-stay travelers, students or special interest groups,  using online media effectively through story-telling and developing social networks and communities of interest.

Thankfully, governments are coming to appreciate the value of this kind of small-scale tourism. It attracts travelers wanting to get off the beaten track and have a more authentic experience while it is low-impact and ensures that the money spent by tourism mostly remains in the local community.

White Water Lake

White Water Lake – the sanctuary and organic farm operated by Faasai Resort

Mr Pasit Poomchusri, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Tourism in Thailand, led the workshop, which followed on from previous initiatives aimed at capacity-building within the Thailand tourism industry.  He sees good ecotourism potential in Thailand’s coastal eastern provinces, Rayong, Trat and Chanthaburi. These destinations offer a good alternative to travelers. They are only a few hours’ drive from Bangkok and have many resources such as sea and mountains, marine and forest parks, biodiversity, strong local communities, delicious food and agri-tourism.

As a local operator, I find it very encouraging that the Thai government is giving such support and encouragement to small eco-enterprises and I feel enthusiastic about the possibilities for ASEAN operators to work together in the area of ecotourism.

Bronwen Evans is a New Zealander who, together with her Thai husband Surin Laopha, is the owner-operator of Faasai Resort and Spa, an award-winning eco resort at Kung Wiman in Chanthaburi, Thailand.. To see their listing on Eco Tropical Resorts please go here: FaaSai Resort and Spa.

Ecohelpline

Eco Helpline

In 2009 three of us started Eco Helpline My other 2 incredible partners are Jem Winston and Hemant Thite. We share the same ideals about promoting ecotourism, each in our own way.  We think of ourselves as the 3 Ecoteers promoting sustainability. Hemant lives in India and runs Biogas Helpline and he is the one that brought the 3 of us together. Jem runs 3 Rivers Dominica and Rosalie Forest Ecolodge, both in Dominica.

Our goal for Eco Helpline was to initiate people into “Eco” best practices. We were mainly thinking of hotels when we developed the course but anyone can benefit from it. Many things can be incorporated into other areas and can also help increase people’s awareness in general. Our focus was the 5 main parts of ecotourism; Energy, Water, Nature Conservation, Waste & Recycling and Community Development.

Our free online course covers all those and you can take it here: Basic Eco Course. This will take you to my partner site.  You do need to sign up to take the course, but there is no charge.

We also offer an Advanced Eco Best Practices Course here: Alternative Energies Course. There is a small fee of $50 (US) to take the advanced course. You do need to register first. By signing up for our advanced class you will enable the 3 of us to meet in person and we would all love that, so please take the advanced class after you’ve taken our free one!

The Creativity OF Eco Tourism In Uganda

Green World Safaris in Uganda

Eco Tourism in Uganda
Eco-tourism basically focuses on environmental conservation and sustainable development. Eco-tours help to save forests, cultures and the environment in general. Eco tourism is all about saving the environment around you and preserving the natural luxuries and forest life. Whether it’s about a nature camp or organizing trekking trips towards the unspoiled and inaccessible regions, one should always keep in mind not to create any disturbance in the life cycle of nature.

Eco-tourism sites in Uganda are endowed with an abundance of wildlife and ever green vegetation. The attractions are; the apes, birds, butterflies, green vegetation, reptiles, flowers and wild animals like elephants, baboons, warthogs, chimpanzees, bush backs, monkeys, bush pigs, buffaloes, mountain gorillas and cool natural fresh air.

In all of Africa, Uganda is blessed by Nature with a wide range of rain forests, wildlife sanctuaries, rich cultural history, spectacular national parks, active volcanoes, botanical gardens, snow capped mountain with their rich flora and fauna gives you abundant and diverse choices making it the perfect country to visit if you are interested in environmental tourism and the unforgettable wildlife experience.

For those interested in nature, and who love traveling and recreation, we welcome you to the Pearl of Africa (Uganda). Eco-tourism here focuses on local cultures, wilderness adventures, volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on our vulnerable planet. Traveling to different destinations is where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions like our well conserved national parks, forests and mountains.

For Eco Lodges and Tours in Uganda go here: Uganda Eco Lodges and Tours
This article submitted by: Green World Safaris

Wild Futures and the primate pet trade

The Monkey Sanctuary run by Wild Futures

By Paul Michael Reynolds MSc
Education Officer and Primate Keeper
Wild Futures-Primate Conservation

Wild Futures is a UK registered charity founded upon five decades of experience as a leader in the field of primate welfare and conservation, education, and sustainable practice. We are committed to protecting primates and habitats worldwide, with our UK flagship project The Monkey Sanctuary housing monkeys rescued from the primate pet trade and other abusive captive situations.

Our primary focus at Wild Futures is to protect primates and one of our main methods for achieving this is through education. Our education program raises awareness of the serious conservation and welfare implications for victims of the primate pet trade and other issues affecting primates worldwide. Some of the monkeys at our Sanctuary were born in the wild and through both legal and illegal means, have ended up as pets in Europe. Kodak the capuchin (see photo below), started his life in the rainforest and probably witnessed his family group shot. He then found himself transported across the globe to Greece where he was kept in a photo shop, until his owner realized he needed to be with others of his own kind. He is now the alpha male of his own group at our Sanctuary.

Kodak is one of the primates at The Monkey SanctuaryKodak ©Wild Futures

We estimate with the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) that there are approximately 6,000 privately owned primates in the UK, with further evidence suggesting it could be higher and there are signs that the primate pet trade is on the increase. Our Sanctuary witnesses the damage caused by this trade every day. Of the 37 monkeys residing at our Sanctuary, many of them display serious physical and psychological problems resulting from their time kept as pets. Our campaign work has led to much advancement, including political recognition that the trade in primates as pets is an issue within the UK, the publication of the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Privately Kept Non-Human Primates (to be used in conjunction with the Animal Welfare Act 2006) and strong public support, which has resulted in a parliament led committee discussing the UK primate pet trade.

We are working hard to protect primates and their habitats worldwide and strive for the day when all monkeys are free from the threat of the pet trade, free from malnutrition, mental, physical and emotional suffering.

Author Bio:
Paul Reynolds began his work at Wild Futures as a volunteer after completing his MSc in 2010, and after a period of time as a volunteer entered into his current role as Education Officer. He is driven and committed to ending the exploitation of primates for any purpose. You can email him at paul_reynolds@wildfutures.org

Paul Reynolds who works with Wild futures in preserving primatesPaul talking about Maya the Woolly Monkey

Water Conservation

Water scarcity worlwide

I keep having the same discussions with different lodges concerning water conservation. This is one of the 5 areas of my Eco Rating Exam. The 5 areas are Energy, water, recycling, land and conservation, and community.

Water conservation makes a lot of sense because there is a big water problem worldwide.  Wikipedia has an article on it here: Worldwide Water shortage, they claim there is a water scarcity in every continent of the world. The map below shows it:

Water scarcity worlwide

The Eco Rating Exam stresses water conservation. Lodges and Tours in very wet and rainy areas feel that they shouldn’t be held up to the same standards because there is an abundance of water where they are.  I have tried to incorporate some things into the questions of the Eco Ratings Exam.  For example, one of the questions is do you re-use gray water for irrigation?  This makes no sense if you have so much rain water that you don’t even have to irrigate.  I solved this question by adding this as a possible answer: Water is abundant and there is no need to collect gray water. There is another question that lodges do score lower on if they answer no.  That question asks if they record their water usage as part of water conservation.  So far, I have been tackling this question on an individual basis but maybe it’s time for some guidelines.

Our overall goal is promoting ecotourism.  As such, I think eco lodges and tours are in a great position to help educate people and act as the fore front for Global change.  By recording usage and conserving to some extent, even when they don’t have to because of an abundance shows the world that it’s important. As with most things in life, this is a progression.  I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts about this water issue.  the more it is discussed, the more we will move forward towards change.

Here’s a quick way to share your opinion.
Do you think lodges/tours should have to record their water usage if they are located somewhere with abundant water?

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

 Yes No

You can contact me via our Contact Form if you have more to share or write a comment on this post. I will get it.

Bryn Elltyd Eco Guesthouse

Eco Guesthouse in the U.K.

Zero carbon, 1883 guesthouse business lines up for UK wide eco award

 

Eco Guesthouse in the U.K.

House is at bottom of this ramp that was used to lower slate wagons on to ffestiniog steam railway. Railway is so old it is pre steam engines. 1830,s it all rolled with gravity2ok long

**2014 Winner of Considerate Hotelier Green Team**

Bryn Elltyd eco guesthouse, 700ft up in Snowdonia has made it to the last 3 in the prestigious Considerate Hotelier awards. This national UK competition examines the sustainability and green ethos of, usually much larger hotels. Ceilia and John’s tiny 3 star, 6 bedroom, guesthouse are on a shortlist of 3. Pitted against the likes of the Best Western Hotel chain’ hotel in Suffolk.  It does not worry them, last year they competed in the awards against large 20 bed, 5 star hotels. They won and sat next to the Savoy green team to discuss carbon reduction.Lake in background is one of 2 hydro plants within 200m. This one has LAKE pumped up 3k and 400m up hill most nights. When they want power, open tap and full power in 6 seconds. store wind power electric etc

Steam train at back

Very old steam train

Green does not mean compromise as Bryn Elltyd shows. Wi fi, sauna, 3 electric car charge points etc. It is all carbon neutral, all energy comes from renewable. Having had solar panels since 1983 John and Ceilia like to think they tread lightly on the land for their grandchildren. Many organizations discuss climate change and carbon reduction, but this business has acted and runs only on renewable energy.

Heating uses a local wood bye product that is turned to gas and burnt at 900c. Amazingly for a house up a Welsh mountain it has computer inter-grated solar panels that work to make hot water. Other solar arrays make 240v electric. All the work has been done by John or by employing local engineers.

Spot the solar thermal and solar electric arrays. turf roofed lined with sheeps wool and cosy.

Spot the solar thermal and solar electric arrays. turf roofed lined with sheeps wool and cosy.

Rain can be a welcome resource here. It is harvested to flush loos(toilets) and water the garden and there are also two commercial hydro plants within 200m. Sewerage goes through 3 natural biological chambers then a small reed bed and into a duck pond, with ducks. John says ” Don’t panic the system is smell free and the loo flushing is normal.  Bryn Elltyd was built in 1883, had an out side tap in 1983 and has now evolved into carbon neutral. It has been a long adventure using my 25 years experience of teaching technology and engineering. High tech solar integration works, as does low tech conservatories, soaking up the heat into 39inch thick walls and vents to put this warm air into the house.  Together with my wife Ceilia we did what most parents dream about. The children went off to uni so we put the house on the market, sold up and moved to this stunning area where we used to holiday. Take care in the Hobbit room, lined with cozy sheep’s wool, turf roofed and dug into the mountain. It has had two marriage proposals in it so far……..’’

The Considerate Hotelier Awards are in London on 13th June.  It was won last year by the Savoy hotel and our little green zero carbon guesthouse with 6 bedrooms is against  a 34 and a 396 bedroom hotels that are part of national chains. No worries.

To see their listing go here: Bryn Elltyd Eco Guesthouse in the UK