Sustainability in Dominica at the Tamarind Tree Hotel

Sustainability in Dominica at the Tamarind Tree Hotel

The Tamarind Tree Hotel & Restaurant from inception has taken our role as a sustainable tourism partner very seriously. Sustainability in Dominica at the Tamarind Tree Hotel has implemented various measures to ensure our environmental impact is minimal to non-existent.

Sustainability in Dominica at the Tamarind Tree Hotel

We recently installed a Solar System which generates ninety (90%) of the energy needed by the hotel to operate on a daily basis. Thus ensuring our energy consumption with the Electricity Company is minimal. All our guests are encouraged to conserve energy and water. The hotel uses signs strategically placed to remind them to switch off lights that are not in use. As well as ensuring that all faucets are closed properly. Included is our towel use policy whereby the towels are only changed if they are placed on the floor. The Tamarind Tree Hotel also makes sure that all organic waste  from the Restaurant is put to compost. The fertilizer created is used in our organic garden.

Outside of the Hotel we continue to do our part. The Hotel has adopted Segment 11 (Syndicate to Bourne) of the Waitukubuli National Trail. This is in collaboration with the Forestry Division as well as the Waitukubuli National Trail Management Unit. The purpose is to clear, restore and rehabilitate part of the only long-distance hiking trail in the Caribbean.

Sustainability in Dominica at the Tamarind Tree Hotel

Submitted by The Tamarind Tree Hotel and Restaurant in Dominica

See the Hotel on Eco Tropical Resorts

Cardamom Tented Camp Site view

Your Stay Keeps the Forest Standing

Cardamom Tented Camp – Your Stay Keeps the Forest Standing.

Visitors might think this is just a fancy slogan for our eco tourism project, Cardamom Tented Camp.
The Camp’s slogan is quite the opposite and very true. Most importantly, a certain percentage of our revenue goes to one of our partners in this project, Wildlife Alliance – an international non- profit organisation.  The tended camp in Cambodia supports them and their very important work in the national park. Their rangers are protecting Botum Sakor National park from illegal logging activities and poachers.

Rangers and our Tented Camp

The Tented Camp has already assisted Wildlife Alliance by supporting the building new ranger towers. The rangers are too often making confiscations of weapons and other equipment found inside the park. These weapons are used to hunt and catch some of the unique animal species, as well as destroying some of the indigenous flora and fauna. Therefore having ranger towers and other equipment helps in preserving the forest.

                           

Most of the activities that guests can participate in during their stay involve activities with the rangers from Wildlife Alliance. Guests join them on patrols and also help rangers set up camera traps. Visitors also learn more about our work on sustainability and wildlife protection and nature conservation. 

Recent Activities as the Tented Camp

Recently Cardamom Tented Camp in Cambodia hosted a stay for a small group from  Sam Vesna Centre (SVS). SVS is a an non profit organisation that works with ethical birding and wildlife tours in Cambodia. The guests stayed 4 days and managed to record over 55 unique species in and around the camp. This shows Cardamom Tented Camp is indeed a real paradise for wildlife and nature lovers.

Cardamom Tented Camp tents                               Inside Cardamom Tented Camp tent

About Cardamom Tented Camp & Sustainability

Cardamom Tented Camp opened  at the end of 2017 in western Cambodia. The Camp is a completely unique project created mainly to be able to protect the 18,000 hectare forest through eco-tourism. Cardamom is only accessible by boat because of its remote location. Cardamom Tented Camp is powered completely by solar panels. The tented camp has also created an own waste water management system.

Our tented camp is constructed mainly with natural materials from the Koh Khong area. The Camp is incorporated into the environment. Cardamom Tented Camp is designed in a way so that we could,  if we wanted to (but we don’t), remove the whole camp with absolute minimum effect to the environment. Thereby leaving only footprints on the land.

Cardamom Tented Camp works closely with the Trapeang Rung Community. The goal is to help educate and promote sustainability throughout Cambodia. Hoping that our model can become an example of how to combine wildlife and nature conservation with (responsible) tourism.

See Cardamom’s listing on Eco Tropical Resorts

Staying at Cardamom Tented Camp is a meaningful stay because, as a result –
Your Stay Keeps The Forest Standing.

By:
Jakob Waern
Director of Marketing
YAANA Ventures

 

How Eco Tourism Has Saved the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

How Eco Tourism Has Saved the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

According to the 2011 gorilla census, there are only 880 Mountain Gorillas left in the wild worldwide. Making it a critically endangered species of ape. Half of this population is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in south western Uganda. The other half is found in the magnificent Virunga Mountain ranges. These are shared by Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park), Uganda (Mgahinga National Park) and Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park).

The mountain gorillas are endangered and at risk of extinction. There are many International and regional bodies working hard to protect the gorillas and their habitat. These include the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Rwanda Development Board and Gorilla Doctors, among others.

African Jungle Adventures in Rwanda and Uganda

Man is the main threat to the mountain gorilla population in Africa. This threat is through activities of poaching and encroachment to their habitat. Therefore, Eco tourism is the way forward towards the protection of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda through the following ways;

In the first instance, Volcanoes National park Rwanda today has 10 habituated gorilla groups available for ecotourism purposes. Mountain Gorilla trekking is the main tourist activity in the park. A maximum of 8 persons are allowed to visit each gorilla group per day. And tourists are only allowed to stay with the gorillas for a maximum of one hour. Man is a visitor in small groups for a short period of time. This promotes responsible travel and protects the gorillas and their natural setting.

Additionally, gorilla trekking rules have been put in place and clients are briefed before starting the trek. The rules aim at protecting the mountain gorillas and their habitat. These rules include;

  • Not to litter in the gorilla habitat
  • Not to make noise in the forest
  • Not to smoke, drink or eat near gorillas
  • No taking pictures with flash cameras
  • Keep distance of 7 meters from the gorillas
  • Not to touch the gorillas
  • Dig a hole in case you want to ease yourself and bury it after
  • Cover your mouth when coughing to avoid transmitting diseases to the gorillas.
  • If a person has flu or cough, they are not allowed to go gorilla trekking

Other tourist activities in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda include golden monkey tracking, adventurous hikes to Dian Fossey tombs and Iby’Iwacu cultural village tour. The latter is where tourists learn about the ways of life of the local people. Tourists also learn about their cultures and actively participate in local music, dance and drama.

Iby’Iwacu cultural village’s main object is to demonstrate the ways of life of Rwandese to tourists. The Rwandese earn a living from their activities. Through goats for gorilla project, tourists to Iby’wacu cultural village donate US $25-50 to purchase a goat for an ex-poacher’s families, thus saving the gorillas in Rwanda.

Many Eco-lodges and resorts have been constructed around Volcanoes National Park for nature lovers. Such lodges are constructed from local/natural materials such as volcanic stones, bamboo and wood to blend with the environment. Such Eco-lodges include Virunga Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge and Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge among others.

Through Eco-tourism around Volcanoes National Park, the local communities are sensitized about the value of gorilla tourism, and they directly benefit from gorilla tourism revenues. For example, during this year’s Kwita Izina (Gorilla Naming ceremony in Rwanda), Rwanda Development Board and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund launched 12 classrooms at Gatebe Primary school. During the 2015 Kwita Izina ceremony, Bisate Learning centre in Musanze was launched and today has over 2300 students. Many other schools get support from eco-tourism revenues around the park. Additionally, the local communities are rewarded with medical centers and piped water from gorilla tourism revenues.

Furthermore, ex poachers have been employed in different sectors of tourism such as eco-lodges and in the park. Most porters and park rangers were ex-poachers, now fighting poaching and saving the Mountain Gorillas. Because they now benefit from the gorillas, they can no-longer go back to poaching, thus saving the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. How Eco Tourism Has Saved the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

This post was submitted by Paul Basudde, who works with African Jungle Adventures in Rwanda and Uganda.

Sustainable Business Model

Sustainable Business Model of Eco Tropical Resorts

September 16, 2016
Eco Tropical Resorts was started in 2003. It has taken me 13 years to create my own business model and much thought has gone into it in the last year.

Here’s some background to show you how this sustainable business model came about. This part might be a little technical, so skip a few paragraphs to get beyond that if you have no interest. I tend to let things evolve on their own. The word came up through the jungle drums that Google, the major search engine, was going to start penalizing websites that didn’t do well on mobile phones. WordPress seemed like a good alternative because it is mobile friendly.

Start the big move to WordPress in 2013. It took a while to get all the work done and suddenly it was 2014 and was finally done. Now it was time to evaluate the new web site.Turns out it’s not optimized for the keywords (the words by which a web site is found through search) that drew in so much traffic. I got busy and created new pages for some of my previous keywords but it has taken a while to build traffic back up.

While this was happening, I realized that I wasn’t comfortable charging new lodges/tours to be on the directory. I started adding free listings and telling lodges/tours that they would not be charged until they started getting traffic. The lodges that have been with me for a while are getting other benefits by listing on Eco Tropical Resorts. To see the benefits go here: Benefits of listing a lodge/tour on Eco Tropical Resorts.

A sustainable Business Model is one where everyone benefits, no harm is caused, and it is self sustainable. This is the direction we’re going. All listings are free until such time as they are receiving enough benefit to warrant paying minimal dues. By approaching it in this manner it becomes a win/win situation.

As usual, please feel free to comment on my post.

Costa Rica Retreats at Ojo Del Mar Ecolodge

Retreats in Costa Rica at Ojo Del Mar Ecolodge

Upcoming Retreats in Costa Rica at Ojo Del Mar Ecolodge

January 23 – 30, 2016 – 7 nights – Yoga Adventure – Led by Basia Going
Enjoy yoga in the morning on our newly constructed yoga deck under the palm trees overlooking the ocean. Another session for breathing and meditation is held in the evening. Spend the rest of the time surfing, hiking, riding horses, or just chilling in the hammock doing absolutely nothing.

Retreats in Costa Rica at Ojo Del Mar Ecolodge

January 31 – 8, 2016 – 8 nights – Advanced Therapeutic Thai Massage – Led by Christopher Ray and Kate Lewandowski
This is an intensive workshop for bodyworkers that includes training in That massage in the incredible environment of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. The Thai massage training is 45 hours. This leaves lots of time for other natural pleasures including yoga.

February 8 – 14, 2016 – 6 nights – Wild Yoga Journey – Led by Rebecca Wildbear
This is a daily yoga journey that is playful, gentle and invigorating. It is a daily morning asana practice. Open to all levels of physical ability.

February 13 – 20, 2016 – 8 nights – Goddess Within – Led by Sara Hilgendorf and Stacie Finucan
This is a woman only yoga and massage therapy retreat. Enjoy something special and spiritual as you journey towards better self awareness.

April 9 – 16, 2016 – 7 nights – Two Feet One Word Yoga – Led by Tami Ellis
Begin the day with meditation and Vinyasa Flow Yoga and every evening with Yin Yoga.

April 16 – 23, 2016 – 7 nights – Yoga Retreat – Led by Ame Wren
We will begin each morning with a rockin’, sweat-inducing and muscle-loosening Vinyasa yoga class. The evening practice will serve to cool you down (think yin, restorative, meditation) and prepare you for the best sleep you’ll ever have.

All retreats include food and lodging and the amenities offered by Ojo Del Mar Ecolodge. For more information on any of the retreats please go here: Retreats in Costa Rica at Ojo Del Mar Ecolodge. Information about each of the teachers is also available through that link.

Retreats in Costa Rica at Ojo Del Mar Ecolodge

Yoga and Macaw Bank Lodge in Belize

Yoga and Macaw Bank Lodge in Belize

Macaw Bank Lodge in Belize now offers an 18 by 18 foot yoga platform Macaw Bank Lodgeder the large ancient tropical trees found in the jungle of Belize. Our beautiful sunrise will be over the mountains for a truly relaxing session, silent except for the exciting sounds of the tropical birds waking up.

We offer yoga classes either done by our trained leaders here in San Ignacio or by your own group leaders. We are able to accommodate the beginner or advanced classes. We will be offering individualized group packages to suit your needs. Your groups can arrange meetings on site with our local naturalists or traditional Mayan shaman. We also have acupuncture and therapeutic massage treatments available. Riverside bathing is available in the most natural setting alongside native flora with the sounds of parrots nearby. You can relax in a float tube or, just cool off in the river.

The lodge has 6 cabanas in the jungle setting of the mountains of Belize. Each cabana can sleep 2 to 4 guests. There is a restaurant on site with all meals made using the most natural ingredients found in our organic farming region. We are prepared to do vegetarian or vegan meals or any special diet restrictions. Macaw Bank is known for its eco feeling and off the grid lodge. We have put years of work into the tranquil gardens and sitting areas.

We can pick you and your party up at the international airport or bus station in San Ignacio. If you want more ease of movement here, we suggest that you rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle at the Airport. We have tours set up to see Maya Sites, caves, tubing down the river, or just relaxing in our 50 acre paradise. We have walking trails where you can enjoy beautiful birds and wildlife found only in the jungle of Belize.

Yoga and Macaw Bank Lodge in Belize, we look forward to making your yoga holiday the most relaxing it can be.

Namaste. To see their listing on Eco Tropical Resorts, please go here: Yoga and Macaw Bank Lodge in Belize. Or go directly to their website: Macaw Bank Lodge.

Our online eco rating exam explained

What difference does an Online Eco Rating Exam make?

In this day and age every time you turn around there is another “eco” lodge popping up. As “ecotourism” is moving more mainstream, more hotels will try to ride on the sustainable bandwagon. In some ways this is wonderful. It’s really good that hotels are wising up and trying to improve their best practices. I applaud that and it’s good for business.

But what about those places that will pretend they are “eco” when really they are doing the minimum. We have even created a word for this problem that is cropping up: “Greenwashing”. It seems clear that we need some way to differentiate between hotels that are committed to sustainability and those that just use if for publicity purposes.

Our online eco rating exam explained

One way to insure that a place really is sustainable is to get certified by someplace like Green Globe, http://greenglobe.com/. They send someone out to do a hands on rating. The only problem with their rating is that it is expensive to have someone travel out to a lodge, etc. and personally evaluate them. Last time I checked it cost the lodges around $1000 (US) to become certified. For many lodges, this keeps them from joining. By definition, it’s the smaller lodges that are more “eco”. Should they be penalized because they can’t afford the fee?

The next best alternative is to have some kind of check and answer system that doesn’t need a hands on visit. I’ve tried to develop just that with the “Online Eco Rating Exam”, https://www.eco-tropicalresorts.com/ecorating/. It’s a way for lodges to respond to a series of questions and come up with a score that shows exactly how “eco” they are based out of a total of 5. In order for a lodge to get a perfect score, they have to have Policies and Procedures as well as a way of monitoring their consumption of water and energy and send it for authentication. The online rating covers energy, water, recycling and waste, community, and land and nature conservation.

There is no charge to members to take the Online Eco Rating Exam and it is a way for them to prove that they are not “greenwashing”. The Exam is always being improved on as new things come to light or as many people express their opinion.

Right now I’m grappling with water issues. Should lodging that is in a wet area of the world be penalized for not using water saving techniques? I’m leaning towards yes because water is a global issue and I see “eco” lodges as ways to open up people’s eyes to conservation in all its aspects. Please feel free to share your opinion by answering here or contacting me directly at lise @ eco-tropicalresorts.com.

In summary, an Online Eco Rating can make a big difference, especially for small establishments. It helps add credibility to hotels.

Tembo Ki9jani and Ecotourism

Tembo Kijani and Ecotourism

Tembo Kijani and Ecotourism in Tanzania

Tembo Kijani sits right on the coast of Tanzania in Africa. Here you will find secluded, white sandy beaches. The owners are passionate about ecotourism and their philosophy is to take what nature gives and to give back to nature. This post is about Tembo Kijani and Ecotourism in Tanzania.

The buildings at Tembo Kijani are made from local materials and designed to blend into the surrounding nature. They use Makuti roofs on all their buildings. This type of roof can be seen throughout Tanzania and is accomplished by using coconut leaves. What’s great about these roofs is that they help with constant air flow, thereby keeping the heat from building up. Below is an image of these roofs.

Tembo Kijani in Tanzania

Being far off in the bush, Tembo Kijani uses only solar and wind power to generate their electricity. Each bungalow has it’s own controller and guests can see exactly how much electricity they are using.

Waste management is done with the goal of zero waste. Water is filtered instead of purchased in plastic containers. All kitchen waste is composted. Waste water is reused to water the bush.

Ecotourism is at the heart of Tembo Kijani and Ecotourism in Tanzania.

Kenya Green Hotel

Ecotourism in Africa

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!