Sanc­tu­ary Re­treats Relaunches Uganda Camp

RELAUNCHES UGANDA CAMP

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Inside Issue11 -

Sanc­tu­ary Re­treats has re­launched its Sanc­tu­ary Go­rilla For­est Camp in Uganda af­ter an ex­ten­sive re­fur­bish­ment. Sanc­tu­ary Go­rilla For­est Camp com­prises eight pri­vate lux­ury tents in the Bwindi Im­pen­e­tra­ble For­est. The camp blends in with the African moun­tain land­scape and from there, guests can en­joy go­rilla trekking.

The re­cent re­fur­bish­ments in­clude a new thatched roof, wooden floors, fur­ni­ture made from nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, and lo­cal arte­facts in the com­mu­nal ar­eas. New elec­tri­cal gey­sers were in­stalled to pro­vide hot wa­ter, a new re­cep­tion area was cre­ated, as well as a camp bou­tique and a camp of­fice. There’s a new kitchen and serv­ing area, and ad­di­tional im­prove­ments have been made to fa­cil­i­tate backof-house. Guest tents have un­der­gone ren­o­va­tion and re­dec­o­ra­tion, in­clud­ing new tiled roofs and soft fur­nish­ings. Each tent has a large stone-walled bath­room with pri­vate sec­tions, and a free-stand­ing bath­tub.

The com­mu­nal area con­sists of a com­fort­able lounge with a well-stocked bar and din­ing area, with views over the ver­dant rain­for­est. Meals at the camp are pre­pared us­ing lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, such as the tra­di­tional smoked beef in peanut sauce served with Kalo (mil­let bread). Can­dlelit din­ners are avail­able on re­quest, served on guests’ pri­vate deck. Spa treat­ments at the camps by a spe­cial­ist ther­a­pist in­clude herbal mas­sages, hy­drat­ing fa­cials, foot mas­sages and man­i­cures. Only lux­ury, eco-friendly prod­ucts, cre­ated with nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents are used. There are also yoga kits in all the tents.

Some 90% of Sanc­tu­ary Go­rilla For­est Camp’s team come from the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties around Bi­windi, and are trained and given per­ma­nent em­ploy­ment. The lodge also sources sup­plies lo­cally.

The camp sup­ports Bwindi Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal and Ebenezer Nurs­ery and Pri­mary School and has ini­ti­ated the Bwindi Women’s Bike En­ter­prise. The bi­cy­cles

can also be hired by tourists who want to take a com­mu­nity tour or would like to ex­plore the area in a more ad­ven­tur­ous way. Guests are as­sured that there are never more than eight trekkers per go­rilla ex­pe­di­tion, and are ac­com­pa­nied by a Ugan­dan Wildlife Ranger, as well as a porter for each guest. Over and above the ex­pe­ri­ence of en­coun­ter­ing the go­ril­las, there are many other an­i­mals guests can view, such as giant wild hogs, the blue mon­key and the black and white colobus, as well as rare birds, of­fer­ing an al­ter­na­tive to Africa’s tra­di­tional sa­fari Big Five. Guests get the op­por­tu­nity to meet the Batwa peo­ple, the old­est in­hab­i­tants of the Great Lakes re­gion of Cen­tral Africa. More than 4 000 years ago, they were de­scribed as short-statured peo­ple liv­ing near the ‘Moun­tains of the Moon’. Guests can wit­ness their mu­si­cal per­for­mances and demon­stra­tions of their tra­di­tional hunt­ing and gath­er­ing skills.

Eco­tourism and sus­tain­abil­ity go hand-in­hand, pre­serv­ing nat­u­ral habi­tat, aid­ing in con­ser­va­tion and em­pow­er­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. Wilderness Sa­faris in­te­grates the four Cs – com­merce, con­ser­va­tion, com­mu­nity and cul­ture – into one co­her­ent sus­tain­abil­ity frame­work, demon­strat­ing that each as­pect of busi­ness is as im­por­tant as the other.

“We have to do well in or­der to ef­fect change, but we have also demon­strated that by mak­ing a dif­fer­ence, we can also cre­ate value for our share­hold­ers,” says the com­pany’s Com­mer­cial Di­rec­tor, Derek de la Harpe. “Af­ter nearly 35 years in busi­ness, it is some­times hard to re­mem­ber why you started out and what you orig­i­nally hoped to achieve, how­ever, for us, our rea­son for be­ing is even more firmly en­trenched and de­fined than ever be­fore. Sim­ply put, our vi­sion re­mains to con­serve and re­store Africa’s wilderness and wildlife by cre­at­ing life-chang­ing jour­neys and in­spir­ing pos­i­tive ac­tion.” Du­maTau Camp in the Liny­ati in north­ern Botswana and renowned for its lux­ury eco­tourism of­fer­ing in ad­di­tion to its sus­tain­able eco­tourism ef­forts, is a prime ex­am­ple of the four Cs be­ing in­te­grated into ev­ery­day prac­tice.

It em­ploys over 52 staff, 95% of whom are lo­cals from around the Delta and Chobe ar­eas. Train­ing is cru­cial for Wilderness Sa­faris em­ploy­ees, with on­go­ing cour­ses of­fered in hospi­tal­ity, guid­ing, and man­age­ment through the Wilderness Train­ing Fa­cil­ity, which is ac­cred­ited by the Botswana Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Au­thor­ity. On­line train­ing is also avail­able through a sys­tem called Lobster Inc. and train­ers visit the camp to con­duct prac­ti­cal tests. Du­maTau is com­pletely so­lar pow­ered. Waste wa­ter (grey wa­ter and sew­er­age) is treated by a sewage treat­ment plant, en­sur­ing it is prop­erly pro­cessed be­fore en­ter­ing the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. Sam­pling tests are done on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to en­sure that waste wa­ter is be­ing dis­posed of within ac­cept­able lim­its.

As part of its Re­us­able Wa­ter Bot­tled Pol­icy, the lodge fills re­us­able bot­tles with wa­ter fil­tered by a re­verse os­mo­sis sys-

tem in­stalled at the camp. As part of its Ethics Char­ter and Code of Con­duct, Du­maTau pur­chases fish from the lo­cal fish­er­men for the camp’s tra­di­tional meals. “As a lead­ing sus­tain­able and au­then­tic eco­tourism com­pany, it is our duty to en­sure that any neg­a­tive im­pacts re­sult­ing from our op­er­a­tions are min­imised, and any pos­i­tive im­pacts are max­imised. Thus, we drive a cul­ture within our or­gan­i­sa­tion that val­ues and pro­motes sus­tain­abil­ity, not only within our busi­ness, but in all other as­pects of day-to-day life,” says Kim Nixon, Wilderness Sa­faris Botswana Manag­ing Di­rec­tor.

Wilderness Sa­faris of­fers 14 rea­sons why the eco-con­scious trav­eller should pa­tro­n­ise its camps and lodges. Among them are the com­pany’s pro­tec­tion of 2.5mill ha of ter­ri­tory across eight biomes, har­bour­ing 36 of the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture (IUCN) Red List species, as well as its use of en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive ar­chi­tec­ture.

Un­der the Noah’s Ark Pro­ject, North Is­land in the Sey­chelles has been trans­formed from an eco­log­i­cally bank­rupt trop­i­cal is­land into a haven for en­demic species. En­dan­gered bird and rep­tile life have been saved and in­dige­nous flora re­stored. A high­light has been the re­gen­er­a­tion of the Sey­chelles white-eye. From its founder pop­u­la­tion of 25 birds, the is­land now has over 100, and the once crit­i­cally en­dan­gered species is now listed as ‘just’ en­dan­gered by the IUCN.

In Rwanda, Wilderness Sa­faris has fo­cused on re­for­est­ing Rwanda’s en­demic-rich Al­ber­tine Rift. The com­pany be­lieves its brand of re­spon­si­ble eco­tourism will make a dif­fer­ence to both ru­ral Rwan­dan peo­ple and en­dan­gered species alike, with its new Bisate Lodge, which opened last year. Idube Game Lodge, in the Sabi Sand Game Re­serve, com­prises 10 chalets, set amongst an in­dige­nous gar­den of tall trees and green lawns, and is wa­tered solely with re­cy­cled wa­ter.

Sally Ker­nick, Mar­ket­ing Di­rec­tor at Idube Game Re­serve and Lukimbi Sa­fari Lodge in the Kruger Na­tional Park, says: “Idube was one of the first lodges in the Sabi Sand to in­tro­duce the pu­rifi­ca­tion of grey wa­ter by nat­u­ral means.” The lodge also re­cy­cles glass bot­tles and plastic. Lukimbi, she says, is au­dited quar­terly by SANParks on the con­di­tion of roads, wa­ter us­age and con­di­tion of the wet­lands. Re­cy­cled wa­ter is used for the gar­dens and only plants in­dige­nous to the area are used.

Wendy Ruther­fo­ord, Di­rec­tor of Gond­wana Game Re­serve, says eco mea­sures em­ployed by lodges on the re­serve in­clude re­cy­cling, grow­ing veg­eta­bles to sup­ply the kitchen and pro­vid­ing com­mu­nal trans­port to lessen the ve­hi­cle foot­print. Low-flow wa­ter de­vices are used and fil­tered drink­ing wa­ter is sup­plied in re­us­able glass bot­tles.

“The over­all ethos and com­mer­cial as­pect of the game re­serve is com­pletely fo­cused around con­ser­va­tion of South Africa’s fauna and flora. Eco prac­tice is cen­tral to the busi­ness and tourism at­trac­tion of the prop­erty,” says Ruther­fo­ord.

Eve­lyn Pa­trick, Op­er­a­tions Man­ager for Snappy Coach Hire in Gaut­eng, says pa­per bags are in use on buses to col­lect clients’ refuse, as op­posed to plastic ones. From there, all waste is separated for re­cy­cling. In ad­di­tion, Snappy col­lects rain wa­ter to wash buses and makes use of a bucket sys­tem, rather than a hosepipe.

“Our clean­ing prod­ucts are en­vi­ron­men­tally low im­pact. We make sub­stan­tial use of avail­able am­bi­ent lighting, rather than us­ing elec­tric­ity to light our of­fices,” she says.

As a lead­ing sus­tain­able and au­then­tic eco­tourism com­pany, it is our duty to en­sure that any neg­a­tive im­pacts re­sult­ing from our op­er­a­tions are min­imised, and any pos­i­tive im­pacts are max­imised. Thus, we drive a cul­ture within our or­gan­i­sa­tion that val­ues and pro­motes sus­tain­abil­ity, not only within our busi­ness, but in all other as­pects of day-to-day life.

- Kim Nixon, Manag­ing Di­rec­tor, Wilderness Sa­faris, Botswana .

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