Hideaways awarded silver rating for eco-tourism

With everything from clothing labels to yoghurt brands labelled as ‘eco’ there needs to be a body that regulates what can be accredited as “eco” and what cannot. Green Tourism, the world’s largest sustainable certification program in the world, does just that! While many lodges and hotels recycle, Green Tourism looks beyond the superficial things and analyses what impact the company has within its community, long-term sustainability, conservation and eco-design.

The accreditation requirements are rigorous but the team at Elephant’s Eye Hwange, headed up by Blessed Chalibamba, was prepared. Green Tourism visited Elephant’s Eye, Hwange on 21 December 2016. And we’re excited that the assessment was overall positive; unfortunately we missed gold by a slim 2.7 % but we’re re-applying in 2018 and we’re optimistic that we are going to get gold!

Green Tourism’s audit report on our performance as a sustainable tourism operation gave reasons for the great rating.

Site design and development
“Careful thought went into the design and development of this site to achieve a low impact camp.”
“Wooden decking and flooring made from the alien vegetation Spotted Gum (exotic Maculata).”
“No trees were cut for building purposes.”
“Gardens watered from boreholes.”
“Low energy lighting used in lamps, bathrooms, staff quarters and guest areas, and novel use of LEDs in ceramic pots for Boma lighting.”
“Good use of locally designed and manufactured fabric and artwork.”

Plastic and waste
“Positive to note the non-use of plastic water bottles. Water is filtered on site and bottled in flasks.”
“All waste is separated and taken off site. Food waste is collected by local community for pig project.”

Guest experience
“Guests receive a welcome letter in handmade paper scroll and the paper is bought from the local community.”
“Can cater for allergies. Fresh foods prepared daily.”
“It’s positive that the site has a telescope for night skies, with two permanent in-house guides.”

“Support the local school (Dingani Primary School), two local anti-poaching teams on the forestry.”
“Conservation levy of USD 5 from every guest goes to the Conservation Wildlife Fund (CWF).
“Good team in place. Staff well remunerated and access to medical aid.”