What does a luxury lodge in Zimbabwe and an organic community garden have in common?

Eco-tourism is a buzzword that’s been floating around for a while. But what does eco-tourism mean to the luxury lodge Elephant’s Eye in Zimbabwe?

Situated 180 km from Victoria Falls, Elephant’s Eye is a luxury lodge with a difference. Why, you may ask? Well, everything at Elephant’s Eye is about conservation, recycling and touching the earth lightly. Recently, the lodge has signed with a second community garden in Victoria Falls, Greenline Africa, to provide fresh produce for the lodge’s gourmet meals.

The reason for using a second community garden is that the first community garden Missionary Daughters of Calvary can’t meet the lodge’s demand anymore. Many of the vegetables are seasonal, need lots of rain and good soil. Traditionally, the locals do not eat lettuce and Greenline Africa is now specifically growing this for us and any other green yummy things that the chefs need.

“We grow a small protected patch of organic herbs at the lodge and would love to expand on this, but the elephants roam freely on the grounds and would eat it all in one go,” says Sulet Burger-Prinsloo, Hospitality Manager at Elephant’s Eye.

Water availability is always a problem in the Hwange area due to a recent drought. Both community gardens have their own boreholes, the community projects help to maintain the boreholes and to provide food for everyone (not just the lodge!).

Many hotels do not buy local produce and import food from bigger cities. Elephant’s Eye, however, actively strives to make a difference by supporting local wealth creation and minimising the carbon footprint.

As an eco-lodge, Elephant’s Eye uses “green” products throughout: detergents are Phosphate and Solvent free, the guest room amenities are certified natural and the spa products are 100 % organic. There is no air-conditioning at the lodge and the building is built in such a way as to keep interiors cool. All plastic, cans, tins and glass is taken to a recycle center in Victoria Falls.

All protein food waste is treated with Bokashi after which it is put back into earth. Elephant’s Eye Lodge, Hwange strives to minimise plastic water bottles by triple filtering the natural water after which it is passed through a UV sterilizing system to provide safe natural drinking water from Mother Earth.