One of the best ways to travel these days is with sensitivity to those who we meet in other countries and the living things we see and use in other lands. Sustainable travel is a mindful way of seeing the world where we reduce our impacts on the natural environment and don’t try to interfere with other cultures.
The money we spend goes towards conservation ideals and sustaining indigenous communities who often are not ready for modernisation. We take only photographs and leave only footprints. The lodges we choose to stay in are those which work closely with local communities wherever they are situated and which care about the maintenance of the natural environment as it is, for generations still to come.
We have chosen three eco lodges in Mozambique for you to consider next time you decide to travel to this east African destination with responsibility the key ethic you follow. Azura Quilalea in the Quirimbas Archipelago, Blue Footprints Eco Lodge in Inhambane and Guludo Beach Lodge in northern Mozambique near Pemba are all conscious of the world around them, having been built with the local communities and in tune with nature.
They offer local people profits made from tourism at these lodges, an income they really need to sustain their simple lifestyles. We would love for you to share our love for these responsible travel destinations where everyone benefits from the beauty around them in real Mozambique. Let us find out more…
1. Azura Quilalea
Guests who decide to visit the stunning island of Quilalea in the Quirimbas Archipelago and explore its beauty will also happen upon the Rainbow Fund which happens to be the first registered charity of its kind in Mozambique. Your commitment to a holiday package at Azura Boutique Retreats Quilalea is also a commitment to this fund because a percentage of your deal goes towards the new school and some new environmental protection initiatives on the island.
The environmental and community officer at Azura plays an important role and will show around the social and environmental projects the lodge is supporting. The Lodge likes to use the term “sustainable community based tourism” instead of being known as an eco-lodge as they have coined this type of tourism in their own unique way.
Azura believes in empowering the local people to work at the lodge and learn new skills such as gardening, cleaning, cooking, guest relations and activities management. It is vital to preserve these island enclaves in the current reality of environmental crises all over the world – undeveloped pockets of biodiversity and eco living ensure a sustainable future for local people and tourism to the Quirimbas.
Mozambique is a poor country and Azura is committed to ensuring that the folk on this island gain education and skills that they never had access to. They are stakeholders in the Azura Boutique Retreats Quilalea and have a secure future in tourism in these parts. Go and visit them when you are enjoying a holiday of luxury and hear their stories – learn about sustainable living and the preservation of our natural resources, for this is all we have.
At Azura you will be part of a five star hotel in one of the most spectacular regions in Mozambique, the Quirimbas Archipelago. Working with the National Parks team, Azura Quilalea is dedicated to the conservation of the marine wildlife you see when you go diving – turtles, dolphins, huge game fish and myriad tropical fish species. You are looked after by caring staff who attend to your every need as you sink happily into plush luxury.
Imagine a villa decorated in tune with Mother Nature but where you get everything that opens and shuts? Your privacy is guaranteed at Azura Quilalea and your eyes will be opened at the special work being done here. Intimate service, world class cuisine, elegant accommodation – what more could you want? Choose a Kaskazi or Kusi villa, each one greeting the sun in unique ways – spacious and natural, right on the beach with private decks and en-suite bathrooms. You control your temperature in your room by using the eco energy switch to lessen your impact in the environment.
One of the best qualities about Azura Boutique Retreats Quilalea is its deserted island appeal – its remoteness from anything civilised and developed, from noise and roads and airports. This makes it a sanctuary for those who seek time out in nature, who want to integrate with local people and expand mind and spirit with new meaning. The natural environment is very soothing on the soul and responsible tourism is all about remembering this and remembering too to conserve what we have left – for tourism’s sake too!
Snorkel in the marine reserve and find pristine coral reefs and fantastic fish species in shoals as you dive into untouched dive sites. If you want to, you can book the entire island for you and your group – maybe a business incentive trip or a team building session with colleagues? Find out more about Quilalea’s energy saving techniques and fresh organic cuisine that is grown locally by the community. Find out more why there are no telephones here or music centres – listen instead to the sound of the sea and the birds in the trees! Visit the local school and start to give back…
2. Blue Footprints Eco Lodge
The main reason why Blue Footprints Lodge is so ECO is their “off the grid” principles which work really well and help them to decrease their environmental footprint. They generate all their electricity from solar energy and pump water from a borehole to feed the five rooms of the lodge and their main buildings. You will this environmentally-conscious tourist lodge in Inhambane close to Tofo and Barra Beaches where most visitors head for surfing, diving, walking and meeting each other in the evenings at the diverse pubs and restaurants right on the beach.
When you stay at Blue Footprints in Mozambique you will never forget the 180 degree views across the bay into infinity. Watch for whales breaching and get excited if you see a Whale shark when you go scuba diving – these gentle giants don’t mind divers coming up quite close to them. Swim with dolphins as they surf the waves and later, share your holiday photos with friends and family who could not be there with you in paradise.
Another great attraction to Blue Footprints is the limit of only 10 guests. Stay in chic rustic villas in this discreet Mozambique beach resort snug in the sand dunes and boasting private decks with outside showers, day bed and hammock and sweeping views of the surrounding blue and white environment. All units offer open plan living areas with en-suite bathrooms and showers, toiletries, tea and coffee, standing fans and mosquito nets. The top class dive centre brings divers from all over the world to plunge the depths to find rare marine creatures and other underwater surprises.
The owners of this Inhambane eco lodge are passionate about the environment in which they find themselves and its ongoing conservation. They believe that sustainable tourism is the way to go, especially during this day and age of climate change, pollution impacts and natural disasters. They say that the marine environment “is central to our beliefs, value system and philosophy. We are an ethically driven company and believe fully in our vision of contributing meaningfully to conservation as well as the local communities.”And it is all evident in the way they treat you, the special guest, and the special community members living nearby too. Tourism cannot exist without the nature and the people in the destinations we seek out. Above all, it is about respecting the holistic environment in its social, environmental, economic and political spheres. This is the baseline for Blue Footprints Eco Lodge.
The lodge has also started the initiative of educating and training local people to serve in their lodge and in their dive centre, spreading a love for Mozambique that encompasses everything green and everything cultural. People working there are encouraged to follow their passions in these spheres.
Go and see for yourself. Go and see the responsible tourism ethos emanating from Blue Footprints and the positive impacts on the Inhambane community. Go and see how the lodge recycles their rubbish, uses renewable energy wherever possible, including heating their water with solar energy. They encourage guests to recycle their beverage containers and to use their environmentally-friendly drinking water system. Go and see then spread the word…
3. Guludo Beach Lodge
There is green accommodation in Mozambique at the funky and comfy Guludo Beach Lodge in northern Mozambique. Guests can stay in three types of room (or ‘banda’) which rather use fresh sea breezes instead of air-conditioning, boast locally made terracotta floors and natural materials for walls and roofs. The local people were trained to build by hand this stunning lodge using traditional building methods to specifically merge with contemporary green ethics. The result is luxury and comfort without trying to be too fancy. Sit on the wide verandas in ethnic hammocks and accept a cuppa freshly brewed morning coffee which is passed through a hatch in the wall of your villa!
There are only nine tented bandas with their cool high thatch roofs, canvas walls and mosquito gauze so that guests feel connected to the great outdoors. Built in the adobe style, the Honeymoon Suite has a private outside lounge that can become a sleeping space and family suites have extra rooms for children. Most guests love the bathrooms because they feature reed walls, showers and loos with views!
Rustic main living areas with high thatch roofs and stone benches covered in cushions create stylish meeting places in bar and book swap areas. Lack of electricity at Guludo Beach Lodge adds to the eco character and island style living. In fact, this lodge was designed with careful consideration of the environment, to minimise its impact on the surrounding biodiversity and to ensure that the neighbouring communities do benefit as much as possible. This include training them up to build and design a lodge for tourists who care about such issues.
And, in line with this, the lodge is not expensive therefore does not block a certain bracket of tourist from coming – it is not elite in that it is so luxurious and expensive that it only cater for the wealthy. It strives to attract tourists with a responsible travel ethic and yet remain economically sustainable.
“The building and its operation should generate as little waste as possible and avoid environmental pollution.” This is one of the design principles which has been taken forward by the working environmental policy and the lodge now constantly tries to minimise its waste, managing it reasonably and recycling wherever possible. They steer away from using toxic chemicals and strive to purchase goods that are not covered in layers of plastic packaging, rather buying locally grown produce and supporting local businesses.
One of Guludo’s best known projects is Nema which works hand in hand with 16 communities in the area, a total of some 25 000 people who live in tune with their natural resources, their daily bread and butter. So the aim is to feed 800 children one school meal daily, to provide more than 20 000 people with clean drinking water, to deliver more than 9 000 mosquito nets to the mothers to combat the threat of malaria to their children and to fund 127 secondary school pupils. This is an awesome feat for a small lodge!
In a nutshell, Guludo Eco Lodge aims to promote ecological responsibility in everything it does – from the design of the lodge to the way it functions and to the way it responds to social issues around it. It hopes to be a model for the development of future tourism projects in the area which should all be environmentally audited in terms of global standards.
Which is the right environmentally-friendly lodge for you? Are you a responsible traveller who adheres to sustainable tourism ethics? These are issues we all need to deal with now and to attempt to embrace to ensure the future of all tourism across the world. Mozambique is a growing destination for tourists who care and we can send you there to experience these eco lodges with a special package deal to help you along.