Sustainability Showcase: Garonga Safari Camp
Demand for fresh water is likely to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030. Hotels are high water consumers and guests can use ten times more water than the average for the local population. It is imperative that hotels act now to reduce their water footprints. This information was released in the International Tourism Partnership’s Water Stewardship for Hotel Companies report. The report featured six steps for hotels to action an effective water strategy. In a nutshell (you can read more info on the report here), these were for hotels to understand their relationship with water, set targets and create a plan of action, manage water sustainably in operations, work with suppliers on water, build resilience to extreme events and water shortages, and collaborate on sustainable water management.
For the second in our sustainable showcase series, we’re looking at Garonga Safari Camp, a luxury camp set in the Greater Makalali Private Nature Reserve that has recognised the importance of protecting our precious natural resources and made changes to avoid unnecessary wastage.
As with the best safari accommodation, there’s a beautiful relationship between the indoor and outdoor spaces at Garonga Safari Camp. The accommodation consists of six luxury tents, each with their own deck that takes in the spectacular views over a dry riverbed. The rooms are bright and breezy, with an overarching canvas tent stretched over rough-plastered walls. Showers are both indoor and outdoor, and there’s an outdoor bath that takes advantage of the beautiful surroundings. There’s even a viewing deck with a four-poster bed where guests can enjoy their dinner under the stars and sleep alone in the bush.
With so many elements of the camp deeply connected to the surroundings, nature is top of mind, and it’s wonderful to see this reflected in the investments that have been made into going green. When asked why the sustainable initiatives were important for the camp, Bernie Smith, the owner of Garonga, says, simply. “It makes a big difference to saving our natural resources.”
One of the notable investments made into the sustainability of the camp is the water sewerage treatment plant. The plant allows the camp to pump clean, drinkable water into the watering hole for animals to drink. “Water is so precious but so taken for granted,” says Bernie. “It was very important to me to use ‘refiltered water’ instead of fresh water for the waterhole in front of the camp. This water hole is more of an extravagant look-see for the guests and not a necessity, so I could not justify pumping fresh water for the water hole.”
So how does it work? Grey water is pumped into a feeder tank which then pumps back into six different filtration plants. Once the water is thoroughly filtered and cleaned, it is pumped back into the camp waterhole.
The process of upgrading the system took about two months. Garonga Safari Camp took on a project manager in Cape Town who had started a company focusing on sustainable initiatives. He outsourced to a company in Johannesburg which then decided on the size of the plant in relation to the capacity of water needed.
Other sustainable features that Garonga Safari Camp boasts include Heater Pumps, which have replaced electrical geysers at the Camp and reduced the electricity usage that hot water requires by 80%. The Bio-gas System sees food waste mixed with natural waste and channelled into a pit within a gas dome – the resulting gas is piped into the staff village kitchen which then uses the gas for cooking. Lastly, solar energy meets about 30% of the camp’s energy needs, although Bernie feels that unless one is fully off the grid, solar in this form has minimal impact on the property’s electricity bill and that the financial benefits don’t outweigh the invested amount.
The property continues to look for ways to be more environmentally sustainable, and guests are also given the opportunity to do the same by contributing to the planting and growing of Spesbok trees in the Eastern Cape, offsetting their carbon footprint.
For more information on Garonga Safari Camp, visit the website.
More about fanute
fanute is a specialist hospitality solutions company. We believe that by being innovative in our thinking and adventurous in our actions, we can provide valuable services to the market, and in just a small way, help to save our ailing planet.
We are not afraid of being first or in being the only player in a space – because we love starting with a blank piece of paper and designing our own future.
We’re obsessed with sustainability, simply, because we are all stewards of our environment – and for us this includes our beautiful land, our people and culture and our very scarce natural resources.
We help because our linen rental business drives scale in the short-term lettings industry, which means no more washing linen with domestic machines or walk-in laundromats, which consume huge amounts of water and energy.
And our near-waterless industrial laundry systems deliver meaningful savings of those same scarce resources, offering the only real innovation in laundry in over 60 years.
For more information, visit the fanute website.