Eco-friendly lodge bags award
Gondwana Collection’s Namib Desert Lodge scooped the prestigious award in the Accommodation Establishment category at the Namibia Tourism Expo on Wednesday evening.
The other two finalists in the Accommodation Establishment category were Grootberg Lodge and Damaraland Camp (Wilderness Safaris).
Quintin Hartung, Environmental Officer of the Gondwana Collection said with the continuous participation in the Responsible Tourism Awards it is possible to follow sustainable and eco-friendly concepts even in bigger accommodation establishments.
“The perception is that it is difficult to win this prestigious award with a big lodge like the Namib Desert Lodge with its 65 rooms, but it’s all about how you manage your footprint and what positive environmentally conscious practises you implement,” he added.
Namibia Media Holdings is the organiser of the Responsible Tourism Awards for sustainability in the tourism sector and maintains a close cooperation with Eco Awards Namibia.
One requirement for the participation in the awards is a recent Eco Award assessment with a good or very good rating. The Namib Desert Lodge was assessed in 2017 and set new standards with excellent results. The Gondwana lodge achieved the maximum score (100%) in terms of conservation and guiding, energy, water, staff and health, legal and NTB compliance as well as further excellent scores.
In 2014 a total of 1,700 solar panels were installed on the roofs of the guest chalets and several other buildings. They generate 200,000 kWh of electricity per year and cover 50% of the lodge’s energy needs.
Furthermore, the lodge maintains a water recycling plant which provides irrigation for the gardens and thereby reduce overall water consumption by more than half. The gardens have largely been planted with indigenous trees, shrubs and succulents that thrive on small amounts of water. Efforts are made to dispose of the waste in an environmentally sustainable manner. Furthermore, the lodge is closely integrated into wildlife and landscape management.
In the Tour Operators category, which includes shuttles, car rentals and the like, Ultimate Safaris won the 2018 Responsible Tourism Award. The other finalists were Abenteuer Afrika Reisen and Wild Dog Safaris.
Caption: The winners of the 2018 Responsible Tourism Awards are Ultimate Safaris represented by Tristan Cowley (r.) and Namib Desert Lodge represented by Quintin Hartung (2nd from r.). The Honorable Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta (2nd from l.) and Hazel Milne (l., EcoAwards Namibia) handed over the awards.