The International Eco-Tourism society predicts the eco-tourism industry will soar to $470 Billion annually by 2016. The society told Forbes they expect eco-tourism to account for 25 percent of the global travel market because people are warming up to the idea of leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
Eco-tourism is defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improve the well being of the local people.
Kenya is a popular destination in Africa for eco-tourism and owes its status as an eco-destination to its fauna, which includes ‘The Big Five’ – elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions and leopards. Kenya’s seven habitats that include savanna, beaches, forests, snow-capped mountains, deserts, corals reefs and river deltas also attract more than 500,000 tourists who visit each year.
Tourists in Kenya have several eco-friendly lodges to choose from that conserve water and use sustainable energy sources. Many are in collaboration with local communities that provide land and labor.
If you’re planning a visit to Kenya and want to stay in a eco-friendly camp, here is my pick of ‘Top Three Eco-Camps”
This small private camp is based in the heart of the Mugie conservancy in North Laikipia. The Mugie Conservancy has an abundant population of game and birdlife. Ekorian’s Mugie Camp is the only camp in the conservancy giving you an exclusive experience. The camp offers a wealth of activities; everyday is unique, leaving guests feeling fulfilled.
Ekorian’s Mugie Camp is built on a foundation of sustainability and eco-friendly practices and was awarded the bronze award for eco-tourism. The entire camp runs on solar power, extremely efficient hot water heaters, a chemical free swimming pool, composting, grease traps, water meters, minimal ‘footprint’ activities, reusable plastic bottles, and programs to conserve water, etc. The camp is a strong supporter of the ‘Throttle the Bottle’ campaign, to reduce the use of throwaway plastic bottles, which have devastating consequences for the environment and the animals in it. The program promotes the use of reusable plastic bottles. At Ekorian’s Mugie Camp they provide each guest with his or her own water bottle that is refilled with rainwater that is boiled and filtered.
In the heart of Samburu land, is the ultimate eco-luxury camp consisting of six en-suite tents that are crafted from all natural materials. The camp lives according to their eco-principles so their electricity comes from the sun, water is hand pumped from an on site well, carefully distributed and then re-used to nourish the trees, food is locally sourced from the foothills of Mount Kenya or grown at the owners organic farm in Naivasha and all their waste is recycled.
Experience a stay at Elephant Watch Camp to acknowledge the deep eco-friendly luxury.
Located in Kiwayu Island, one of the many unspoilt, idyllic islands of the Lamu Archipelago, you are offered your own island surrounded by miles of soft white sand, turquoise waters and gorgeous coral gardens.
At Mikes Camp donkey’s brings water and power comes from the wind and sun. The seven private and spacious bandas (cottages) are built with locally weaved palms, they blend harmoniously into the environment. The interiors are simply decorated with local art crafted from recycled colourful flip-flops.
This selection has been based on research and not personal experience.
Eco-Tourism statistics taken from: USA Today