Top 10 Eco-Friendly Hotels in South Africa

Eco Friendly Hotels in South Africa
Eco-Friendly Hotels in South Africa

Are you planning a trip but not sure which eco-friendly Hotels in South Africa are the best for you as an environmentally-conscious traveller?

Do you know a hotel can reduce its impact on the environment by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, buying from local businesses, starting a garden or even introducing a towel and sheet reuse program?

Here are some of the most eco-friendly hotels in South Africa where you can plan to stay.

Most Eco-Friendly Hotels in South Africa

1. The Back Pack Hostel in Cape Town

The Back Pack Hostel in Cape Town
The Back Pack Hostel in Cape Town

Location: The Backpack, 74 New Church Street Gardens, Cape Town 8001

The Backpack Hostel is an award-winning five-star affordable hostel in Cape Town. This is one of the Eco-Friendly Hotels in South Africa. In addition to the amenities and contemporary design, the hostel is passionate about sustainability.

The Backpack Hostel has been accredited by Fair Trade in Tourism, which is a trademark awarded to businesses that adhere to Fair Trade criteria.

They sponsor a sports program based in a community riddled with drugs and gangsterism, and you can even join them for a day to visit their project.

If you are looking for affordable accommodation in Cape Town, book your stay at The Backpack. This trendy backpacker is located in the heart of the city and uses a range of eco-friendly practices from solar heating, to aerated taps and worm farms.

You can take a swim in their swimming pool with stunning views of Table Mountain, and relax in this stylish hostel with its contemporary design.

Take your pick of various rooms, ranging between dorms, private or family rooms, with or without private bathrooms. Free unlimited WiFi is available throughout the hostel,  and you can even withdraw cash at their in-house ATM.

The Backpack Hostel is located in the city centre of Cape Town, just five minutes away from Kloof Street and Long Street.

The Reception and Travel Desk at The Backpack is open daily from 7 am until 10 pm. The friendly staff will arrange transport, book day tours, overland safaris, and car rentals, and recommend excursions and restaurants.

2. Bulungula Lodge –The best of the Wild Coast

Location: Bulungula River Mouth, Nqileni Village, Xhora Mouth Admin Area, 5070, South Africa

Bulungula Lodge –The best of the Wild Coast
Bulungula Lodge –The best of the Wild Coast

Nestled among traditional Xhosa homes, with herds of speckled Nguni cows wandering past, Bulungula Lodge is a wonderful spot to experience the slow-paced life in the Transkei.

This is one of the Eco-Friendly Hotels in South Africa. Perched 15 metres from a secluded beach, it overlooks the mouth of the Bulungula River and backpackers, surfers and fishers can amble down to the sand and waves.

You can partake in several community activities such as visiting a sangoma, fishing with the locals, canoeing, horse riding, beer brewing and maize stamping explore the forest and find the secret bath beneath a canopy of milkwood trees.

Take a short walk up the hill and enjoy a meal at a traditional Xhosa restaurant.

This Fair Trade, eco-friendly backpacker runs in partnership with the Nqileni village, a vibrant, traditional community that owns 40 per cent of the lodge. Dorm rooms are traditional circular Xhosa huts with four to six beds in each.

They also have rooms that sleep two in a double or two single beds (two-sleeper safari tents under the milkwoods are more private).

Dorm beds are R130 a person, triple rooms are R420 a room, double/twin/single rooms are R330, and a night in one of the luxury safari tents is R300 a tent. Camping is R70 a person a night.

There is a communal kitchen and lounge area where you can make yourself feel at home and you can either self-cater or pre-book your meals at the lodge. The chefs cook three meals a day, with a meat and vegetarian option available.

Getting to the lodge can be quite an adventure and a shuttle runs from Mthatha to the lodge four times a week. Make sure you book these shuttles beforehand or drive there in your vehicle.

The lodge is invested in eco-friendly practices, powered entirely by solar energy. The lodge overlooks one of the most spectacular remote beaches in the Wild Coast and nature lovers should not miss the chance to stay here.

3. iKhayalamafu- Hideaway in the mountains

Location: Wostijin No: 2 Position 10 Winterton, 3340 South Africa.

iKhayalamafu- Hideaway in the mountains
iKhayalamafu- Hideaway in the mountains

Located high in the Monk’s Cowl Reserve of the Central Drakensberg, iKhayalamafu (meaning House in the Clouds) offers you a slice of heaven.

This is one of the Eco-Friendly Hotels in South Africa. This eco-estate generates all its power from solar energy and hydro-generation; there isn’t a single electric line in sight to spoil the seamless views of the mountains. iKhayalamafu is dedicated to protecting the surrounding indigenous forests by removing all alien plants from the property.

The estate is self-sufficient in honey and vegetables and has no fences on its boundary with a World Heritage Site, meaning that wildlife is free to roam.

There are two private and secluded cabins, each sleeping only two adults: Inyoka cabin is set within an indigenous forest next to a babbling stream; Ingwe cabin has a lovely view of the Little Berg. There is secure undercover parking next to both cabins.

Each has a large bedroom/lounge with a kingsized bed, electric blankets, and a fireplace. Each kitchen is fully equipped with a fridge, hob, microwave oven, crockery, pots and pans, cutlery, etc and there is also a coffee/tea tray.

Leading from the kitchen is a private, covered deck with a Weber barbecue and furniture for outside dining. The en suite bathroom is luxuriously large, with a shower that is meant for sharing.

Also, you have all linen and towels, and there is ample hot water, even on the coldest of days. There is no TV in the cabin, but you can bring your laptop should you feel the need to stay in touch with the outside world and there is a wireless internet connection.

4. Teniqua Treetops -The world from treetops

Location: Sedgefield, Western Cape, 6573, South Africa

Teniqua Treetops -The world from tree tops
Teniqua Treetops -The world from treetops

Situated in the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains along the Western Cape’s Garden Route, Teniqua Treetops is a tented tree house resort offering eco accommodation. Surrounded by indigenous forests, the self-catering tree houses use natural products and materials in their construction and functionality.

The lodge harvests rainwater and uses dry toilet systems to ensure minimum impact on the environment. This is one of the Eco-Friendly Hotels in South Africa.

Swim in the cola-coloured water of the remote and unspoiled Karatara river, picnic on its beautiful banks and explore the deep forested gorge.

Or chill out on the wooden deck of the swimming complex perched high on the hill, the converted farm dams are fun for both kids and adults. Sedgefield is the nearest village for supplies. It sports a supermarket, restaurants, hotel, post office, famous Saturday morning craft and produces market and a church.

All treehouses have fully equipped kitchen facilities including cookers, microwaves, fridges, and all utensils. Linen is provided and is changed every 3 or 4 days. The tree houses are fully serviced.

These tree houses offer a unique opportunity to sleep, eat and shower in the canopy of the forest, surrounded by birdsong and butterflies.

Built on hand-crafted platforms and situated in carefully chosen beauty spots, they have comfortable tented bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens and leafy luxury bathrooms. Experience a true environmentally friendly accommodation experience.

5. The Peech – The Eco-chic in Gauteng

Location: 61 North St, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa

 The Peech – The Eco-chic in Gauteng
The Peech – The Eco-chic in Gauteng

The Peech is a boutique hotel in Johannesburg that aims to have as small an impact on the environment as possible. The Peech is Fair Trade Tourism certified and its eco-friendly practices include recycling, energy conservation through solar water heating and green design to ensure that the hotel’s carbon footprint is kept to a minimum.

Again this too is an Eco-Friendly Hotel in South Africa. The hotel also supports a range of community organizations, including Little Eden and Pack for a Purpose.

Set in the suburb of Melrose, a short stroll from the hustle and bustle of the city, The Peech was originally a private residence built in the 1950′s. When discovered by James Peech, the property had only changed hands once and had been a family home, in a chic residential area of Johannesburg, for over 40 years.

This, one of the eco-friendly Hotels in South Africa, opened for its first guests in November 2004 following an extensive transformation whereby the personality of the property remained intact yet it also had to offer all the services required by modern travellers.

Further rooms were added in 2006 and 2008 and the hotel now has 16 rooms and is proud to retain many staff members who started as it opened.

Three types of rooms are available: the main building and the two house rooms. The annex buildings feature Garden Rooms and Garden Suites. All rooms look out over the immaculate hotel gardens. The dining hotel has a Bistro restaurant (with patio dining), wine cellar and private dining room. You can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool, one-acre lush gardens, boardroom, library, and access gym too.

6. Rhino Walking Safaris in Kruger

Location: Kruger National Park, South Africa

Rhino Walking Safaris in Kruger
Rhino Walking Safaris in Kruger

Rhino Walking Safaris has two camps, Plains Camp and Rhino Post Safari Lodge, that lie within a private wilderness concession just north of Skukuza in the Kruger National Park, offering exclusive walking trails and game drive safaris.

The camps are built on stilts using natural materials of stone, wood, thatch and canvas and use absolutely no concrete to minimize the environmental impact. Yet another eco-friendly hotels in South Africa has an ongoing recycling system and uses a special indigenous Reedbed System to process bathroom waste.

The eight spaciously appointed suites from the riverbank allow you to view the Mutlumuvi riverbed with ease from the bedroom, bathroom and private wooden deck. The suites are set out in an open-plan style with wooden floors, thatched roofs, canvas walls and an overhead fan.

Each ensuite bathroom includes a deep, freestanding bath, ‘his and hers basins, a separate toilet and an outdoor shower protected by thick reed poles. The bathroom floor is attractively decorated with delicate mosaic designs complimenting the contemporary floor.

All the suites have mini-bars and telephones linked to all areas.  Air-conditioning in the Dining area & one double suite.

Built using natural materials of stone, wood, thatch and canvas, battery power is used for lighting, a special indigenous Reedbed System processes the bathroom waste, and other waste is sorted and recycled wherever possible.

Plains Camp offers four comfortably furnished African explorer-style tents, an en suite with hot running water and all the comforts of home with the African Wilderness on your doorstep. A generator and a backup battery system power overhead fans and 24-hour lighting. Communal Lounge & Dining Area with outside fireplace. Active waterhole. Overhead fans in all tents. 8 guests per walking trail. 2 armed rangers per walking trail.

‘Sleep Outs’ are on elevated wooden platforms. This is the only place in the Kruger National Park offering this unusual accommodation. You will enjoy sounds and senses heightened as they share the wilderness at night while being safely guarded by our observant guides.

The rumble of the elephant passing by or the roar of the lion at the nearby waterhole, are the only noises that might disturb guests in this peaceful wilderness. After hanging up mosquito net tents, sundowners can enjoy themselves on the platforms overlooking a waterhole.

There are two bathrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets. Eight guests per Sleep Out and two armed guards.

7. The Umlani Bushcamp in Umlani

Location: Timbavati Nature Reserve Kruger National Park South Africa

The Umlani Bushcamp in Umlani
The Umlani Bushcamp in Umlani

The Umlani Bushcamp is another classic African safari camp that is situated in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve in the Kruger National Park. The comfortable eco-lodge is Fair Trade Tourism certified and is powered by solar energy.

This, is one of the eco-friendly hotels in South Africa, each hut is lit by candlelight and oil lamps and the open-bush showers are fuelled by wood fires. Getting back to nature has never been more romantic here.

Sleeping just 16 people, accommodation is in reed and thatch huts built in the local Shangaan style – with some essential modifications like en suite bathrooms, flushing toilets and hot running water. The lodge has five double huts and two family huts sleeping four and three.

The public areas are dedicated to laziness: the bar opens onto a deck overlooking the riverbed and a busy waterhole; hammocks hang between the trees around the pool and there is cheeky elevated game viewing hide at a small dam a couple of km from the camp.

Dinner is a joyful African bonanza in the dining room by candlelight and hurricane lamp – there is no electricity here – or surrounded by lanterns and torches in the riverbed.

8. The Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga

Location: 2 Lighthouse Rd, Umhlanga, 4320, South Africa

 The Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga
The Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga

Overlooking the iconic Umhlanga lighthouse, the Oyster Box Hotel was built with a lot of care to make the hotel as green as possible. Being one of the eco-friendly hotels in South Africa has implemented several green practices including solar power generation, greywater recycling and rainwater harvesting.

The hotel also reuses heat expelled from the air conditioning system to heat its swimming pools. The hotel has everything from energy-efficient lights to a sophisticated building management system for maximum energy efficiency at all times.

With 86 luxurious rooms, suites and villas to choose from The Oyster Box can accommodate the varied individual needs of every type of visitor.

Meticulously refurbished, each one is superbly designed to provide the utmost comfort and style. All of the colonial charms have been lovingly preserved – the exquisite tiles, murals, paintings and antique furnishings have all been retained in their original glory.

The décor also makes excellent use of natural stone and timber, complemented by calming colours that reflect the soothing shades of the surrounding ocean and tropical vegetation.

The rooms at the Five star Oyster Box are decorated with rich fabrics and furnishings. They include satellite TV, a lounge area and a tea/coffee maker. In addition, the villas have a private patio and plunge pool.

The Ocean Terraces Restaurant offers fine dining and overlooks the Indian Ocean, while the Grill Bar serves premium steaks and refreshing drinks. You can work out with cardio equipment at the gym, followed by a soothing massage by one of the on-site experts.

9. Hog Hollow Country Lodge in Plettenberg Bay

Location: Askop Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, 6602, South Africa

Hog Hollow Country Lodge in Plettenberg Bay
Hog Hollow Country Lodge in Plettenberg Bay

Situated on the edge of the Tsitsikamma Forest and surrounded by valleys and mountains, the views from the Hog Hollow Country Lodge are a treat to the senses.

The lodge not only protects the environment with its ongoing recycling programme and responsible energy consumption practices but also supports the community by filling all staff positions locally from Kurland Village.

There are three lounge areas to escape to with a book, a pair of binoculars, or just your thoughts. The pool lounge leads out onto cool blue waters where you may find others lazing about on comfy recliners. The reading room offers a quiet haven and a leafy vista of the indigenous forest valley and Tsitsikama Mountains.

If you’re a bird lover you can head straight for the Ficus lounge where an ancient fruit-laden tree is a favourite with Plett’s prolific bird community.

At the centre of the Main House is a famous large dining room table where you can plan your daily activities over breakfast and unwind in the evening around a candle-lit table laden with gourmet delights.

The Boma is a place for festive occasions and the day’s end where you can kick back on a pile of comfy cushions, a fire crackling nearby, and your favourite nightcap in hand. Also offers terraces, an outdoor pool and horse riding.

10. Hotel Verde  in Cape Town

Location: Michigan St, Cape Town, 7490, South Africa

Hotel Verde  in Cape Town
Hotel Verde  in Cape Town

Located in the airport industrial area of Cape Town, Hotel Verde has an impressive green stamp. The hotel is located between car rental parking lots and industrial warehouses but goes above and beyond to reduce its carbon footprint. With wind turbines, a grey water recycling plant and an electric airport shuttle, Hotel Verde is one of Africa’s greenest hotel projects.

Home to 145 rooms, each tastefully furnished to suit the contemporary design & local art that adorns every corner of the hotel, Hotel Verde offers luxurious accommodation with your choice of either open or closed bathrooms. Standard rooms are ideal for single travellers or couples. The rooms are spacious and welcoming and equipped to meet every accommodation need.

The executive room includes a bedroom, private bathroom, lounge and kitchenette area. It is perfect for guests with some self-catering requirements and is likely to suit guests with young children. The kitchenette has crockery and cutlery for four people, a washing-up area, a microwave and a seated dining area. Both the main bedroom and the lounge include an interactive television system and sofas in the lounge can be converted into sleeper couches.

During your stay, you can expect to make use of free secure parking, complimentary uncapped Wi-Fi, the 24-hour deli, hotel shuttles and the power-generating gym equipment. Offering hotel guests superior services & a broad range of amenities, Hotel Verde is committed to ensuring that your stay is as comfortable as possible.

About the author

Kamal Kaur