The International Ecotourism Society, or TIES, defines green travel or Eco-tourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. Green travel is redefining the travel and hospitality industry. Hotels and travel companies are being challenged to do business in an increasingly environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. Sustainable tourism works towards a more sustainable future ; one characterized by protected parks ,economic justice ,clean beaches, cultural preservation and the engagement of travelers who want to make the world a better place through their choices of where and how they travel.This has led to emergence of new travel phenomena of environmentally conscious clientele hence the gradual development of Eco-friendly accommodation concepts called Green hotels or Eco-hotels .
The emerging niche of green consumers across the globe necessitated hotels in the Kenyan coast to adopt green marketing practices to keep up with the new trend, opening up new markets and facilitate the social corporate responsibility of these hotels. Implementing environmentally friendly initiatives and strategies brings several economic and marketing benefits to the establishment .These include and not limited to awards and recognition, gaining competitive advantage, increased brand value ,cost benefits, increased customer loyalty as well as regulatory compliance.
To recognize these green hotels, we’ve compiled a list of the Mid-sized Eco-friendly hotels and lodges in the Kenyan coast – each striving toward the three main areas of sustainability—environmental protection, socio-cultural responsibility, and local economic growth.
1. DISTANCE RELATIVES ECO-LODGE AND BACKPACKERS -KILIFI
Distant Relatives is located in the ancient coastal town of Kilifi, midway between Mombasa and Malindi This is unique Eco-lodge, hostel and backpackers, and an exceptional budget-friendly alternative to the classic hotels and resorts in the Kenyan Coast. Their accommodation options include camping, dormitories, safari tents, private rooms and beautifully designed en suite bandas with their charming private courtyard.
The lodge has an excellent environmental management project. They have placed more emphasis on the responsible management of waste and resources by promoting and applying ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ philosophy to preserve natural resources, landfill space, emissions, and energy. Organic waste is composted or fed to pigs, chickens, ducks, guinea fowls and guinea pigs. Grey water from sinks and showers are used for watering banana, papaya and passion fruit gardens. Plastic bottles are reused or recycled, and all metal is collected by scrap metal dealers who give the metal a second life. Their 500 square meter roof surface allows them to collect vast amounts of rainwater for their showers, kitchens and swimming pool. All the wood used for furniture is either up-cycled from old shattered boats, driftwood, or from non-native invasive species. A compost toilet system is in place which allows the garden to become more fertile every day. They have also used a combination of local and traditional Swahili designs in construction while trying to reduce all possible impacts on the environment. Rooms are built around old-grown trees, we have minimized the use of cement to the maximum, banned the use of mangrove wood as beautiful as it might be.They only use LED and energy-saving lighting.They also have up-cycled car and truck tyres as retaining walls .The glass bottles collected from restaurants are used for building, for pathway light shades and for the glasses at bar
Their future Eco-projects include installation of green technologies and systems such as a full solar power system and production of bio-gas from organic waste . They are also partnering with like-minded companies such as wild living , an organisation committed to working on sustainability projects resulting in the generation of sustainable incomes for local communities.Distance relatives is a certified Eco-lodge by Eco-tourism society of Kenya (ESOK)
2. SHIMBA HILLS GREEN SAFARI LODGE -KWALE COUNTY
Located in the outskirts of the Shimba Hills National Reserve, 16km inland from Diani Beach and south of Mombasa. The resort offers seven canvas-tent chalets, that and can comfortably accommodate up to 20 guests. The property may be reserved for private parties, wedding receptions, special anniversaries and birthdays. It is also an astute place for business conferences and with its peculiar position, is the ideal location for photo shoots and movies.
3. THE MAJLIS ECO-RESORT LAMU
Hybrid Energy Power System
Located on Manda Island (Lamu archipelago) with no public power supply, the Majlis has been relying on its generators to produce electricity for the resort. In line with the environmental policy of the hotel, The Majlis has decided to reduce its dependence on gasoline and to invest in alternative energy with the objective of reducing carbon emissions below 30%, and eventually to zero. The Majlis has installed solar panels and wind turbines. The combined hybrid energy system of 40 KVA covers over 50% of the energy needs of the resort and allows running the daily operations of the hotel such as the kitchen, laundry and administration. With no guests or limited number of guests, the hotel can run 100% on alternative energy.
In addition to the hybrid energy power system, the Majlis promotes energy conservation and energy utilization. They have undertaken energy efficient measures to reduce energy consumption such as utilization of low consumption bulbs, and we time the utilization of all utilities that require energy as to avoid concentration at any one time. The staff is required to pay attention to reduce energy consumption and to switch off any appliance that is not being utilized or needed. Most critical garden lights work on an independent solar battery system.
Other Eco Friendly policies, solutions and actions
In addition to the hybrid energy power system, the Majlis follows a policy to avoid wastage of resources and to preserve the environment. Main highlights include:
- The Majlis aims at reducing the utilization of chemicals for its needs. Among action plans undertaken, the Majlis utilizes an eco-friendly technique to tackle the issue of mosquitoes and sand flies. The island is full of Neem trees of Indian origin. The leaves are boiled and the essence is sprayed into the ground. This technique has proven to make sand flies sterile, eventually stopping their reproductive cycle. Over 90 percent of the sand flies have been eliminated from the resort.
- They train there staff in green thinking to eliminate, reduce, reuse, and recycle.
- They are focused on adopting an environmentally sound transport strategy. There are no cars or motorbikes in Lamu and all transportation is done by boats. We are shifting our reliance of 2-stroke outboard engines for our boats to 4-stroke engines because they are more energy efficient and less noisy.
- The Majlis was built entirely with local produced material. The 3 villas are built using coral blocks sourced at the Timboni quarry located 2 Kms from the resort. All the doors, windows and furniture was built by 24 Kenyan skilled carpenters on the back of the resort. The Majlis continues to rely on local workforce and source materials locally.
- All fresh ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, rice, bread and potable water are sourced exclusively in Kenya.
- They aim at sourcing the freshest deliveries locally to support the community and to avoid packaging and transportation costs.
- Water is a scarce commodity in Manda Island. They recycle some of the water for garden use. They have also trained their staff to reduce consumption of fresh water and use salt water instead, whenever possible. Their pools have salt water. Finally, they are using water efficient washing machines to minimize waste of fresh water and they heat the water with a solar hot water system.
4. KIZINGO ECO-LODGE-lAMU
kizingo is a family run Eco-Friendly resort on the island of Lamu. It has eight beautifully appointed bandas, well apart from each other. Like all the best resorts in Kenya, the resort has a symbiotic relationship with the local village, an hour away on foot, and with farmers on the mainland who grow food and make furniture for the lodge.
Kizingo operates under solar power system.They also conserve water, run Eco-friendly lighting, compost waste food, emulate the reduction of carbon gas emissions, recycle wherever possible,use renewable natural furnishings and biodegradable cleaning agents.They also provide vegetarian dietary selection with their food sourced locally. The resort offer local employment, instruct staff in green practices, include green room info package and care for wildlife in their area. The resort was awarded a bronze Eco rating from the Eco-society of Kenya
5. KIWAYU LODGE -LAMU
The resort bandas are designed to blend into the surrounding dunes – no concrete floors,no coral brick walls , nothing to jar the senses. They are within easy distance of the centrally located bar and dining room, also built in the same local tradition.
All this traditional construction material ,the dried palm fronds and mangrove poles , are harvested and produced by the local Bajuni communities The enormous quantities of the hand dried woven palm leaves used on the floor , walls and roof provide a vital income and work for the women of these communities.
They conserve water, install Eco-friendly lighting, reduce oil/gas carbon emissions, recycle wherever possible, use reclamation building materials, use renewable natural furnishings, source food locally, offer local employment, instruct staff in green practices, conserve/care for wildlife in our area. Kiwayu is instrumental in setting up Mkokoni Wildlife Conservation Trust which aims to help the local community to protect their pristine environment and wildlife .
6. DIAMOND BEACH VILLA-LAMU
Diamond Beach is only 20 minutes from Lamu town and 5 minutes from Shela village.They have 7 various sized banda’s and a tree house with 3 rooms.
They conserve water, install Eco-friendly lighting, reduce oil/gas carbon emissions, compost waste food, recycle wherever possible, use bio-degradable cleaning agents, use renewable natural furnishings, source food locally, offer local employment, instruct staff in green practices, include green room info packs, conserve/care for wildlife in our area
7. ABDU’S ECO-NEST -LAMU
Abdul`s Eco Nest is quietly located ten minutes walk from the hectic seafront of Lamu. They offer bungalows on stilts,hammocks, doves ,dogs and a talking donkey.They offer guided Hiking or Donkey-back riding for visits to the local villages, beaches and around the Island.
They conserve heat, conserve water, install Eco-friendly lighting, reduce oil/gas carbon emissions, compost waste food, recycle wherever possible, use bio-degradable cleaning agents, use reclamation building materials, use renewable energy natural furnishings, source food locally, offer local employment, instruct staff in green practices, conserve/care for wildlife in our area, we grow vegetables, recycle almost everything and re-use water from the showers in the gardens.They use solar panels as alternative energy and their dietary selections include vegetarian and vegans
Big credit to Eco tourism Kenya