The whole team at Kings Camp is highly passionate about the environment and giving back to both nature and the community, we have an environmental team in place to find solutions at the lodge to not only make already existing projects more Eco-friendly but also think of new initiatives so today we have put this information into blog in celebrate of world Environment day 2020.
One important aspect of being environmentally friendly is to save water where we can. Water is a hugely valuable resource in Africa.
For any of you who have already been to Kings Camp you will know we have lovely lawns surrounding the main areas of the lodge. We obviously have to water the lawn, especially in the winter months. To do this we use Grey water which has been recycled!
Each room has information on how precious water is and we ask that towels are only placed on the floor if they need to be washed. We used to run baths for our guests quite often but have decided to now only do this on special occasion evenings and we have found more environmentally friendly ways to ”wow” our guests instead of using water.
Another big aspect of helping the environment is obviously electricity! We have a number of initiatives running to help save electricity.
We only run our washing machine from our solar power and we also try and let items be sun-dried rather than making use of a tumble dryer where possible.
We use low energy geysers in all rooms and main areas within the lodge and they are all turned off in areas or rooms which aren’t in use.
We turn off all mains in areas or rooms which aren’t in use and ask our staff to do the same in their own rooms.
We also use LED low energy bulbs. (these are also recycled)
We also recently installed Solar, this is a brand-new project which was only completed a couple of months ago, with the solar power we are currently able to run 75% of the lodge using a 100kva system. Although this was a big expense to install, we are sure this will save money in the long run and is an excellent way to help the environment by using the sun to power the lodge operations.
We try and limit our use of paper and don’t use disposable paper towels in the guest bathrooms.
We also have drastically dropped our paper usage from our office, we have moved to a digital check in process and use a tablet for this and will email you a copy of your invoice.
We have spent a lot of time creating digital spreadsheets instead of having everything in paper form and in files (this is also a good ‘’space, saver too!)
This in turn of course saves on Ink for our printers! Any ink we do purchase is recycled locally.
We are also plastic haters here! We have water filter points around the lodge and in each guest room and we gift our guests their own ‘’Kings Camp’’ water bottle which they can fill up and take on each game drive with them. Not only does this save on plastic but it also is a lovely souvenir!
We obviously try to discourage use of straws, however for anyone who really would like one or has a medical condition where they would need this then we have straws made from starch and other plant sources and not plastic.
We also reuse containers such as glass bottles to store food products in and try to be as ‘zero waste’ as possible.
We also sell bamboo toothbrushes in our curio shop instead of plastic.
All of our waste is removed from the reserve and we make sure we keep all recycled items separate to each other, we recycle glass, plastic and tins. We also recycle Nespresso pods and there are local collection points for things like batteries or old computer parts and ink cartridges.
Although we don’t currently compost our wet waste is frozen and donated to pig farmers and we are very mindful of limiting food wastage by only making enough of what we need and making sure we store foods correctly so that they last.
We are also currently creating a vegetable garden and are even growing seeds for this garden from ‘food waste” for example, we have carrot tops which flower, produce seeds and these are then planted!
The few of us that are at the lodge during this ”lockdown” period are being very mindful of the food we eat and are eating from a Plant based menu, aware that by limiting meat and dairy we could be lowering our carbon footprint by 73%. (based on a study by the University of Oxford)
For more information on this, we recommend watching a documentary called ”Cowspiracy”
We also do bush clean ups where whichever staff are available meet and we head out for an hour or 2 to pick up rubbish around the bush before we start work. Recently when we did this, we came across a Leopard! So, it is a good ‘’on foot’’ game viewing opportunity too!
Our cleaning products are all SABS approved and environmentally safe, we don’t use any harsh unfriendly chemicals anywhere around the lodge. The cleaning products are also all Vegan and cruelty free so not tested on animals.
The Spa products we use called Healing Earth, are all made with natural local products, kind to the environment and are also Vegan and cruelty free.
We don’t throw away any items that can be made use of by someone else and we have numerous community projects and charities that we donate too and giving back to these is very important to us. We support a mixture of community and wildlife-based projects.
One that is very local to us is called The Timbavati Foundation, if you have visited us before you may already know about the foundation as we have information in our rooms about the work they do and also have a charity box available for any donations. We recycle all old items to give to them and actually recently did a huge clear out and donated four vehicle loads of goods to them, the Timbavati Reserve helps facilitate this and some of the more valuable items will be first auctioned and the money will be donated to the foundation so that they either benefit monetary or via goods as they support schools and retirement homes.
There is another charity locally called Nourish and they also do amazing work in the community, they have a great initiative of providing massages to people as a way to make income for the community, we donated an old massage bed to them to use for this so they didn’t need to buy one.
We also donate the rubber from tyre tubes to a company who makes Vegan ‘’leather’’ bags from the tubes! Very creative!
We are also very involved with Rhino Conservation in-conjunction with the Timbavati Reserve and we sell a Rhino chipping and notching experience to guests which really is a once in a lifetime experience and helps in the fight against Rhino poaching.
We also support the K9 initiatives in the Timbavati who also help us combat Rhino poaching. Pictured below is our staff’s children enjoying an educational presentation on how the K9 unit operates. Do check out our campaign ”Miles for Mammals” Head Guide, Grant Murphy is running 90km in the reserve on the 14th June 2020, in support of the K9 unit as well as a wildlife rehabilitation centre.
We have a wonderful relationship with Polokwane Rotary who assists with social upliftment and our owner, Marielize Brotherton won an award through them, being named a Paul Harris Fellow.
There is a local charity who does amazing things with women’s health called Hlokomela, they have a herb garden, so we make use of this service by purchasing their herbs for our kitchen and we are also purchasing their homemade material panty-liners which guests can either buy for themselves or they can buy them to donate back to the community, where many of them can’t afford to buy these themselves.
In general, we are very mindful of the amount of fuel we use, and we make sure we aren’t driving to and from the local town too often, limiting our town trips and not wasting fuel.
We feel that education is vital when it comes to the environment and one aspect of what the environmental team does is to educate our own staff on these matters, we try and do this in a fun way and hope that our staff can take some of this information back into their own communities.
There is a great quote, which directly relates to zero waste, but can also be used to sum up what we are trying to do to help the environment and the communities:
We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. – Anne-Marie Bonneau.
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this interesting and feel free to share some of your own tips or suggestions in the comments!
And remember to keep in mind the 5 Rs in your daily life to help the Planet :
Refuse what you do not need
Reduce what you do need; reconsider just how much stuff you actually need
Reuse by re-purposing stuff, or by using reusable objects like metal straws
Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse
Rot (compost) the rest
Hayley Cooper, Kings Camp Assistant Manager.