The redesign of Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge, shaped around the existing footprint of the original lodge structures, presented an ideal opportunity to integrate a sustainability focus from the very outset.
No heavy concrete foundations or slabs have been used in this environmentally sensitive framework of lightweight steel clad in natural canvas, and sustainably sourced local hardwood. This has translated into a feeling of space and flow, with taller doors and unglazed openings providing an abundance of natural light and connection with the natural surrounds.
At every touch point, we have been careful to observe the strict building protocols of the Tanzania National Park Authority (TANAPA), and have invested approximately USD 700 000 in specific energy-saving elements which include:
A 130 kWh solar power system, designed in collaboration with our renewable-energy partner NSC (New South Energy), is anticipated to enable the lodge to run on 80% renewable energy. All back-of-house roof space (such as staff accommodation) has been used for solar panels.
In addition to the use of solar power, energy-saving hot water systems have replaced the original infrastructure, and LED low-energy fittings have been used throughout.
Waste water from the laundry will be recycled and used for activities such as the washing of safari vehicles. This will be enabled by an underground water-treatment system. In addition, rainwater tanks, with a 10 000-litre capacity, will support the filling of guest-suite plunge pools, and the washing of the wooden decks.
The lodge’s borehole will have a special meter installed to monitor underground water level, and ensure that the borehole’s capacity is not exceeded.
This innovative measure will also be used by the park authorities to create a water-conservation reference point which will inform and guide future lodge development.
Day to day water conservation is reinforced by the use of low-flow shower heads in all staff showers, regular checks on all systems for water leaks, and the rigorous monitoring of water usage.
Zero plastic, illustrated in successful initiatives like the removal of plastic straws at all our lodges, remains a consistent focus across our lodge operation. In addition, on-site water bottling plants have eliminated tens of thousands of plastic bottles, and translated into significant water savings.
Based on our 2019 measured data, the Grumeti on-site water bottling plant will not only eliminate 11 385 plastic bottles, but will also save 34 155 litres of water (3 litres of water are used in the making of a 1 litre plastic bottle).
This clear intention extends to the use of refillable stainless-steel pods in the Nespresso machines on the game-drive vehicles.
Plumbing will provide for the later implementation of a per-suite Hydraloop grey-water treatment system which will enable further water savings.
A discipline of measurement through annual lodge sustainability audits not only underpins all of the above elements, but also supports the bold vision of our powerfully scaled Vision 2030.