Stephen Cunliffe
South Africa ZA

Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

Category: Sustainable Lodge of the week

Inspired by the local Malagasy house construction methods of northern Madagascar, Eden Lodge was built using predominantly local materials. Situated amidst a wasteland of slash-and-burn agriculture, Eden is – as its name suggests – a ‘green’ island amidst a sea of environmental degradation.

While the lodge’s materials were locally sourced, the highly prized rosewood timber used in its construction is becoming increasingly rare on the island. To offset this, the lodge started a reforestation project and was instrumental in getting 10,000ha of nearby primary forest declared a New Protected Area.

One of the first policies instituted by Eden was to employ and up-skill at least one person from each family in the lodge’s two neighbouring villages to ensure dispersed income flows to communities. But the strongest tenet of Eden’s sustainability drive is its schools programme, which concentrates on teaching local children about their environment and how to treat it better. Working from the premise that education is the foundation of social development, Eden has built (and continues to fund) two schools. The lodge is also one of very few in Africa to use biodegradable washing detergents and to make its own lye-free soaps locally.

Educationally-orientated Eden Lodge is a proud member of the top 50 sustainable safari operations, as selected by David Bristow and Colin Bell for inclusion in their magnificent coffee table book: Africa’s Finest. If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of the book, then you can order it here.

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