Even if consumers aren’t interested in sustainability do hotels need to focus on it?

It’s difficult to know whether trends surrounding sustainability are led by the consumer or by the industry, however is this a concept which we need to see more of?

Trends are emerging suggesting that consumer interest in sustainable travel and experiences are growing in popularity amongst travellers however is this something that hotels and resorts need to focus on even if it isn’t attracting customers?

Ecotourism and sustainability in many areas of travel seem to go hand in hand. Whilst learning about the natural environment and experiencing safari, it would perhaps seem neglectful to be staying in a hotel which doesn’t support the natural environments this area of tourism is profiting from. So often safari experiences can take advantage of the environment and appear exploitative of these animals. However, camps like the Sitatunga Private Island, Reserve-collection water-based safari camp are attempting to take a sustainable approach to the industry.

Great Plains, the iconic eco-tourism company, is delighted to announce the opening of Sitatunga Private Island, a water-based Réserve-Collection Safari Camp in the upper reaches of Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

Built on a raised, wrap-around railway sleeper private deck, Sitatunga Private Island can accommodate a maximum of four adults in two separate and stunning private suites. The spacious double-bedroom Sitatunga Private Island Suite hosts four adults or a family of two adults and up to three children, offering a total footprint of approximately 607m2.

Constructed almost entirely of recycled materials, breathing new life into old treasures, the new camp offers discerning explorers a ‘slow safari’ experience that is as sustainable as it is luxurious. Each of the two guest suites, as well as the 2-bedroomed Sitatunga Private Island Suite comes complete with an indoor lounge, gorgeously appointed bathrooms with baths and separate showers, a private deck with outdoor lounging and seating areas as well as a private pool with expansive views over the lagoon that stretches in front of the camp itself.

Sitatunga Private Island will provide guests with the most authentic ‘Robinson Crusoe’-inspired experience and a refuge for the soul in the Okavango Delta. As elaborated by Dereck Joubert, CEO of Great Plains:

“Sitatunga Private Island is unlike any other Great Plains property, pushing the eco-design boundary in a remote region in Botswana whilst also offering the highest level of hospitality and accommodation. It is also one of the few locations in the world where one can still see sitatunga, the rare aquatic antelope, from camp and by boat, which is the main activity here in addition to walking. It is deep Okavango Delta and, as such, is rich in birding. Head out on a boat to view elephants, crocodiles, and hippos all day, every day. I know our guests will enjoy every moment of it, as I do”.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert have been pivotal in the interior design process, imbibing a sense of place and authenticity into the camp, with the giant bamboo fisherman basket structures of the suites paying homage to the Bayei people who historically occupied the area.

“Sitatunga’s design tells the story of the Okavango, a camp surrounded by water, and one that has had indigenous fishermen in the region for over 200 years,” explains Dereck Joubert. “Those fishermen designed and used fishing baskets and traps made from reeds in a funnel shape, so I took this reference and designed the rooms as tents hanging inside of giant fishing baskets. The interiors, as a result, draw on a colour range that mirrors that of the Okavango – a blend of misty greens and light bleached woods.”

A true labour of love, all materials within the camp have been personally sourced by Dereck and Beverly over the years and used to create Sitatunga Private Island. The suites seamlessly blend into the natural landscape of the Okavango Delta, conjuring a strong imaging of its ancestral origins while respecting the local environment.

A water-based camp, guests can choose from a variety of ‘slow safari’ adventures, from boating safaris and mekoro rides and more. For the traditionalist, walking safaris and game drives are also available, and for a truly indulgent celebration, guests can even opt for a scenic private helicopter tour of the Okavango Delta – complete with champagne, naturally! Flexibility is at the core of every Great Plains’ stay, and guests are encouraged to create their own unique itinerary in line with their interests, with guidance and recommendations from professional guides who know the Delta like the back of their hand.

Focusing on sustainability not only ensures the longevity of tourism destinations but pays respect to the natural environment and the people of the area. It is evident that with a conscious effort and care resorts are able to create amazing experiences whilst being mindful of nature. Introduction of concepts where we utilise methods with the least amount of damage on the environment can only be a positive. Perhaps as more people gain interest in sustainability and more resorts prioritise this we will see this being a non-negotiable for tourists?

Nightly rates at Sitatunga Private Island start from £1,848 per night on an all-inclusive basis. Children must be aged 6 and upwards. For more information or to book, visit https://greatplainsconservation.com/safari/sitatunga-private-island/