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Natural TanzaniaApril 15, 2009 By: Mackenzie Allison Travel Agent
Some people might consider Africa synonymous with nature: An exotic and mysterious land that serves as a haven from the hustle and bustle of big city life—with reserves and lodges set far back in the African bush. The continent also serves as a place to see animals uncaged and in their natural habitat. However, as could be said for most places, people have had an affect on the environment. Human population growth in Africa has increased human/wildlife conflict. For example, the African lion, once abundant with a population of 450,000, has been diminished to 20,000 and now faces extinction.
Guests at Lukula Camp in the Selous Game Reserve can experience nature on an intimate level.
Two destinations in Tanzania are doing their part to reduce the carbon footprint, as well as give back to the community and maintain the local wildlife.
Lupita Island, a 100-acre resort in Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika, a 15-minute boat ride from the village of Kipili, offers 13 thatched-roof guest rooms, which were built with local laborers using indigenous woods and stones. The thatched roofs are made from local grasses and the king-size beds are made from local dhou wood.
Guests at Lukula Camp sleep in eco-friendly tented camps.
To reduce energy use, the rooms are entirely unplugged, meaning the hotel forgoes the normal environmentally destructive trappings that are common in most hotels (think air-conditioning, phones, TVs and radios). Fish, like perch and kuwe, are taken straight from the lake, and bread is baked on property. The property’s Chef Tina, who calls the cuisine “African fusion,” uses local ingredients like coconuts and bananas in the resort’s meals.
As careful as Lupita Island is to give back to the land, the property is just as concerned with giving back to the community. Lupita Island employs several inhabitants from a nearby village, supplies mosquito netting to help prevent malaria and contributes to the local school. The owners, the Lithgows, have worked to rid the Tanzanian plains of poachers by starting a non-profit organization that patrols the plains for poaching camps.
Lupita is reached by international flights to Kilimanjaro Airport in Arusha, Tanzania. From there, your clients can take a chartered flight to Kipili or chartered helicopter right to the island.
For more information, travel agents may contact John Steinle, the account manager in the U.S., or Shelley McLaughlin, reservations manager, at 203-523-0004.
The Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve, named after Frederick Courteney Selous, an English-born explorer and one of Africa’s first conservationists, spans 17,000 square miles in Tanzania. Founded in 1922, the area rests along the Kilombero, Great Ruaha and Rufiji rivers. In 1982 the Selous Game Reserve was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the diversity of its wildlife and undisturbed nature.
Within the reserve is the Selous Project, a conservation effort with the goal of sustaining the area and its wildlife and providing its inhabitants with job opportunities. Anton Turner of the Selous Project says that the objective for travelers is to understand the original meaning of a safari—to commune with nature.
Bedrooms at Lupita Island in Lake Tanganyika are open to the elements.
Within the area is Lukula Selous, a private 300,000-acre sanctuary that allows a maximum of eight people at a time. At the Lukula Camp on the banks of the Luwego River, guests sleep in tented camps, allowing them to hear their surroundings come alive at night.
A literal solar system provides all power requirements at Lukula Camp, which is designed for low current usage by optimizing the use of high-quality, low wattage lights, low-energy fans and solar refrigeration. The furniture is made from recycled hardwoods, brass and weathered canvas.
The area is a one-and-a-half hour flight southwest from Dar es Salaam by small plane. Agents can contact Jeanie Fundora ([email protected]; 813-258-3323).