Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa has invested in a major solar power installation that consists of 620 solar panels and batteries to supply all the power required by the 24-sleeper luxury lodge in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in Waterberg (Limpopo).
It is one of the largest solar operations at a safari lodge in South Africa and it has successfully taken Mhondoro off the grid to be self-sufficient in terms of all its electricity requirements.
CEO Fritz Breytenbach says that the travel industry is heavily impacted by Eskom’s energy crisis. ‘The only way for us to continue attracting well-heeled local and international travellers, is to make sure that we literally keep the lights on. In the luxury travel and safari industry especially, guests expect a certain level of service, and it goes without saying that all lodge facilities and amenities should be available to guests and in working order – whether there is loadshedding, or not.’
‘But besides offering a luxury, 5-star product to our guests, we are proud of the fact that everything we do here at Mhondoro is based on environmentally safe principles. Internationally there is a lot of talk about so-called greenwashing, but this capital investment in our solar plant is another tangible example of the vision of the Dutch owners, Frank and Myriam Vogel, to further reduce the carbon footprint of the lodge.’
Various other eco-friendly initiatives have also been put in place at Mhondoro, including the installation of a grey water filtration system for irrigation around the lodge. Mhondoro also operates its own water purification plant that produces drinking water fresh from the surrounding Waterberg mountains, and uses glass decanters and personalised steel water bottles for guests to minimize the use of single-use plastic water bottles. All glass, paper and plastics are recycled, and Mhondoro has an agreement with Nespresso to recycle used coffee pods and grinds. Furthermore, guest check-in is being done digitally to reduce the use of paper and re-usable leather wallets are used for staff gratuities that save 2000 paper envelopes per year.
Mhondoro also produces as much of its own fresh produce as possible. The owners purchased two derelict farms adjoining Welgevonden Game Reserve of which a section is utilized to grow fruit, as well as vegetables and herbs in two greenhouses. A chicken coop was successfully established to supply farm fresh eggs for use at the lodge. The balance of the 2400 hectares of farmland is being rehabilitated and over time will become protected wilderness areas.
MORE ABOUT MHONDORO SAFARI LODGE & VILLA
Located in Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo), MHONDORO SAFARI LODGE & VILLA is a luxury safari destination of note. A mere 2h45-minute drive from Johannesburg, the landscape is breathtaking rich and diverse, stretching across 35 000 hectares. The reserve is home to the Big 5, including a large white rhino population that is protected within the malaria-free reserve. Guided walks are popular with guests, as is watching the ‘resident’ herd of elephants who visit the waterhole at the lodge on a daily basis and who love a drink from the natural, salt-water swimming pools. #poolellie
The superb wildlife experience is complemented by Mhondoro’s luxurious accommodation, indulgent spa treatments, fine cuisine and passionate service. Dutch-owned, Mhondoro is a gourmand’s delight and a fusion of African chic and edgy European influences. The exclusive 5-star lodge sleeps only 24 guests, with accommodation including two child-friendly Family suites, a romantic Honeymoon suite, and a 2-bedroom Executive Suite. Guest suites are spacious with full bathrooms, outdoor showers, private decks and most have private plunge pools.
Mhondoro Villa is the ultimate in luxury and privacy for families or friends travelling together. It features a magnificent master suite and two additional bedrooms and comes with a private gym, yoga or massage room and a heated swimming pool, a game-viewing safari vehicle with personal guide, and the services of a chef, butler and housekeeping staff. Unique features at Mhondoro include the ultimate photographer’s dream: a waterhole with underground hide that is connected to the main lodge by a tunnel, as well as a stardeck and three heated swimming pools with an infrared sauna. The Spa offers facials, massages, manicures, pedicures and massages, as well as a private, outdoor spa deck overlooking the reserve to offer the ultimate relaxation.