Once you’ve been out on one of Chobe Game Lodge’s electric safari vehicles or boats, you might be inspired to find out more about the eco efforts of this lodge in Botswana. And if you go behind the manicured lawns, stuffed sofas and relaxed guests to the bowels of the lodge, where all the work and environmental activity happens, chances are you’ll get to meet Albert Ndereki.
There’s little he doesn’t know about the lodge’s drive to reduce, recycle and reuse. ‘At first we were just starting and making some mistakes and learning,’ he admits, but he’s proud of the lodge’s 2012 ecotourism certification from Botswana Tourism. He points to the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) prominently displayed for all the staff to see. It deals with seven key points like solid waste, water, effluents and emissions, and the natural environment.
Food waste is collected and processed in the biogas plant, which Albert likens to ‘a beast, with a mouth, throat and stomach’. First the waste is sorted. ‘Things like bones, oranges and onions can’t go into the mixing tank,’ he explains. Then it’s ground up and mixed with river water. At the end of a complex process of tanks and pipes it produces methane gas to use for cooking. ‘We don’t produce enough yet, so we still use LPG, but it will happen,’ he says.
Anything that can’t be used for biogas or sent for recycling ends up in an incinerator Albert calls Lucifer – for obvious reasons, when you see how hot it burns. The ash left behind is used as fertiliser for the lodge’s gardens.
Chobe Game Lodge is the only lodge inside the Chobe National Park and takes that responsibility seriously, employing a fulltime environmentalist. ‘We are also the eyes and ears of the wildlife people [Botswana’s Department of Wildlife & National Parks] because we are here inside the park at all times,’ says Albert. ‘We help them however we can.’
* This is part of a series called Voices of Botswana, which shares the stories of some of the people we met on our Botswana adventure.
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