The Desert Grace impresses with excellent environmental compatibility

Apr 21, 2020

The lodge is located near the Sossusvlei with the highest dunes on Earth. Photos: Gondwana Collection

Inke Stoldt

Warm hospitality, a modern design, and an environmentally conscious lodge business. Eco Awards Namibia bestowed the highest environmental seal of quality to The Desert Grace. This fascinating lodge is situated close to the Namib Sand Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 5 Green Flowers award is a special distinction created in 2018 to honour tourism companies that have invested primarily in the “green” environmental areas, namely conservation, water, energy and waste management.

“Gondwana Collection Namibia built and opened The Desert Grace in 2018 with sustainability top of mind,” says Gondwana’s Social & Environmental Impact Officer Quintin Hartung. “All building and operational components were carefully designed and implemented to make sure The Desert Grace welcome guests to an environmentally friendly lodge in the pristine Namib Desert.“

The lodge buildings were constructed using sandbags filled on site with Namib dune sand. Recycled glass was mixed with cement to create shimmering footpaths to the chalets. A water recycling plant and a solar plant were installed to ensure a sound water and energy management.

“Other factors that helped The Desert Grace achieve this high standard with Eco Awards were its solid waste recycling practices, good water and energy management and eco and disability friendly designs thus catering for all guests,” Hartung reiterates. “We are very proud that The Desert Grace received a score of 98% in the Eco Award assessment.”

Eco Awards Namibia is a sustainable tourism certification program which is a result of the collaboration between the private sector and government organization. The standard evaluation, which awards one to five Desert Flowers to accommodation establishments and tour operators focuses on the sustainability concept. In addition to the environmental compatibility of the participating tourism companies, the areas of human resources, social responsibility and legal compliance also play a major role.

Two years ago, Eco Awards Namibia introduced the Green Flowers award with the focus on the environmental sections conservation, water, energy and waste management. In 2019, The Delight Swakopmund was the first accommodation establishment of the Gondwana Collection to receive the highest distinction of 5 Green Flowers followed by the Desert Grace in 2020.

During the past years, Gondwana’s efforts to run their lodges in a sustainable manner were repeatedly acknowledged with 5 Desert Flowers. Currently, ten of the Gondwana Lodges have a 5 Desert Flower rating; which is similar to the star-rating system for tourist accommodations. Other lodges that previously received a three or four flower rating are due for a new review. The participation in the Eco Awards programme is voluntary. Applicants are re-evaluated every 3 years.