The Mangrove Eco-Lodge: responsible tourism in Zanzibar
A friendly atmosphere for an enchanting eco-sustainable resort
Deep in the tropical vegetation that surrounds Stone Town, the Mangrove Lodge offers a very peaceful, natural and familiar environment, in which the slow and quiet pace of the Zanzibar people allow you to forget the everyday life stresses. More than this, the Mangrove Lodge can bring you into the very heart of Zanzibar's lifestyle and culture.
The Lodge was built in Chuini a place of rare beauty, the village where Haji Ramadhan Ali the owner and managing director, was born 40 years ago. In particular, it is situated in a wild environment: impressive palm and mango trees, a variety of tropical fruit trees, colourful hibiscus and bougainvillea, a quiet and natural white-sand beach on the bay of mangroves. From the coral restaurant you can enjoy a stunning view that becomes more and more charming by sunset colours and by the tide.
Haji followed the construction of the Lodge with the help of his long time Italian friend Paolo, and now runs it personally, taking care of the needs of his guests like a friend. Marina, his companion in life and mother of their two children, supports him in the day-by-day work and assists in the organization.
After ten years of experience, working with tourists and guiding them to discover the wonders of the island, Haji certainly can help you appreciate the real Zanzibar, the incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds as well as habits, handicraft and music.
Haji’s goal in fact is to enable guests to travel responsibly, enjoying and learning about the natural, historical and cultural characteristics of Zanzibar, whilst preserving the integrity of traditions and environment of the places he loves, increasingly stimulating the economic development and well-being of the local community.
About the environment
Conserving the resources of the territory
The five double bungalows are surrounded by a beautiful flowery garden, the rooms are approached by paths lined by frangipani, hibiscus, palm trees, banana and mango trees.
Every night lemurs jump from trees to roofs of bungalows and restaurant looking for fruits.
From the bay of mangroves in front of the restaurant fishermen sail every day on local boats. Carrying special lamps and simple tools they come back at dawn.
The Lodge’s environment is neat and at the same time kept unspoilt by local gardenersand Haji himself.
Furthermore, waste and energy-water consumption are reduced as much as possible (no A/C in the rooms, generator switched-on for few hours only, candles in the rooms, clean water from the well, often cooking with charcoal as Zanzibari usually do).
About the building
Following principles in tune with nature
The Mangrove Lodge has been built in the respect of the nature and craftwork, using local and renewable materials, employing exclusively local workers: artisans, technicians, bricklayers and stoneworkers, men and women from the surrounding villages.
Local and renewable materials: Wood, recycled wood when available (for pilasters, tables and wardrobes); Makuti, palm leaves arranged for roofs by local people in the village; Bricks bought at the local factory; Coral Stones of the coast, carved manually.
Transportation: most of the materials were carried to the lodge by small ecologic carts owned by farmers and pulled by cows.
Water: a well was built in the lodge to avoid using water of the local village. There is also a tank to collect rainwater.
Decoration: curtains, table-clothes, mosquito nets were sewn by local tailors, door and mirror wooden frames carved by local artisans, as well as paintings and carvings.
About the supplying
Helping the local community to prosper by purchasing from local vendors
We support local economy directly, by purchasing from well-known local gardeners, fishermen and vendors of the villages around Chuini, improving the well-being of several families.
Daily fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, poultry and eggs, uncontaminated seafood from northern coast pristine seawater comes to the Mangrove Lodge as well as delicious bread and cakes baked by local cookers, especially women cooking at home. Tasty honey is from Pemba Island while spices, soaps, body creams, coconut and essential oils from the surrounding spice farms.
Kangas and local fabrics from stands around the marketplace are used as tablecloths and to decorate the lodge's rooms.
About the approach, a 360° responsible attitude
Recycling, community and cultural exchange
Since no recycle system is arranged yet in Zanzibar, the Mangrove Lodge scheduled its own recycling arrangements.
The Lodge is part of the local community and strictly connected to the local businesses and projects, while promoting social and cultural exchanges through its activities.
Home-composting from restaurant’s organic waste to be used for flowers and vegetables in the gardens.
Glass bottles only policy on the premises for beverages. Collecting by local vendors.
No plastic bags are used at the Lodge, while plastic bottles for drinking water are usually offered to local people for domestic use (water, fresh milk…).
Long-term relationships are brought up with local vendors and businesses: tailors for mosquito nets (“Mnazi Boutique”), curtains and cushions (“Sasik”)
Support local projects by encouraging guests to visit e.g. ZBC – Zanzibar Butterfly Centre, the nature reserve of Chumbe Island Coral Park, the Makunduchi Hospital Project as part of Health Improvement Project.
Increase staff skills and education through weekly classes: foreign languages, professional topics, health and hygienic are amongst the main subjects. The Mangrove Lodge has also a veg garden for management and staff.
Social and cultural exchange activities are part of the Mangrove Lodge's organized activities, like guided tours in the capital and in the villages to discover the real Zanzibar or Kiswahili language and traditional cooking lessons at the Lodge's kitchen. Evening meetings are arranged with local people – elders, women, musicians, teachers - to tell stories about Zanzibar’s history, lifestyle, Islamic religion, mix of culture, respectful behaviour.
Furthermore, at the Mangrove Lodge's Restaurant traditional dishes of Zanzibar are served every day to enjoy their delicious food, a mix of African, Indian and Arabic tastes.
About the future, being an Eco-Lodge: next efforts and steps
How we intend to grow on a green path
Recycling: building tanks in each bungalow to collect rainwater from the makuti roof to be use for gardens.
Solar Energy: financing the Photovoltaic Project at the Lodge through a donation system.
Organization support: creating a Lodge’s Project whose aim is to support people of any ages in the surrounding villages (jobs, sport, education about sex, health, hygiene…).
Communication and advertising: let more people know about the existence of The Mangrove Eco-Lodge as a natural alternative for a relaxing, responsible and eco-conscious holiday on the shore of Zanzibar.
Support Volunteers in the East African communities: arrange new accommodations, with special hosting price reduction policies for volunteers from all around the world.