When we were building Mihingo Lodge we wanted to be the most environmentally friendly lodge possible. We did not want to have to run any generators as we do not like the environmental impact but also we did not want to spoil the sounds of the African night.

None of the up-market lodges in Uganda run without a generator. Even our water supply runs on solar. We have installed a total of well over 100 solar panels to supply all our electrical needs including solar powered water pumps. Initially we used gas freezers and fridges but as soon as we were able to get solar powered freezers and fridges, we switched to them.

From the beginning we wanted to support the local community and just a year after opening we started compensating farmers each time a leopard or hyena killed one of their livestock. This has greatly reduced the numbers of leopards and hyenas being poisoned and the hyenas on our side of the park have grown from just 2 to well over 20 now.

One reason why we do not have plastic water bottles in the rooms is because we believe in producing as little waste as possible. All our drinking water served at the table and in the rooms is from recyclable 20 litre water bottles decanted into glass jugs. All staff are provided with rainwater which is filtered and cleaned through a bio-sand filter. This way we reduce the waste by at least 10,000 water bottles a year. We catch rain water from the rocks to supply the lodge with water but also catch rainwater from roofs for drinking water.

We separate all our waste and feed the organic waste to pigs. Glass is crushed and filled into a pit, metal is stored and then sold for recycling, solar batteries are recycled and any plastics are burnt in an incinerator at high temperatures to reduce the impact on the environment.

We are carbon neutral certified so any carbon emissions we produce are offset by buying carbon credits. This accreditation also makes us much more aware of how much carbon we are emitting and makes us think of ways in which we can reduce it.

We are working on a biogas system to provide gas for our staff canteen. This will also help reduce our carbon emissions.

We have used as many natural and local materials as possible and have not used any hardwood for our floor boards as nearly all hardwood in Africa is from unsustainable sources. We have used dead olive wood from our own land as door frames and for the main supporting poles for the main structure. Otherwise we have used eucalyptus, pine and cypress. The roofs are thatched with local grasses and we scarcely cut any trees when building the lodge. Even when we built the road leading to the lodge we hardly felled any trees and that’s why the road is so twisty.