Sustainable travel has become an important trend in recent years, and one that is set to continue in full force in 2018. In working towards preserving our environment and to accommodate responsible travellers, significant changes have occurred within the hospitality industry in Southern Africa, with a noticeable shift toward eco-friendly practices.

“With more hotels and resorts “going green”, travellers can align themselves with a number of establishments without forfeiting on luxury and comfort. There are plenty resorts to be found scattered near or within the Indian Ocean that provide a top-notch experience without compromising on their sustainable practices” says Natalie Tenzer-Silva, Director of Mozambique based Dana Tours.

So, without having to “rough it” (unless you want to), here is a list of five must-visit eco-friendly resorts worth exploring in 2018.

1. Acajou Resort, Seychelles

Situated right beside the magnificent Cote d’Or beach on Praslin Island, Acajou Resort is rustic yet elegant. Acajou meaning “mahogany” in French, is characterised by the wood and timber themed design of the private suites. Locally owned and managed by modern eco-friendly standards, Acajou is fully solar powered with a waste management system in place, along with its own fruit, vegetables and spices grown on site.

2. Azura, Mozambique

Azura’s award-winning villas were hand-built from scratch by members of the local community. Offering a blend of modern design mixed with eco-friendly materials, it is clear from when you first step into this beach retreat, that it functions unobtrusively within its surrounding environment. The use of solar power and eco-detergents in their laundry are yet more important steps in the right direction.

3. The Oyster Box, South Africa

Well known by Durban locals, The Oyster Box at first glance doesn’t resemble an environmentally friendly hotel. However, when it was re-built, a lot of effort went into ensuring the hotel was as green as possible. With solar powered heating, effective water management and water recycling systems as well as effective waste management systems, this truly is an environmentally-respectful hotel located close to the city.

4. Eden Lodge, Madagascar

This exclusive, sustainable development was the first Green Globe certified hotel in Madagascar and was used as a pilot project for eco-tourism in the country. It boasts a natural atmosphere, set between the beach and the forest, with tent style accommodation made from recycled materials to create an intimate and visually appealing space for guests to enjoy. Eden also boasts a highly effective water and waste management system.

5. North Island, Seychelles

This private island in the Seychelles rewards visitors with an exclusive space that incorporates conservation practices and philosophies. It is also the home of the Noah’s Ark project which aims at rehabilitating the islands indigenous plant and wildlife species. Guests are invited to get involved in their conservation initiatives while still being able to take advantage of relaxing on its pristine beaches.