As happens to so many concepts in tourism, everybody starts to use fashionable terms like "community development", "Eco-tourism", "quality tourism" and "low impact on the environment" and soon they become hollow phrases. Eco-tourism is not only about solar panels. It starts especially with how and what you build, and how you manage and run it. We have been conscious about this right from the start. And as with so many of these concepts, they depend on the discipline and attention you constantly give to it. Everything we constructed is made to last, and our technical equipment is well maintained and constantly improved. Since we own the Lodge and are living here, thinking about the environment and trying to minimise the electricity and fuel we need, is also in our personal interest. Our employees are made aware of these ideas, are slowly taking them on and are contributing in their own way.
We use local materials, such as grass on the roofs and stones for the floors. We have regenerated the savannah along Lake Victoria. The results can be seen in the numerous birds, small mammals some bushbuck and even a family of hippopotamus that have appeared.
Our guides find a balance between satisfying the visitors on the one hand, and keeping their work in harmony with the environment and people they live with on the other. They try to make our visitors aware of how they should dress on their visit, and how (if) they (should) use their camera. Our visitors often carry gifts for the children here. This can be gratifying, but more often than not it creates chaos, and turns children into beggars. A different kind of life does not necessary mean poverty or unhappiness. There is nothing wrong with feeling the urge to help or share, but there are better and less demeaning ways then giving pens. If you truly feel the need to do something, then there are ways of donating something to e.g. the hospital or the school. We are open to discussion. We learned a lot from aid-workers, missionaries, the authorities and the people here, because these topics concern us, and we know they concern our visitors as well. Your visit can actually help the country, the people and the wildlife, but tourism can also have negative effects. We do not want to be patronising towards our visitors or the people here, but in our opinion it is good to be critical about what we do.