Way back in the 1980s, Serena Hotels built a lagoon consisting of six chambers at their Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge. The Lodge is connected to the lagoon through an array of septic tanks and a drainage system, bringing the wastewater from the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry directly into the chambers. Through a process of aeration, oxygenation and sunlight exposure, the water travels through each of the six chambers and undergoes a natural cleaning process.
The wetlands lagoon is one of the company’s unique ways of working with the natural environment to find practical solutions for sustainability. Wetlands is one solution for waste management that Serena has found works well, with minimal requirement for external intervention or supervision whilst using almost 100% natural materials.
The wetland lagoon sits on the foot slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro where water freely flows from the many streams as a result of the snowmelt from the mountain, so there is no scarcity of water. However the lagoon has become a home to fish, and local animals in the vicinity do drink from the outlet. If there is ever a drought in the area (which is rare), the water has been tested and is good for animal consumption.
Through the innovative construction of the lagoon, combining natural environmental processes with the management of waste water, Amboseli Lodge has positively contributed to the environment in the Amboseli National Park, and the helped the Lodge win the title of Africa’s Leading Eco-Hotel by the World Travel Awards in 2013.
The lagoon has been certified by environmental authorities and is regularly checked to guarantee the water is safe and hazard free for use. Additionally, products used at the Lodge (i.e. shampoos, shower gels, soaps, laundry detergent etc.) are all environmentally friendly, ensuring there is minimal impact to the environment. The combination of eco-friendly products and the natural environmental processes that clean the water also ensures an odourless wetland for guests and animals inhabiting Amboseli National Park. The presence of fish in the lagoon is a key indicator that the water is non-toxic and safe.
The lagoon is one of several efforts within Amboseli National Park that are being implemented to mitigate the effects that climate change has on the park, as the snow continues to disappear from Mount Kilimanjaro. Serena Hotels works closely with Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) on reforestation projects to strengthen the park for the animals. In addition, waste management initiatives like the lagoon can help reduce the effects that individuals have on the surrounding environment. On a wider scale, the invertor systems at all Serena Hotels lodges are set for optimum energy consumption and reduced usage of the generator, thus reducing the use of fuel, noise and air pollution. Synchronized generators and energy saving bulbs are installed resulting in a fuel consumption saving of 25%.