It’s still winter. This is the time of year that many people head south to bask in the sun. Here’s our vacation tip: Travessia Beach Lodge on the Mozambique coast in Africa offers not only amazing place to relax, but also a sustainable one, nestled in on a beach among dunes and palm trees.
The lodge’s history begins in 2000. Dave, from South Africa, and Anne, from the Netherlands, met on a backpacking trip and soon fell in love. They shared a dream of owning their own lodge on the African coast.
In 2006, the couple began looking for the right property in Mozambique. One evening, while on the lookout for a good camping spot away from the main roads, they met Senhor David. He and a few other local fishermen and farmers owned a plot of approximately 8.8 hectares by the beach, surrounded by coconut palms and dunes—the perfect spot for the lodge. Senhor David listened to the couple’s plans and put them in touch with the other owners. They were all in agreement.
For two years, Anne and Dave fought their way through African bureaucracy, gradually receiving the necessary licenses and permits. When the first infrastructure was created in 2009, the couple had already used up all their start-up capital. The project was put on hold until 2012, when Dave and Anne met Heye Daun and Angela Naumann. The Namibian and German couple joined in the venture as partners and took over management of the project in 2014. Now, the construction work is almost complete: Travessia Beach Lodge will celebrate its inauguration at Easter 2015.
Photovoltaic Energy Supply
Of course, a tourists’ paradise like this also needs electricity. The site has no access to the utility grid, and the nearest location with an electricity supply is almost 30 km away. “Since the remote location makes a connection to the Mozambique electricity grid not viable, it was clear that Travessia would need a reliable electricity supply that was independent of the grid,” Angela remarked. “Solar energy was therefore the obvious choice.”
To use the power of the sun effectively, a 19.6 kWh PV system began operation in November 2014. The inverters (one SMA Sunny Island and two SMA Sunny Boys) are well suited to the subtropical climate because they are designed to withstand the sandy, salty air and location right at the beach.
Sustainability as the Guiding Principle
The Travessia Beach Lodge team aims to be sustainable not only with regard to the lodge’s energy supply: “We are planning a responsible, sustainable service that is in harmony with nature and the people who surround us. We don’t have any energy-intensive air conditioning systems or flat-screen TVs, but we also don’t have a diesel generator humming all day,” Angela explained. ”This not only makes good business sense, but it is now appreciated by many tourists, and is even a requirement for some.”
The operators used local building materials and resources wherever possible during construction. Many of the builders have been with them for years and will be employed in other roles after construction is completed.
What’s to Come in 2015
Currently, the lodge provides accommodations for eight guests in two single casitas (small individual apartments) and a one-family casita. Another casita is under construction. The kitchen, restaurant and lodge with a large sundeck as well as the pool deck with bar are already complete. The first bookings and enquiries have already been taken—the excitement is building. The founders are now planning the next phase of construction: additional rooms, employee accommodations, a diving center and the general expansion of the infrastructure. The team is looking for more investors who are willing to really participate.
We wish the team every success and a great year in 2015!
You can find more information and images on the Travessia Beach Lodge Facebook page.
Stella Maria Pfeiffer (guest author)
Stella worked for SMA in the product communication department. Her focus was on off-grid applications.