Designed with sustainability in mind, Segera Retreat is proof that luxury tourism can be good for the planet

Segera Retreat’s entire ethos is premised on being ecologically sound. So much so, that owner Jochen Zeitz, the former chairman and chief executive of global sporting goods company Puma and the art benefactor of the eponymous Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) situated in Cape Town, South Africa, has dedicated his life’s project to support sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest problems.

The Zeitz Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible projects, was developed around a holistic approach to balance conservation, community, culture and commerce (known as the 4Cs). Segera, which was initially created to both give back and pay it forward, subscribes to the 4Cs approach, with its guest experiences and in-house initiatives all contributing to the ecosphere and its surrounding environment and communities.

People are becoming more aware of the fragility of the planet, of our future and I think this will lead to more conscious travel

“In recent years, we have seen our fair share of climate change, biodiversity loss, natural disasters and now, a global pandemic,” says Zeitz. “People are becoming more aware of the fragility of the planet, of our future and I think this will lead to more conscious travel.

“Clean air and space, a healthy environment, sustainability, responsibility—these factors will all become more important to travelers, hence the need for sustainable tourism. For tourism businesses, it’s about being able to achieve profit at the same time as enabling healthy biodiversity, productive ecosystems and prosperous communities. For this, we’ve turned to our 4C philosophy.”

And it is this philosophy that has forged Segera into an unrivaled destination when it comes to true sustainable tourism. The entire retreat is solar powered, rainwater is collected and harvested, and waste is composted or recycled. Plastic bottles are nowhere to be seen, as Segera has its own in-house osmosis plant, employment opportunities are made available for Kenyan citizens from the surrounding villages and traditional skills such as beading and knowledge of medicinal plants and wildlife are harnessed to improve the livelihoods of the Kenyan people while conserving the natural landscape and wildlife. For more than a decade, Segera has contributed to the Ewaso ecosystem, the ecological processes of conserving the Ewaso landscape in northern Kenya, by removing game fencing to provide for long-term migratory corridors for elephant and other species.

Sustainability is no longer about
doing less harm. It’s about doing
more good.

All activities offered at Segera are also connected to the 4C philosophy. Guests can select to take immersive bush walks, game drives and wildlife monitoring; harvest honey with traditional beekeepers; plant indigenous trees on the property; sleep beneath the stars; pick fresh produce and collect eggs from the retreat’s organic gardens; partake in the Zeitz Foundation projects such as the Waterbank School and SATUBO beading initiative; and visit GAAMY, the original 1929 Gypsy Moth bi-plane from the 1985 film Out of Africa, amongst many more activities that encourage guests to participate in sustainable practices or make a difference. With Zeitz’s love for art embodied in the Zeitz Collection, housed throughout the retreat’s botanical gardens as well as its stables and Paddock House, it comes as no surprise that Segera has been offering artist-in-residence programs to African artists since 2015. These residencies provide the artists with a space for inspiration and for creating their artworks while guests are able to engage and learn more about the artist’s distinctive ways of seeing the world.

As Zeitz puts it: “Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good.” And at Segera, even a luxury safari experience can turn into an altruistic mission that benefits conservation, community, culture and commerce.

images copyrights David Crooks for Segera
words by Zainab Slemang van Rijmenant

September 29, 2020


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