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Our Story

Ila Safari Lodge is the founding property of Green Safaris. Whilst not technically our oldest property, Ila is the first to be a part of this eco-family and is therefore very close to our hearts.

Ila Safari Lodge was inspired, and pays tribute to, the Ila tribe. The Ila people were a cattle-herding tribe residing in the valley of the Kafue River. Their distinctive hairstyle called ‘Isusu’ was designed to allow fellow members of hunting or war parties to see each other over the tall grass of the Kafue floodplains. The style was formed with plaited hair stiffened with a sliver of antelope horn. Another distinctive trait of the Ila were the white circles they painted on their chests, which you will recognise in our logo.

Our Love for Kafue

The Kafue is an environmentally sensitive area so all solid waste is sorted and removed from site and all our rubbish is stored where no animal can access them until they are transported for further disposal. All cleaning products, chemicals and guest amenities are bio-degradable and single use plastics are avoided by providing filtered water in reusable bottles. We have banned the use of cling-film and straws and use recycled paper and bags wherever possible. We also make use of local resources including shopping from the local markets and purchasing produce from our own farm.

Ila was awarded the 'Best Zambian Eco-Lodge Award' on the year of our opening in 2016 and is now a well-established and thriving safari lodge widely recognised for its beating green heart.

Sunshine Power and Silent Safaris

We design and operate all Green Safaris properties in the most sustainable way, actively involving the local communities. It is with this mission in mind that Ila’s Dutch Founder, Vincent Kouwenhoven, brought together a group of like-minded individuals, local communities and conservation-driven stakeholders to develop Zambia’s first premier eco-luxury property. Ila features trailblazing eco-technology in a park that has long been regarded as the Jewel of Zambia.

Ila was opened in July 2016 and was purpose-built 'green'! The lodge is off-grid with a huge solar bank providing the vast majority of power. Hot water is generated by solar water heaters and black water is reticulated through a central reticulation so no soakaways are required. The main boma is made from materials sourced locally and sustainably and the walls are built using sandbag technology that only requires a small percentage of cement.

It was for Ila Safari Lodge, that we developed and operated the very first electric game drive vehicle (our e-Cruiser) in Africa, which was then followed by several eCruisers and an e-Boat. We have a tree planting program in place that has seen hundreds of trees planted in the immediate surrounds and along the access road.