Is this 3D-printed resort the future of sustainable travel?

By Lavanya Sunkara
Updated March 09, 2020

Blending natural elements with cutting-edge 3D printing technology, Kisawa Sanctuary, located on Mozambique’s Benguerra Island, is setting a new standard in sustainability.

This luxury retreat, situated among picturesque sand dunes overlooking the Indian Ocean, is scheduled to open in summer 2020. But it’s already making waves in the hospitality sphere for its environmentally conscious construction, which uses patented 3D technology to create natural building materials.

At Kisawa, an amalgamation of the island’s sand and seawater is the critical building block. It provides a natural, textured finish to the building facades; the mortar is also fed into the 3D printing machine to generate components for flooring, tiling, and masonry. Throughout the property, luxury interior design is reinvented by the integration of 3D-crafted objects. The printer also serves Kisawa’s sister organization, Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS), in manufacturing coral reefs to reinvigorate marine habitats.

Credit: Courtesy of The Boundary

Benguerra is the second-largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, a conservation area established to protect dugongs and sea turtles. It’s also home to over 145 species of birds, suni antelope, native butterflies, and crocodiles.

What's more, Kisawa Sanctuary has created over 1,000 jobs, and made a commitment to celebrating Mozambique’s cultural and natural wonders. Here, you will find Mozambican textiles and carpentry made by artisans from Benguerra and its surrounding islands. Nina Flohr, founder and creative director of Kisawa, shares, “We have used design as a tool, not as a style, to ensure Kisawa is integrated, both culturally and environmentally into Mozambique.” Flohr’s strong connection with Africa from a young age inspired her in the innovative creation of this eco-centric escape.

Credit: Courtesy of The Boundary

Sitting on a 750-acre stretch of forested, dune-filled shoreline, the resort’s bungalows, with their thatched roofs and sand-textured walls, blend in with their environment. Guests can choose from 12 one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas set amidst sand dunes. Perched on a one-acre plot with its own swimming pool and access to a pristine beach, each dwelling promises exclusivity and privacy. Rates start from $5,714 per night (€5,000) for one bedroom and include a personal service team, chefs, multiple dining venues, on-site wellness treatments, and activities such as diving and a marine safari.

Credit: Courtesy of The Boundary
Credit: Courtesy of The Boundary

Once open, Kisawa Sanctuary will feature two beach clubs, the Barraca beach bar, a library, lagoon-style swimming pool, spa, and lounge at the main terrace. The spa, set in a regionally inspired thatched building, offers traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese treatments. Guests can explore the property and surrounding areas via electric buggy or e-bike. Meanwhile, those venturing underwater can see manta rays, dugongs, whale sharks, dolphins, and turtles swimming in the clear waters.

One day, Kisawa could be among many global properties integrating natural elements and technology to provide an eco-conscious getaway. For now, it’s the first of its kind and all the more special for it.