In Love with water - our most precious resource



Cultures & Communities

Melissa Siebert


Water is life. 71% of the Earth’s surface is water. It comprises 60% of our bodies. We need it to live, and to live more fully. Whether quenching our thirst, submerging to cool off, contemplating the ocean’s power, honouring a sacred river, or praying for rain, our connection with water is powerful, life-affirming. In this month of celebrating love, it’s not just a need that we have for water, but a love, a reverence, and a deep respect. In fact, water is like love itself: universally seeping into everything, buoyant, purifying and healing. And we can’t take it for granted.

Wilderness Mombo Botswana Wildlife Elephant Walking Through Water

At Wilderness we take water seriously


Water’s perpetually on the world’s mind, with the UN’s annual World Water Day coming up on 22 March, and World Wetlands Day recently observed on 2 February. We all need to be mindful, year-round, of ways to conserve water. And much of the Wilderness impact strategy focuses on water conservation – within our camps and in providing water to wildlife and local communities.


Seven years ago, Wilderness helped set the benchmark for water usage in the safari industry. As you’ll see when you stay at our camps, we’ve put our money where our mouth is. We’ve installed reverse osmosis filtering facilities to produce our own still and sparkling water and reduce bottled water usage; high, gravity-driven water tanks to reduce leaks.


Wilderness Davisons Zimbabwe Elephant At Waterhole

Water conservation

All taps and showers are fitted with tap aerators and restrictors which reduce water usage by up to 60%; we use efficient dual flush toilet cisterns; we use water reticulation maps to ensure we can trace and fix leaks quickly; ground water is tested biannually to ensure our operations have no impact on the environment; and in some camps, de-salination systems.

A chance for you to get involved


As our guest, you’ll engage. You can tour camps’ indigenous nurseries irrigated by treated wastewater. Visit local communities where new pumps and wells have radically uplifted – even saved – lives.  Watch elephant herds and other wildlife gather at new, improved boreholes carrying them through the dry season. Or even help save water with a bucket when you shower, handed over to housekeeping. Every little bit helps.


In our water-rich camps – in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Linyanti or along the Zambezi River – it’s a chance to marvel at the abundance. Or, on the other hand, deeply feel water’s absence in the Namibian desert, yet be awed by life adapting there.

Wilderness Dumatau Botswana Water Lily
Wilderness Experiences Botswana Barge Wildlife Elephant

Our water conservation efforts continue

In the Okavango Delta, Wilderness is soon to start drilling six boreholes in partner with our Okavango Community Trust (OCT) villages; Eretsha, Mokgacha, Gunotsoga, Beetsha, and Gudigwa – near farmers’ ploughing fields.


Human-wildlife conflict is a threat to the area, particularly with elephants raiding crops. The new boreholes will help to mitigate such conflict by eliminating farmers’ long commutes from home to water to fields. Many of the local farmers are senior citizens, so closer boreholes mean less strain on them physically, and more energy to farm.


They can stay in their fields longer and extend planting beyond the traditional ploughing season – enhancing their diet and income. During dry spells they’ll be able to irrigate. They’ll be better equipped to feed the nation, and themselves.


In Zimbabwe’s vast Hwange National Park, Wilderness helps keep the boreholes working, critical during the dry season. Out of Hwange’s 57 boreholes sustaining its diverse and prolific wildlife, Wilderness drilled 18, supplying all engines, piping, and pumps.


Since February 2002, we’ve been pumping 22 boreholes 24/7, including daily refuelling and maintenance, oil top-ups and oil filter changes. As the engines age, we’ve been replacing them with new ones, and two new solar engines are on the cards, with back-up generators.


Keeping the borehole water flowing has significantly impacted wildlife population numbers – and will for years to come.

Protecting our most precious resource

Deeper into Africa, the renowned Wilderness Bisate, on the edge of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, has a symbiotic relationship with local communities – with a regular flow of goods, services, and support between them.


Wilderness recently rehabilitated the existing water infrastructure at our partner communities, Bunyenyeri and Bushokoro, improving access to clean water for some 5,000 villagers living in Bunyenyeri, Karambi Kazi, Kumazi, Myase, and Nyarusizi.

Bisate Lodge Community

Supported by generous donations from our Bisate guests and project partners, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and Rwanda Development Board, the infrastructure revamp has been life-changing. Villagers, often small children, no longer have to walk an hour to fill just a 20-litre water container. Hygiene has improved. People are less likely to collect water from the Park, reducing threats to the resident mountain gorillas and other creatures, as well as vegetation. It’s a win-win for humans, wildlife, and the environment.

During this month of love

and far, far beyond – it’s a reminder to all be water-wise. Aware of our collective responsibility to safeguard this source of life, and love.

Let’s plan your next journey


When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.