The recently rebuilt third-generation DumaTau sets a new environmental benchmark for Wilderness Safaris, with intensive collaboration between the construction contractors and our environmental team to keep the camp as energy efficient as possible. As Africa’s leading conservation tourism company, our environmental strategy focuses on ensuring that we minimise any negative impacts resulting from camp operations in pristine environments.
Without compromising guest comfort, a large focus has been placed on power efficiency. All water is heated via solar geysers, with smart architecture utilising natural airflow to cool the rooms. This is supplemented by spot cooling in all rooms and guest areas using inverter units. To ensure that water usage remains as efficient as possible, a new low-pressure filtration system and a Natura filtration system for all drinking water have been installed.
Here are some behind-the-scenes snippets of the thinking that goes into designing a new safari camp, with the environment and guest comfort as our biggest priority.
This is a new direction as far as solar goes for any Wilderness Safaris camp, employing a different technology to what has been used previously in the portfolio. We commissioned a new Tesla 80 kW solar array, employing cutting-edge technology using Li-Ion batteries – far more efficient and resilient. This includes the installation of Wilderness Safaris’ largest 100% solar-powered system to date, with an output of 175 kW made up of 480 x 400 W solar panels, also using Tesla Li-Ion technology. The system has been upgraded from the original 30 kW array, which was commissioned in 2012. This amounts to a further investment of over USD500 000.
These batteries can be repurposed and reused after their service life, which is a big positive, as trying to dispose of used batteries is an environmental issue that requires careful thought. The Tesla ecosystem and associated technology are also completely modular and can easily be upsized and revised as required. Another benefit of Tesla are their on-board cooling systems and built-in safety mechanisms, which prolong and optimise battery performance in harsher African conditions.
No effort was spared in the DumaTau rebuild to ensure we could offer our guests an unrivalled experience of luxury and comfort while minimising our environmental impacts. The first step was to employ smart architecture and design to ensure that natural cooling of the guest areas occurs as much as possible. In keeping with a design philosophy that embraces innovation as well as tradition, the guest rooms also feature customised spot-cooling for the bedroom areas – a first for Wilderness Safaris. Building the camp on raised boardwalks also increases natural airflow as does using dual-layered materials.
In addition to this, only energy-efficient appliances and lighting have been used throughout the camp, with timers and programming deployed to control services which only need to operate at specific times of the day, or are triggered when motion is picked up in an area. At DumaTau we also opted for more energy-efficient inverter-type air conditioner units, which provide spot cooling during the heat of the day. Other key areas in camp will also be cooled in such a way, ensuring efficient cooling.
In terms of water management, as with all Wilderness Safaris camps, ensuring that no waste water contaminates the ground water is paramount. To this end, a completely new above-ground sewage treatment plant was commissioned and built well before the camp opened, to ensure 100% operation with the opening of the camp. Only select laundry and cleaning detergents are used in our camps to ensure no water contamination.
Management of actual water usage is equally important. Only water-saving showerheads, tap aerators and efficient cisterns are used throughout the camp. Laundry cycles are timed to ensure no water is wasted and we ensure only water-efficient appliances are procured.
As far as drinking water goes, DumaTau has a Natura water system, which produces purified, mineral-rich water by reverse osmosis, either still or sparkling, and is perfectly chilled – completely eliminating the use of plastic bottles for water, unless guests request it specifically.
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.