As one of the world’s leading conservation and hospitality companies, Wilderness has driven a major solar conversion and sustainable energy programme in the majority of its camps across Africa. Committed to its purpose to help protect and expand the world’s iconic wild destinations, the business is dedicated to implementing measures to reduce any negative impacts on the habitats in which it operates. Simultaneously maximising the positive impact arising from its activities, Wilderness is currently saving more than 4 523 080 kWh (kilowatt-hours) of energy each year through the use of renewable resources – enough to fully power 443 average size houses for a year.
Sustainable energy usage is a natural priority for the business across all its areas of operations, with meaningful progress already being made at 19 solar-powered Wilderness camps, which currently produce 8 640 kWh of their own power daily. In addition, there are 28 camps with solar-inverter or battery-inverter hybrid systems, reducing generator usage by 66%. The solar camps produce enough power daily to fully power 10 average size houses for a month.
There are also a number of camps using smaller, individual solar arrays for each guest suite, or one single larger array to run the front of house only, amounting to an additional 180 kWh daily. To date, seven Wilderness camps derive their power from hydro generation (off national grids), which is much cleaner than fossil fuel-derived grid power. Further reducing the need for reliance on generators or electricity, the company has 893 solar geysers or solar-thermodynamic geysers in place throughout its operations, saving a total of 3 572 kWh a day.
Warren Ozorio, Wilderness Group EMS (Environmental Management Systems) Co-ordinator, and chief driver of Wilderness’ ongoing sustainable energy projects, noted proudly: “Regular geysers may typically operate for two hours a day in our camps, and usually contain a 2 kW electrical element. This means that the introduction of, and ongoing conversion to, solar geysers has resulted in a saving of 4 kWh per day per geyser. This translates into a substantial saving across the business of 1 303 780 kWh annually, equal to 677 tonnes of coal a year. We will continue to focus on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels by using the latest technology in solar installations, and at the same time reduce the electrical demand of our operations”.
When considering the energy saved through the use of 100% solar and hybrid plants, and working on six hours of energy production per day (the standard for the southern hemisphere), this amounts to 267 840 kWh for the 100% solar-operated camps, and 5 580 kWh for those operating on smaller solar-hybrid plants each month. Tallying these reductions results in a combined saving of 3 281 040 kWh each year, which translates into an estimated saving of 984 312 litres of diesel fuel on an annual basis. This is certainly a significant move away from reliance on fossil fuels – a key priority for Wilderness.
Wilderness’ ongoing mission to enhance its sustainable energy solutions positively influences the conservation of wildlife and nature in the habitats they operate in. Every guest who travels with Wilderness also contributes to its sustainability impact.
“Our goal to embrace sustainable energy will not stop here. Plans to retrofit additional camps with solar power, and to further invest in solar for all new camps and camp refurbishments, are on track. In addition to this, we have been extensively researching the viability and practicality of electric game drive vehicles, and are currently in the research and development phase of our first vehicle, which will be powered by a solar installation”, Warren concluded.
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.