22nd July 2024

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Wilderness Group commits to driving sustainable energy solutions

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Sustainable energy solutions

Tulani Ngwenya

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Wilderness Group Environmental Management Systems has committed to driving sustainable energy solutions to safeguard and expand the world’s iconic wilderness destinations.

Wilderness is a world-leading conservation and hospitality company, offering unforgettable and exclusive adventures that positively impact conservation and communities. The organisation operates in eight countries with more than 60 exceptional camps and lodges helping protect some 2.3 million hectares (6 million acres) of exclusive wilderness. Its goal is to double that by 2030. The organisation has been creating impactful journeys for four decades since it was established in Botswana in 1983.

The organisation this week said it was resolute in its commitment to implementing eco-friendly measures to reduce any adverse impacts on the habitats where it operates while maximising the positive contributions of its activities.

Following the successful launch of a major solar conversion and sustainable energy programme in the majority of its camps across Africa, Wilderness now saves over five million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy annually through renewable resources. Sustainable energy usage has become a top priority for the company across all its operations, with significant strides already made at 18 solar-powered Wilderness camps, generating over 10,000 kWh of their power daily.

Furthermore, 25 camps have embraced solar-inverter or battery-inverter hybrid systems, reducing generator usage by up to 66%. There are also several camps employing smaller, individual solar arrays for each guest suite or a single larger array to power the front of the house, collectively yielding an additional 744 kWh daily. To date, six Wilderness camps have shifted to hydroelectric generation, distancing themselves from fossil fuel-derived grid power, which significantly reduces their reliance on generators or conventional electricity. Moreover, the company has installed 905 solar geysers or solar-thermodynamic geysers throughout its operational areas, resulting in a daily saving of over 3,500 kWh.

Warren Ozorio, Wilderness Group Environmental Management Systems Co-ordinator and the driving force behind Wilderness’ sustainable energy initiatives, expressed his pride in their accomplishments, saying, “Regular geysers typically operate for two hours a day in our camps and usually contain a 2-kW electrical element. The transition to solar geysers has saved 4 kWh per day per geyser, translating into a substantial business-wide saving of over 1.3 million kWh annually, equivalent to 710 tonnes of coal a year. We are committed to decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels through cutting-edge solar installations while simultaneously reducing our operational electrical demand.”

Click here to view Wilderness Solar Infographic: https://images.wilderness.co.za/2023/infographics/Infographic-Wilderness-Solar.pdf

The energy conservation stemming from the use of 100% solar and hybrid plants adds up to nearly 4 million kWh annually, equivalent to an estimated saving of 1,246,022 litres of diesel fuel each year. This marks a substantial shift away from dependence on fossil fuels, a crucial focus for Wilderness.

Wilderness’ ongoing mission to enhance its sustainable energy solutions has a positive impact on the conservation of wildlife and natural environments in the regions it operates. Every guest who travels with Wilderness becomes a part of this sustainability journey.

Read more on this subject

Explore Wilderness’ collection of iconic destinations

The Wilderness mission

A technologically empowered future for tourism

Warren continued, “Our commitment to sustainable energy doesn’t stop here. We have plans to retrofit more camps with solar power and to invest in solar for all new camps and camp refurbishments. We are presently upgrading and renewing the solar array at our flagship camp in Botswana, Wilderness Mombo, ensuring the same level of luxury and responsible operation is maintained. In collaboration with our partners at Natural Habitat Adventures, we are even testing our first electric game drive vehicle prototype, which is already showing promising results. What sets this vehicle apart is its self-sustaining solar installation, making it Botswana’s first truly green electric vehicle. As technology advances rapidly, we are already exploring the next generation of low carbon energy technology to further reduce our use of diesel in our camps.”

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