May 2016 – Wilderness Safaris has won the prestigious National Energy Globe Award Namibia for its solar conversion programme, based on the exemplary design of its 100% solar-powered Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp.
“Wilderness Safaris continues to play a pioneering role in minimising the carbon footprint of the ecotourism industry and it has been extremely rewarding to roll out elsewhere in southern Africa the innovative sustainable practices that we first introduced in Botswana. Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp truly showcases that renewable energy can provide a cost-effective alternative to less sustainable options, while still delivering the high levels of comfort guests have come to associate with Wilderness Safaris”, says Derek de la Harpe, Chief Sustainability Officer.
Situated in one of the most fragile and remote ecosystems in the world, in rugged north-west Namibia, it was essential that Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp was built in a way that maintained the pristine desert environment’s untouched state. This involved installing a 50kW solar system capable of providing enough energy to power the entire camp. Hoanib also features an intelligent architectural design that efficiently handles the desert’s high and low temperatures without the need for energy-demanding appliances, such as heaters and air conditioners.
This has resulted in significant reductions in diesel consumption and carbon emissions. “In the first six months, Hoanib consumed just 382 litres of diesel, compared to the 9 623 litres one would expect from a non-solar powered camp. Added to this, in the same period Hoanib emitted only one tonne of CO2e, (carbon dioxide equivalent) compared to the 25 tonnes of CO2e that would be emitted by a generator-powered equivalent-sized camp”, added de la Harpe.
This forms part of the company’s innovative and ongoing solar conversion programme, with a total of 10 Wilderness Safaris camps now operating 100% on solar power. This is in line with Wilderness Safaris’ commitment to its 4Cs ethic of Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce, with sustainable energy usage being a natural priority for the business. Following an investment of almost BWP39 million, the Group is now able to produce a combined total of 496kW of solar power, or 2 970kW/h per day.