Chitabe Camp Switches to 100% Solar Power

Wilderness Safaris Chitabe Camp, in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, is delighted to announce that it now operates entirely on solar power. This follows the completion of an energy conversion project that will result in significant savings in electrical power and fuel consumption, and a major reduction in carbon emissions.

“Our whole team is extremely proud to announce this important green milestone for Chitabe at the beginning of such an important year for Botswana – its 50th anniversary since democratic independence. We are also delighted that our own sustainability goals mirror those of the Government’s, with one of its main ‘Vision 2016’ targets being the use of renewable energy”, said Helene Hamman, owner of Chitabe.

Over the past 19 years, Chitabe and Chitabe Lediba Camps have been committed to having a light eco-footprint, prudently managing their electrical power consumption and implementing various systems to lighten their carbon footprint. This included converting their geysers to either heat pump or hybrid solar/heat systems, which considerably reduced power demands.

“We also assessed our refrigeration processes, purchasing appliances that were more energy efficient, and reduced energy demand on our water tanks by introducing float switches to ensure that water levels are maintained but not overfilled. However, the largest part of our energy makeover entailed the installation of a 75kWh solar PV plant of approximately 500m2in extent. For night operations, we have 96x1660 Ah lead-acid batteries which store 220kWh of power. Now virtually all of our camp appliances operate 24 hours a day on solar power, and our diesel consumption has been reduced from an average of 150 litres a day to a maximum of 20 litres a day”, added Hamman.

Chitabe’s solar conversion programme mirrors Wilderness Safaris’ commitment to finding sustainable energy solutions that help minimise any negative impacts its operations may have on the environment. “We are proud to announce that Chitabe’s solar installation now brings us to a total of 13 Wilderness Safaris camps operating on 100% solar power, with a capital spend of USD4.8 million, producing a combined 575 kW per hour”, says Warren Ozorio, Wilderness Safaris Sustainability Manager.

Hamman concluded that although Chitabe still has a way to go to achieve its ultimate target of less than 300kWh per day, its team is excited to be doing its part to reduce global warming.