Last week flying into Hoedspruit from Johannesburg, one of our colleagues overheard an international tourist make an apt observation, “Wow, look at all the solar fields.” In our current reality, especially in South Africa, leveraging energy from the sun has become a trend that’s not only helpful but also essential. In looking to solar, we have stirred our responsibility in moving towards a more sustainable way of doing business. For the planet and for you, we at Thornybush are making sure we are at the heart of this journey.
Globally, the hotel industry is responsible for around 1% of all carbon emissions. To put it in other terms, that is equivalent to 80 million average households. This figure is put into even starker context when considering this does not include the travel to and from destinations. It’s a significant challenge for anyone in the tourism industry, but we at Thornybush, have decided to adopt a range of strategies to minimise environmental impact, for a reduced carbon travel experience.
We know that our travellers are more likely to choose an accommodation that has implemented sustainability practices because you, as much as us, care about the role you’re playing.
Thornybush strives to continually improve the way we operate and to be aware of our impact on our surrounding areas and communities.
As of this year, we have implemented a greener energy supply solution that will help us reduce our dependence on the very strained power grid in South Africa. Our lodges and surrounding establishments (much like the rest of South Africa) are often affected by load-shedding and other outages, therefore we’ve had no option but to seek out an alternative option of diesel-generated power. This means that when the main grid is down, by being able to lessen this diesel demand used by our generators and pull from our solar supply, we’re not only using cleaner energy but alleviating the strain on the grid to free it up for those who need it most: our communities.
It is hugely important for us, a tourism company operating in a wilderness and conservation area to move to a far greener energy source. We are in the heart of mother nature, and looking after her is as vital to our survival in giving you, our guests the world-class experience you deserve. By allowing ourselves as a company to significantly reduce our consumption of fossil-fuel-burning energy sources; namely Eskom power and generator diesel, we’re also aiding in long-term financial benefits for the company, to further invest into our sustainable future.
Our new plant is based at Thornybush Game Lodge, in the Thornybush Nature Reserve and distributes power to this lodge and Saseka Tented Camp. Looking forward, we are aiming to get more of our lodges onto solar to further reduce our carbon footprint across the Group.
In the last eight months, our solar plant has flourished from concept to completion. With 1Energy, our solar partners, at the helm and our team on the ground we’re proud to see this development up and running in this first phase, which is just the start of our journey towards improved sustainability.
We at Thornybush understand that we are by no means pioneers in this move to solar, but it’s a journey we’re excited to be on by contributing to a greener way of operating a business in the safari industry… Watch this space!