Chobe Game Lodge, one of the earliest adopters of electronically-powered safari vehicles, acquiring their first vehicle in 2014, and now have a fleet of four electrically-powered game vehicles and four boats.
They made the decision to transition to electrically powered game vehicles and boat tours to reduce the impact on the environment and raise the bar of sustainable efforts in Africa. The lodge also has a very sophisticated power grid and supply system which allows the initiative and operation to move forward.
The initial capital outlay is high and the conversion is expensive. But the savings on petrol in the long term is noticeable.
The advantages for the guests are indescribable. The safari experience is enhanced ten-fold as the safari is obviously smoother and more silent. The guide is able to better communicate with the guests, and the natural sounds of the wildlife can be better heard. In addition, photographic opportunities are increased with the silent vehicle.
The only real disadvantages are the initial expense in converting the vehicles, and investing in specific training for the maintenance and upkeep of the vehicles. The positive impact on the environment far outweighs the disadvantages. Since the inception of the project in late 2014, over 93 000 kg of CO2 emissions have been saved, and vehicle noise pollution has been eradicated.
The batteries of the electronically-powered vehicles typically last eight hours, but due to the rough terrain a single charge offers an average of six hours of driving. Chobe uses their workshops which are charged by 313 solar panels to power the vehicles.
This movement can most definitely grow in the industry if there is desire. The resources exist, and the awareness is growing. The future of the industry is green. This is already evident in the mass move to solar power. As Chobe Game Lodge says, "The results speak for themselves".