19 December 2014


1. Foster an orphaned elephant

baby-elephantsThat’s right, and you won’t even have to clean up after it. For as little as US$50 per year, you can literally give the gift of life to one of the cutest, most oversized babies there is, and enable the survival of a species that is under threat from poaching. In fact many of the infants cared for at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya have been orphaned because of poaching. Through the financial support of caring folk all over the world, the trust has saved over 150 orphaned elephants so far – that amounts to an entire herd!

To learn more about fostering an elephant, click here:

2. Save a penguin – be a penguin

With thanks to photographer Gordon Starling and penguins Yasmin and Aisha McDonald.

Buy your kid a Penguin Onesie from SANNCOB and proceeds will go toward’s saving abandoned African penguin chicks. And who doesn’t look good in a penguin suit? Penguin Onesie’s cost ZAR450 and come in a variety of sizes.

Order your Penguin Onesie here:

3. Don’t decorate a tree, plant one

tree-plantingGreenpop have planted 48,008 indigenous trees in just four years, and their goal is to plant 1,000 more trees before christmas. If you gift a tree this festive season, Greenpop will plant a tree on your behalf in one of their urban greening or reforestation projects, plus you get a cute tree-shaped beaded key ring (Tree Ring) to give to your friend as a gift or stocking filler. The Tree Ring has a unique code on the tag that the receiver registers online and will then be sent the GPS coordinates of their tree. Tree Rings are R140 (R120 is the tree donation and R20 is the key ring) Available from the Greenpop office (17 Commercial Street, Cape Town) or contact Greenpop on:

tel: +27 21 461 9265

You can also gift a tree and get a tree card to give to friends and family. Find out more here:

4. Adopt a wild lion

wild-lionInstead of paying to pet a lion cub (a dubious practice – read more about it here) why not adopt a lion and watch this wild creature from afar? The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust recently fitted tracking collars to three lions in the wilds of Kenya in order to learn more about their movements and habits. Knowledge of local lions is useful in preventing and resolving conflict with local herders whose livestock are preyed upon by predators. By adopting one of the collared lions you ensure the tracking and research continues and that local communities are educated about preventing predation of livestock and the importance of preserving lions.

Adopters will receive regular updates about their lions and be able to track their movements online. Click here to find out more:


5. Give a community clean water

Clean-waterMany take for granted that the simple act of turning on a tap will produce clean, safe water. But to about half of the world’s population, clean water is the ultimate gift.
It is estimated that, in Africa alone, over 345 million people are without access to clean water. In Zambia’s Luangwa valley, local communities are growing rapidly in size, and the majority of villagers still have no convenient access to safe, clean water. It’s right there under the ground, but it requires funding to get at it. With the Commit to Clean Water Fund, Bushcamp Company in conjunction with generous donors have embarked on a project to provide boreholes in various village locations. So far this year they have provided ten boreholes, with another five planned before the end of the year. Each borehole costs around US$7000 to construct, but with continuing donor support, they can extend this project to other needy areas. Imagine giving precious water as a christmas gift.

For more information on how you can assist, please email:

Read more beneath the advert


6. Help a youngster ride the big waves

Muizenburg-Surfing-116While learning to surf with Waves for Change in Cape Town you can help vulnerable young adults overcome their hardships. Surfing is found to offer genuine therapeutic benefits for young adults from unstable communities, helping them develop basic coping skills and emotional stability. Waves for Change has been teaching youngsters how to surf since 2011, and where extra social support is needed, locally trained coaches are able to offer the necessary community based care. Some of the youngsters have even become coaches themselves.

A two hour surf lesson costs ZAR400 and proceeds go teaching a youngster how to surf and the other Waves for Change’s projects. Click here to find out more:

7. Help a rhino catch a plane

rhino-flyingRhinos Without Borders aims to move at least 100 rhinos out of densely populated areas that are attracting poaching, and release them into Botswana’s wild where poaching is virtually non-existent. Here they will develop a new breeding nucleus to help ensure the survival and genetic diversity of this threatened species.

Rhinos Without Border’s campaign focuses on fundraising specifically for the travel part of the initiative -including aspects such as capture, transport, quarantine & release. To move one rhino requires US$45,000 and you can help by donating here:

As a meaningful christmas gift you can donate on behalf of a loved one. With this option both the recipient and donor receive a card and message. Click here to find out more.

8. Put an old shoebox to good use

Santa's-shoeboxGive just the right gifts to a needy kid. Santa Shoebox guides you in the very best things – depending on a child’s age and needs – to pack in a shoebox: important things like stationary, toothpaste, calculators and clothing, and of course there’s always space for a toy and a few sweets. Part of the fun is decorating your box and personalising it with the name of the kid you are sending it to as well as letting them know who it’s from. One of the great Santa Shoebox traditions is pledging gifts on behalf of your own kids.

Santa Shoebox’s 2014 campaign has closed so this is ideal for those people who like planning ahead. It kicks of again in September 2015 but anyone still interested in contributing can either purchase a rain poncho for a kid or make a donation towards the Santa Shoebox Legacy. Click here to find out more:



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    Fantastic List. Thanks. Lori from

  • Hannelie

    Fabulous ideas. Thank you!