Rhinos the real winners in this year's Pearl Valley Celebrity Golf Day


Words: Dummett & Co

The Wilderness Foundation will be the main benefactor of the 2015 Pearl Valley Celebrity Golf Day. Taking place on 18 September, the fundraising event will feature an impressive lineup of South Africa's top sportsmen and women putting it out for rhino conservation. Earlier this year, Pearl Valley became a conservation partner to the Foundation as part of their ongoing corporate social initiatives.

The annual Celebrity Golf Day, now in its third year, aims to exceed the R200 000 raised for The Children’s Hospital Trust last year, which contributed to the establishment of a new radiology complex at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. Golfers will play in a fourball alliance alongside the likes of Lee-Anne Pace (Pearl Valley golf ambassador and South Africa’s number-one female golfer), Olympic gold medallist Ryk Neethling, Springbok rugby legends Rob Louw and Tiaan Strauss, cricket heroes Allan Donald and Vernon Philander, and famous chef and restaurateur Reuben Riffel, to name a few participating celebrities. Adding a unique element to the golf day, rhino art pieces in clay and papier-mâché, specially crafted by pupils at Bridge House school in Franschhoek, will be on display in the Pearl Valley clubhouse.

“To support the protection of Africa’s wildlife and wilderness in a meaningful way that also allows public participation is a responsibility that we cannot miss,” says Gawie Marx, Pearl Valley General Manager. “Being surrounded by abundant fynbos and birdlife on our estate, we’re reminded of the important broader conservation issues facing Southern Africa – and the issues around rhino poaching in particular.”

Established in 1972 by the late conservation pioneer Dr Ian Player (brother to world-renowned golfing legend Gary Player), the Wilderness Foundation played an integral part in saving the white rhino from extinction in the 1960s. Four decades later, the Wilderness Foundation launched the Forever Wild Conservation Programme in response to the growing rhino-poaching pandemic, which in 2013 expanded to include lion, leopard, elephant, gorilla and shark conservation initiatives.

Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate has embarked on a number of initiatives to raise funds for the Forever Wild conservation programme. Golfers playing the championship Jack Nicklaus Signature course have been encouraged to add R10 to their rounds since the start of autumn this year, which is donated to the programme and will continue indefinitely. Now, one-of-a-kind head covers in the shape of a rhino can also be purchased at the Pearl Valley golf shop, with proceeds donated directly to the programme.

“Aside from the impressive celebrity support for our fundraising golf day, we applaud Abacus Asset Management, a leading national property developer, who again enthusiastically came on board as main sponsor, for the second year running,” says Marx.

Tee-off is at 12:30pm on Friday 18 September, and the spring event will culminate in an auction and prize-giving dinner, with guest address by Dr Andrew Muir, CEO of the Wilderness Foundation. Muir, regarded as one of the continent’s leading conservationists and social entrepreneurs, is internationally recognised for integrating conservation with social and development issues. He is a partner on the Conservation Council of Nations (CCN) in Washington DC, as well as a board member and environmental advisor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) business school.

Commenting on the partnership with Pearl Valley, which was signed in April this year, Muir says,”The sad reality is that without intervention, the rhino may very well be extinct within the next ten years, so we are very encouraged by the support of Pearl Valley, which will not only assist us to raise much-needed funds, but will also provide the opportunity of increased awareness and education of the rhino-poaching crisis.”

Golfers can book their fourball via Richard Gill at phone 083 463 4230 or email

For more information, visit pearlvalley.co.za

About Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate
Nestled in the Berg River valley, between Franschhoek and Paarl, surrounded by the magnificent Simonsberg mountains, Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate is a tranquil, secure 212-hectare residential estate with a championship Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.

About the Wilderness Foundation
The Wilderness Foundation Africa works in many countries from its base in South Africa to protect wildlife and wilderness in partnership with local communities. Whether it is direct action against poaching in the field, large landscape wilderness management, or developing rising young leaders from disadvantaged communities for a career in conservation, the Wilderness Foundation has over 40 years of results. The Foundation was established in 1972 by the late conservation pioneer Dr Ian Player, who led the team that saved the white rhino from extinction in the 1960s, an action-legacy that the Wilderness Foundation continues today, working against wildlife crime and combating the rhino-poaching crisis.

The Wilderness Foundation focuses on three areas, Species | Spaces | People, and their work is based on the values of a passion for direct conservation action, respect for all living things, a deep commitment to conservation education, and with operations that demonstrate integrity, transparency, sustainability and innovation. “We envisage a world that has sufficient intact natural ecosystems and wilderness areas that are valued and effectively protected for the benefit of all species.” www.wildernessfoundation.org

About the Wilderness Foundation Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative
The Wilderness Foundation’s Forever Wild Conservation Programme was developed in 2011 as a response to the rhino-poaching crisis and has been active through the Rhino Protection Initiative. In 2013 the programme was expanded to include lion, leopard, elephant, gorilla and shark conservation initiatives, as they represent key species symptomatic of the challenges facing the environments in which they live.

The initiative primarily provides logistical and operational support for conservation and law-enforcement agencies responsible for rhino security. It is also involved in raising public awareness of the rhino-poaching crisis (through information boards, displays, leaflets, radio and media campaigns) and manages a rhino anti-poaching tip-off line. Other activities include the coordination of anti-poaching training, aerial assistance, vehicle support, intelligence gathering and specialist support, as well as a rhino survivor fund, the Eastern Cape Rhino DNA and tracking device project, and a rhino survivor research project in the Kruger National Park. www.foreverwild.co.za