Close to the southern tip of Africa, Dyer Island and the surrounding ocean is a critically important eco-system and home to the Marine Big 5 sharks, whales, dolphins, the Cape fur seal, and the endangered African penguin.

This marine environment has been the focus of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, which was founded by conservationist Wilfred Chivell in 2006. The Dyer Island Conservation Trust aims to:

  • Discover and understand this globally important marine eco-system through world-class scientific research.
  • Protect the long-term future of the species which live here, by translating this knowledge into evidence-based conservation initiatives and legislation.
  • Educate our partners – local communities, legislators and visitors – by informing and actively involving them in achieving our goals for the benefit of all

DICT 10 Year Report / DICT 2017-2019 Report

Find out more at

Empowers Africa has partnered with Dyer Island Conservation Trust in order to provide a cost-effective solution to fundraising in the United States by acting as their fiscal sponsor. Any donations made here will be granted to Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

Empowers Africa uses Stripe to process credit card donations. Stripe has very stringent security rules which may lead to declined credit card transactions. If you are experiencing trouble processing your donation, kindly contact Nadia Derelieva at (917) 328-1611 or via email:

Known as an Important Bird Area, and managed by CapeNature, Dyer Island is home to breeding colonies of the endangered African penguin and other seabirds. About 60 000 Cape Fur Seals are resident on Geyser Rock opposite the island and they attract the densest population of Great White Sharks in the world. The many sheltered areas of the bay provide the breeding ground for the Southern Right Whales that migrate here from the sub-Antarctic islands between June to December each year. The area is also visited by Bryde’s and Humpback Whales as well as various dolphin species.

Dyer Island Conservation Trust Campaigns

African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary

The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) serves as a custom-designed, world class, marine bird rehabilitation centre in the Overstrand area. APSS provides temporary rehabilitative care to diseased, displaced, injured, oiled and abandoned marine birds with special focus on the endangered African Penguin. Marine bird rescue, rehabilitation and release form part of the conservation management plan to conserve and maintain African Penguin populations, and other seabirds. Our focus is on rebuilding the Dyer Island population. Through continued research, education, and awareness programmes, we aim to mitigate human impacts on our colonies.

The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary hosts tourists and school groups, and every day reaches more people with the message of not only our African penguin but all our vulnerable seabirds.

Rebuilding the African Penguin Population – R1000 per brick with name represented on the wall at the penguin sanctuary. Any amounts welcome to support the Fishy Fund.

Read more about the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary

African Penguin Nest Project

Since 2006, this project provides unique nests or ‘homes’ to help in the fledgling stage of the endangered African penguin. South Africa’s endemic penguin species would normally burrow into their mass deposits of guano but sadly, this was stripped by man over many decades and used for agricultural fertiliser. A new model home in consultation with scientists and penguin colony managers, has been developed and continues to be rolled out to the African penguin colonies.

R500 per penguin home – can support as many as desired.

Read more about the African Penguin Nest Project

Great White Shark Research

The seas around Dyer Island have one of the densest populations of great white sharks in the world creating a rare opportunity for the marine biologists of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust to conduct invaluable research from their dedicated research vessel, Lwazi which means ‘seeking knowledge’. With sightings all year round, research activities include tagging and tracking of great white sharks, behavioural surveys, wound healing, environmental parameter monitoring as well as daily observational data that includes fin identification for population studies. The great white shark has been protected in South Africa since 1991 and is listed on IUCN as vulnerable but should possibly and most likely be considered endangered. The world population of great white sharks is uncertain, and the number of sharks found in the Gansbaai area, is less than what was previously assumed. Studies on this species are critical in influencing conservation policy.

R350 per block of sea research area

Scientific publications:

Read more about Great White Shark Research

Marine Pollution - Fishing Line Bins

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) officially launched the Fishing Line Recovery and Recycling Program along the Gansbaai shoreline in 2010. This innovative project of strategically placed unique fishing line bins aims to reduce the severe environmental damage caused by discarded fishing line on our coastline. We have to date collected probably over 5000kms of fishing line. The fishing line bin helps create public awareness about the negative impacts that fishing line debris has on marine life, water quality, and human welfare. We place bins at our local beaches and popular fishing spots encouraging anglers and beach walkers to dispose of their used fishing line. We hope to reduce the amount of fishing line entering the marine environment, as well as to increase the amount of fishing line being recycled. This project extends along the South African coastline and is mapped on the website.

R350 per fishing line bin.

Read more about Marine Pollution

Marine Pollution - Project Storm

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust works in partnership with the Overstrand Municipality and Marine Dynamics implementing storm drain catchment nets aimed at minimising waste from reaching the ocean.

We aim to minimise the impact on our wildlife by reducing the amount of waste entering the marine system, as well as use the statistics to educate the public of the impact poorly discarded trash has on the ecosystem.
Donors are acknowledged on site of net and this information will also be mapped in due course.

R5000 per net.

Read more about Marine Pollution

Environmental Education

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s Environmental Education Programme known as DEEP works with dedicated groups of young learners and runs for three years to monitor and evaluate the impact and growth of each and every individual learner. Our aim is to expose these young learners to the field of science and conservation and serve as a forerunner for future skills training.

Every October, we hold a marine month competition that reaches up to 20 000 students and focuses on relevant marine topics with output geared for different age groups. Eg colouring-in (Gr 1 to 3), poetry (Gr 4 to 7), essays (Gr 8 to 11).

Any amount can be donated.

Read more about Environmental Education

Marine Animal Strandings

Staff are also called to assist in marine animal strandings and rescues including whale disentanglements.
Whales and dolphins are also studied by the team.

Any amount can be donated.

Read more about Marine Animal Strandings

General Donations

If you do not have any specific project in mind and wish the organization to use their own discretion, please click here.

Donations can also be made by check or wire transfer:

Checks should be made out to “Empowers Africa” and should be mailed to:

Empowers Africa
2 Beekman Place, Ste. 18B
New York, NY 10022
(917) 328-1611

Kindly note in the memo section of the check that funds are for Dyer Island Conservation Trust. Or email us at

For wire transfer details or more information, please email us at

Empowers Africa has been approved as a U.S. public charity, contributions to which are tax deductible for U.S. federal income tax purposes under Section 501(c)(3) [EIN: 32-0403737] of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

Thank you for your support!