A native of Gansbaai, Wilfred Chivell knows the reefs, rocks and wrecks along the Gansbaai coastline like the inside of his home. His passion for conservation has placed the greater Dyer Island region on the international map and he has presented numerous talks and interviews on marine conservation.
He is the CEO of Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises and founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. Marine Dynamics tourism hub offers five star shark cage diving and whale watching/eco tours in the unique Dyer Island ecosystem of Gansbaai, South Africa. The award winning companies are Fair Trade Tourism certified and believe that, “Your Choice Makes a Difference.” Through their environmental project, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, they are making a real difference for conservation and the community.
His drive and dedication to detail and perfection have earned Wilfred and his companies several awards through the years – amongst which the prestigious International First Choice Responsible Tourism Award in 2006 for Best in a Marine Environment, as well as the Regional Winner of Entrepreneurs 2005. His African penguin nest project has also been recognised by various national and international awards.
Beneath a tough, no-nonsense outer facade, Wilfred sports a huge Achilles heel which is undeniably the welfare and survival of all vulnerable species. “I have enormous respect for the storm petrel. Those little birds weigh less than 18 grams – they are just a bunch of feathers – and yet they fly across continents – thousands of kilometres on end!”
In the Gansbaai area, Wilfred and his crew are the people to call for animals in distress. He is a member of the South African Whale Disentanglement Network and has vast active experience in disentanglements. He is also a founding member of the Klipgat Trust, which is actively involved in archaeological research.
Apart from his love and concern for nature, Wilfred is also a devoted father and family man and an active member of the Gansbaai community supporting various projects. He is a founding member of Gansbaai Tourism and served five years on the town council.