Improving this world, one smile at a time

Oct 12, 2016About Gondwana, Tourism0 comments

By Zanele Majebe


Did you know Harvey Ball was the first artist that created the international symbol of goodwill, the smiley face?

harvey ball smileTo honour his name the Harvey Ball Foundation was established in 2001 focusing on  small, grassroots charitable efforts that otherwise receive little attention or funding. The slogan of the Smile Foundation is “improving this world, one smile at a time”. The Foundation continues as the official sponsor of World Smile Day, which is held on the first Friday of October each year. World Smile Day is dedicated to “good cheer and good works” and the catch phrase for the day is “Do an act of kindness – help one person smile”.



As South African’s with a rich natural and cultural heritage, we have a lot to smile about. Here are 3 favourite sites we encourage you to visit.

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Table Mountain

table mountain 350Table Mountain is certainly something that brings smiles and happiness daily to some 3.7 million Capetonians and 2.6 million foreign and domestic visitors alike.


It’s no wonder it has been voted as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature – if you haven’t been to the top of Table Mountain you are missing out.



With 2,200 species of plants found on Table Mountain and 1470 floral species, it is important that we take care of this Natural Wonder. One of the ways to do this is to support organisations like the Table Mountain Fund.


fynbos 350Table Mountain Fund is a Capital Trust Fund that develops and funds projects to protect and restore the natural wilderness of the Cape. To date the Table Mountain Fund has invested more than R30 million in130 projects. But there is still much to do as threats to this unique World Heritage Site build every day. Want to keep smiling……read more on how you can get involved here ttp://

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Cango Caves

Another thing to smile about is the Cango Caves – a spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo. The San, who are indigenous to Southern Africa, used the Cango Caves as shelter thousands of years ago.

cango-caves 350According to Wikipedia “the Cango Caves are located in Precambrian limestones at the foothills of the Swartberg range near the town of Oudtshoorn, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The principal cave is one of the country’s finest, best known, and most popular tourist caves, and attracts many visitors from overseas. Although the extensive system of tunnels and chambers go on for over four kilometres only about a quarter of this is open to visitors, who may proceed into the cave only in groups supervised by a guide.”

The warmth of the Nama People will keep a smile on your face and you can help to sustain the Klein Karoo Cango caves by taking an adventure tour. Alternatively, visit Cango Wildlife Ranch and become a member of the Cheetah Preservation Foundation – founded in 1988 with the principle aim of ensuring their survival of each cheetah and other endangered species. Find out more about the Foundation here.

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Kruger Park

One can never miss out on the most prestigious game park in South Africa, the Kruger National Park. As home to thousands of animals including some of the world’s last remaining big mammals, it is no surprise the Park renowned for some of the best Big Five (rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard) viewing in the country. From giraffes browsing for Acacia leaves to chew on and a herd of buffalo crossing the road right in front of you, to elusive big cats enjoying a spot of shade and fish eagles letting out their distinctive call – it’s the Lion King in live action.


elephant 350And yet there is sadness here too.


“When I visited a private game reserve adjoining Kruger National Park earlier this year (June 2016), I saw all of the Big Five expect the rhino – it was incredibly sad for me, as I have always seen rhino’s here in the past. If poaching continues as it has there may come a day where the Big Five is no more”. Dr Tracey Phillips


If you want your children to be able to see the Big Five and keep smiling – support the anti-poaching rhino organisation

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Change the world one smile at a time – what can you do?

Help us care for precious natural and cultural heritage and put a smile on the face of a young person without a job – support Gondwana Alive’s  #GrowGreenYouth project today.

GA Women Team