Africa Travel Week
How Many Elephants Auction

Charity auction makes a bold statement against elephant poaching 

Africa Travel Week and How Many Elephants have collaborated for a charity online auction, and art lovers and fashionistas are in for a treat.  

All proceeds from the auction will be used to contribute to anti-poaching efforts for the African elephant. 

“Few people realise the magnitude of the elephant-poaching problem,” says How Many Elephants Founder, Holly Budge “And yet it is truly horrific: 96 elephants are killed for their ivory every day.” 

This fact was brought to Holly’s attention when she was researching vegetable ivory – a material made from the nut of a palm tree growing in South America – as part of her Masters in Sustainable Design back in 2013. It became the seed for How Many Elephants, which Holly officially founded in 2019 as a design-led, non-political platform to raise funds and awareness around elephant poaching. 


The first item created by Holly under the How Many Elephants banner was a necklace fashioned entirely from vegetable ivory, depicting 96 elephants, which has become part of exhibitions to raise awareness around elephant poaching. The unique piece has won five design awards. The necklace will be worn by a model appearing at a function at ILTM Africa, which is one of the shows that takes place during Africa Travel Week; the first time it will be showcased as a piece of jewellery rather than appreciated as a work of art. 

The necklace is one of the many exquisite items personally curated by Holly and Martin Hiller, Content + Creative Director of Africa Travel Week, as part of the online auction Other items on auction include prints made by Holly, which are based on the original design of the 96 Elephants necklace, as well as photographs of the magnificent animals by photographer Amish Chhagan.  

Furthermore, Holly has collaborated with New Zealand-based, Germany-born sand artist Nancy Tschetner, whose large artworks – measuring one square metre – have been created using eight natural shades of sand.  

Bidders will also be able to purchase exquisite jewellery designed by South African jewellers Shimansky, a hat by South African milliner Crystal Birch, a custom designed evening gown by South African-based designer Kat van Duinen, an original artwork by South African artist Kelly John Gough, and a limited print by South African artist Duncan Butchart. Finally, a handmade herd of elephants, crafted by a UK maker, completes the display.  

“This is an extremely exciting initiative for me – not only because of the funds we are raising for this critical cause but because this is a truly global initiative. The online nature of the auction means that wherever you are in the world, you are able to contribute to the conservation of these very special animals – even if you are not attending Africa Travel Week,” Martin enthuses. 

Holly adds that all funds raised through the auction will be used to support How Many Elephants’ direct action initiatives in Africa. The charity partners with anti-poaching units in organisations such as South Africa’s Black Mambas, National Park Rescue, Vic Falls Wildlife Trust and female anti-poaching team Akashinga in Zimbabwe, as well as Kenya’s Mara Elephant Project. Holly reveals that the Big Life Foundation will soon be added to this list.  

“With 96 elephants killed every day, it is merely a matter of time until they disappear from Africa’s plains altogether. It is my sincere hope that this auction, and the work we do through How Many Elephants, is able to make a dent in this decimation of the species – and I’m thrilled to be able to give people who love both design and wildlife a chance to support two of their passions at one time,” Holly concludes. 

The auction is now live and ends on 13 April 2020 at 10 am. 

Please note that all items can be couriered to the winning bidder at their own expense. 

To view all auction lots and to start bidding, click here

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.