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VINCENT CARRUTHERS : The Magaliesberg

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meet Vincent Carruthers

The Magaliesberg Mountains, are a favourite getaway from Johannesburg and Pretoria.  Vincent Carruthers has been at the forefront of efforts to protect its environment and publish on the history of this ancient and remarkable region.

Vincent Carruthers - Magaliesberg, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa [2010 © Roddy ]
The Magaliesberg is an area rich in natural beauty, wildlife and history
 
In the late 1970s Vincent bought land in the Magaliesberg Mountains, a popular getaway beyond the vast urban sprawl of Johannesburg and Pretoria. A keen naturalist from his childhood, Vincent and his wife were attracted to the area, which was a refuge for enthusiastic ecologists (like the young Brent Reed) but in already in need of protection to prevent its destruction through over-development.

Vincent was enjoying a successful career in a retail marketing and was director of the National Productivity Institute. His own productivity was remarkable; despite his demanding business roles he helped to found the Delta Environmental Centre in Johannesburg. He was also the CEO of the Wildlife Society (now WESSA, the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA), and chairman of the Ornithological Society. Meanwhile he was publishing on frogs, a fascination he had developed as a boy when he could not afford the long lenses required to photograph birds!

Vincent Carruthers - South Africa [2010 © Roddy ] - Vincent Carruthers - The Magaliesberg - Roddy Bray's Great GuidesHis first book on frogs in 1976 was followed by the major work ‘South African Frogs” in 1980, with Dr Neville Passmore. He later published the highly successful guide ‘The Wildlife of Southern Africa’ and in 1990 ‘The Magaliesberg, A Place of Wilderness and War’. The Magaliesberg book brought together his love of history and the environment, and has made a significant contribution to conservation and protection of the area. It is now in its 3rd edition.

Vincent is a well known author who has published many books on wildlife


The Magaliesberg is a remarkable area. Botanically, it is the intermediate zone between the bushveld of the north and the grasslands to the south and these two biomes exist with the remnants of ancient Afro-Montane forests.

It has great ecological diversity, in part because of its deep ‘kloofs’ (gorges) that create micro-climates. It is possibly the oldest mountain range on earth, an integral part of the super-rich mineral deposits of the Bushveld Igneous Complex, and featuring some the earliest evidence of life.


Vincent Carruthers - South Africa [2010 © Roddy ] - Vincent Carruthers - The Magaliesberg - Roddy Bray's Great Guides
Vincent's books are beautifully illustrated

An abundance of wildlife lived in the hills, and perhaps attracted the Tswana people who settled there 800 years ago. Even 100 years ago the range was home to animals as diverse as elephants and the pygmy shrew. Stone tools and the presence of the richest site of hominid fossils on earth (Sterkfontein) point to a much older history, which is common to all humanity. Recent history saw dramatic manoeuvres and battles during the South African war 1899 – 1902.

Vincent Carruthers - Magaliesberg, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa [2010 © Roddy ] - Vincent Carruthers - The Magaliesberg - Roddy Bray's Great GuidesAs a place of natural beauty so close to massive urban sprawl it is constantly under the threat of development. Vincent has been at the forefront of work to protect it, leading to its designation as a UNESCO Biosphere. Vincent has a remarkable breadth of knowledge, and an ability to make connections and explain the massive stories of the earth and nature. He brings to these a pure devotion to conservation combined with the practical skills of a successful business career.
Vincent's research and writing have made an important contribution to conservation in the Magaliesberg



Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 03 Apr 2011
Location: Southern Africa | South Africa
Themes: natural world, travel | inspiring, conservation, parks and trails