Howard Geach, a cultural and naturalist who was born and raised in Johannesburg, is well-known for his in-depth understanding of the Cradle of Humankind, which is home to the privately owned, 9000-hectare UNESCO World Heritage Reserve.
Geach’s first love was history even when he was a student at the prestigious KwaZulu-Natal Midlands school, Michaelhouse. But he took a detour to get back to his favorite things —nature and history.
With a BSc in Engineering ( Mining ) from the University of the Witwatersrand, he joined De Beers &, Anglo American Corp., as an engineering engineer. Later, he resigned from his position as the founding director of Conservation Corporation Africa ( now &, Beyond ).
He claims that while “blasting stuff is fun,” my true passion has always been travel, history, and the environment.
While still a student at Wits, Geach began guiding in 1979. He later rose to the position of technical guide at the ( then ) Gold Mine Museum. He began working as a wilderness guide in the Transvaal reserves in 1980 for the Wilderness Leadership School, which was founded by the late, well-known conservationist Dr. Ian Player.
” My interests include geology, palaeoanthropology, the stone- and iron-ages, wilderness education, history, art, and the potential of tourism to significantly boost South Africa’s economy,” he claims. All of these qualities are present in Gauteng and the North West, and I make every effort to help visitors understand the fascinating tales told in these provinces.
The renowned Malapa Human Origins Tour, which is based at the Greater Cradle Nature Reserve and is home to the well-known Cognizant Boutique Hotel and the brand-new luxury offering Riverhorse Lodge, is led by Geach, whose business is known as Aah- Africa Tours and Transfers. Due to the presence of Gladysvale and Malapa, two well-known active fossil dig sites, it draws visitors from all over the world.
When my father took me on several trips to Sterkfontein Cave, the ( then ) small Rotary ( Krugersdorp branch ) kiosk, and the tiny museum there, my interest in palaeoanthropology was sparked.
The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site’s fossil-bearing caves, in my opinion, provide a largely unexplored addition to any tour of Southern Africa.
After Tim Nash bought the Bailey property about nine years ago, the chance to start the Malapa Human Origins Tours presented itself, and I seized it with both hands to help create this one-of-a-kind experience.
It’s impossible for me to pin down a favorite activity in the Greater Cradle Nature Reserve because there are so many fantastic activities there, including hiking, driving, and simply relaxing by the fire.
Geach is still enthralled by his time spent on the reserve because it is always a unique sight to see more than 60 endangered Cape vultures on an antelope carcass close to the Johannesburg skyline. similar to seeing blesbok or eland herds of 120 or more on grasslands. He claims that finding Habenaria mossii, an endangered grassland orchid, in bloom is extremely unique.
The story of our evolution really brings a perspective on time and life that few other experiences can, he claims, adding that those who guide him across the Reserve are fascinated by the long journey of humans toward modernity. The experience has given guests a completely new perspective on who they are, guests frequently remark.
The Cradle’s landscapes, he continues, are so intricately layered that they serve as a national treasure for education, conservation, science, recreation, and tourism.
He is frequently questioned about how he remembers everything because his brain is an encyclopedia of knowledge. The landscape is actually my crib sheet, was his standard response. To better understand what I’m looking at, I read and did research on the entire Magaliesberg/Cradle region.
The story is presented to you once you have a basic understanding of deep time and the order in which the earth and evolution developed. However, there is a lot more to discover and impart.