The MCSA is the oldest amateur conservation body in South Africa and its members have contributed to increasing awareness of environmental issues as well as actual conservation for a long time. Valuable work in the field of alien eradication has been done as Club members often visit areas which are difficult to access.

The Club also acts as a pressure group for mountain conservation. The Club campaigned for the declaration of the Cape Peninsula and Magaliesberg Nature Areas, and members serve on management committees of both. The Club is a co-founder of the Habitat Council and the prime mover in the establishment of the Magaliesberg Protection Association and the Federation of Drakensberg Users Group (FDG). Members serve as Honorary Forest Wardens and advise on the conservation of the Drakensberg, administer programs to eradicate alien vegetation in mountains and contribute to the Protea Atlassing Project.

Most activities are regionally based. We participate in the annual International Mountain Day annually on 4 December.

The MCSA actively supports mountain conservation efforts. We have been involved in research projects such as Protea Atlas Project, and are involved in alien eradication in many of our mountain lands.

Conservation Activities

Magaliesberg Protection Association

The MCSA is a member of the Magaliesberg Protection Association, that deals with sustainable use and management of the Magaliesberg as a wilderness area.

The below documents concerns a courtcase against Kgaswane Country Lodge, a 57-bedroom upmarket hotel which had been illegally constructed inside the Magaliesberg Protected Environment.

The Mountain Research Initiative

The MRI is an international organization based in Switzerland that aims to advance Global Change research in mountains. Check out the latest events at MRI Global News. How about a degree in Earth and Environmental Science at a university endorsed by the Aga Khan?

AfroMont, the African branch, is of particular relevance to us.

Mountain Invasion Research Network

The aim of MIREN – the Mountain Invasion Research Network – is to understand the effects of global change on plant invasions and plant biodiversity in mountainous areas. Although the alpine zone is commonly perceived as a safe haven for native species, a future with changing climates, increasing land-use intensity and growing connectivity will likely turn that last sentence into a lie. The emerging evidence indicates that invasions in mountains will increase dramatically in the very near future, a change that will directly affect the biodiversity of these valuable ecosystems.

Find MIREN at or follow on Twitter via @MIREN_mountains.


AfroMont is an African network of scientists and stakeholders involved in studying and promoting sustainable mountain resources and livelihoods, and is supported by the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) at the University of Bern, Switzerland. The AfroMont platform promotes information sharing to enable African researchers to  collaborate locally and internationally, strengthen their projects, build their skills and networks, and connect with international funding opportunities to research key montane issues – and communicate their findings. See AfroMont’s web site.

Events and meetings are arranged by AfroMont.

Mountain Research Initiative is the international body under which Afromont falls. It was formed in the 1990s, by the vision and spirit of a group of scientists from various countries, known as the “mountain mafia”.

Richard Watmough Conservation Fund

Dr. Richard Watmough was an entomologist and a long-standing member of the Magaliesberg Section of the Mountain Club of South Africa. After his death in 2005, his estate was bequeathed to the Magaliesberg Section. Members of the section established a fund to honour Richard as a conservationist who truly cared about the Magaliesberg.

Aim of the fund: The main aim of the fund is to make a financial contribution towards conservation projects that will benefit the Magaliesberg.

Helihack Alien Clearing in the Western Cape Mountains

The vision of the Helihack project is to restore biodiversity by eradicating invasive alien vegetation in inaccessible mountain catchments in the Western Cape. Two strategies, both involving helicopters, are implemented to kill invasive alien plants that both threaten biodiversity in the Cape Floristic Kingdom and reduce water yields. Experienced rock climbers who are also chain saw operators are transported to remote catchments to fell Pines (Pinus pinaster) and biocontrol is shot at Silky hakea (Hakea sericea). Safety is of prime importance for this challenging and unique undertaking.

Conservation News

Help us secure funding for alien hacking in the Southern Cape

October 20th, 2021|Comments Off on Help us secure funding for alien hacking in the Southern Cape

An appeal to vote for a proposed project to mobilize more volunteers in clearing invasive aliens in Mountain Fynbos GCBR (Gourtiz Cluster Biosphere Reserve) submitted a proposed project to the European Outdoor Conservation Association to [...]

The MCSA’s Stance on Climate Change

May 11th, 2019|Comments Off on The MCSA’s Stance on Climate Change

The Mountain Club of South Africa recognises that the effects of climate change and the interconnected issues, e.g. biodiversity loss, pollution of all environments, especially the mountains, the increasing severity of droughts and storms, should [...]

Drakensberg Cableway Project

June 10th, 2016|Comments Off on Drakensberg Cableway Project

The Drakensberg Cableway Project and EIA is progressing slowly.

Magaliesberg biosphere reserve

June 21st, 2015|Comments Off on Magaliesberg biosphere reserve

Magaliesberg declared a World Biosphere Reserve After nearly a decade of lobbying and sustained efforts by a committee of dedicated environmentalists‚ including the MCSA, the Magaliesberg has been declared a world biosphere reserve in June 2015. [...]

Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve

June 21st, 2015|Comments Off on Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve

Gouritz declared a World Biosphere Reserve The Gouritz Cluster in the southern Cape has been declared a world biosphere reserve in June 2015. MCSA members from the South Cape Section were involved in the process. [...]