Charles D. Rudd, British businessman, attended Trinity College, Cambridge, but did not graduate. Late in 1865 health problems led him to come to South Africa. The next year he hunted in Zululand with Eduard Mohr* and John R. Dunn and then visited Ceylon. Back in South Africa he travelled through Natal, the Orange Free State, the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Cape Colony before returning to England. However he came back to Cape Town before the end of 1867. The next year he married Frances L. Chiappini, with whom he had four children.
Early in 1870 Rudd moved to the diamond fields at Kimberley where he developed several businesses (as a trader, insurance agent and diamond dealer), including one in partnership with the British imperialist and statesman Cecil J. Rhodes. In 1880 Rhodes, Rudd and others formed the De Beers Mining Company, which became the De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited in 1888, with Rudd as one of the directors. Meanwhile he had served as a member of the committee managing the Public Botanic Gardens at Kimberley, and as co-author of its annual report for 1881, and also as a member of the Cape House of Assembly for Kimberley from 1883 to 1888. In 1886 he and Rhodes moved to the Witwatersrand and the next year founded Gold Fields of South Africa, Limited, of which they were both managing directors. This firm became part of Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa in 1892.
In 1888 Rudd went to Bulawayo, in present Zimbabwe, where he obtained a concession to the mineral rights of Chief Lobengula's territories. This concession formed the basis on which the British South Africa Company was established to administer the territory. On his return to Kimberley Dunn got lost in present Botswana and was saved by members of the local population. An account of this whole adventure was published long after his death as The concession journey of C.D. Rudd (1949). During the next decade Rudd spent half of every year in Britain on business. He retired about 1902 and settled on his estate at Ardnamurchan, in Argyllshire, Scotland.
In 1904 he presented five species of mammals from Namaqualand to the South African Museum, Cape Town. These species were new to the museum's collections. At this time he financed an expedition to collect zoological specimens in South Africa by Captain Claude H.B. Grant*, ornithologist at the British Museum (Natural History). Grant arrived in November 1904 and collected in Little Namaqualand, Zululand, Mozambique and other parts of the sub-continent. His collection of batrachians and reptiles were presented to the British Museum by Rudd and were reported on by G.A. Boulenger* (1905, 1907). Duplicate specimens were supplied to the South African Museum. Grant named the bird species Apalis ruddi (Rudd's Apalis) and Heteromirafra ruddi (Rudd's Lark) after him in 1908.