nature conservation
What we do
Towards a sustainable Agulhas Plain
It took six years for the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) to evolve from a vague concept to a working venture. Today the Special Management Area, implemented across private farmland on the Agulhas Plain in the Overberg, is the only one of its kind in South Africa.
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Other Articles
Agulhas Plains run wild again
Country Life, March 2011
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Challenges on the Agulhas Plain
March 2011
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Corne Krige besoek die SMA
SA Jagter, Feb 2011
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Conservation & Farming
Farmers Weekly, Dec 2010
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Coasting Along
Decanter Magazine 2010
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Wining and Dining in Elim
Country Life, 2010
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Major Conservation Award for NWSMA
Press release - CAPE 2010 Fynbos
Conservation Award
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Bontebok & Hartebeest released
10 August 2010
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The Nuwejaars Wetland SMA is rehabilitating its key areas and cultural features. More
Our tourism venture will include training for operators and entrepreneurs. More
Production and food security is enhanced through sustainable use of land. More
Sustainably-utilised products will prove a key
economic driver for communities here.
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By developing the SMA's infrastructure, we can
unlock the area's sustainable capital.
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United Nations Website
One Small Step for a Hippo, but a Giant Leap for Conservation in South Africa
Article by Linda Nordling
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SMA Press Release, 29 September 2011
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Cape Times, October 2011: Buffalo birth turns clock back 200 years
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Die Burger Aktueel, Oktober 2011: Vlakte kry eerste buffelkalfie in 200 jaar
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Die Burger, Oktober 2011: Laaste buffels in die laat 1700's in die streek gesien
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Farmers Weekly, 14 October 2011: A first in 200 years
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Nov 2011: The Nuwejaars Wetland System
To the north of Agulhas National Park and partially within, lies the Nuwejaars Wetland system – an area of immense diversity and conservation value.
November 2011, Volume 20

March 2012: Waskraalvlei hippos, Nuwejaars Special Management Area
March 2012, Volume 24

September 2012: A good birding season predicted for 2012
Nuwejaars Quagga chosen as best specimen
September 2012, Volume 30
Agulhas Park eBULLETIN
October, 2011: The German government's international climate finance chief, Norbert Gorissen, visited the SMA late in October.

The visit allowed Gorissen to see the climate change adaptation projects undertaken by the SMA
over the past two years.

The €2-million grant from the BMU was crucial in allowing the SMA venture launch its first formal biodiversity conservation projects.
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Climate change chief visits SMA
February, 2012: The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (NWSMA) is to be the focus of an extensive climate change study. Researchers plan to assess the buried peat beds that characterise the wetland, in order to determine their age and how vulnerable they are to degradation. More
Vulnerability of SMA peat to be studied
The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) has made good strides towards a biodiversity economy. What's more, the SMA is showing how collective landholder action can transform land use practices, creating approaches that are more dependent on sustaining biodiversity, eco-tourism and carbon- and energy neutral production.

The SMA received funding from GEF under the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI). Phase one of ABI ran from 2003 to 2010. The SMA was partly responsible for implementing the first output under ABI: to establish a landscape-level conservation management and planning system through public-private partnerships.
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Nuwejaars SMA 'drives new collective land user action'

Nuwejaars SMA and LandCare hold 'Eco-Warrior' weekend for SMA children

Children living in the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (NWSMA), just outside Bredasdorp in the Overberg, attended a LandCare-funded camp at the beginning of March. The camp, organised by the NWSMA, introduced Grade 1 to Grade 7 children to the 'Eco-Warrior' role they can play in nature.


Eco-Warrior Weekend for SMA children
Picture: Gretha Louw points out invasive alien plants that destroy the biodiversity
on the Agulhas Plain to some of the NWSMA children.
Enhancing the wellbeing of all who live here is an imperative for the SMA. More
A buffalo is born –
a first in 200 years
The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (NWSMA) has launched a new bird hide.

The Black Duck Bird Hide has been built below the Zoetendal Winery, owned by Johan de Kock. It was officially opened to the public at the beginning of March.
SMA launches new bird hide
Picture: The NWSMA wishes to thank Joey Cloete and his team (pictured here in
the bird hide they built on Zoetendal Winery) for their hard work. The team are,
from left: Morne Engel, Charles Bell, Jonny Stander, Francois Davids and Joey Cloete.

The hide, which looks out on the Nuwejaars River and wetland areas, was built by Elimmer Joey Cloete and his team (pictured). It is currently free for bird watchers, although users are offered the opportunity to leave a donation.The hide can be reached via the winery and all money collected goes into the conservation efforts of the NWSMA.
A new hippopotamus calf has been born on the Agulhas Plain. Five hippo were reintroduced to the area by the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (NWSMA) in 2010.

The new calf becomes the first hippo to be born on the Plain in about 150 years.

The hippo calf has been spotted twice - although it still
needs to be captured on camera. The hippos were released into Waagschaalvlei in the NWSMA in 2010, although one of the younger hippos died a few months after its release.
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New hippo calf spotted on Agulhas Plain
The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) is an innovative, farmer-driven solution to balancing commercial farming with conservation.Denene Erasmus visited farmers in the SMA to learn more about this groundbreaking initiative.

Farmers Weekly, 11 April 2014. Download
Conservation Tide
This is a Liparia splendens, commonly known as the 'geelkoppie' or 'klipblom'.

They're quite a rare sight normally, so lovely to see them light up the SMA's fynbos. Read more
A wonderful sight
A day in the life of a Junior Ranger

The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (NWSMA) played host to the Agulhas National Park Junior Rangers in July. Nine young nature lovers and their parents visited various NWSMA activities as part of their Junior Rangers Camp.

The young rangers, who are between Grade 7 and Grade 10, visited the buffalo at the boma, as well as the Black Duck Hide, at Zoetendals Winery.
Buffalo and Blue Cranes
The sale also marked an important occasion for conservation-minded organisations such as the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA. It highlighted the steps taken towards securing a sustainable income from biodiversity-based products, through for example game management.

According to Dirk Human, Chair of the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA, the group has worked towards creating income generating opportunities from nature, so as to reduce the pressure on the natural environment. The buffalo are one such example - with the value of one buffalo anywhere between 10 and 100 times that of commercial beef cattle, thereby having a much lower impact on the environment.

He said, "The SMA is looking to develop industries that are environmentally friendly, while not threatening our food security. So the sale of the buffalo is an important moment for us, and for all those organisations that are working towards similar goals."

The four buffalo bulls were sold to a game farm in the Eastern Cape. Although the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA initially bought 15 buffalo, the number rose to 26 before the sale. The four buffalo sold were excess bulls in good condition. Income from the sale goes to the Nuwejaar River Nature Reserve, the section 21 not-for-profit company that facilitates the implementation of the Special Management Area.

Human said, "The buffalo clearly belong on the Agulhas Plain, given the way their numbers have grown in just four years, and the excellent condition they're in." Aside from the buffalo, the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA also reintroduced hippo to the wetland areas, bontebok, eland and red hartebeest.

The Nuwejaars Wetland SMA consists of landowners and communities living on 45,000 hectares of land on the Agulhas Plain, which they've committed to conservation and farming sustainably. The SMA is home to the endangered lowland fynbos, and many other threatened fauna and flora. It borders the Agulhas National Park, and the SMA works with SANParks to jointly plan management activities across the boundaries.
Four buffalo belonging to the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area have been sold. The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) reintroduced the buffalo to the Agulhas Plain for the first time in more than 200 years.

Now, with their numbers steadily increasing, the Agulhas Plain has once again become a source of disease-free buffalo.
Buffalo sale on the Agulhas Plain
Here they saw how alien biomass had been used to build the bird hide, which overlooks the Nuwejaars River.

Former NWSMA Executive Member Mick D'Alton told the youngsters about the Quagga Project. In this project, a group of southern Plains Zebras are been selectively bred, in an attempt to retrieve the genes responsible for the Quagga's characteristic markings. The SMA is host to 14 'Quagga', including Freddie - rated as one of the top 'Quagga' in the country.

The rangers also learned about the Blue Crane, South Africa's national bird. The Overberg region serves as a hub for the Blue Crane, which is listed as vulnerable on the Red Data List of Threatened Species. The NWSMA in particular provides the habitat that Blue Cranes make use of, including the wheat fields and wetland areas.

The NWSMA will again partner with the Agulhas National Park in October, to play host to five schools, as part of the Kids in Parks Programme. From the NWSMA Executive Committee, a huge thank you to the Park, and in particular to Alliston Appel, for organising these important environmental education opportunities. The NWSMA is excited to be a part of building capacity for future conservationists.