The Agulhas Plain offers unique tourism opportunities. The region’s rare fynbos and renosterveld, and distinctive wildlife are ideal for nature lovers.
But the region offers more than unique nature: the cultural heritage of the Plain is also rich, with the missionary town of Elim a must-see for tourists.
On the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area:
Tours to enjoy our wildlife, including the buffalo, are available, but booking is essential. One of our Conservation Managers or guides will take you for a drive on this private land – otherwise inaccessible to the public.
Here’s what you could see (although we can’t guarantee anything):
- We’ve reintroduced buffaloes – last seen on the Agulhas Plain 200 years ago. The buffalo live in their Buffalo Boma camps in the SMA – and our game tours include a trip via the buffalo. Look out for our big bull, Apollo.
- Rau Quagga (part of the Quagga Breeding Project) roam freely across the Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA. That includes Freddy – one of the top Rau Quagga in the country, and his herd.
- Bontebok once moved freely across the Agulhas Plain. And yet, in the 1930s, only 12 bontebok remained in the world. And so a concerted conservation effort started (led by ancestors of members of the SMA). Today we’re connecting conservation areas, so that the bontebok we had, and those we reintroduced, can once again move like they used to (and like they should) across private land.
- Eland were reintroduced to the SMA region, and have joined forces with herds that lived here before. These majestic animals can be spotted in the fynbos.
- The shy hartebeest lives on the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area. They were reintroduced some years ago, but numbers have fluctuated. Our conservation team monitors them constantly.
- Birders can see an array of globally threatened and regionally threatened bird species. Look out for the Martial Eagle, Black Harrier, Secretarybird, Blue Crane, Hottentot Buttonquail, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Red-chested Flufftail, and many more. We’ve even seen unusual birds here, including the Crowned Eagle and Amur Falcon.
- Lowland fynbos abounds here. The area is home to species found nowhere else in the world. Our guiding team could show you the Bredasdorp conebush, Protea pudens, Erica regia and many more beautiful and lesser-known species.
How about some cool-climate wine?
The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area is about ensuring conservation and agriculture work together sustainably. The Elim wine ward – the newest wine ward in the country – also falls within the Special Management Area.
Given the extreme fruity tastes of these wines – thanks to the small berries formed in the Agulhas Plain’s cool winds – this wine ward is attracting considerable interest.
Our cultural heritage
The small missionary town of Elim – already a sought-after tourism destination – is also a member of the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area. The town was founded as a historic German mission station in 1824, and has been declared a national monument. It holds the only monument in the country commemorating the freeing of the slaves in 1834, and has one of the last working water mills in the Cape.
Right next door to the SMA is the Agulhas National Park – a crucial partner. In fact, we serve as the buffer zone to the Park. The Park is also worth a visit – and you can see the areas of cooperation as part of the public-private partnership.
How we’re creating a conservation economy.
These nature-based tourism opportunities help us create a conservation economy. Using this income, we can help ‘flip’ the economy from intense agricultural practices that may negatively impact the land, to a more sustainable way.
Through a conservation economy, our ultimate aim is boosted: to achieve true triple bottom line results to benefit all within the Special Management Area.
Visit the area
If you love the outdoors, the Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA offers a natural world you won’t see anywhere else. More.