Conservation Bredasdorp, Overberg
The Black Oystercatcher's land has been dedicated to conservation.
The property forms part of the
Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA), the first venture of its kind in the country. Through the SMA, 25 landowners, including those wine farms that make up the Elim wine ward, are working together to manage their land collectively. They have combined agriculture and biodiversity conservation to the benefit of the environment and to all who live in the area. Key to this is fighting climate change, and facilitating species survival in the face of global warming. Dirk Human, the founder, owner and wine-maker of the boutique wines at the Black Oystercatcher, is also the Chairman (and a founding member) of the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA.

The SMA has already enjoyed numerous successes. For one, it has encouraged a new way
of conserving the region's unique biodiversity and promoting a sustainable ecology, by working closely with conservation agencies like
SANParks. The venture also recently received a vote of confidence from national government. The Department of Environmental Affairs stated its intention to proclaim the SMA a national protected environment (PE), the first national PE in South Africa.

The Nuwejaars Wetland SMA operates according to the Man and the Biosphere principles,
a United Nations programme which encourages a balanced relationship between man and nature. In order to succeed, however, members of the SMA have had to show their commitment to conservation. They have agreed to title deed restrictions, to ensure biodiversity conservation is entrenched on their land in perpetuity. Through this conservation initiative, nearly 46 000 hectares of land on the Agulhas Plain - including many rare and endangered fynbos species - are now enjoying formal protection. Big game has also been reintroduced: buffalo and hippo, which became extinct on the Agulhas Plain in previous centuries, have been released on SMA land, close to the Black Oystercatcher Restaurant. Bontebok, red hartebeest and eland have also been reintroduced, and now roam the area.

The Nuwejaars Wetland SMA has to date focused on land management and fire management over the collective properties. Through money obtained by the German government, the SMA until recently supported around five percent of those living in the Cape Agulhas Municipal area. The venture employed local people in alien clearing, wetland rehabilitation and veld management projects. Further nature-based opportunities are being developed, particularly for small businesses operating in the eco-tourism sector.
Various Farm Accommodation
(on SMA members farms) are available.

visit the SMA website


Release of bontebok
hartebeest more

Nuwejaars SMA wins Conservation Award

Challenges on the
Agulhas Plain

No 19, 2011

No 20, 2011
The SMA offers various speciality tours (baffalo, historical, special weekend packages and much more). More Information.
Agulhas National Park (Agulhas Plains) Birding Project 2013
By Dr Wim de Klerk

For the first time in the history of the Agulhas National Park Birding project, normal renosterveld was flooded so extensively that water birds were recorded like never before in places never before thought possible. Vlei areas were filled to the brim even as late as the 31st December 2013. The removal of alien plantations has also revealed some excellent birding sites and the Agulhas plains now have even more promise as a birding destination.

Elim Pentad (3435_1945)

This pentad includes Elim town, the Nuwejaarsrivier wetland system, the Waaschkraalvlei area (Dirk Human) and some dry agricultural land. It also includes 4 of the wine estates with a keen interest in avitourism. This area has a tremendous opportunity for birding tourism to complement its wine tasting. Alien clearing has beautified the area substantially.

17 new species was recorded this year for the project of which the White-faced Duck, Spotted Thicknee and Hamerkop was the most interesting.

It is a very good area to see LBJ's such as the larks, cisticolas, reed-warblers and pipits. The African Black Duck Hide is near the Zoetendals Winery and gives birders the opportunity to try and see this elusive species.

SABAP has 140 species listed for this pentad and the project 102, but I believe this pentad is still under reported.
Birds in the Elim Area
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