The Nuwejaars River connects the intricate Nuwejaars wetland ecosystem. And there are a host of reasons that this river is so important.

If you’ve ever visited the Black Oystercatcher, you’ll have seen traces of this river from our Restaurant and Cottages. There are invasive species along its banks (as a member of the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area, we’re working hard to remove these plants from the river).

The Nuwejaar River connects Waskraalvlei (where the Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA hippos live) to the birding hotspot, Voëlvlei, and from here it connects up to Soetendalsvlei (the second largest lacustrine wetland in the country).

So the wetlands feed the river for most of the year, and during times of flood, the river feeds the wetlands, which can absorb the excess water.


These waters support immense biodiversity – that’s why the region is such a birder’s paradise (we know of 265 bird species in the Agulhas Plain).

The surrounds are covered by endemic natural fynbos – including fynbos species like the Protea pudens and Erica reggia.

The river is also home to the Nuwejaars Redfin Minnow – a tiny indigenous fish that stands on the brink of extinction.


There are five main tributaries to the Nuwejaars – they start on the slopes of the Bredasdorp Mountains, the Koueberge, the hills above the town of Elim, and the Soetanys Mountains. It’s a 55km stretch from the start of the river, to Soetendalsvlei.

From this vlei, the Heuningnes River flows into the De Mond Estuary – a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

As an Agulhas Plain #waterscape – few play a more important role than the Nuwejaars River.