Waterscapes: The De Mond Estuary
Here’s where our waterscapes journey has taken us so far:
We started on the Black Oystercatcher Wine farm, at our Waskraalvlei. We’ve moved along the Nuwejaars River, passed the Saltpans, all the way into Zoetendalsvlei.
Now we follow the river, as it flows from Zoetendalsvlei to the De Mond Estuary.
And it’s when we get here that nature-lovers really understand why we HAVE TO protect this region.
The De Mond Estuary connects the Heuningnes River (from Zoetendalsvlei) to the sea.
And it’s the birdlife you’ll see here that makes conservationists super excited.
Of course, our favourite, the Black Oystercatcher, is a regular feature. But also look out for the Damara Tern. The estuary is one of only two breeding sites in South Africa for this species. The Caspian Tern, Kittlitz’s Plover and threatened Cape Cormorant are also seen here, as are the Lesser and Greater Flamingo.
If you’re lucky, you could see an African Penguin (they sometimes roost here). Around 300 pairs of Kelp Gull nest in the dunes. And waders like the Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Common Greenshank use the estuary.
The estuary and its dunes are a Ramsar site (this is a site considered to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention of 1971) thanks to these special bird species.
De Mond was declared a nature reserve in 1986. Now this 954-hectare reserve is protected by CapeNature.
Here’s what you can see, aside from the bird life…
- Small antelope like the Duiker, Steenbok and Cape Grysbok.
- Dune milkwood thickets, limestone fynbos and dune fynbos.
- And the deep blue crystal-clear water where river and sea connect.
Looking for things to do at the reserve?
- Well, it’s a favourite for marine and freshwater fishing enthusiasts.
- And if you’re a hiker – tackle the 7km Sterna Trail (named after the Damara Tern), a circular route starting and ending at the estuary mouth.
The Black Oystercatcher is a member of the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area. Through this conservation initiative, we help protect this entire waterscape – from the start of the Nuwejaars River – all the way into the De Mond Estuary.
Here’s one more reason we care so deeply for our waterscapes: According to BirdLife SA,
“This is one of the most interesting and important wetland systems in South Africa in terms of vegetation diversity and its great variety of seasonal and permanent palustrine habitats.”
Now we travel a little bit east from De Mond, along the coast, to the small town of Arniston (or Waenhuiskrans).
Sure, we make wine at the Black Oystercatcher (and hopefully really great wine)…
The Black Oystercatcher bird features in the 2019 Birds of Southern Africa calendar.
Relax and unwind with the perfect country getaway
Breathe in the fresh air, savour our wonderful fresh herb and vegetable garden (you can even pick them to spice up your meals) and enjoy the beautiful views over the Elim area (with a glass of wine of course) at our self-catering Bredasdorp accommodation.
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