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.
WHERE TO STAY
(on SMA members farms)
visit the SMA website
Release of bontebok
Nuwejaars SMA wins
Challenges on the
No 19, 2011
No 20, 2011
BOOK A TOUR
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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