We believe in sustainability
What we do
The Nuwejaars Wetland SMA is rehabilitating its key areas and cultural features. More
Enhancing the wellbeing of all who live here is an imperative for the SMA. More
Our tourism venture will include training for operators and entrepreneurs. More
Production and food security is enhanced through sustainable use of land. More
Sustainably-utilised products will prove a key
economic driver for communities here.
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By developing the SMA's infrastructure, we can
unlock the area's sustainable capital.
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The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) is an area in which 25 private landowners and local communities work together to collectively manage our land for conservation.

Through this unique conservation model, some 46,000 hectares of often critically endangered habitat is now protected on the Agulhas Plain - at the southernmost region of Africa. The primary goal of the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) is to protect - and use - the land included in the Special Management Area sustainably, according to triple bottom line principles. We aim to find the balance between environmental integrity, human wellbeing and economic efficiency within the area.

While biodiversity and wetland conservation is promoted, so too are sustainable farming practices. As such, farming and conservation work hand in hand. Endangered plants and animals are protected. At the same time, food security from farmland in the Nuwejaars Wetland Ecosystem is not threatened.

This collaboration between landowners and local communities is the first of its kind in South Africa. It required significant commitments from all landowners and communities involved. All had to agree to title deed restrictions to ensure sustainable conservation principles would be maintained. Already the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has expressed its interest in the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA), as a working example of its Man and the Biosphere programme.
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- Restore wetlands and other often-threatened habitat through rehabilitation and alien-clearing;
- Promote the wellbeing of all who live within the broader area;
- Promote the sustainable use of biodiversity products to benefit all;
- Promote diverse uses of the wetlands, natural habitats and intensive agricultural activities;
- Promote sustainability in all forms of agriculture;
- Manage the land and manage fire;
- Address climate change;
- And encourage tourists to visit the Agulhas Plain's unique sites.
The SMA's objectives
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Maintaining the SMA's game fences is no mean feat - but Joey and his team do the most amazing job, even when it takes balance to not end up in the water. Thanks, Joey and your team, for all the hard work!
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Four buffalo belonging to the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area have been sold. The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) reintroduced the buffalo to the Agulhas Plain for the first time in more than 200 years. Now, with their numbers steadily increasing, the Agulhas Plain has once again become a source of disease-free buffalo.

The sale also marked an important occasion for conservation-minded organisations such as the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA. It highlighted the steps taken towards securing a sustainable income from biodiversity-based products, through for example game management.

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Great news for the SMA - we now have 7 hippos in our wetlands (which included what looked like a very young calf). Until now we've only managed to count 6 hippos. The hippos were reintroduced to rehabilitate the SMA's wetland channels and rehydrate the peat - and the signs are good that they're succeeding.
Buffalo sale on the Agulhas Plain
The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area and partners undertook a management burn on the SMA this past week, burning around 410 hectares of limestone fynbos. The fynbos was between 25 and and 30 years old, and therefore in need of a prescribed burn. Experts suggest fynbos should be burnt around every 15 years, depending on the type of fynbos. Much of the fynbos was also infested with invasive alien plants.

Livestock and bee hives were moved prior to the fire. And invasive alien plant management will now be prioritised subsequent to the fire.

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Management burn on the SMA