March 12, 2024

Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA Landowners Day – 6 March 2024

Lovely weather met the landowners that attended the Conservation at Work landowner day hosted at the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area (NWSMA).  The iconic Black Oystercatcher Wines was the perfect host and vantage point with uninterrupted views of the wetlands and rolling hills of the Overberg region.

The morning was opened by Conservation at Work Chairperson, Mike Fabricius, giving an overview of the role that the organization fulfils in the conservation landscape and the support it renders to private landowners and conservancies in the Western Cape.  

Following the introductions, Ross Kettles of the NWSMA gave an informative presentation on the conservation work conducted in the local landscape, followed by a presentation by Department of Agriculture Western Cape Landcare.  Nuwejaars Conservation Manager Eugéne Hahndiek and Operations Manager, Ross Kettles took the group to various restoration sites, to see the WWF South Africa funded work that has taken place. A delicious Black Oystercatcher platter lunch was enjoyed before attendees enjoyed a leisurely walk through the wetland rehabilitation area and visit to the bird hide.

Conversations amongst landowners highlighted the invaluable work done on so many levels including resource management, soil health, biodiversity, landscape restoration, sustainable flower harvesting, research studies involving fish, dragonflies and other aquatic wildlife in the watercourses in the area as well as the important support provided from organisations such as Cape Nature, Landcare, The Fynbos Trust, WWF, and Conservation at Work.

One of the highlights of the day was meeting the alien clearing contractor, Gerty Holtzhausen, and her team and chatting to her about the challenges and rewards of the important work they do.

The landowner day was wrapped up with a visit to the Nuwejaars game camp, one of the exclusion areas only accessible on guided tours.  Unfortunately, the hippos did not grace us with their presence, we’ll have to go for another visit.

We also met with Liohan Giliomee one the Nuwejaars Landowners who shared with us how learning to farm alongside conservation has changed his perceptions on the importance of conserving our natural areas for future generations.

The most important message that came from the day is that conservation on this scale is a collective effort that isn’t possible without 100% buy in from landowners, collaboration with other conservation organizations, municipalities such as the OBM, and dedicated contracting teams that prosper from doing the work on the ground. 

Conservation at Work would like to thank our partners and funders, Table Mountain Fund, Cape Nature, WWF-SA, Department of Agriculture Western Cape, Landcare division, The Black Oystercatcher, Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA for the support and funding  that made it possible to host this day (for the landowners). – The C@W Team

                                                                 Conservation at Work Chairman Mike Fabricius opening the day @ the Black Oystercatcher

Lunch ready to enjoy, The Black Oystercatcher platter

                                        Gerty Holtzhausen (team leader) chatting about the challenges and rewards of the work they do to help conserve the landscape.


Visit to the wetland rehabilitation site

Visit to the exclusion site only accessible via NWSMA guided tours

Visit to the look-out point in the exclusion site 

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