The Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area (NWSMA) comprising 25 private landowners covers approximately 45,000 hectares on the Agulhas Plain. This Special Management Area (SMA) is a ‘first of its kind’ innovative approach to land management that combines commercial agriculture with conservation. Through the Nuwejaars Wetlands Landowners Association (NWLOA) landowners have secured a long-term commitment to the Constitution and Conservation Development Framework by registering restrictive conditions against their title deeds. Forming the northern boundary and an effective buffer zone to the Agulhas National Park (ANP), the NWSMA was established in accordance with the UNESCO’s Statutory Framework for Biosphere Reserves and has submitted a management plan and application for proclamation as a Protected Environment. Officially planned and developed from 2003, the NWSMA received a grant in 2009 which facilitated development and employment. This development resulted in 120 km of game fencing enclosing approximately 8 500 ha of core conservation area, game and hippo reintroductions, a veld management burning programme, alien vegetation clearing and follow up of 12’600 ha around crucial wetlands and invaded fynbos, flood damaged wetland rehabilitation, and indigenous trees planted along degraded river banks. Throughout this project, approximately 300 jobs were created by the NWSMA.