Clarens News: 14th November 2013, Clarens Skies
Clarens Skies – The Southern Cross; Clarens Craft Beer Festival; Free State History; Christmas on our doorstep; Plant of the week: Geranium robustum; The Clarens : Golf News; This weekend – Weather; Classifieds

Clarens News Clarens Skies Southern Cross


The editorial staff are in a spin this week thanks to illness in the family.  (Always a problem when you have a very small staff.)  Time constraints have meant that we do not have an article from Mary Walker this week, and The Twitcher is also absent.
We do have, however, have a fascinating article on Clarens Skies from Genevieve Blignaut, and are expecting to see everyone out with their binoculars come nightfall.   Genevieve will be running weekly articles on the various constellations we can see in our Clarens Skies every week.

Clarens Skies – The Southern Cross

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens News

The Crux, as Astronomers call it, is the smallest constellation in the sky, and although only five stars are visible with the naked eye it actually has many, many more. With your binoculars on hand, the Southern Cross will show you the way to the darkest and most beautiful spot in the universe.

With the naked eye you should see a small star near Mimosa, the bright   star that forms the left-hand point of Crux, but through binoculars you’ll see the star is actually a bright open cluster of sparkling blue and red stars, called the Jewel Box. The cluster is about 10 million years old, and 8,800 light-years away.

Did You Know

Crux used to be visible in the Northern Hemisphere. In ancient Greece it formed the hind legs of the constellation Centaurus, but it hasn’t been seen in Athens for over a thousand years.

The position of Crux in the sky hasn’t changed, but the Earth’s axis has! Imagine the Earth spinning on its axis like a spinning top – as the top spins the axis rotates. This rotation is called precession. The Earth’s axis precesses once every 26,000 years, which changes the area of the night sky we can see. In a few thousand years, precession will shift the South Celestial Pole, so Crux will no longer point south. Precession also means our seasons will shift through the calendar, so in 13,000 years our summer will be in June and we can finally have a white Christmas!  

Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Clarens News Clarens Craft Beer Festival

The Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 was  launched last week on, 1 November, and already there is a hype in the social  media about it. Exciting times! The fourth edition of this popular festival,taking place 21-23 Feb, will see some changes: new exciting breweries, absence of some of the older ones, new food vendors, longer hours (put not too long!) and more music which includes an exciting band from Jozi… Most notable of all is a lack of corporate sponsorship or any sponsorship at all for that matter. We declined the offer of sponsorship from SAB since their requirements were not beneficial for the festival or the village. The beer festival almost didn’t happen as a result, but some support and clever footwork from locals, friends and partners in the events industry opened the doors. Long live the entrepreneurial spirit and here we go – solo!

So, besides launching what else is up?  Accommodation woes, that’s what!  This is also an appeal to the owners of every guest house, B&B, self catering establishment, hotel and booking agency  (and tent, cave, kennel) to please, please, please support the festival by taking bookings for festival goers only as far as possible – we will fill them up, guaranteed.  If there are existing bookings that you don’t know were made for the fest, how about contacting the guests and informing them of the event? If there is a wedding party booked – how about suggesting to the guests that they extend their Clarens experience by visiting the fest on the Friday? And, if you are booked up, please don’t just say “the village is full” – please refer them to the festival website where they can contact us for alternatives. The reality is that the festival relies on people to make it work, and whilst the perception is that we make a huge amount of money from this, we don’t and in fact are in the red after three years. So the 2014 edition is a watershed one; if we get the numbers we will continue with the festival. If not, this will be the last. Please don’t let that happen by supporting the festival!

For a preview of the website Click here
You should also have a look at the Beer Fest Facebook page
If you still have accommodation available over the beer fest  weekend, please email:  We need to make sure that everyone wanting to come to the Beer Fest has somewhere to stay.


Free State History


Boshoff & Kerley Large-Mammals-FS& Lesotho coverWhilst the Freestate  is known for its wildlife, and most of us see wildlife as one of our major attractions,  recent history tells a rather sad tale:  since the 1820′s at least 16 species of larger mammals which occurred in the Free State have been exterminated!

This is according to a recently published book Historical Incidence of the Larger Mammals in the Free State Province (South Africa) and Lesotho, by Andre Boshoff and Graham Kerley.

Click here to find out more about the book

Christmas on our doorstep

Letter from Ntsebe Mofokeng:  Phaphama Youth Deveopment: Tshepong Centre

It feels unbelievable that it is almost Christmas time again! As we get into the spirit of giving and sharing with our loved ones, we must reflect on how privileged we are to be surrounded by our precious family and friends, that we need to remind ourselves that there are little children who are affected by HIV do not have a Mom & a Dad to love & feel loved and this time of the year is a sad and desolate time for them. We cannot fill this void but we can ease their sadness by showering them with gifts and a fun filled day.

We are asking, most sincerely, for you to consider making a contribution to this special day. We would like to ask for volunteer time and supporting us in hosting the Christmas Party for 40 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children. We request anyone in and out of Clarens to purchase toys, play materials, Christmas decorations and refreshment for children. To most of these children it will be the first time receiving a gift and feel like they are cared for and belong somewhere.

The Christmas Party is planned as follows:
Date: 23 November 2012
Time: 14:30 – 16:00
Venue: Tshepong centre in Kgubetswana

For more information or clarity you are welcome to contact Ntsebe Mofokeng @ 078 245 1709 during office hours.
Phaphama Youth Development is a NONPROFIT Organisation (068 – 735) and PBO (930037537) which was established in 2008 and registered in 2009 to respond to the community health and welfare services free of charge. Our offices are based in Tshepong Centre Kgubetswana in Clarens. We strive to serve the poorest of the poor, with no thought of who deserves help, but only who needs help!


Plant of the week: Geranium robustum


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Geranium robustumDamien Coulson:
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a plant from the Geraniaceae family that has just recently come into full bloom.

Geranium robustum (known as Cranesbill in English), is a medium sized shrub of up to 1 m tall. The Greek word Geranos is translated as “crane” in English, referring to the shape of the seed, which resembles a crane`s bill. This plant grows on moist shrubby mountain slopes and along stream at 1600-2590 m A.S.L., and grows from the Eastern Cape through to Mpumalanga.

The leaves of G. robustum are around 50 mm in diameter and usually 5 lobed right down to the base. Each lobe is sub devided several times with venation of a peculiar appearance on the upper basal surface. The leaves have a silky texture and a silvery hairy upper surface whilst they are yet more silvery below. The leave stalks can be up to 100 mm long. The flowers’ elegance lies contrary-wise  in their simlicity as they consist of 5 light purple petals with purple venation which draws focus to the off-white centre colouration. Flowers are approximately 25 mm in diam. Flowering occurs from November  – March.
Read more


Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality

 Invitation Dihlabeng


The Clarens : Golf News

Clarens News Golf News Clarens Open

This weekend – Weather



This weekend –  Music

Please check the Clarens News facebook page for music this weekend.


This weekend – Rugby fixtures


This weekend – Other events

Farmers Market:  Saturday:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile




Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it on the Classifieds page on our website.   Click here   Yet another interesting jog offer this week.

Should you wish to place an advertisement in this section please email:
(Classified advertisements are free.)