Clarens Bethlehem Road

Our photograph this week is taken on a farm just off the Clarens road to Bethlehem.  The photograph  features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  (Photographer: Mary Walker)



Perhaps more than anything else, when I lived in England I missed the pristine clarity and light of the Free State landscape.  Our photograph this week is taken on a farm just off the Clarens road to Bethlehem.  The sun has almost set, casting its rays horizontally against the poplars, pushing long fingers of shadow into the veld.  Even in the fading light, the sky retains its ethereal blue, flaunting its perfect reflection in a muddy pond.  The Free State doesn’t show off nature in half measures.  It exaggerates its smallest beauty.

These are the things I anticipated when I used to travel home from boarding school by train.  Waking in the morning in the Eastern Free State, the steam engine hammering its winding way across the veld, I always had a sense that I had arrived at the top of the world.  Pulling into Fouriesburg station, with its neat platform and bright potted flowers, I would drag down the window to feel the Free State air on my face and not regret for a moment leaving behind the warm pea soup air of Natal.  Read more

SPF:  Community Meeting – Monday 14 October 2013 Feedback

There was a very good turn-out for the meeting on Monday, which resulted in the compilation, signing and handing over of a memorandum to Capt. F.T.  Mohale on Monday afternoon, and  also subsequently delivered to Bethlehem Cluster Commander, Brig. Jan Tsotetsi. The memorandum demands that

– Capt Mohale re-establishes and confirms her commitment to liaise with the Clarens Police Forum of Sector 1;

– The Bethlehem cluster commander initiates a departmental inquiry into the lack of communication between Capt Mohale, the Sector Police Forum, and the residents of Clarens.

The Sector Police Forum are also taking steps to protect vulnerable residents: Clarens is being divided into various sub-sections and as soon as this has been finalised residents will be informed which sub-section they fall under along with relevant contact information.
Please note:  The SPF is also looking for volunteers to head up the various sub-sections. Phone: Johann Lehman  083 4479925

Clarens Community Vegetable growing project (Department of Agriculture)

Report back from Tsepiso Mosia
Tsepiso and the community gardeners all express their sadness at the passing of Daan Wybenga, who was not only loved and respected by all, but who served as an inspiration for all those interested in growing their own  vegetables.
The community gardens are growing well, and will be judged on Tuesday 22nd October, 2013.  Prize giving for the best gardens will take place on 29th October, 2013.  This worthwhile project does however need support, and donations of seed, or gardening equipment (which could be handed out as prizes) would be welcomed.
For further information please contact : Tsepiso Mosia ,Department Of Agriculture & Rural Development, Phone:  0710791332


Plants Found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Albuca pachychlamys


Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a small geophyte that requires a keen eye and a bit of an adventurous spirit to locate.
Albuca pachychlamys (commonly known as Soldier-in-the-box in English, and mototse in sisotho), is a small monocotyledonous plant of approximately 250 mm in height, usually occurring singly. A. pachychlamys is widespread, growing in grasslands near rocky outcrops up to 2400 m A.S.L.

A. pachychlamys is a bulbous plant, with a brush of dark bristles topping the bulb and several thick tunics. Bulbs function as food storage devices for times when conditions are adverse, thereby acting as a protection mechanism in times when most other plant forms begin to deteriorate. The leaves are narrow (often less than 3mm wide).

Read more


Garden Club News

The Clarens Garden Club will go on an excursion to an asparagus and peony farm on Wednesday 23rd October. We aim to be there at 9:30 for 10 am. Our hostess will be Marie Campbell..
There will be a tour of the farm showing us the peony fields and how the asparagus is grown and harvested. After that we shall visit the asparagus factory which is most interesting showing how machinery is replacing troublesome labour.
She has peonies for sale but only the flowers, not the plants. The peony flowers are R5 a stem.

The asparagus will be on sale at R30 per kg. available in various sizes. These products are exported to Marks and Spencer and sent to Woolworths in South Africa.



The Twitcher

After the drama of last week’s Twitch, the news of arrests in the murder of Daan Wybenga is good indeed and reminds us that criminals in our society are not fireproof, even if the courts have a habit of letting them walk all too soon.  So, we can turn our attention to matters ornithological again.
First, the matter of the Piet-my-Vrou: Yes, he is back – well a few of them actually, signalling in a plaintive way that summer is really here.  A member of the Cuculidae family, this entertaining little fellow is actually more formally known as the Red Chested Cuckoo.  His common (Afrikaans) name stems from his song, which will be familiar to everyone in the village, unless you don’t have a tree in your little corner of God’s green acre.  Usually solitary, the Piet-my-Vrou is highly vocal and lives in forests and plantations, eating insects to pass the time between romantic encounters.  As a model for Clarens residents this bird does not necessarily score big on propriety, as it is voraciously bigamous and uses the nests of other birds to lay its eggs.  Just a thought.  Read more


This weekend – Weather

This weekend – Live Music (Restaurants)

Friday 18th October 2013

Friends:   20h30 :     Slipstream

Street Cafe:  20h00 :  Fumadores  (Hensie & Denzl)

Saturday  19th October 2013  

Artichoke: 11h00  :  Fumadores

Street Cafe:  20h00 :  Fumadores


This weekend – Rugby fixtures

This Weekend:
Classic Clarens Festival 18-20 October

Lots of entertainment.

Friday: 18th October, 2013
Start the weekend off with Kaya Mthethwa on friday evening.
Clarens Square:  Tickets: R35 (available at Hunters Pub, Village Grocer and Zama Zama)

Attend Black Tie Dinner at the Martie Lotz Hall, to honour Clarens Primary 100 years Tickets R80 include a 3 Course Meal and entertainment by Andre Schwartz, Cantus Choralis Choir  Dihlabeng, and Mariette Pitout. Tickets available at The Village Grocer or Clarens Primary.

Saturday: 19th October, 2013
Relax in the tea garden on the square while enjoying the following events:

  • 11h00: Mona Lisa’s Defele’ de Mode: everything from vintage delights to upmarket glamour
  • 12h30: “Forehands”  Hansie  Jordaan and Rene Human (2 pianos)
  •  13h30: Working on Fire: Traditional African Performance
  •  14h00: Moriteng Choir: (Winners of the 2013 Bloemfontein School Choir)
  •  10h00 – 16h00:  Tavern Tours.  Catch the bus from outside the municipal offices.  Taverns taking part this year include: Hunters Pub, Zama Zama and Tsmahantse
  •   Wine and Food Tent and a Health and Wellness Tent will also be on the square.
  •   Art route:  Pick up a map from one of the galleries and explore.

19h00 – 20h30  Saturday evening enjoy a classic concert with Pia Jesu Eleganza, Chris Coetzer, Andre Schwartz and Mariette Pitout.
(Tickets R120)
To Book Tickets Electronically – Email
Tickets are also available at Village Grocer, Mountain Odyssey and Clarens Destinations.


Bibliophile Bookfest 18-20 October


Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it theClassifieds section on our website:  We have a special appeal out this week to find the late Daan Wybenga’s cat a home.

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


Note from the editor

Our website is still “work in progress” and you can expect to see some changes every week.  The Adventure page has had a phenomenal reception – and even people who have lived in Clarens for years have commented that they didn’t know there was so much one could do in Clarens.  Please accept our most sincere apologies if we’ve left your company/adventure out, and be sure to contact us at so that we can put it right.

We are now working on a page for all the art galleries and artists in Clarens, and would like to include everyone who offers art courses as well. Please feel free to contact us: so that you can be sure we don’t leave anyone out.