Clarens News: 1st November 2013, After Rain
Contents: Chirstmas trees and snow; Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce; Film crew in Clarens; Clarens Craft Beer Festival; Clarens Recycling Centre; Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve; Tshepong  – Place of Hope in Clarens; The Twitcher; Tourism News; Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality; This weekend; Coming Events; Classifieds; Clarens Skies

Clarens News Snow in Clarens

After this week’s welcome rain, we were rather hoping that Mary would post a photo of Clarens wearing a green robe, but I guess our comment on the snow in last week’s news, and that rather hopeful remark about a white Christmans in Clarens was just too much for her.   (Serves us right!)

The photograph features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email .

Christmas trees and snow

When I was a child, on a mid winter’s night, my father lifted me, still half asleep, from my bed and carried me to the window.  What I saw through the clear pane was a thing more magical than I had ever seen before.  The snow was still falling, each flake wide as a fairy’s mantle, dancing and fluttering in slow descent.  Our trees stooped handsomely under satin white cloaks, their bows low and heavy, their brittle fronds casting off gathering flakes like dark-gloved fingers of witches.

I recall being conscious of an immense stillness.  The world outside had transformed beyond my knowing it, without a whisper to draw attention to its silent metamorphosis.  To me this was more wondrous even than a glimpse of the fairies who lived in the moss between the garden terraces.  I knew my eyes would never tire of this pure white fantasy; but soon, sleepy-eyed and happy, I was returned to my bed.

In the morning it was still snowing and it snowed for two days.  It snowed thickly right across the city, right across the Orange Free State, across almost the entire Highveld.  This was the big snowfall of 1964.
Read more

Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce

Last week’s Eish! questioned progress on the development of a Clarens Chamber of Commerce.  A good question indeed and a very timeous one.   The following points summarise the current position and describe the proposed way forward:·

– Following a number of town meetings earlier this year, a process of consultation was initiated by a three-person team including Ray Meyers, Randall Poultney and Chris Pefanis.  This group undertook a series of meetings with individuals and small groups in Clarens, to ascertain appetite and preparedness for an inclusive, apolitical and non-racial Chamber of Commerce.  The considerable efforts and commitment of this group is acknowledged.

– It is noted that this initiative is based on the philosophy that Upper and Lower Clarens constitute a single community and that the interests of every business in them is bound to the success and stability of development in Clarens.

– Facilitation of this process was taken over by Peter Badcock-Walters and Chris Pefanis in September 2013, and a draft Constitution for a Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce circulated amongst business interests in Lower Clarens.  This was intended to facilitate a meeting of business interests there to discuss the concept and agree involvement.

– In spite of extensive planning, attempts to hold a meeting in Lower Clarens have so far failed.  Although it is by no means clear, it would appear that reasons include an assumption that this was and is a politically-partisan agenda and the fact that many – if not most – businesses there are in fact owned by non-South Africans.

– The draft Constitution is available and will be circulated to all businesses in Upper Clarens next week.  Perhaps the key point is that an independent Board of five members is proposed, three from Upper Clarens and two from Lower Clarens.  This weighting is driven by the comparative value of business in Upper Clarens and Lower Clarens, and the Board, once elected, will elect a Chair.

– Given this situation, it is proposed that the urgent need for such a Chamber should be expedited through a town meeting within the next 10 days.  At this meeting, it is proposed that agreement should be sought to proceed to establish the Chamber, and that Lower Clarens should be asked to organise its business interests and elect two directors to join the Board.

– The Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce should therefore be formed through adoption of the draft Constitution and the initial election of three directors from Upper Clarens.  The process for doing this, and a time frame for review of the draft Constitution and election of directors, should be agreed at this meeting.

– It is noted that Peter Badcock-Walters and Chris Pefanis are committed to facilitating progress to the establishment of this Chamber and have no interest in standing for election to its Board.  It is also reiterated that this is a non-political and inclusive initiative designed to ensure the future of Clarens and protect its business interests.

– Any questions, comments or requests for copies of the draft Constitution can be directed to Peter Badcock-Walters on or Chris Pefanis on

Film crew in Clarens

Hot air Balloons over Clarens

There was a buzz in the air this week as 80 locals experienced the adventures that advertising has to offer.

Eggfilms service chose our beautiful village as their prime location for shooting a top-secret advert.  The innovative and creative team behind Eggfilms, which includes international producers, are striving to create a highly creative and effective advert, whilst keeping costs in the minimum.

Highly regarded for both their logistical and creative expertise, the team has received numerous work offers stretching across South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and even the Indian Ocean Islands.

The team enjoyed every minute here and the producer Nicci Cox asked to please extend a very big thank you to every one in town for the warm welcome and friendliness bestowed upon them.

Be sure to keep an eye out for more news on the release of the advert shot right here in Clarens. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you anything about the ad at this stage – except that it features a couple of  hot air balloons.

Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 launches!

The Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 is being launched today, 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


Clarens News Beerfest 2013

Getting the Beer Fest to work for you

You can not only support the Beer fest but also get it to work for you by advertising on the beer fest website.  To find out more click  here
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.

Clarens Recycling Centre

Clarens News Plastics Recycling

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens NewsHelping the environment can always start in the comfort of your own home.

Many of us may not even give recycling a second thought, as it didn’t play a significant part in our upbringing, however the numerous benefits of the act should be enough to get all very exited over our never-ending refuse.

The Clarens Recycling Centre  has been running for three years and continues to grow in strength day by day. Evon Els talks excitedly about the increase in recycling material that is collected on a weekly basis, and states that more and more  people are becoming involved.involved.  Many of us have driven past the recycling trailer, next to Clementine’s restaurant opposite Mosiac Pizza, without giving it a second thought, but Evon states that the recycling material collected from the trailer has trippled in weight since August 2013 and various shops and business in town have also come on board.

Garbage can become quite interesting when sorted into plastics, returnable bottles, cardboard boxes, tins, cans, paper and glass, and even more so when breaking glass according to colour and sorting plastics according to type. All-and-all recycling requires and incredible amount of hard and dedicated work.

We can all help Evon and her team reach their target of 700kg’s of cardboard boxes and 6 ton’s glass bottles: all you have to do is to fill a separate black bag with all your recyclable plastics, glass, paper,  tins and cans and either load it on the recycling trailer on your way to buy milk, or quickly drop it off at the depot before your game of golf.

Happy Recycling everyone!

For more information contact Evon Els 076 293 2742

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Gnidia capitata

Gnidia 2Damien Coulson:
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at another plant of the Gnidia genus (family of Brandbos which was published in one of the very first PoI snippets).
Gnidia capitata (commonly known as Gifbos in Afrikaans and setele in sisotho), is a medium sized perennial shrublet of up to 300 mm tall. The genus nameGnidia is derived from Knidos – an ancient Greek city. This plant grows in rocky grasslands at up to up to 1800 m A.S.L., and is widespread throughout the eastern regions of S.A.

The leaves on G. capitata are blue-green to grey, sharply tipped, relatively narrow (30 mm long X 3-6 mm wide) and appear tufted. The plant is generally multi-stemmed. The infloresecens is surrounded by a somewhat wider collar of leaves and the flowers are small (aprox 6 mm diameter with calyx tube of around 15-25 mm long), glossy and five lobed. Fine silky hairs cover the flowers and the sepals are a mustard orange-yellowand silky hairs below. The petals are smaller and scale-shaped. The flowers are in full bloom from Oct- Dec.  Read more

Tshepong  – Place of Hope in Clarens


Clarens News Tshepong - A Place of HopeGenevieve Blignaut Clarens NewsTshepong, like the meaning of the word, truly is in every way a Place of Hope.

Established four years ago as an initiative of the non-profit organization Combined Churches In Action (CCIA), Tshepong has grown every step of the way and today many could not imagine their lives without the love and support from all involved. One could say that the the Bana ba Hlokang (Children in Need) feeding programme that had previously been housed in a temporary shelter at the grounds of the Ithumeleng Clinic, served as the springboard for Tshepong. Although many children received food on a regular basis, one had to ask oneself – how much more could be done for the greater community with adequate facilities and facilitators?

And so hope became tangible for many in the community, with the multi-purpose hall built on the lands of the Uniting Reformed Church in the beautiful Kgubetswana.  The large hall would be able to tend to many different needs with facilities such as a kitchen, a small office, bathrooms, computer facilities, cleaning areas and smaller meeting rooms.  Read more

The Twitcher

Clarens News The TwitcherBack to normal and clumps of international tourists clogging up the square, ‘Oooooohing’ and ‘Aaaaaaahing’ over our summer weather, frosty mornings and all.  As far as I can tell, there is no festival, fair, fete or other social event scheduled for this weekend, but who knows.  It seems that these things crop up at short notice and are occasionally successful, so brace yourselves for a surprise.  Planning, as for example in the case of the extraordinary Clarens Craft Beer Festival, confirms that these thingscan be spectacularly successful.  And what better place to do them than the Clarens square, now looking great, thanks to the town manager and his increasingly effective staff.
Not much to report on the ornithological front other than an explosion in the number of Indian Mynahs.  It would appear that they have joined the same eager, elbowing ingress into our benighted country as the Mozambiquans, Zimbabweans, Congolese, Ruwandans, Ethiopians, Nigerians, Albanians and Eastern European Mafia.  If all of them simply nested in the trees, it might be okay, notwithstanding the mess below.  However, they tend to permeate society at a more fundamental level, so you are likely have a Congolese car guard shepherding Nigerian hijackers away, while you relax in the shade sipping a Mozambique beer served by a Zimbabwean waiter, in the indirect employ of a Serbian drug lord.  So much for birdlife.
Of greater interest, hot off the press, is the news that Kaalvoet is probably a girl!   Read more

Tourism News

Tourism News 3

Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality


Mayoral Charity 3



This weekend – Weather


It’s set to be sunny for the rest of today.

This weekend –  Music

Friday 1st November 2013
The Grouse & Claret:  20h00:  Belinda
Friends: 20h00:  Van Smith

Tamahanste Tavern:  19h30 onwards:  The Battle of the DJs,Fouriesburg featuring DJs from Clarens, QwaQwa, Fouriesburg and Bethlehem.

Saturday 2nd November 2013
The Grouse & Claret:  20h00:  Rick & Denzl

Friends: 20h00:  Slipstream

Artichoke:  12h00:  Belinda

This weekend – Rugby fixtures

Congratulations to the Sharks for winning the Currie Cup.  And what an entertaining game the final turned out to be.
Now that the Currie Cup is won, some of us may very well start displaying some rather odd symptoms.  (Currie Cup rugby withdrawal).   Unfortunately we do not know of any quick-fix solution, but suggest that the following international rugby fixtures may ease the pain……….a little.

This weekend – Other events

Saturday: 2nd November, 2013

Farmers Market:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

Tshepong  Christmas Party,  Tshepong Hall:  14h00  (sponsored by Protea Hotel Clarens and The Bakery at 530 Sias Oosthuizen Street, Clarens)   Entrance is free.

Fouriesberg Rose Festival
For further details contact Paula Greyling 083 501-3999


Coming Events

Remember, remember the 5th of November,

Gunfire, Treason and Plot.

Should you be planning to celebrate this event with fireworks, please consider the animals in your immediate vicinity.  We suggest you drive out of town – and celebrate well away from our precious pets..

Visit the Clarens News website to see what else is planned in Clarens.


Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it in our Classifieds section.

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

Clarens Skies

In celebration of  comet ISON appearing in our skies from 28th November, 2013, we have decided to run a weekly article on our Clarens Skies.  Genevieve Blignaut has already started researching solar events, and discovered that a very rare solar eclipse will take place this Sunday.
Read more

Note from the editor

Our website is still “work in progress” and you can expect to see some changes every week.  In view of last year’s shortage of accommodation over the beer fest, we have decided to upload a business directory for Clarens Accommodation as a matter of urgency.  Please contact should you wish to list your accommodation on our website.