Monthly Archives: May 2014

28th February 2014

There are times when birds simply don’t feature in a Twitcher’s life, overshadowed perhaps by events of apparently great public consequence: a riot; an earthquake; birth; death; or a beer festival.

In and of itself, the Clarens Craft Beer Festival was what you might expect.  Four and a half thousand thirsty visitors, more food of generally good quality than you can shake a stick at and the happiest little village in the Southern Hemisphere.  Oh, and seventy-two pregnancies, sixty-nine of them unplanned and one uncertain; the balance involved a twin-conception for a pair of lovelorn accountants from Parys who managed the feat in the toilets of the Highlander.  In short, it was a runaway success and confirms that people of all three genders will travel clear across South Africa to sample their favourite cup of foaming brew.  God knows what next year will bring, but odds on five thousand five hundred are pretty short.  So brace yourselves, Clarenites, and practice your dance steps.

Of equal interest is the re-emergence of our own Kaalvoet, a 3.5 metre princess of the Big Foot variety.  Readers may recall that she ran off to sink ski boats on the Vaal Dam before trekking south to mess with international shipping in Cape Town harbour.  Well, she was back for the beer festival.  Cunningly disguised behind an enormous pair of shades and wearing a fetching Korean engineer’s overall (retrieved from a fishing trawler in the fairest Cape) she called herself Edna and worked at a Durban brewer’s stall dispensing large volumes of Irish Red Ale.  For those in the know, her feet were a dead giveaway (size 18, matted brown hair and a beer cap on her pinkie toe) but at least two bikers from Pretoria proposed marriage to her before dusk.

The point is that she was very obviously with child.  No-one is talking (not surprisingly) but suspicion is growing amongst locals that she may have cohabited with a Japanese seaman on her travels.  It is generally agreed that the Japs are particularly non-discriminating when testosterone levels are up, and even Blue Whales have been known to move oceans when the moon is full in Tokyo.  So Edna may have been seduced by a bowl of Sushi and the promise of a visit to Yokohama.  Whatever happened, Slim Bruce is mad with jealousy and the Clarens Women’s Institute has started knitting quite large socks.  Perhaps the Creature Wall in the Brewery will soon have a new addition to its story of Big Foot colonisation, but spare a thought for the midwife to this quaint union.

As for the village, much gloom about the closure of three – or is it four? – businesses.  However, the opening of On The Square (yes, on the square) has introduced four new businesses to Clarens and relocated another; so we are still in credit, it seems.  Had Oom Paul been about, I feel sure he would have opened this spectacular creation in wood and iron with appropriate solemnity.  At least the architecture would have been familiar, and the taste of Portuguese tit-bits would have swept him back to Lourenco Marques and another, perhaps better, time.  The point is that Clarens is, like every other piece of geography, locked into cycles of growth and decline.  A brief examination of the last decade confirms explosive growth and now we are meandering through a national economic malaise which has in fact affected us far less than the rest of the country.

Time to start smiling again, notwithstanding only 258 shopping days to Christmas, and accept that we came to Clarens to have some fun.

The Twitcher

23 May, 2014: Big Blue Skies with a Touch of Grey

Clarens - Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey


Table of Contents:
Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey;
Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project;
The Twitcher; Report back:
Clarens Tourism Forum AGM:  22 May 2014;
CTF call for assistance please!;
Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Zalusianskya microsiphon;
CVC Report-back April 2014;
Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works;
Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave;
Restaurant Specials:
This weekend’; Restaurant Specials: During the week;
Coming Events: 25th May: ‘Awesome Autumn’ Braai challenge for charity;
Coming Events: Tuesday 27th May, 2014.   Meet the Authors :   Nick Norman and Chris Nicholson;
Coming Events: Cluny Trust Golf Day: 31 May 2014;
Coming Events: Clarens Country Market – every Saturday; Coming Events:
Always  something happening in Clarens;
Super rugby;
Classifieds;
Making Clarens News Work for you;
Be amazed; Not on the mailing list? Click here to sign up


Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey

It may be winter – or is it still autumn, and we may have had the odd grey-day but in the main the sky over Clarens has been  particularly blue over the last few weeks.  Not that grey skies should not be enjoyed.  Paul Cezanne claimed that if you wanted to paint a good landscape it needed to have a grey sky.  In fact he was so enamoured by the way that the colour grey brings out other colours that he even painted his studio walls a muted neutral grey. 


 

Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project

 

Clarens News The Maluti Highlands Water Project Katse Dam

Two months ago, on 27 March 2014, the South African and Lesotho Governments met for a sod-turning ceremony.  It was the official launch of the long-awaited Phase Two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Phase One of the Project has been fully operational since 2004, with over 2 million cubic meters of water being transferred daily from Lesotho to South Africa via the Trans Caledon Tunnel, which runs under the Clarens Valley and emerges just north of Clarens at the Ash River Outfall adjacent to the R712 route to Bethlehem. The objective of the Project is to supplement water supplies to South Africa’s industrial heartland of Gauteng.  South Africa’s biggest river, the Orange (or Senqu in Lesotho), has its source in the Maluti Mountains and flows west out of Lesotho and across the arid central and western regions of South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, thus carrying vital water supplies away from the area where it is most needed.  One major drought in the Vaal catchment area, even with Phase One fully operational, could severely impact on water availability in the Gauteng region.  Eskom alone uses the equivalent of over 40% of the water volume transferred from Lesotho in any given period.  Read more


The Twitcher

Okay, birds.  Which is actually the remit of your faithful scribe.  After all, what else is there to write about in the autumn of one’s senses, here in Never-Never land.  Certainly not politics.  For her part, Mother Nature (why this gender distinction when no-one knows for sure?) seems undecided about the transition from summer to autumn to winter, so has apparently compromised on an exquisite combination of clear sparkly days and nippy nights.  Whatever, it is quite delightful and charms visitors out of their 4x4s and into the village shops in large numbers. But if only they would spread their wings, so to speak, and do the countryside as well.  They would discover, for example, blue-grey mountain ranges and verdant hidden valleys to die for, nestling countless guest houses, B&Bs, wedding venues and country shops.  The Golden Gate Park, literally around the corner, sports red sandstone formations that dominate deep blue skies and over 175 species of birds.  You’ll probably see Buzzards, Kestrels, Verreaux’s Eagles, Lanner Falcons, the Cape Vulture and even the threatened Bearded Vulture, but you really need to look!  And who wouldn’t commit a Schedule 4 crime for the sighting of a Buff-Streaked Chat or Gurney’s Sugarbird?  On an unrelated quest for fresh sightings, your faithful correspondent was press-ganged into taking the alternative route from Clarens to Fouriesburg, actually with a wine-farm destination in mind (yes, there is one and very splendid it is too!).   Read more

 


Report back:  Clarens Tourism Forum AGM:  22 May 2014.

CTF  logo  

The CTF AGM was interesting and informative.   The afternoon started off with an a short presentation by Elsa Human from N3 Gateway. As can be seen from the Chairman’s Report, N3 Gateway has played a massive role in supporting the CTF and facilitating its presence at  various important tourism orientated shows.  Elsa emphasized the fact that listing on the www.n3gateway.com business directory  is free and invited Clarens business owners to make more use of this facility. Of interest also was that N3 Gateway’s research indicates that tourists are mainly interested in what they can do in an area – and Elsa is keen for more information on Clarens. She can be contacted by email: elsah@n3gateway.com. We were then introduced to Professor Willem van Zyl:  Associate Professor: Geography (Tourism Development and Planning) at University of the Free State. Professor van Zyl is working on a heritage and travel guide for the area and is also involved in the University’s Afromontaine Research unit.  Needless to say all those involved in the Clarens Tourism industry will benefit from this work.  Professor van Zyl is however looking for people who would like to contribute to the work he is doing in the Clarens area.  email: vanzylwf@qwa.ufs.ac.za The next item on the agenda was the CTF Chairman’s report, presented by Victor Mokoena – as charismatic as ever.  It is obvious that Clarens is growing as a tourism destination.  Click here to read the full report. The evening finished off with Victor’s announcement that thanks to his promotion within SanParks he will be leaving Clarens and moving to Pretoria.  (Congratulations Victor, and all the best.)  There have also been other resignations from the CTF Forum committee, and it was concluded that rather than  elect a new committee, the existing CTF committee would first meet with other stakeholders in Clarens to plan a way forward. Thank you to the CTF for all the work they have done in promoting Clarens as a tourist destination.  All those of us who benefit  cannot however continue to leave it those few individuals who continue to promote Clarens at events such as the upcoming Gauteng Outdoor Expo.  We need to play our part:  See the CTF call for assistance below.


CTF call for assistance please!

The Clarens Tourism Forum will be representing Clarens at the Gauteng Outdoor Expo at the Waterfall Estate, Kyalami from Friday 30 May to Sunday 1 June.

We need assistance in manning the stand, and are calling for any volunteers to please contact Gavin Schoeman at Mountain Odyssey on odyssey@isat.co.za or 058 256 1251 Your travelling expenses will be paid, and accommodation will be arranged.

Advertising Brochures and business cards Any Clarens businesses that would like their brochures and business cards distributed at the Expo, please drop them off at Mountain Odyssey or Clarens Destinations by 3pm, Wed 28 May! See http://www.gauteng.outdoorexpo.co.za/ Thanking you in advance for your co-operation!


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Zalusianskya microsiphon


Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Zalusianskya  microsiphon

Article and photography by Damien Coulson with input from Wim Wybenga Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-monthly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a less oft’ observed member of the endemic Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family. Zalusianskya microsiphon (Short-tubed Drumsticks in English, Kortbuis-Zaluzianskya in Afrikaans and malithungthung in Sesotho), is a perennial herb which grows up to 400 mm tall. It grows in the altitude band 1525-2745 m A.S.L., in rocky grassland areas. Z. microsiphon grows from the EC – Mpum. The Latin Microsiphon  translates to “small tube”, referring most likely to the very narrow stalked pollen tube of the flowers. This particular solitary specimen was photographed this week on a section of the Porcupine Trail prone to partial shade in the autumn season in which it grows. Interestingly enough, several references have stated that the flowers only open in full sun. The leaves of Z. microsiphon are arranged in a basal rosette, are tufted and may appear blue-green to grass green. Read more


 

CVC REPORT BACK APRIL  4Damien Coulson’s Report-back for April 2014  makes interesting reading: not only have the rangers been involved in the removal of  Alien and Invasive plants, but they’ve continued with the on-going battle of protecting the reserve (including the removal of cattle from the reserve), trail maintenance, and the never-ending clearing away of rubbish.  (We find it extremely odd that people who visit this pristine area – presumably because they enjoy it – then not only find it necessary to leave their rubbish behind but to also damage or remove the trail markers.)  Click here to read the full report-back for April 2014. Cick here to read the full report. You can also lend your support and keep all their hard work going by becoming a member of the Clarens Village Conservancy.  Click here to find out more.


Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

Click here   for Background information: Introduction; Environmental Authorisation Process; Overview of Currrent water infrastructure; Technical Details; Potential environmental issues; Registration to participate in Environmental Authrotisation Process; Comment Sheet      


Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave

Paballos Nursing Clarens OrganizationsPlease note that Sisters Henriette and Antoinette of Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens will be taking their well deserved annual leave as follows:
Last day of work 1pm on Thursday 15 May 2014
First day of work 8.45am on Monday 9th June 2014 Click here to see more notices on the Community Bulletin Board Click here for more information on Paballo’s Nursing Care

Restaurant Specials: This weekend

JOIN THE ARTICHOKE RESTAURANT THIS WEEKEND FOR A  SEAFOOD BONANZA: ON THE MENU: Cacciucco, Grilled Trout, Spaghetti with Clams, Frittura di Mare. ARTICHOKE MUSIC: FRIDAY:  GAIL ON GUITAR AND VOCALS SATURDAY:  DION ON GUITAR AND VOCALS COURTYARD RESTAURANT Regular Sunday buffet lunch special:  R110 per head.  Booking is essential: 082 6501503 Calling all restauranteurs:  We plan to make Restaurant specials a regular feature on Clarens News.  These will be posted on the Clarens News facebook page on those fridays when we are not posting out a newsletter.   Please send your specials to:  editor@clarensnews.co.za


Restaurant Specials: During the week

Monday – Friday:  The Posthouse breakfast! Sart the day on the right note.  The Posthouse Breakfast ranges from R22 – R30, and includes tea and coffee. Wednesday:  Friends HAPPY HOUR from 20h00 to 21h00.  Live music. Thursday:   Golden Age Day at Bon Appetit Bistro: (Rosemary Centre) Every Thursday (except Public Holidays) is now “Golden Age Day” @ Bon Appetit Bistro. If you are in the Golden Age (over 65 years old), come enjoy Breakfast (served all day), a light lunch, tea, coffee or cake and get 10% discount on your bill.  Open from 9.30am till 4.00pm. Friday:  Courtyard: Specials at the Cafe every friday from 12 noon, and at the Restaurant every friday evening from 18h00 Friday:  The Highlander: HAPPY HOUR from 17h30 to 18h30.


Coming Events: 25th May: ‘Awesome Autumn’ Braai challenge for charity

Clarens Awesome Autumn Braai Challenge for Charity


Coming Events: Tuesday 27th May, 2014.   Meet the Authors :   Nick Norman and Chris Nicholson

Clarens Book Launch Geologist Nick Norman, co-author of the popular GEOLOGICAL JOURNEYS will be in Clarens on 27th May to talk about his latest geological   ’ guide, GEOLOGY OFF THE BEATEN TRACK. This companion volume offers insights into areas like the TANQUA KAROO, the RICHTERSVELD and iconic BARBERTON which illustrate so richly the unique geological heritage we South Africans are privileged to have on our doorstep.Copies of Geological Journeys, of particular interest to Clarens residents because it includes a section on the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, will be on sale at the talk at Bibliophile. Nick’s hope is that he can imbue his audience with some of the sense of enormous privilege he feels as he drives around our amazing country. Chris Nicholson – legal eagle, novelist and raconteur direct from Franschhoek Literary Fest, will be joining us on Tuesday to chat about his books “No Sacred Cows” (published May 2014), “One Hand Washes the Other” (published 2013), “Papwa Sewgolum: From Pariah to Legend” (published 2005) and “Permanent Removal: Who killed the Cradock Four?” (published 2004). To find our more about Chris Nicholson and his books visit: http://www.chrisnicholson.co.za An opportunity not to be missed. Phone: 083 765 8901


Coming Events: Cluny Trust Golf Day: 31 May 2014

To all the Golfers out there The Cluny golf day will be on Saturday 31 May 2014 at The Clarens Golf Estate. We hope to see all the old supporters there, but there’s always space for new friends. If you would like to book a 4ball, sponsor a hole, or a prize please contact Jan Sander at info@clunyanimaltrust.co.za.


Coming Events: Clarens Country Market – every Saturday

Remember to visit the Clarens Country Market on Saturday.   10am – 3pm, outside Bibliophile, Church Street.


Coming Events: Always something happening in Clarens.

Next month sees Cat Simoni Paul Spence back with two totally different shows:  Noel & Gertie, and Rocky Horror Bite Nite! Click here:  For more information on what’s  happening in Clarens.


Super rugby

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game!



Classifieds:

The Classifieds page on the website has some very interesting ads.  Click here to have a look. email:editor@clarensnews.co.za to place your ad on this page.


Making Clarens News Work for you:

Clarens News is here for you to enjoy, use, and to promote all things Clarens.  Click here to have a look at our new website: www.clarensnews.co.za.  You may notice that we haven’t got all the listings loaded yet, but in the meantime you can get a good idea of what the website is all about.   email:editor@clarensnews.co.za to discuss how to go about getting your business listed.


Be amazed:

Whilst this isn’t exactly about just Clarens, this fantastic video clip is worth watching.  Hidden miracles of the natural world


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23rd May 2014

Okay, birds.  Which is actually the remit of your faithful scribe.  After all, what else is there to write about in the autumn of one’s senses, here in Never-Never land.  Certainly not politics.  For her part, Mother Nature (why this gender distinction when no-one knows for sure?) seems undecided about the transition from summer to autumn to winter, so has apparently compromised on an exquisite combination of clear sparkly days and nippy nights.  Whatever, it is quite delightful and charms visitors out of their 4x4s and into the village shops in large numbers.

But if only they would spread their wings, so to speak, and do the countryside as well.  They would discover, for example, blue-grey mountain ranges and verdant hidden valleys to die for, nestling countless guest houses, B&Bs, wedding venues and country shops.  The Golden Gate Park, literally around the corner, sports red sandstone formations that dominate deep blue skies and over 175 species of birds.  You’ll probably see Buzzards, Kestrels, Verreaux’s Eagles, Lanner Falcons, the Cape Vulture and even the threatened Bearded Vulture, but you really need to look!  And who wouldn’t commit a Schedule 4 crime for the sighting of a Buff-Streaked Chat or Gurney’s Sugarbird?  On an unrelated quest for fresh sightings, your faithful correspondent was press-ganged into taking the alternative route from Clarens to Fouriesburg, actually with a wine-farm destination in mind (yes, there is one and very splendid it is too!).  Sitting mulling through the complex aftertaste of this year’s fledgling reds, the trip along the Lesotho border came sharply into focus, confirming that the term ‘paradise’ was not far off the local truth.  Long assumed by uitlanders to be flat, big-sky country churning out maize by the container-load and rugby players by the klomp, it turns out that the Eastern Free State is a sensory geographic experience not to be missed.

So what about the birds?  Well, for those dark souls who prowl the night, the Spotted Eagle Owl is on the hunt, clearly fond of now very chilled rat au gratin.  They are a nocturnal species and emerge at dusk to start hunting voraciously; as a salutary lesson to the residents of Clarens, they are unfashionably monogamous and have one partner for life.  On the Golf Estate they sport and play in a haunting dress-rehearsal for the mating season, enchanting visitors and residents alike with their seductive calls (to whit, and I quote: hoot hoo-hoo buhoohoo-hooo).  For their part, it appears that the Indian Mynahs have flapped back to points east, finding succour in their Natal bridgehead.  They have left behind a copious collection of fruit and seed eaters, now restored to their indigenous dignity, and the rare Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus).  More a decorative tractor than bird, these spectacular creatures stalk the golf course, scaring the crap out of city golfers, since their shiny pates are clearly reminiscent of auditors and accountants, the most feared of predatory creatures for any aspirant city businessperson (note the politically-correct gender delineation?).

That said, the crème de la crème of the local feathered community remains the Guinea Fowl.  Not, of course for its uncertain looks, which cast it between a Zebra and a Gadfly in terms of colour and design, but for its intense stupidity.  The growing flocks around the village are territorial to a degree and keep dividing and re-establishing themselves on ever-tighter turfs.  Our local flock numbers between 21 and 44 depending on the season, but collectively consume about two-tons of broken maize per week.  I’m not complaining however; it is a while since I last tripped over a snake on my front lawn and the bugs that once sported in the warmer months are nowhere to be seen.  The inherent problem with having a semi-tame flock of these creatures is of course their aggression: You have not felt true fear clutch at your heart until half-a-dozen of these mad creatures surround you looking for food!  Screaming hysterically, to the consternation of your guests, you have to make a wild dash for the safety of the nearest shed, pulse galloping, white and breathless, to retrieve a sack of finest Free State mealies.  Only then can you limp back to the safety of your little stone house and collapse with a very large libation of Scottish wine in your shaking hand.

Cheers

The Twitcher

 

Zalusianskya microsiphon (Short-tubed Drumsticks)

image001 image003 image005

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-monthly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a less oft’ observed member of the endemic Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family. Zalusianskya microsiphon (Short-tubed Drumsticks in English, Kortbuis-Zaluzianskya in Afrikaans and malithungthung in Sesotho), is a perennial herb which grows up to 400 mm tall. It grows in the altitude band 1525-2745 m A.S.L., in rocky grassland areas. Z. microsiphon grows from the EC – Mpum. The Latin Microsiphon  translates to “small tube”, referring most likely to the very narrow stalked pollen tube of the flowers. This particular solitary specimen was photographed this week on a section of the Porcupine Trail prone to partial shade in the autumn season in which it grows. Interestingly enough, several references have stated that the flowers only open in full sun. The leaves of Z. microsiphon are arranged in a basal rosette, are tufted and may appear blue-green to grass green. Basal leaves measurements are 35-90 mm by 8-20 mm; stem leave measurements are 20-65 mm by 4-8 mm (stem leaves overlap with entire to faintly toothed margins with fine hairs present on the margins and midrib). Up to 3 stems may be visible however a solitary stem is also common for this species. The inflorescence can be dense, with flowers along the length of the stem but with a greater density towards the stem tip. Petals are held aloft a corolla of variable length – depending on where the plant grows. One will always see 2 lobes up, 2 to the sides and one facing down (reminiscent of an old lady in a night-gown with her arms open for a hug). The lobes themselves are deeply notched and white inside and reddish-pink outside.   Flowering Late Dec-April.

Uses:

Ecological Importance

According to some sources, the evening fragrance implies that the species in question are pollinated by moths, whereas day-pollinated species often have little or no obvious scent. Research is in progress on the ecological relationships between some members of the genus and specially adapted long-tongued pollinators (particularly night flying hawk moths). Day-flying hawk moths also seem to be significant pollinators of many species of Zaluzianskya.

Gardening

Until recently the plant had not been cultivated; however it has now begun to be recognised for its ornamental value in gardens.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for Z. microsiphon is listed as of Least Concern.

 

Damien1-100x100Article and photopgrahps by Damien Couls0n

with input from Wim Wybenga

9th May 2014: A change in the Weather

 

Snow on Mount Horeb Clarens



Table of contents: A change in the weather; Other changes? Oh yes – we had elections this week; The National MTN MTB Series –  Report Back; Parking in Clarens; Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works; The Twitcher; Clarens Tourism Forum AGM; Letter from Clarens Ratepayers Association; Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve; Female Entrepreneur Awards : Closing date 14 May 2014 Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave Helping SA – Cancer awareness campaign Coming Events: Mother’s Day Coming Events: Super rugby Making Clarens News Work for you


A change in the Weather.

No – we haven’t had snow yet, but since this editions photograph was taken on 11th May last year we can’t be blamed for thinking that it could snow at any time now.   We’ve certainly been blessed with the most fabulous weather recently, but  a quick look at accuweather – shows much coolet weather ahead.  They’re not predicting snow…….. but you never know!


Other changes?  Oh yes – we had elections this week.

Letter from Mandy Prior

Well another election has come and gone. There is some good news!! The DA has become the official opposition in the Free Sate. The sad news is that the voters’ numbers were down from the last Local election, however way up from the last National election.

Unfortunately in National elections the word on the ground is that “we must vote ANC so that the White government never comes back into power”.

Do not lose heart though because every year sees the majority become more and more educated in the ways of government.

Unfortunately, there still seems to be an apathy amongst White and youth voters to take ownership of the country. I can quite understand the resentment amongst the middleclass as they watch their rates and taxes squandered and the infrastructure of the country crumble.

The only way available to us to bring about change is to vote.

Thanks to all who made the effort, no matter which way you voted, to give a voice to the country.

Clr.Mandy Prior

For more comments on the elections see The Twitcher below.


The National MTN MTB Series –  Report Back

Letter from Clarens Toursim Forum:

And so another superb event concludes in Clarens. Sincere thanks to Advendurance, event owners and organisers of the MTN MTB Series in Clarens.

Thanks also to other contributors to the success of this event:A Massive thank you from the Advendurance Team to the entire Clarens Community for their support of this event. 2014 Saw their largest number of entries to date for the Clarens leg – 1825 unique entries with a total of +/-2200 riders over the 2 days. This event first started in Clarens in 2004 with 250 mountain bike riders so the growth over the last 10 years is evident! In a post-event meeting attended by Wessel van der Walt and Francois Theron (Advendurance), Paul Pretorius (Advendurance representative), Rodney Wainwright (CVC + Fire Association), Dawn Wainwright (Paballo’s Nursing Services) and Tammy Hancock (CTF), the future of the event in Clarens was discussed with the objective and vision to further improve, grow and enhance the event. To this end the date of the 2015 Clarens leg has been moved to 17 – 19 April 2015. Contributing factors to the date change are:

i.         to avoid the conflict with a usually productive long weekend in Clarens; and,

ii.         date change of another major mountain bike race event.

Read more


Parking in Clarens

Parking in ClarensIf facebook is anything to go by, the recent cycling event in Clarens seems to have sparked off the perennial debate on parking in Clarens.  We published an excellent article by  Louw van Biljon  in Clarens News last year.  Click here if you missed this well researched article.  There’s much food for thought.


Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

Clarens Water Treatment Works Click here   for Background information: Introduction; Environmental Authorisation Process; Overview of Currrent water infrastructure; Technical Details; Potential environmental issues; Registration to participate in Environmental Authrotisation Process; Comment Sheet      


The Twitcher

Whew!  Another election gone and everything stays the same.  Give or take a percentage point here or there, all we have to show for billions of Rands-worth of hot air in the media is the introduction of red berets to the Parliamentary fashion ramp and the demise of the oldest politician on the block.  Along with some other long-standing stalwarts of Parliamentary privilege, Mangosuthu and his late-lamented goat herders have largely disappeared, leaving KZN with some pretty boring okes in dark suits.  Gone forever are nights of intrigue in what was briefly the world’s smallest provincial capital (to whit, a one-roomed hotel and a three-storey parliament) and cow’s foot soup for breakfast.  He will be missed, not least by journalists everywhere, as the longest speech-maker in contemporary history.  Your faithful scribe actually remembers the world’s newspapers calling his offices in Ulundi (or should that read, in desperation), asking them to halt a 794-page faxed speech from their silky leader.  Ah, those were the days of real communicators.  Goodbye Gatcha and enjoy the pension.   Read more


Clarens Tourism Forum

Clarens Tourism Forum AGM The Annual General Meeting of the Clarens Tourism Forum will take place on the 22nd of May 2014 at 16hOO at Mont d’Or Hotel, Clarens. Click here to see the Notice, Agenda, and Proxy Form


Letter from Clarens Ratepayers Association

Hi There Dihlabeng Budget:  Attached ( Click here ) is the letter which Rodney and I compiled following the Budget meeting, which was held on April 23rd.  The letter was hand delivered to various parties in the Municipality and contains our concerns about the Budget and other serious matters.  Simultaneously an article from the DA, with similar concerns, appeared in the local “ Vrytstaat”.

High Mast Lighting:  We’ve had a number of complaints from around the Village and in Larola about the high mast lights in the Township, they are facing either upwards or into the village.  Shining into bedrooms of residents homes and the accommodation for visitors. The new one in the Stadium has exacerbated the situation.  We have talked to the Contractor at the Stadium.  He has agreed to call back the electrical contractor to adjust the lights and also to set them so that only 2 of them come on at night.  However, it may take some time to get the electrical contractor back.  Hold thumbs!

With regard to the other lights, Peter Reed advises that the guy with responsibility for these is on leave, but will be back early May, when the other lights will be adjusted as necessary. Knowing that these lights were installed in the Township for security purposes, they are not really doing much good shining in the sky.  Please pass this info to anyone else who has a problem – I don’t have the email addresses of all residents, only those who have joined the Ratepayers Association. Kind regards Pat Chairperson, Clarens’ Ratepayers’ Association 058 256-1123  raubenheimer@icon.co.za Click here for more about the Clarens Ratepayers Association

Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Protea Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Protea roupelliae Damien Coulson Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. Well it’s been some time since we’ve included a woody plant in our line-up of must-see-plants, thus this week’s plant hales from the Proteacea (Protea) family. Protea roupelliae(Silver Protea in English, Silversuikerbos in Afrikaans and seqalaba in Sesotho), is a small tree that grows to between 3 & 7 m tall. This plant is found on grass slopes in close proximity to rocky outcrops, usually at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L. P. roupelliae is endemic to S.A. One also gets the feel that they are in a totally different part of the country when walking among the Protea’s. The photos below were not in fact taken in the Clarens Nature Reserve but on private farmland within 10 km (or 5 minutes’ drive) of Clarens.     Read more


Female Entrepreneur Awards : Closing date 14 May 2014

Hi All.

The National Department of Agriculture,Forestry & Fisheries is running the competition for women in different sectors of agriculture.As the Provincial Department of Agriculture & Rural Development we have been tasked to invite all interested female Entrepreneurs to take part in this competition.

Thabo Mofutsanyana District is inviting all Female Entrepreneurs to take part and represent our wonderful district in the Province.If they win in the Province then they will represent Free State Province in the National Competition.  Read more


Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave

Please note that Sisters Henriette and Antoinette of Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens will be taking their well deserved annual leave as follows:

Paballos Nursing Care Clarens

Last day of work 1pm on Thursday 15 May 2014
First day of work 8.45am on Monday 9th June 2014Click here to see more notices on the Community Bulletin Board Click here for more information on Paballo’s Nursing Care

Helping SA – Cancer awareness campaign

Helping SA is having a cancer awareness campaign to raise funds for children with cancer in state hospitals.

There are a lot of children without winter pajamas or any pajamas for their stay in hospital, they also do not have much to keep them busy and their minds off what they are going through, the funds raised through this campaign will be used to buy the children clothing and toys and will also assist with the traveling for the children and their parents to and from the hospital. With this project in 2013 we made a lot of children smile and just for that minute or two they forgot about their pain and the scariness of what they are going through, we also did not just do this for children with cancer but also with other children that is ill or has dread illnesses. We will be doing the same this year to focus on all children to make what they are going through easier for them.

The fundraising will be done by asking for a R100 donation towards this project ….Read more


Coming Events: Mother’s Day

Mothers Day at Mont d'Or


Coming Events:

Click here:  To see what else is happening in Clarens


Super rugby

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game! Making Clarens News Work for you: Clarens News is here for you to enjoy, use, and promote all things Clarens.   Get it to work for your business by listing on the website.   Contact the editor@clarensnews.co.za

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9th May 2014

Whew!  Another election gone and everything stays the same.  Give or take a percentage point here or there, all we have to show for billions of Rands-worth of hot air in the media is the introduction of red berets to the Parliamentary fashion ramp and the demise of the oldest politician on the block.  Along with some other long-standing stalwarts of Parliamentary privilege, Mangosuthu and his late-lamented goat herders have largely disappeared, leaving KZN with some pretty boring okes in dark suits.  Gone forever are nights of intrigue in what was briefly the world’s smallest provincial capital (to whit, a one-roomed hotel and a three-storey parliament) and cow’s foot soup for breakfast.  He will be missed, not least by journalists everywhere, as the longest speech-maker in contemporary history.  Your faithful scribe actually remembers the world’s newspapers calling his offices in Ulundi (or should that read, in desperation), asking them to halt a 794-page faxed speech from their silky leader.  Ah, those were the days of real communicators.  Goodbye Gatcha and enjoy the pension.

Some commentators actually seem surprised by the opening surge of the Entertaining Fat Fellows, and their showing in third place; but who would you vote for if all you had to show for 20 years of democracy was a cardboard shack and lots of leisure time?  If nothing else, we can look forward to some riveting debates in the Big House down south and lots of frustration for the Speaker.  The real interest lies five-years ahead, when it seems likely that a coalition of opposition interests may make it difficult for our dancing President’s successor to rule unfettered.  Always something new out of Africa, as the actress said to the Greek Archbishop.

Closer to home, rumour has it that only about 10% of Clarens voters, of what might be dubbed a Typex complexion, bothered to vote this time around.  Pity really.  If they had, control of our mini-metropolis would have changed profoundly, much to the chagrin of Big Brother.  There really are times when complacency is rather counter-productive, but who am I to criticize the political process?  As least someone somewhere listened to Red Ronnie Kasrils, who in spite of his odd campaign to advocate a zero ballot, actually voted himself; just shows how dark and devious intelligence people really are.

What has changed, thank the Gods, is that Clarens is almost back to normal.  Six-weeks of rampant tourism have eroded our stocks of life support materials, such as beer, bread and venison.  Locals have been seen eating Mexican in desperation, but this is unlikely to become a habit unless the Good and the Great declare another 40 public holidays.  Talking of tourists, has anyone else noticed that they are getting younger, happier and actually spend money?  At risk of being repetitious, for those of you who have read more than one of these humble offerings, it appears that we are living through a sustained boom of sorts; pretty much everyone with a till reckons they are up between 30% and 50% over this time last year and are smiling in a rather self-satisfied way.

But given the volume of visitors and their interest in finding a new home in the mountains, it is simply remarkable that the Clarens Golf Estate remains a comparative virgin.   The obviously shy bankers who own most of the empty stands on the Estate seemed disinclined to advertise their holdings or even market their empty stands anywhere or in any way.  Amazing really, given the bank’s proclivity to spend millions in real money on international sports advertising, and the fact that properties in Clarens are selling fast and furiously without them.   Still, when you have already repossessed 11 golf estates, perhaps you would also prefer sipping Martinis at Old Trafford and ruminating about bad investments.

Finally, before some local busybody beats me to it, it has to be said that last week’s show at Gosto’s was pretty damn good, apart from some frivolous and rather risqué comments directed at your faithful scribe.  Dubbed ‘Mr Kiss’ by two-metres of gorgeous Bond Girl, your correspondent had to endure the sniggers of locals imbibing both too freely and too often.  What is wrong with an honest cup of tea at dinner, I ask you with tears in my eyes?  Fortunately, I have a hide like the last White Rhino (and freshly Botoxed lips, in anticipation of increased demand) so will endure these little barbs with fortitude.  And wait for Cat Simone’s next show, Rocky Horror and Abba, in June.   Winter is almost upon us, notwithstanding these last rays of Indian summer, so enjoy them while you can; the birds certainly are, but it has to be said that most of them have flown east to sun themselves on Durban high-rises and add to the nice white streaky effects down their aluminium and glass-sides.   Nice to be able to return a favour to our KZN visitors.

The Twitcher

Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

Notice of Environmental Authorisation Process:  Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works.  Proponent: Dihlabeng Local Numicipality  EIA Ref: EMB/11(x&xi), 40 (ii), 13 (c)iii(dd)/14/25 Table of Contents:  Notice of Environmental Authorisation Process; Background information: Introduction; Environmental Authorisation Process; Overview of Currrent water infrastructure; Technical Details; Potential environmental issues; Registration to participate in Environmental Authrotisation Process; Comment Sheet       Clarens Water   Clarens Water Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works Overview of current water infrastructure Clarens Clarens Water Treatment Upgrade Technical details     Comment sheet

Clarens Tourism Forum AGM Notice

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NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE CLARENS TOURISM FORUM

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Clarens Tourism Forum will take place on the 22nd of May 2014 at 16hOO

at Mont d’Or Hotel, Clarens.

Registration will take place from 15h00.

 

PROXIES

– A member may be represented at a general meeting by proxy, who must be a member of the CTF.

– A proxy must be lodged with the Association at least 24 (twenty-four) hours before the commencement of the meeting.

– The chairman of the meeting may agree to accept a proxy tendered at any time before or during the meeting.

You are cordially invited to appoint a proxy to act on your behalf at the Annual General Meeting by completing the attached Proxy Form and forwarding same via e-mail or fax, to be received on or before Monday, the 19thof May at 15h00.   NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS

– Committee members shall be required to rotate on an annual basis

– Committee members shall continue to hold office from the date of his/her appointment to office until the annual general meeting next following his said appointment, at which meeting each committee member shall be retired from office but will be eligible for re-election to the committee.

You are cordially invited to nominate Members (not more than two) who you would like to see elected as Committee members of the Clarens Tourism Forum. If you would like to nominate a Member/Person, please ensure that the Member/Person concerned is willing to stand for election. Once the nominee’s consent has been received, kindly complete the attached nomination form and ensure that both, you and the person seconding, and the nominee sign same in the appropriate places. The nomination form may be handed in at the Clarens Destinations offices or at the AGM.   VOTING RIGHTS OF MEMBERS

– Members shall be entitled to vote only on the matters raised at every general meeting.

– Each member, present in person or by proxy and entitled to vote, shall have one vote for each nomination.

– No person other than a member who have paid membership fees payable to the CTF in respect of or arising out of his/her membership and who is not suspended, shall be entitled to be present or to vote on a question, either personally or by proxy, at any general meeting.

Click here for Proxy form

Click here for Agenda