Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween. There’s so much happening in Clarens that you’d better dust off those broomsticks – it’s going to be the only way to do it all. Have a look at the events page on our website: www.clarensnews.co.za .
Today: The Clarens Country Market
Cherry Farm Tours
Halloween party at Friends
5th November: Guy Fawkes Trivia evening
5th November: CAT at a hot BMW Motorrad evening
6-8 November: BMW Motorad
7 November: The Clarens Country Market
14 November: Cherry Jazz Festival (Ficksburg)
14-21 November: Cherry Festival (Ficksburg)
19 November: Sandstone Estates Tours and Train rides

Barleria monticola


Barleria monticola Barleria monticola 2

Barleria monticola (Berg Barleria in English) is a perennial which may obtain a height of 300-400mm and tends to grow in small semi-rounded clumps in moist grassveld areas, growing in relative abundance particularly on mountain slopes and in close proximity to sandstone rock shelves. Distribution is from the Eastern Free State through to KZN. Flowering occurs from mid-September – late November.

This attractive specimen of the Berg Barleria was photographed on the slopes of the Kloof Mountain Trail where they were observed for the first time this season (for some unfathomable reason) by the author. The mauve flowers contrast pleasantly with the bright green leaves which in turn make for a striking plant against the more uniform mountainside foliage. Understandably then, the species name monticola is derived from the Greek montane meaning “arising from the mountain” or “mountain residing”.

The sessile leaves (40mmX20-25mm) of B. monticola are lanceolate-ovate, tufted; soft and covered in velvety long hears. The margins are entire and the apices are pointed. The stems are also velvety while the inflorescence takes the form of a terminal spike. The overlapping 5-petaled flowers are mauve, measuring around 30mm and always occur at the apex of the tightly clustered leaves, held aloft by a short (approx. 20mm), silky stalk. Uses:


This species is frost resistant and drought tolerant, making it a relatively hardy species. B. monticola grows in special abundance after fires and in warmer than average spring seasons, where its presence in the veld is nothing short of spectacular. It would thus make for a very attractive garden ornamental, especially when grown in full sunlight conditions.


The nectar-rich flowers attract many species of butterfly and bees and are thus ecologically significant from a pollination perspective. When ripe and exposed to moisture, the brown seed capsules explode, ensuring a viable population for the next generation. These will then develop in close proximity to the parent plant.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of B. monticola according to SANBI is listed as of Least Concern (LC).

Snow report: 1-3 November, 2015

It seems the cold front arriving early next week may bring just a little more snow with it than we first expected. The forecasts do seem to be fluctuating somewhat – however this is the latest, most accurate info we have. Late Sunday evening into the early hours of Monday morning we may see snow over the high mountain peaks surrounding Graaff Reniet. Continuing into the morning snow will reach the mountain regions of Oudtshoorn, Beaufort West, Hogsback and the Drakensberg all the way from The Eastern Cape into the KZN with heavier falls in the mountains bordering the Eastern Cape near Tiffendel and Lesotho. Regions in the Eastern Cape such as Lady Grey and Barkly East may also experience some snow in the high mountains.   (Information courtesy of snowreport.co.za)

Clarens Community Forum – notice to residents

Dear Clarens Businesses & Residents,
Please note that the sewerage overflow problem that occurred three weeks ago next to Main street just above the dam, at the entrance to town from the N5, has now been fixed. The inspection manhole was installed and the surface water flow should now disappear. 
Thank you to Sjoerd de Boer of the Clarens Ratepayers Association (CRA) who ensured that this problem was speedily resolved.
Melisna Grobler
​Clarens Community Forum

Lifetime achievement award

Kudu’s Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed on Free State born James Mokoena

Born and bred in the Clarens District, in the eastern Free State, James used to herd his father’s cattle and goats along the fences of Golden Gate Highlands National Park (GGHNP) before he joined Golden Gate as a room attendant in 1975. His Father, Nthodi Mokoena, also served Golden Gate for many years in the sixties as a Golf Course attendant.

With a career that spans over 40 years in SANParks, Mr. Mokoena who is a waiter in the restaurant, has over the years shown integrity, dedication, self-discipline consistency and punctuality which are qualities that are a dying breed in today’s society. In 2013, during the Northern Region Awards (build up to annual Kudu Awards) James was awarded for Outstanding Service in the workplace.

According to Victor Mokoena, Acting Park Manager at GGHNP “James has for many years been setting high standards for himself at work in order to be a person of integrity. While setting high standards, he never compromised his work beliefs and values. He is a person of integrity and performs to the best of his ability even when nobody is watching, because he knows it is not about who is watching, it is the principle of being truthful and productive. A lot of loyal customers of the hotel have known him as man of integrity for many decades.”

James has a smile that contributed heavily to the tourism income of this park for 40 years by creating a legacy of effective customer service that changed the belief that National Parks system in the park level is purely militant and law enforcement.

After he received the award Mr. Mokoena who was accompanied by his wife could not contain his joy and spoke in Sesotho “I feel honored to be the recipient of such an award. At times when you are just doing what you have been employed to do, you never know that people are watching so closely. I am therefore so humbled by this gesture and I will cherish this moment for as long as I live”
Media release: 17.10.2015. Issued by SANParks Northern Region
Divhani Maremba, Golden Gate Highlands National Park Communications Manager. Tel: 012 426 5304, Cell: 074 588 5789 or Email: divhani.maremba@sanparks.org

Moraea huttonii

Moraea hotonnii Moraea

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’ll be looking at a striking member of the Iridaceae (Iris family).

Moraea huttonii (Large Golden Vlei Moraea in English, teale-ea-noka in Sesotho) is a perennial which may obtain a height of up to 100cm. This species usually occurs in clumps, but may also occur in smaller groups of 2-3 in the early stages of development. This Moraea likes to grow in moist areas at high altitudes (up to 2400m A.S.L.) in close proximity to rocky mountain streams.  The distribution of this species is relatively wide (though sparse) from the Eastern Cape through the Free State, KZN and Mpumalanga. Flowering occurs from end Sept – mid November.

This specimen of M. huttonii was photographed on the banks of our Spruit hiking trail. Another specimen of the same species was observed along the Leucosidea trail in close proximity to the Kloof Dam.

The leaves of this species measure in the vicinity of 5-25mm wide; possess concave margins and are longer than the stem (approx. 1200mm). The flowers are relatively large (50-70mm across), and are an unmistakable butter yellow with large sunshine-yellow nectar guides on the outer tepals. The inner tepals are erect and spatula shaped. A dark hue is usually observed nearer the apex of the style. Uses:


Moraea huttoni makes for a very attractive and altogether striking garden plant. Households in Clarens have been observed utilising similar Iris species in colourful hedges along the outside perimeters of their properties. The ornamental value of this species is thus considerable among avid gardeners.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of M. huttonii according to SANBI is listed as of Least Concern (LC ).


Click here for more information on plants in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Click here for more information on the Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve