CVC Photography Competition – Through the Looking Lens

Winter is here and it is cooold! Fear not – the CVC has news to warm the heart – the winners of the CVC Photography Competition – Through the Looking Lens!

Entries were received in 2 categories – Landscape, and subject: nature. Great photos were submitted and the judges found themselves hard pressed to select only a 1st, 2nd & 3rd place in each category. Each participant was allowed to submit up to 5 of their best images. The judges spent great care assessing composition, focus, creative perspective, the use of colour (or lack thereof) and texture in winning photos; however no distinction was made between DSLR and mobile images. Basic editing was permitted including colour, exposure and cropping adjustments and the result were some pretty impressive images. Some images were simply too good to ignore, and the decision was made to award the winning photographer prizes in 1 or more categories where exceptional images were submitted.

We nevertheless have come to a conclusion after considering all these factors – herein are our top 6 favourite photos for our 2016 autumn photo competition!


Category, Landscape:


1st Prize (Sponsored by Protea Hotel, Clarens) – Paul Naude – One night stay for 2 at Protea Hotel, Clarens plus breakfast & 1 set CVC postcards
Photo name: Adam’s Apple, taken near Glen Reenen rest camp.

Adams Apple - Paul Naude



2nd Prize (Sponsored by Ian van Straaten Photography) – Bear Hansen– Family photo-shoot and photography workshop in Clarens & 1 set CVC postcards.

Photo - Bear Hansen

3rd Prize (Sponsored by Hack ‘n Steek Knitting Club)– Kieta Weyer – A hike of Golden Gate’s Cathedral Cave & 1 set CVC postcards

Autumn    Kieta Weyer

Photo name: Autumn Dam – taken at Lake Clarens..


Category, Subject: Nature

1st Prize (Sponsored by Protea Hotel, Clarens)– Dons Kritzinger – One night stay for 2 at Protea Hotel, Clarens plus breakfast & 1 set CVC postcards

Photo name: Reflections in the mud, taken in Clarens

Reflections in Mud - Dons Kritzinger

2nd Prize (Sponsored by Ian van Straaten Photography) – Jondee Benson – Family photo-shoot & 1 set CVC postcards

Photo name: Waterfall, taken at the Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga.

Waterfall - Jondee Benson

3rd Prize (Sponsored by Hack ‘n Steek Knitting Club)– Bear Hansen – A hike of Golden Gate’s Cathedral Cave & 1 set CVC postcards
Photo name: Bee in Clarens!, taken in Clarens.

Bee in Clarens - Bear Hansen


A big well done & congratulations to all our winners!

Thanks also go to all our photography competition participants who supported the CVC, and an extra special thank you to our prize sponsors: Protea Hotel Clarens; Ian van Straaten Photography; Hack ‘n Steek Knitting Club and Du Toit Gas and Machinery Services, for your kind sponsorship of our prizes!





Vernonia natalensis

Vernonia Vernonia 2

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to the latest “Plant of Interest” article for 2016!! This week we’ll be looking at a striking member of the Asteraceae (Daizy).

Vernonia natalensis (Silver Vernonia in English, ileleva in Zulu) is an erect perennial herb, obtaining a height of 100cm. It is widespread from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo, growing mostly on grassy slopes in montane, high elevation areas and has been recorded at up to 2000 m A.S.L.

This lovely specimen was photographed on our Porcupine Trail in the Clarens Nature Reserve. It usually occurs in clumps, but may also be found as colonies. It is dormant during winter, but flowers from as early as August in warmer cycles, through to December.

The beautiful silver leaves of V. natalensis are lanceolate; undulating with the margins slightly rolled inwards and velvety to the touch. The leaves measure on average 40-60mm long by around 5-10mm wide. The dainty purple-pink flower-heads measure up to 10mm wide; are branched and appear flat. White tufted buds are often interspersed between the florets, giving rise to new flowers. Purple stigmas also contribute to the frilly appearance of this species.


Butterflies, beetles and bees have been recorded visiting V. natalensis flowers in the CNR. The seeds with their hairy parachutes are dispersed by the wind.


This plant makes for an eye-catching ornament in gardens, and can be propagated from seed or grown from cuttings. This versatility makes it an obvious choice for the amateur gardener.

Traditional uses

Reportedly, the roots and leaves of V. Natalensis have been used as a charm against lightning. As traditional medicine it is used to treat coughs, headache, and internal pains. It is an ingredient in medicines to ensure a healthy baby, although a variation of this is sometimes used to induce abortion. Several species within the genus are used as herbal teas.

Conservation Status

Regarded as of Least Concern by SANBI on account of its stable presence throughout its distribution.


Article, photography and research by

Damien Coulsen

Head ranger Clarens Village Nature Reserve