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;
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 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: 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: 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 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 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:

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: 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

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!


The Classifieds page on the website has some very interesting ads.  Click here to have a look. 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:  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. 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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