Clarens summer Hay bales

Table of Contents:

  • Making hay while the sun shines;
  • Kgubetswana Comes to the Party!;
  • Meeting;
  • Trading Licences on the Square:  Dihlabeng Responds;
  • Self – drive: Clarens to the Vulture Restaurant: Golden Gate National Park;
  • Plant of the week:  Disa chrysostachya;
  • It’s for the Birds;
  • The Twitcher;
  • Other Community News;
  • This weekend – Weather;
  • Coming Events –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival;
  • Regional Festivals – Bieliemieliefees;
  • Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival;
  • More Coming Events;
  • Classifieds;
  • Not on the mailing list?



Making hay while the sun shines

Summer is in full swing, and the last few days of heat have seen Clarenites wilting.  Shoo …. it’s hot – but who would want to live anywhere else, especially with reports of record snow falls throughout the northern hemisphere. So – as the saying goes – make hay while the sun shines and enjoy these beautiful days.   The farmers are certainly making the best of this hay-making opportunity, as can be seen from the photo taken from the road between Clarens and Bethlehem earlier this week.
This week’s headline – Chamber of Commerce – highlights an important development in Greater Clarens – and the invitation for all business owners to take part needs to be taken seriously.  If you run a business in Clarens – no matter how big or small – you need to attend the meeting on Monday. This is your chance  to make your voice heard.


Kgubetswana Comes to the Party!

 A meeting will be held at 10h00 on Monday 27 January 2014 to initiate the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce, at the Dutch Reformed Church Hall on Main Street.

All business interests in the greater Clarens area will be able to discuss the concept and elect three directors to the first board of directors to represent their interests in the business growth of the village.  Three of five directors will be elected on Monday morning and Kgubetswana will elect two more to make up a board of five directors, including the chair.

In this regard, business interests in Kgubetswana met last night to establish their own business organisation, named the Clarens Business Development Cooperative.  This signal event is an important one for the whole community and confirms the interest of Kgubetswana in development, training and mentoring.  This body will then nominate two directors to the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce, confirming the establishment of a single, representative entity to guide the future development of Greater Clarens.

Recent events, particularly the contentious issue of trading licences on the Clarens Square, confirm the need for such a body to negotiate issue of concern to business and ensure the survival of the village in these harsh economic times.  On a positive note, the establishment of an integrated representative body opens the way to a brighter future for all the residents of Clarens.

All business interests in Clarens and its surrounding farming area are invited to the meeting on Monday and nomination forms for the election of directors are available from The Clarens News .  Representatives of the Clarens Business Development Cooperative will also attend the meeting and provide an insight into their ground-breaking initiative.



Date:  27 January 2014

Meeting Time: 10h00

Venue:  Dutch Reformed Church Hall, Main Street

All business interests in Clarens and its surrounding farming area are invited to the meeting on Monday and nomination forms for the election of directors are available from The Clarens News .  Representatives of the Clarens Business Development Cooperative will also attend the meeting and provide an insight into their ground-breaking initiative.

Trading Licences on the Square:  Dihlabeng Responds

Readers will recall that on January 7 of this year, 63 rate-paying businesses signed a Memorandum of Complaint in respect of the granting of trading licences to vendors on the Clarens Square.  This Memorandum was forwarded, courtesy of the Clarens Unit Manager, Peter Reed, to the Municipal Manager in Bethlehem.

We have pleasure in reporting today that two representatives of the Local Economic Development Forum (Thembalethu Dladla, Manager Tourism and Business Development, and Lebohang Mofokeng, Officer Emerging Business) asked for a meeting with the facilitators of the Memorandum of Complaint, Peter Badcock-Walters and Natalie Meyer.  This was duly held in Peter Reed’s office last week and those attending were kindly introduced by Mandy Prior.  The meeting was positive and to the point: The Dihlabeng representatives went to great lengths to assure Clarens that they were seriously concerned and recognised the unique value of Clarens to the Municipality and the Province.  They were also somewhat in awe of the collection of 63 signatures in less than 24 hours!  The Clarens facilitators indicated that the memorandum summarised the concerns of rate-paying business and that straight answers were required to the questions put to Dihlabeng.

The following points were discussed and agreed:   Read more

Self – drive: Clarens to the Vulture Restaurant: Golden Gate National Park

Self drive - Clarens to Vulture Restaurant

Genevieve Blignaut

If beauty and the vastness of nature is what you seek, the Vulture Restaurant, located in the Oribi Loop in the Golden Gate National Park, is just the thing for you.  The drive of 58 km’s will spoil you with tremendously beautiful views of the Rooiberg and landscapes stretching as far as the Drakensberg. Leave Clarens on the R712  towards the Golden Gate National Park.  Continue straight and allow your eyes to follow the hypnotic lines of farmfields whilst the mountains overhead carry the whispers of ancient voices straight to your heart.  If you fancy some horse riding, why not stop at Bokpoort on the way, or if you have a rumbly tummy picnic at Sunnyside Guest Farm or lunch at The Gourmet Shed are both easily accessible from the drive.  Alternatively stop at one of the many other  treasures along your way:  Café Moulin, Sugar & Cinnamon, The Busstop, Kiara Lodge and the Koffiepot, all filled to the brim with delicious yummies and ready to welcome you with great hospitality.   Read more

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week:  Disa chrysostachya

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Disa chrysostachya Damien Coulson



Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a member of the Orchid family recently spotted in relatively low abundance at just 2 localities in the CNR.
Disa chrysostachya (the Torch Orchid in English; and mametsana in Sesotho), is a perennial that rises to between 250 & 650 mm tall. It usually occurs in damp grasslands, marshy areas or below cliff seep lines at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L., and occurs from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo.
D. chrysostachya has on average 3 – 5 densely overlapped leaves arising from the base of a thick fleshy stem. The inflorescence is tall and cylindrical and slender. The flowers are small, bright orange/yellow with a reddish tinge. A spur is present on each flower and hangs straight down. The flowers are 5 – 11 mm long, flowering from late December to mid Jan. This plant hasn’t been observed growing in great abundance, which would rather obviously make any sightings all the more dear. It’s growth form is also rather unusual and makes for an interesting observation.   Read more

It’s for the Birds

Mary Walker  Clarens NewsThis Saturday, if you happen to be out driving on one of the dirt roads in the countryside and you find yourself behind an annoyingly slow car, your patience and restraint will not go unappreciated.  The CAR Project is having its summer day out and in various parts of the country slow cars will be driving along routes away from the main roads.  No, this is not a vintage car rally!  In fact, for much of the time these cars will be parked at the side of the road and the occupants will be out of the cars and standing on the veld grass verges, staring off into the distance; with binoculars glued to their eyes, and paper and pencil handy.

These are CAR Project volunteers, made up of many hundreds of persons around the country.  And a carload of ladies from Clarens will be among their count this Saturday.

The Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcounts (CAR) Project dedicates two days each year, one in late July and one in late January, to a mass bird count, where specific bird species are counted in a certain type of terrain subject to specified criteria.  Sounds too much like work?  No, of course not!  It’s a fun outing in your own car, with your own padkos, and with something challenging and satisfying to do along the way.  And at the end of it you are contributing to a national ornithological database.   Read more

The Twitcher

I have really tried hard to write about birds this week.  I really have.  But when a rumour of global proportions does the rounds, what can a boy do, especially when it’s about cricket?

It appears (as the actress said to the Bishop) that a local farmer and businessman has the healthiest of obsessions with red balls and white caps.  In short, he has the most laudable of ambitions: namely, to bring civilisation to Clarens by building a world class cricket pitch on his farm, thus liberating it from the lowly role of feeding the people and boosting the economy.  Well, he is a farmer, so maybe that’s not strictly true.

The point is that this farm, in the shadow of a mushroom rock, could soon be heaving to mammoth fours and sixes at the behest of tall, chisel-featured cricketers of every make and persuasion.  Yes, it may indeed be true.  Imagine, if you will, dear reader, the visiting Australian cricket team taking to the field and bowling cabbages back and forth – all to the rapturous applause of both Australian residents of our own dear village.  And imagine the opposition, the Clarens and Country Districts All Stars, gearing up in the nets, in the shadow of one of the village’s premier wedding venues?

Picture Bruce Weyers, trim in skin-tight Teflon strides and size 59 pads, leaping gymnastically to his left and right, demonstrating the fine art of wicket-keeping.  Conceive, if you will, of the Sector Police Forum Chair lying crumpled on the turf after receiving a vicious bouncer from Les ‘body-line’ Thake.  Picture Ollie  ‘the kilted catcher’ Esplin at silly mid-on and Greg ‘the prowler’ Mousley at silly mid-off, taking profane direction from team Captain and star of the third-worst batting line up in the world, Brad ‘one off the wrist’ Goldblatt.  Imagine!   Read more

Other Community News

Clarens Family Pharmacy:  Trading Hours from 19th January to NOTICE CHANGES in TRADING  3 February 2014

MONDAY 27/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00
WEDNESDAY 29/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00

Bird Interest Group:  
Interested in being part of a Bird Interest Group?  Read Mary Walker’s article “It’s for the Birds” in this issue. Clarens News invites interested persons to contact us ( with their input and ideas.

Community Notice Board
Please note that we now have a Community Notice Board on the website:  To view Click here

This weekend – Weather


This weekend – Other Events

Farmers Market: Be sure to visit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. This is the place to buy fresh local produce, home baked goodies, and lots lots more.


Coming Events –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Thumbs-up for Clarens:   The Jan 19 Sunday Times Travel section gives a round up of “this year’s best festivals”. The Clarens Craft Beer Festival is listed under “Food and Drink”…. It’s the only Craft Beer festival listed and the only Free State festival listed. Well done Clarens!

Have a look at the Clarens News website Events.

Clarens Craft Beer Festival
Of course we’re all gearing up for the Clarens Beerfest.  We’re informed that the tickets are selling like hot cakes (or is that cold beers.)  Be sure not to miss out by buying your tickets on-line from the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage.   
Accommodation in Clarens over that weekend has pretty much been booked, but there is still accommodation available nearby and a list is available on the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage. Should you have problems opening the page  –  click here 

Regional Festivals – Bieliemieliefees

      13 – 16 February 2014.  Reitz


For  more info:

Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival

Click here for more information

More Coming Events

Have a look at the Clarens News website Coming Events page.

There’s always something to look forward to.  It may still be a couple of months away but you need to diarize the book launch on 21 March 2014:  Soweto Burning by local resident Don Emby. Sorry – no information on forthcoming cricket events in Clarens………but watch this space: it could be happening soon.  (Read the Twitcher in this issue to find out more.)


Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to try a totally different gastronomic experience.  Remember to check out the classifeds section.
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