Guinea fowl chicks at The Clarens Country House

Table of Contents:

  • Equinox;
  • Snakes;
  • Victor Victorious: Victor Mokoena;
  • Self Drive from Clarens to Katse;
  • The Twitcher;
  • Community News: Letter to Cattle Owners;
  • Dihlabeng Primary meets Clarens Xtreme;
  • C.V.C. Rangers Receive First Aid Certification;
  • In a Heartbeat – New business in Clarens;
  • Coming Soon – Mexican Restuarant;
  • Coming Events: Passiespele 2014: Bethlehem;
  • Coming Events: 2 May, 2014:Supper Theatre On the Square: The fabulous Cat Simoni starring in Double “O” Bondgirl;
  • Coming Events: 3-4 May 2014:  National MTB in Clarens;
  • It’s super rugby time again;
  • Not on the mailing list?



The Equinox was last Thursday (20th March 2014) so we are now officially in autumn.  (And in the northern hemisphere everyone has started celebrating the beginning of spring.) There are two equinoxes every year : March and September –  a time when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal.

The Equinox is also when according to legend the Mayan snake god Kukulcan returns to earth to commune with his worshippers and provide blessings before continuing on his was to the underworld.  And at every equinox  people from all over the world visit the Pyramid of Kukalcan (also known as El Castillo) in Mexico, where mathematically brilliant architecture and the sun/shadow patterns at  equinox combine to create an amazing illusion of a giant snake descending the side of the pyramid.

And, as if by some amazing coincidence, the snakes in our area seem to be particularly active at equinox. (See the story below.)  Not that I’m suggesting for one moment that the local Rinkals compares with the great Kukulcan, or that we could turn him into yet another tourist attraction for Clarens.





Snake in ClarensThis is a good time of the year for snake spotting.  They’re particularly active in autumn, because they’re trying to fatten up in preparation for their winter hibernation. Problem is, that they’re very happy to search your house, garage, laundry or store room for food and are quite oblivious to the fact that they’re not welcome.  We had one having a look through our guest house on Monday.  Initial reaction?…….PANIC !  Fortunately, I had my cell phone with me, and Ollie and Detmar from Clarens Xtreme arrived with their snake-catching equipment in a matter of minutes. It took our coffee drinking, snake catching, adrenalin junkies a full total of 45 seconds to catch the snake and stowe it safely away in a bucket. Later on in the day, our non-paying guest was released in the mountains – in a spot where, Ollie assures me, he has a beautiful view of Lesotho.

What to do in case of a snake in your house:

Phone Ollie :  082 56 36 242

Keep an eye on the snake so that you know exactly where it is when Ollie and Detmar arrive to catch it.

Stay calm and ensure that the snake is not disturbed or threatened in any way.  (The snake is probably just as frightened as you are.)

Victor Victorious: Victor Mokoena

Victor Mokoena

by Natalie Dell

Meeting Victor Mokoena is like feeling the sun on your face after a few rainy days. The man has energy to spare and a megawatt smile. He is the Tourism Manager for the Northern Region of SANPARKS (Golden Gate) and the Chairperson of the Clarens Tourism Forum (CTF).

Born in Clarens in 1980, he is a loyal and committed Claranite. He attended the Clarens Combined School from Grade 1 to Grade 12. When I asked him about his first job, he proudly talks about the years that he was a gardener in the village, earning R12 per week. Although he is quick to point out that the money was not what excited him about the job – it was the doorstop sandwiches that he got from his employers that kept his motivation high. Read more

Self Drive from Clarens to Katse

Rose and Rod Smart from Howick in Natal recently visited Katse and sent us an article on their trip.  Anyone planning to self-drive to Katse will find the article full of useful tips and information.

Self-drive from Clarens to Katse Dam

Click here to read the full article

The Twitcher

With Easter on the horizon and the Gods of Winter mustering their wrathful breath for a frosty blow through our little valley, autumn promises to be quite an interesting place to be.
That’s right.  There are only 276 sleeps until Christmas Day, so time to start ironing your old wrapping paper and breaking out the gifts you didn’t want or like from last year.  Try not to give them to the people who gave them to you, however, or there may be a long silence ahead.  Talking of which, what constitutes a shopping day in this Year of Our Lord 2014?
For starters it probably depends where you are.  In New York, for example, 275 days means 275 shopping days.  In Lusaka, by contrast, it probably means 27 shopping days, while in our sunny village it depends WHO you are and what your sleeping habits involve.  Ten short years ago, Clarens slumbered until 09h00 of a morning, most mornings, and certainly didn’t entertain any shopping on a Sunday afternoon, a Monday possibly or a Tuesday certainly.  Read more

Community News: Letter to Cattle Owners

Environmental Education: Dihlabeng Primary meets Clarens Xtreme

Environmental Education is ongoing, and as you can see from the article below the CVC Rangers make sure that it’s fun.

Environmental Education Dihlabeng School meets Clarens XtremeThe sky was a perfect crisp blue and the morning was pleasant – perfect weather for 19 students of Dihlabeng Primary to enjoy a day of play at Clarens Xtreme.

As a result of winning a recycling themed poster competition, 11 students from grade 7 and 8 students from grade 2 got to spend an entire morning enjoying some really cool adventure activities including quad biking, put-put and zip-lining. The students were picked up early that morning by the C.V.C. rangers and several Working on Fire personnel and driven to their destination in (kids) style using the Clarens Working on Fire truck.
Read more

Clarens Village Conservancy Rangers Receive First Aid Certification

Clarens Village Conservancy Rangers get First Aid Certification
Damien Coulson

On Monday the 17th & Tuesday the 18th of this week the C.V.C. rangers took part in 2 days of first aid training. The attendees included the employees of Clarens Xtreme in addition to the rangers, all of whom were very kindly sponsored (at no small expense, may I add) by Ollie Esplin.

The course held at Clarens Xtreme, consisted of 1 full days combined first aid training, levels 1 & 2 followed by a half day combined training and examination. It included a theoretical component as well as hands on practical sessions. Topics covered included C.P.R. and other resuscitation based techniques; treatment of an assortment of wounds, ailments and injuries in emergency situations; survey of hazardous situations and reporting procedure – all drawing from real life scenarios.

Read more

In a Heartbeat – New business in Clarens

If you haven’t hear of In-A-Heartbeat yet, they are a new operation  opening up at The Base in Sias Oosthuizen Street, Clarens.  They describe themselves as an Info and Travel Bureau as well as Event Managers.  Mary Walker visited them a few days ago and got the low down.
Santa, previously of Dihlabeng Municpality in Bethlehem, is set to manage the concern under the direction of Werner, owner of The Base.   She told us that she has a background in communications, PR, marketing and tourism, and she believes that In-A-Heartbeat will enhance the tourism potential of Clarens and the surrounds, and will compliment and strengthen the town’s service to our visiting public.
The goal of In-A-Heartbeat is multi-layerd and will be rolled out in phases over a period of time.   Their immediate objective is to attract tourism accommodation product owners to register with them.   They are offering an accommodation booking service at a basic commission rate of 10%, and will negotiate full maintenance packages with interested parties in addition to this.
Following this they will phase in the other legs of the operation, which include team building and adventure biking packages, event planning and function catering among other things. Their commitment is also to fill a gap in the provision of tourism information, and they plan to provide this as part of their undertaking.
In-A-Heartbeat are planning to introduce the new enterprise by means of a launch in the near future. Clarens News will keep you up to date on developments.
Contact: Santa Bronkhorst – Manager: Events and Development
Office: 058 256 1699/082 727 1452  Email:

Coming Soon – Mexican Restuarant

Yet again we have something exciting to look forward to in Clarens. We are about to have our own Mexican restaurant opening here in our wonderful village of Clarens. The Mexican cuisine is considered a favourite by many people and it is always a good thing to allow our inhabitants and tourists of Clarens with another choice in dining. Preparations are in order as the venue is set to be where The Street Café was before.

Cecilia Morten, the owner of Restaurant Vito’s in Clarens explained that she is delighted to embark on a new challenge in starting this restaurant. She said that she will be joined by three other partners in this venture and they are all extremely excited. The name of the restaurant is Amigos as it is a well identifiable word or saying in the Mexican language meaning people. Opening a restaurant or business is a good decision because it strengthens our community by providing more job opportunities and this is but one of the reasons why we decided to start this restaurant she added. The Amigos restaurant is planning to open its’ doors during the month of April of this year if everything goes to plan. Should the owners experience any difficulties it might take a bit longer.

We here at Clarens News wish Cecilia and her business partners everything of the best and we cannot wait to try out their Taco’s amongst the many food options that the restaurant will offer.

Article and information by: Julio Ontong

Coming Events: Passiespele 2014: Bethlehem


Coming Events: 2 May, 2014:
Supper Theatre On the Square: The fabulous Cat Simoni starring in Double “O” Bondgirl

Phone Carol at Gosto’s for further details: 082 416 3687

Coming Events
3-4 May 2014:  National MTB in Clarens

Click here For further information

It’s super rugby time again

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!

Click here to see the April 2014 fixtures

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