Guinea fowl Clarens

Table of Contents:

  • Time to make a brand new start;
  • Guo Nian – Happy New Year;
  • Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project;
  • The Clarens Village Conservancy:  The big Clean Up;
  • Plant of the week:  Gladiolus dalenii;
  • The Twitcher;
  • The Clarens Golf Estate News;
  • Other Community News;
  • This weekend – Weather;
  • This weekend – Other Events;
  • Coming Events –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival;
  • Regional Festivals – Bieliemieliefees;
  • Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival;
  • More Coming Events –  Supper Theatre in Clarens;
  • Information Overload;
  • Classifieds;
  • Not on the mailing list?



Time to make a brand new start

Today, the 31 January, 2014, marks the first day of the Chinese New Year, and this year it’s the year of the Horse. Over 1.36 billion people in China and millions around the world will celebrate today.

Traditionally, this is the time to sweep out the old and make space for all things new.  Mother Nature certainly seems to be taking New Year seriously.   There are signs of new life everywhere and yesterday we spotted the tiniest little guinea fowl chicks going out for a stroll on the golf course. Mommy hen is however still very shy and she ducked off into the long grass along with the chicks as soon as she saw me. So sorry – no photo of the chicks….yet.

Guo Nian – Happy New Year.

Those born in the year of the horse are believed to be energetic, bright and intelligent, have excellent communication skills, and enjoy entertaining.   They are associated with success, although not always good at handling their finances. And it seems that they will have to pay particular attention to their finances this year as it is predicted that their fortunes may fluctuate.  For those not born on a horse year, the year ahead will bring health and prosperity. It is also said to be an excellent time to travel. And while on holiday, you are urged to mingle with the locals, savour the food and discover new things.


Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce

Following the election of three Directors to represent Upper Clarens in the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce (GCCoC), an inaugural meeting was held on Thursday to consider the processes and protocols of the Chamber.  The three Directors, Natalie Meyer, Malcolm Hickman and Carl Swerts, established ground rules in terms of the draft Constitution and agreed to meet the Clarens Unit Manager and the Dihlabeng Municipality next week to introduce themselves.

The Board now awaits the nomination of two representatives from the newly-established Clarens Business Development Cooperative in Kgubetswana, in order to convene the first full GCCoC Board meeting.  The Board will then ratify the Constitution, establish a non-profit company and initiate a prioritised order of business.  The three Upper Clarens representatives were elected at a meeting of Clarens business on 27 January 2014, attended by 47 organisations.

While attempts have been made before in Clarens to establish representative business structures, the level of support for this initiative is unprecedented.  It follows considerable business concern over the issuing of business licences for traders on the Square and the collection of 63 signatures on a petition of complaint to the Dihlabeng Municipality.  The business community can therefore look forward to serious representation on its behalf in the future and the co-option of additional expertise from its ranks, as well as regular reports-back.

Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project


Lesotho Highlands Water ProjectThis year sees the start of Phase Two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.  More than a decade after the completion of Phase One, the green light is back on and it’s all systems go.

Clarens and the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority, having played a key role in Phase One of the Project, have no part in Phase Two.  The entire process of Phase Two will be confined to Lesotho.  The objective of this phase is to radically increase the flow of water through the transfer tunnel by constructing a new dam in the Lesotho water catchment.  As we all know, this current of water flows right under our valley and emerges from the tunnel just north of Clarens, where it joins the AshRiver.  At the completion of Phase Two there will be a considerable increase in the volume of water emerging at the Ash River Outfall, but the structures completed in Phase One are designed to cater for this increase.

LHWP Phase One
Nearly three decades have passed since the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Treaty was signed.  On that day in 1986 agreement was reached that a significant amount of water would be diverted to the north via an underground tunnel into South Africa to supplement the inadequate supplies in the Vaal catchment. Three dams, the Katse, Meula and Mohale, were constructed during Phase One, together with connecting tunnels leading out of Lesotho under the Caledon River and into the Ash River, part of the Vaal catchment system.    Read more

The Clarens Village Conservancy:  The big Clean Up

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Spruit WalkThe CVC rangers together with Lothar Vogl  have started the New Year off with a big clean up. They’ve already  carted away a mountain of rubbish from the view site at  the entrance to Clarens on the Bethlehem Road,   (Nauupoort Nek)   and there are plans to cut the grass, refurbish the sign and generally make the village proud – and a lot more welcoming!  Sadly, the work of keeping the village litter-free is on-going, as the illegal dumping of rubbish  in and around the village continues to be a problem.  And, as if the rangers don’t already have enough to do, they also have to contend with idiots who deface, tamper with, and even remove the newly painted signs on the trails.   Oh well, I’m sure they’ll come up with an idiot-proof solution, but it must get very disheartening at times, especially when so much effort is put into maintaining and improving the trails.

Regular users of the Spruit Trail will have noticed the new bridges and are probably already using them.   Lothar (who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the Clarens Village Nature Reserve)  has however informed me that this project is still incomplete, and there is still much work to be done:   Read more   


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week:  Gladiolus dalenii


Clarens Village Nature Reserve Gladiolus dalenii Damien Coulson head ranger Clarens Village Nature ReserveDamien Coulson

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a rather useful and aesthetically pleasing wild-flower recently spotted along isolated segments of the Spruit trail & Mallen Walk.

Gladiolus dalenii (African Gladiolus in English; Papegaai-gladiolus and khahla-e-kholo in Sesotho), is an indigenous species that rises to between 1m and 1.5 m tall. The Genus name Gladiolus (of which 14 species occur in the DMR) can be translated as “small sword” and refers to the appearance of its leaves. This easily-identifiable plant is found growing in grasslands and sometimes among scrub at altitudes of up to 2500 m A.S.L., and occurs from the Eastern Cape to Central Africa and even Western Arabia.

The leaves of G. dalenii are arranged in a loose fan formation, erect, approx. 20 mm wide, up to 320 mm long and grey-green in colour. The inflorescence may have support up to 7 flowers born on red-brown to green bracts. The flowers appear hooded and the colour is variable (although a red-fleshy orange colour is common). The flowers are considered “large” at 60 mm long by 30-40 mm wide, flowering from late Dec to early Feb.  Read more


The Twitcher

The Twitcher has taken unofficial leave this week.   (Some might say he’s shirking his duties!)  Never mind, this is probably a good time to catch up on previous articles.     I must say that the rest of us at Clarens News are looking forward to the establishment of a bird interest group here in Clarens (See article in last week’s news.)   Then, perhaps, we might find someone to write about birds for a change.  Should you wish to be part of a bird interest group please contact



The Clarens Golf Estate News


Lots of  action on the web for The Clarens Golf Estate.  You can now access a video tour of the golf course.  Click here to view.

The other exciting news is that The Clarens Golf Estate has been added to Golfscape:  an internet based network which allows golfers to access hundreds of destinations in 39 countries across the globe.    Click here to have a look.

Congratulations to the team at the Golf Estate for pulling this off.


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:

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!

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


Bieliemieliefees Reitz      13 – 16 February 2014.  Reitz


For  more info:


Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival

Rosendal Festival

Click here for more information

More Coming Events –  Supper Theatre in Clarens

Clarens Supper Theatre On The Square

For further details Click here

Have a look at the Clarens News website 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 last week’s issue  to find out more.)

Information Overload

We’ve been monitoring activity on the Clarens News mailing list.  (Yes – Big Brother really is here.)

We now have nearly 2000 readers who regularly read the newsletter, and a high proportion of these click through to the website.   Trouble is that the weeks fly by too quickly and many of you only get round to opening the news every second week.  Well, given that our own inbox is always full,  we sympathise and have come to the conclusion that it’s all about information overload, and have decided that from now on we will only be posting out the newsletter every second week.   You can however stay up-to-the-minute by monitoring our facebook page, where important events will be posted should they come up in the intervening weeks.



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