Table of Contents:

Nelson Mandela –  Rest in Peace Madiba; On Flowers; Clarens Community Gardens Prizegiving; Christmas is coming; Clarens Skies – Venus in December; Clarens Skies – ISON comes to an end; World Soil Day : 5 December 2013; Top Award for Clarens Restaurant .. Again; Plant of the week: Coprinellus disseminatus; The Twitcher; Golf News: Festive Season operating hours; Start baking those Mince Pies; This weekend – Weather; This weekend –  Music; Dan Patlanski guitar workshop; This weekend –  Sport; This Weekend: Clarens Open;


Nelson Mandela –  Rest in Peace Madiba

Clarens – along with the rest of the world  – mourns the death of a great, great man.


On Flowers

In the East End of London it appeared to me that there were standard yet somewhat obscure answers to some things.  On one occasion I was waiting in a reception area to see someone, and I asked the lady at the desk when the person would be able to see me.  “When he’s ready”, she said.

The photograph this week is taken on a roadside in Clarens.  About a year ago I had returned from a very hot walk around the back of Clarens in the vicinity of the dam.  Coming back through town I came upon this wilful migration of flowers that had expanded beyond the garden fence, out into the public domain of the pavement.  I set my daypack down and got busy photographing.
This morning, on opening my front door, I noticed for the first time a bank of green wispy-leafed stems taking over the flowerbed.  For a moment I wasn’t sure, then it struck me.  Of course, it’s December.  Cosmos!   Read more

The picture insert features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to .


Clarens Community Gardens Prizegiving

This past Monday 02 Dec 2013 we hosted Thabo Mofutsanyana district prize giving function of this vegetables gardening here in our beautiful town Clarens.The event was successful and well attended.Participants from Marquard,Excelsior and Clarens competed against each other.We as Clarens will be represented by the following individuals and institutions:Best new gardens:Rupa Kaladeen,Jessica Roy and Maletsatsi Mokebe, 2. Best existing garden: Nora Molaba. Best innovation:weeds & pest control: Rupa Kaladeen,Best existing school garden:Clarens Primary School,Best Innovation compost::Clarens Primary School.Best existing community garden: Itumeleng Clinic,Over all winner:Itumeleng Clinic.

Congratulations to all the winners who will be representing Thabo Mofutsanyana at Pronvicial Competition.Thank you the sponsors and all the stakeholders.


Tsepiso Mosia
Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

Christmas is coming

Clarens Skies – Venus in December

Constellation of the Week
Venus, named after the goddess of Love and Harmony, can be enjoyed in all its glory during dusk or dawn on December 6 2013, as it will be at its brightest for all of 2013 and 2014. The beautiful planet will be extraordinary to observe upon reaching its greatest illuminated extent on Friday. This means that the Earth’s daytime side will cover more square area of the sky than at any other time during Venus’ present apparition as the evening “star”. It’s at this illuminated extent that Venus will be at its brightest, best seen from the Earth.   Read more



ISON Comes to an End

The comet of the century has brought about mixed feelings in many that have religiously followed its path – there are those who would’ve loved the comet to produce a spectacular show in our skies during December, and those who have always predicted its imminent death upon perihelion.   Read more



World Soil Day : 5 December 2013

Yesterday was World Soil Day. A day when thousands of soil scientists (and gardeners in the know) celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to the human commonwealth through its contribution to food, water and energy security and as a mitigator of biodiversity loss and climate change. But when you think about it even those of us who are not soil scientists should stop to think about the soil – it is after all an important foundation for all life on this earth. We in Clarens often complain about our soil, and though it may be difficult to work with there are many ways that one can improve it. An easy way to improve your soil is to encourage the earthworm population. (Darwin wasn’t wrong!) and one of the most important ways to do this is to stop killing them off by using poisonous chemicals in your garden. There is an excellent course on how to improve your soil on the net.  Click here for the link.   And if you are interested in starting a worm farm in your garden, please contact me: I would be happy to help get you started.   Phone:  Toni 082 4492 082  (Toni B Walters)


Top Award for Clarens Restaurant .. Again

For the third year in row The Phatt Chef Restaurant in Clarens was chosen as one of South Africa’s Top 100 Restaurants and was once again a finalist in the category “Best Country Venue 2013”. At a glittering awards ceremony on Monday, hosted at the trendy Kitchen Bar in Fourways, Johannesburg, the owners, Simon & Megan Kerr, were recognised by the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) for their contribution to the hospitality industry with the presentation of a prestigious Rosetta Award, given to restaurants that strive for service excellence in the Food & Fast Food industry. It is recognition of the highest order for service excellence & overall contribution to the upliftment of the restaurant industry. Presenting the award, Wendy Alberts CEO of RASA, said that The Phatt Chef Restaurant was a credit not only to the Free State, but to all the country areas of South Africa. This was the third year in a row that this Clarens landmark was being recognised by the industry not only for their outstanding service and food, but also for their contribution to training and mentoring staff.

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Coprinellus disseminatus

Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. Interestingly enough these little fellows don’t actually belong to the Plantae kingdom at all…

Coprinellus disseminatus (known as Fairies’ Bonnets in English or Bondelinkmus in Afrikaans) belong to their own unique kingdom – Fungi. Fungi can be classed into 2 major groups – micro (scopic) or macrofungi. Fungi are either saprobic (deriving nourishment from decaying organisms) or pathogenic (disease causing) and in essence facilitate the cycle of life to death to life again. Fungi have been associated with plants, wild animals and humans since time immemorial.

C. disseminatus may be found growing on woody material, such as fallen logs and the likes and even grows on ground in close proximity to decaying wood. The fruit bodies are clustered in groups and are attached to the substrate by a stipe.
Read more



The Twitcher

Well, it had to happen.  I have just glanced at my well-thumbed diary and realised that Christmas is just around the corner.  Quelle surprise!?  So as we grind our weary way to the end of another year, mistletoe clamped between our teeth in the hope of getting lucky, it occurs to me that we are knee-deep in the Advent Calendar.  Never heard of it?
It turns out that the Advent Calendar is a special calendar used to count or celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas, and overlaps with the Christian season of Advent.  I don’t know whether the Hindus, Muslims and Jews have anything similar, but apologise just in case, as I am seriously allergic to religious persecution.  Most commercially available Advent Calendars start on December 1 and have 24 windows, one for each of the days leading up to Christmas Day.  Some anonymous person (probably a Chinese Buddhist) has endless joy putting little poems, pictures of puppies and portions of religious stories in these, each of which is ripped open in the mindless spree leading to the big day itself.  Apparently these are very popular in communities where television and conversation have yet to penetrate.
Why am I telling you this?  Well, it turns out that a dear friend believes my life will be enriched by a daily dose from the Advent Calendar and, being a generous sort of fellow, I felt compelled to share these riches with you, given that our bird life seems to be on holiday in Margate.  Read more

Golf News: Festive Season operating hours

Course will be operating 7 days a week from 16 December until 6 January during School Holidays. On days before and after Public Holidays the operating hours have been adjusted to give staff well deserved time with Family and Friends.

December 24th: Course Open until 12h00 for tee off. Bar closes at 15h00.

December 25th: Course and Clubhouse closed. Christmas Day

December 26th: Course Opens at 10h00 until closing.

December 31st: Course Open until 12h00 for tee off. Bar closes at 15h00.

January 1st: Course Opens at 10h00 until closing. New years Day.

 Start baking those Mince Pies

Why?  Because Christmas is coming and there’s nothing to beat a mince pie on Christmas morning. And whilst you’re enjoying you second or third mince pie, you can count your lucky stars that you don’t live in Britain.    Read The Twitcher (If you havn’t already read the full article) to find out why.







This weekend – Weather


This weekend –  Music

Friday 6th December 2013
The Grouse and Claret: 20h00:  Slipstream

Saturday 7th December 2013
Street Cafe:   12h00:  Rudo and OB
Street CafeL 20h00 : Slipstream

Sunday 8th December 2013
Backpackers:  18h00  The Dan Patlansky Show
The cultimination of the Dan Patlansky Guitar workshop weekend
Click here to find out about what the weekend is all about
Dan Patlansky’s facebook page.

This weekend –  Sport



This Weekend: Other events

Clarens Open


Coming Events

As always there is lots to look forward to

13- 16 December 2013:  Backpackers Friends Annual Jamboree
Live Music and lots of fun all day.

14 December 2013: NG Kerk Flea  Market
14 December 2013   Bark for Life






Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to buy a generator?  Remember to check out the classifieds section.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to


Calling all Restauranteurs

You are all welcome to send us your Chrismas menus for publication in the December 20 Clarens News. This is a free service from Clarens News.
All you need to do is to email  your menu