Photograph by Fred Beck

Photograph by Fred Beck

I’m sure you’ll all agree, that the photograph above is simply stunning.   (Taken by Fred Beck.   Click here to go to Fred’s facebook page)

This is the front cover for the 2015 Cluny Calendar, which features a collection of stunning photographs taken in the Clarens and Fouriesburg area.   The calendars are sold in aid of the Cluny Animal Trust.   Phone (0)58 223 0918 or 
E-mail: to place your order.   Click here to find out more about the Cluny Animal Trust.

Following last year’s much enjoyed articles which accompanied each photograph from the calendar, Mary Walker, has kindly undertaken to give Clarens News another series of articles.  (Each one inspired by a photograph from the calander.  This week we feature her first article:  Sentinels of the Veld.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Clarens.  Every Day!

For the last 24-months the Clarens News has been updating, entertaining and giving tens of thousands of readers an overview of what’s on in our phenomenal village.  We’ve offered everything from rugby to rock and roll, from missing pets to plumbing services.  And we’ve grown exponentially in terms of reach and influence in this very special community.  But now it’s time for a change!

Social media rules the world, as we all know, and the time has come to capitalise on our success with Facebook, replacing the fortnightly ‘event’ of Clarens News publication with a daily offering on Facebook.  Clarens News and its Website receives literally thousands of daily Facebook hits, often stimulated by specific features and news of relevance to particular communities.  This allows us to play an enhanced role in telling residents and visitors alike what’s on, where it’s happening and when.  People with new ‘smartphones’ can point the device at our posters soon to be displayed in every major site in the village and read the QR code featured there, which will take them straight to the Clarens News page and website.  If you don’t own a smartphone, you can still pick up the Facebook page on your computer by going to our facebook page:

This response to news gathering and dissemination is in line with international trends and will link tourists and residents instantly to the business life of Clarens.  The availability of the Clarens News Website adds a fantastic dimension to our service, allowing visitors to the site to review everything from accommodation and restaurant options, to adventure, tours and sport.  News is about what’s on now rather than what’s happening over the next fortnight, and that’s what the Clarens News intends to provide in a constant stream of important information.

So gear up and follow us on Facebook for everything you always wanted to know about Clarens, but didn’t know where to ask.

Sentinels of the Veld:

It has been said that the skyline of a Free State dorpie is hardly complete without the spire of an NG Kerk.  It might also be said that the vista of a Free State farmland is equally incomplete without a windmill.  Our photograph this week, taken by Fred Beck of Gauteng, depicts this much loved icon of the veld, adorned in a profusion of summer cosmos.  (Click here to go to  Fred Beck’s facebook page.)

The concept of harnessing the energy of wind is an ancient one.  The Sea People of ancient times discovered its almost magical powers by catching wind in rudimentary sails to propel sea vessels, a skill later perfected by the Phoenicians.  Some historians claim evidence that the ancient Persians and Egyptians in Biblical times used wind to turn crude bladed wheels for various purposes.  Solid evidence exists that the Persians were the original engineers of the earliest forms of the vertical windmill, and these were in extensive use from about the 7th century AD.

Britain and Europe lagged behind, still using animals to turn wheels and cogs, but the Christian Crusaders changed this from around the 12th century AD.  During their religious occupation of the Middle and Near East regions they encountered new technologies that they took back to Europe.  Among these was the windmill.   Read more


More about Cluny

Cluny Truck Cluny Animal Trust

The Cluny Animal Trust send their committed team far and wide to come to the aid of animals in need, and hopefully they will soon have the mobile animal clinic pictured above, which would enable them to be even more effective.   Dr Sanit Meintjes reports that the Cluny Animal Trust recently participated  in the WODAC (World of Dogs and Cats ) pet exhibition at Gallagher Convention Center, Midrand on 18, 19 and 20 July 2014. Although their stall attracted many visitors the real star was the mobile animal clinic that was parked outside and that drew the interest of many professionals in the animal care industry, as well as the general public. The mobile clinic has been on order for a long time but will hopefully be delivered to Cluny within the next few months. Some cash donations were received but the real benefit was the many contacts that were made in the pet welfare and animal rescue industries. Networking with other people who work to treat or prevent neglect and cruelty to domesticated animals was a real morale booster and the team is more determined than ever to continue with education, preventive medication and veterinary based animal welfare.

Click here for more information on the Cluny Animal Trust, as well as their banking details, should you wish to donate to this worthwhile cause.

Clarens Tourism Forum – Feedback on meeting 29th July, 2014CTF logo

The Clarens Tourism Forum held a well-attended meeting at Mont D’Or on 29th July:  The Way Forward.   There was a lot of healthy discussion and it became obvious that matters could not go on as they were, but that the CTF needed – amongst other things – to find the right person to market Clarens.   It was agreed that the CTF would go ahead and plan the marketing strategy for Clarens, and that they would present the budget needed in order to take these plans forward, as soon as possible.

One of the subjects that came up during the discussion was the need for Training in order to up the levels of service in Clarens, and fortuitously George van der Merwe was there to tell us about The Ash Conference, Training and Event Centre and their programs which will help to address this need.  (See below)

The Ash Conference, Training and Event Centre

The Ash Conference, Training and Event Centre (formerly Cranford Inn) has partnered with the South African Institute of Entrepreneurship (SAIE) in Cape Town to create a Technology and Skills Centre at The Ash. Three local young adults, John Mokoena, Ntsebeng Mokoena and Florence Moloi were selected following a business simulation hosted by SAIE to become the owners of a computer skills training school at The Ash. All the participants in the business simulation received a free training module which is underway at the moment.

The computer training modules will be available to staff from restaurants, guesthouses, art outlets, etc from August 4. Attendees will be able to attend session in the morning, afternoon or evenings. The aim is to improve computer literacy and teach basic word processing, spread sheet and presentation programmes initially. More programmes will follow, as the need arises.

Contact:  George van der Merwe: phone 082 466 5410/058 256 1076  email:

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Alecta pumila Damien1-100x100 Article and photography by Damien Coulson Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve   Alecta pumila Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Monthly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Scrophulariaceae (Snapdragon) family. Alecta pumila (seona in Sesotho), is dwarf haggard appearing herb of 40-80 mm tall found scattered in grasslands, usually at higher altitudes on cliff faces and proximate to rocky areas. This herbaceous spp. is endemic to the Eastern Mountain Region and grows from the Eastern Cape to Botswana at altitudes of between 1650 – 1980 m A.S.L. A. pumila is a hemiparasitic herb meaning that it survives through 1 of 2 strategies: reliance on a grass host for nourishment or alternatively through photosynthesis as most plants do. The Latin Alektor (from which Alectra is derived), means rooster or cock, in reference to the yellow-orange colouration of the inflorescence often observed on the birds plumage. Members of the genus turn dark purple or black if bruised. Pumila is Latin-derived for small, puny or tiny, in testament of the dwarfish stature of the plant. The photo below was taken along a section of the Leucosidea trail, and is the only known specimen to have been recorded in the Clarens Nature Reserve.   Read more Click here to learn more about the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Click here to become a member of the Clarens Village Conservancy

The Twitcher

Well, it had to happen.  After 72 editions of edifying social commentary from your faithful scribe, the Editor is going modern and taking this august publication into the twenty-first century.  Just like that.  Imagine, no more waiting with bated breath for a weekly dose of truth on a skewer (oh alright, fortnightly more recently).  Instead, you can now trip into the same diet of news and commentary daily, nogaal, courtesy of some clever people who opened up Facebook to an unbelieving world.  So that’s the deal, dear readers.  The Editor, not content with changing the world as we know it, is also putting up posters all over the village, offering the option of pointing your smartphone at what looks to me like a bloody enormous bar code, to take you straight to the Clarens News! Eish!  (And I don’t mean the other publication that a few of you sometimes read). As for me, it’s back to the World Bank, economic conferences, negotiating peace in the Middle East, judging Master Chef and inventing wireless electricity.  A fellow has to work, and this lull in my writing duties allows me to return the world stage a wiser but probably less articulate man.  It’s been fun though.  The haunting terror of having Bigfoot (well, Kaalvoet, as it turned out) stonking around the orchards of the village was an immense experience, not least taking the big lady (yes, she was a girl and oh so passionate) to a dance night at Friends.  David Attenborough messing with our ducks was another capital story, and there is an entire generation of feathered friends who nostalgically recall their BBC-crafted transportation across the ponds of Clarens.  Ah, those were the days.   Libel actions, proposals of marriage, beer tasting when the well-water got lumpy and other salutary experiences have brought tears of joy to my squint eyes.  All in the name of Clarens News. Well, it’s over now so you’ll find me on the third barstool from the end at the Brewery.  Unless of course, the Editor relents and asks me back……………… The Twitcher (retired) Editor’s note:  Follow us on facebook.   I’m sure we’ll find a way to sneak an ornithological note in somewhere.


Natalie received a letter from the SAP addressed to all Event Organizers and Venue Owners in the Free State calling for a schedule of events to be submitted 6 months in advance !   (Click here to see the letter.)  If you have something planned, please contact Natalie to avoid losing out on event due to red tape.  email:

Both Garth Brook and Mandy Prior have been in discussion with the relevant authorities, and are following up on this matter to establish exactly what kind of events need to follow all this red tape.  (It seems that if your event cannot host more than 2000 people these regulations do not apply). We will keep you informed as and when we receive further information.


Music: 1st August, 2014: Amigo’s Restaurant:  (evening)Denzle and OB 2nd August 2014: Amigo’s Restaurant:   (afternoon and evening) OB Artichoke:  (evening) Ric and Vic   Art: Robert Badenhorst Gallery: Exhibition and painting demonstrations by Ryan and Jodie Loubser Go to the Events page on the website to see samples of their artwork.     Rugby: rugby

Restaurant Specials

Artichoke:  A great new speciality: LARGE savoury pancakes with chips and salad (or two sweet pancakes)  from 11 to 5 o’ clock daily.

Monday:  Protea Hotel: 17h00 – 19h00:  Soup and Sherry specials (R35) includes assorted breads and and the 1st sherry free.We also have periodic cake specials at R35 for cake and coffee/hot chocolate/cuppachino.Monday – Friday:  The Posthouse breakfast! Sart the day on the right note.  The Posthouse Breakfast ranges from R22 – R30, and includes tea and coffee.


Friends Happy Hour from 20h00 to 21h00.  Live music.

Wednesday:  Brambleberry @ The Ash (Old Cranford):  Burger and Pizza Specials

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.

Thursday:  Brambleberry:  Happy Hour 17h30 to 18h30 followed by two-course meal special

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. Need to make a booking?   Click here for a list of Restaurant telephone numbers

SundayProtea Hotel:  First Sunday of every month, carvery at the Protea Hotel. Please book in advance to avoid disappointment. Price R125  (Ph: 058 256 1212)

Community:  Get together to Celebrate Theresse’s life: 16th August, 2014

It is a huge lost to everyone who knew Theresse. She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the Clarens Community. To celebrate her life on Saturday 16/08/2014. Everyone is invited but a special request is that all bikers will attend this day with Dave and all family and friends to celebrate Theresse’s life.

Please contact me regarding the arrange with the bikes on 0847008558/Clarens Pharmacy at 0582561852 or

Biking oil was in her blood,

Petrol flowing through her heart.

Throttle reving but the flood, Meant their engine Wouldn’t start.

The exhaust sounding rather rough, Its noise as cutting as a knife. The gallant spark not quite enough, To fire their engine into life.

The key was turned, the button pushed, Expecting now a biking roar, But the engine … knackered … bushed, Wouldn’t function any more.

Theresse has died but still, her soul rides onward to the west. Her wheels role onward, vale and hill, She soon will find eternal rest.

So we’ll mount up and onward ride, Remembring well the one who died. Towards the sunset on our road, Our biker friend who’s gone before.

Funeral poem for a biker

© 2010 Dick Underwood


Visit the website Events page for further information

Women’s Day: 9th August, 2014

Mountain Breeze event

CH2 at Bon Appetit: 10th September, 2014CH2 Event

Macnollie:  26-27 September, 2014


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  As with last year the events main sponsors are BETHLEHEM NISSAN, WELKOM NISSAN, AND UD TRUCKS (WELKOM NISSAN) Have a look at the Events Page on the website or click on the links below. 26th September, 2014: Clay pigeon shooting (Clarens Golf club) 27th September, 2014:  Macnollie Challenge

Events:  Further afield: