Tag Archives: Clarens News classifieds

23 May, 2014: Big Blue Skies with a Touch of Grey

Clarens - Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey

Table of Contents:
Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey;
Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project;
The Twitcher; Report back:
Clarens Tourism Forum AGM:  22 May 2014;
CTF call for assistance please!;
Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Zalusianskya microsiphon;
CVC Report-back April 2014;
Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works;
Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave;
Restaurant Specials:
This weekend’; Restaurant Specials: During the week;
Coming Events: 25th May: ‘Awesome Autumn’ Braai challenge for charity;
Coming Events: Tuesday 27th May, 2014.   Meet the Authors :   Nick Norman and Chris Nicholson;
Coming Events: Cluny Trust Golf Day: 31 May 2014;
Coming Events: Clarens Country Market – every Saturday; Coming Events:
Always  something happening in Clarens;
Super rugby;
Making Clarens News Work for you;
Be amazed; Not on the mailing list? Click here to sign up

Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey

It may be winter – or is it still autumn, and we may have had the odd grey-day but in the main the sky over Clarens has been  particularly blue over the last few weeks.  Not that grey skies should not be enjoyed.  Paul Cezanne claimed that if you wanted to paint a good landscape it needed to have a grey sky.  In fact he was so enamoured by the way that the colour grey brings out other colours that he even painted his studio walls a muted neutral grey. 


Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project


Clarens News The Maluti Highlands Water Project Katse Dam

Two months ago, on 27 March 2014, the South African and Lesotho Governments met for a sod-turning ceremony.  It was the official launch of the long-awaited Phase Two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Phase One of the Project has been fully operational since 2004, with over 2 million cubic meters of water being transferred daily from Lesotho to South Africa via the Trans Caledon Tunnel, which runs under the Clarens Valley and emerges just north of Clarens at the Ash River Outfall adjacent to the R712 route to Bethlehem. The objective of the Project is to supplement water supplies to South Africa’s industrial heartland of Gauteng.  South Africa’s biggest river, the Orange (or Senqu in Lesotho), has its source in the Maluti Mountains and flows west out of Lesotho and across the arid central and western regions of South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, thus carrying vital water supplies away from the area where it is most needed.  One major drought in the Vaal catchment area, even with Phase One fully operational, could severely impact on water availability in the Gauteng region.  Eskom alone uses the equivalent of over 40% of the water volume transferred from Lesotho in any given period.  Read more

The Twitcher

Okay, birds.  Which is actually the remit of your faithful scribe.  After all, what else is there to write about in the autumn of one’s senses, here in Never-Never land.  Certainly not politics.  For her part, Mother Nature (why this gender distinction when no-one knows for sure?) seems undecided about the transition from summer to autumn to winter, so has apparently compromised on an exquisite combination of clear sparkly days and nippy nights.  Whatever, it is quite delightful and charms visitors out of their 4x4s and into the village shops in large numbers. But if only they would spread their wings, so to speak, and do the countryside as well.  They would discover, for example, blue-grey mountain ranges and verdant hidden valleys to die for, nestling countless guest houses, B&Bs, wedding venues and country shops.  The Golden Gate Park, literally around the corner, sports red sandstone formations that dominate deep blue skies and over 175 species of birds.  You’ll probably see Buzzards, Kestrels, Verreaux’s Eagles, Lanner Falcons, the Cape Vulture and even the threatened Bearded Vulture, but you really need to look!  And who wouldn’t commit a Schedule 4 crime for the sighting of a Buff-Streaked Chat or Gurney’s Sugarbird?  On an unrelated quest for fresh sightings, your faithful correspondent was press-ganged into taking the alternative route from Clarens to Fouriesburg, actually with a wine-farm destination in mind (yes, there is one and very splendid it is too!).   Read more


Report back:  Clarens Tourism Forum AGM:  22 May 2014.

CTF  logo  

The CTF AGM was interesting and informative.   The afternoon started off with an a short presentation by Elsa Human from N3 Gateway. As can be seen from the Chairman’s Report, N3 Gateway has played a massive role in supporting the CTF and facilitating its presence at  various important tourism orientated shows.  Elsa emphasized the fact that listing on the www.n3gateway.com business directory  is free and invited Clarens business owners to make more use of this facility. Of interest also was that N3 Gateway’s research indicates that tourists are mainly interested in what they can do in an area – and Elsa is keen for more information on Clarens. She can be contacted by email: elsah@n3gateway.com. We were then introduced to Professor Willem van Zyl:  Associate Professor: Geography (Tourism Development and Planning) at University of the Free State. Professor van Zyl is working on a heritage and travel guide for the area and is also involved in the University’s Afromontaine Research unit.  Needless to say all those involved in the Clarens Tourism industry will benefit from this work.  Professor van Zyl is however looking for people who would like to contribute to the work he is doing in the Clarens area.  email: vanzylwf@qwa.ufs.ac.za The next item on the agenda was the CTF Chairman’s report, presented by Victor Mokoena – as charismatic as ever.  It is obvious that Clarens is growing as a tourism destination.  Click here to read the full report. The evening finished off with Victor’s announcement that thanks to his promotion within SanParks he will be leaving Clarens and moving to Pretoria.  (Congratulations Victor, and all the best.)  There have also been other resignations from the CTF Forum committee, and it was concluded that rather than  elect a new committee, the existing CTF committee would first meet with other stakeholders in Clarens to plan a way forward. Thank you to the CTF for all the work they have done in promoting Clarens as a tourist destination.  All those of us who benefit  cannot however continue to leave it those few individuals who continue to promote Clarens at events such as the upcoming Gauteng Outdoor Expo.  We need to play our part:  See the CTF call for assistance below.

CTF call for assistance please!

The Clarens Tourism Forum will be representing Clarens at the Gauteng Outdoor Expo at the Waterfall Estate, Kyalami from Friday 30 May to Sunday 1 June.

We need assistance in manning the stand, and are calling for any volunteers to please contact Gavin Schoeman at Mountain Odyssey on odyssey@isat.co.za or 058 256 1251 Your travelling expenses will be paid, and accommodation will be arranged.

Advertising Brochures and business cards Any Clarens businesses that would like their brochures and business cards distributed at the Expo, please drop them off at Mountain Odyssey or Clarens Destinations by 3pm, Wed 28 May! See http://www.gauteng.outdoorexpo.co.za/ Thanking you in advance for your co-operation!

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Zalusianskya microsiphon

Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Zalusianskya  microsiphon

Article and photography by Damien Coulson with input from Wim Wybenga Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-monthly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a less oft’ observed member of the endemic Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family. Zalusianskya microsiphon (Short-tubed Drumsticks in English, Kortbuis-Zaluzianskya in Afrikaans and malithungthung in Sesotho), is a perennial herb which grows up to 400 mm tall. It grows in the altitude band 1525-2745 m A.S.L., in rocky grassland areas. Z. microsiphon grows from the EC – Mpum. The Latin Microsiphon  translates to “small tube”, referring most likely to the very narrow stalked pollen tube of the flowers. This particular solitary specimen was photographed this week on a section of the Porcupine Trail prone to partial shade in the autumn season in which it grows. Interestingly enough, several references have stated that the flowers only open in full sun. The leaves of Z. microsiphon are arranged in a basal rosette, are tufted and may appear blue-green to grass green. Read more


CVC REPORT BACK APRIL  4Damien Coulson’s Report-back for April 2014  makes interesting reading: not only have the rangers been involved in the removal of  Alien and Invasive plants, but they’ve continued with the on-going battle of protecting the reserve (including the removal of cattle from the reserve), trail maintenance, and the never-ending clearing away of rubbish.  (We find it extremely odd that people who visit this pristine area – presumably because they enjoy it – then not only find it necessary to leave their rubbish behind but to also damage or remove the trail markers.)  Click here to read the full report-back for April 2014. Cick here to read the full report. You can also lend your support and keep all their hard work going by becoming a member of the Clarens Village Conservancy.  Click here to find out more.

Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

Click here   for Background information: Introduction; Environmental Authorisation Process; Overview of Currrent water infrastructure; Technical Details; Potential environmental issues; Registration to participate in Environmental Authrotisation Process; Comment Sheet      

Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave

Paballos Nursing Clarens OrganizationsPlease note that Sisters Henriette and Antoinette of Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens will be taking their well deserved annual leave as follows:
Last day of work 1pm on Thursday 15 May 2014
First day of work 8.45am on Monday 9th June 2014 Click here to see more notices on the Community Bulletin Board Click here for more information on Paballo’s Nursing Care

Restaurant Specials: This weekend

JOIN THE ARTICHOKE RESTAURANT THIS WEEKEND FOR A  SEAFOOD BONANZA: ON THE MENU: Cacciucco, Grilled Trout, Spaghetti with Clams, Frittura di Mare. ARTICHOKE MUSIC: FRIDAY:  GAIL ON GUITAR AND VOCALS SATURDAY:  DION ON GUITAR AND VOCALS COURTYARD RESTAURANT Regular Sunday buffet lunch special:  R110 per head.  Booking is essential: 082 6501503 Calling all restauranteurs:  We plan to make Restaurant specials a regular feature on Clarens News.  These will be posted on the Clarens News facebook page on those fridays when we are not posting out a newsletter.   Please send your specials to:  editor@clarensnews.co.za

Restaurant Specials: During the week

Monday – Friday:  The Posthouse breakfast! Sart the day on the right note.  The Posthouse Breakfast ranges from R22 – R30, and includes tea and coffee. Wednesday:  Friends HAPPY HOUR from 20h00 to 21h00.  Live music. 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. 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.

Coming Events: 25th May: ‘Awesome Autumn’ Braai challenge for charity

Clarens Awesome Autumn Braai Challenge for Charity

Coming Events: Tuesday 27th May, 2014.   Meet the Authors :   Nick Norman and Chris Nicholson

Clarens Book Launch Geologist Nick Norman, co-author of the popular GEOLOGICAL JOURNEYS will be in Clarens on 27th May to talk about his latest geological   ’ guide, GEOLOGY OFF THE BEATEN TRACK. This companion volume offers insights into areas like the TANQUA KAROO, the RICHTERSVELD and iconic BARBERTON which illustrate so richly the unique geological heritage we South Africans are privileged to have on our doorstep.Copies of Geological Journeys, of particular interest to Clarens residents because it includes a section on the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, will be on sale at the talk at Bibliophile. Nick’s hope is that he can imbue his audience with some of the sense of enormous privilege he feels as he drives around our amazing country. Chris Nicholson – legal eagle, novelist and raconteur direct from Franschhoek Literary Fest, will be joining us on Tuesday to chat about his books “No Sacred Cows” (published May 2014), “One Hand Washes the Other” (published 2013), “Papwa Sewgolum: From Pariah to Legend” (published 2005) and “Permanent Removal: Who killed the Cradock Four?” (published 2004). To find our more about Chris Nicholson and his books visit: http://www.chrisnicholson.co.za An opportunity not to be missed. Phone: 083 765 8901

Coming Events: Cluny Trust Golf Day: 31 May 2014

To all the Golfers out there The Cluny golf day will be on Saturday 31 May 2014 at The Clarens Golf Estate. We hope to see all the old supporters there, but there’s always space for new friends. If you would like to book a 4ball, sponsor a hole, or a prize please contact Jan Sander at info@clunyanimaltrust.co.za.

Coming Events: Clarens Country Market – every Saturday

Remember to visit the Clarens Country Market on Saturday.   10am – 3pm, outside Bibliophile, Church Street.

Coming Events: Always something happening in Clarens.

Next month sees Cat Simoni Paul Spence back with two totally different shows:  Noel & Gertie, and Rocky Horror Bite Nite! Click here:  For more information on what’s  happening in Clarens.

Super rugby

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!


The Classifieds page on the website has some very interesting ads.  Click here to have a look. email:editor@clarensnews.co.za to place your ad on this page.

Making Clarens News Work for you:

Clarens News is here for you to enjoy, use, and to promote all things Clarens.  Click here to have a look at our new website: www.clarensnews.co.za.  You may notice that we haven’t got all the listings loaded yet, but in the meantime you can get a good idea of what the website is all about.   email:editor@clarensnews.co.za to discuss how to go about getting your business listed.

Be amazed:

Whilst this isn’t exactly about just Clarens, this fantastic video clip is worth watching.  Hidden miracles of the natural world

Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

31 January, 2014: Moving Forward



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 editor@clarensnews.com.



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 (editor@clarensnews.com) 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.



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.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to:

Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

28th November, 2013: Happy Thanksgivvukah

Clarens News 28th November, 2013: Happy Thanksgivvukah
On coming home;Happy Thanksgivukkah;StarSat :  Change your view  (TV Advert);Clarens Skies – Ophiuchus;Tshepong Christmas Party 2013;Bana ba Hlokang – Letter of Thanks;Environmental Education;Thank-you Clarens;Plant of the week: Dianthus basuticus; The Twitcher;The Clarens – Golf News;
Coming Events;The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend;Talking of Mushrooms; Classifieds

Clarens News header 28th November 2014


On coming home

Mary Walker Clarens NewsRecently I was chatting to a regular British visitor to South Africa, but a first time visitor to Clarens.  He was bowled over with surprise, he said, at what a delightfully idyllic spot this was.  I asked him whether he had been to Golden Gate, telling him of its outstanding rock formations.  He said he hadn’t.  He said he would save that for his return trip from the Cape.  Right now, he said, he didn’t want anything else to impact on his first impressions of what he referred to as a little piece of paradise.

Our photograph this week is of Mount Horeb and is taken from Craigrossie near Clarens.  I visited there in the early summer of last year, a few months after I had returned from England.  As I stood there looking across the water in the fading light, I thought of my decision to return to South Africa.   Read more

The photograph above (also by Mary Walker) 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 jansander22@gmail.com .  I’ve ordered several – as Christmas presents.


Happy Thanksgivukkah

Celebrate Thanksgivukkah today – you won’t get another chance until the year 79,811.  So what’s so special about today?  Today is the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hannukah (which commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean military victory of the Syrians in 168 BC) as well as the celebrated American holiday of Thanksgiving.
This unusual event has come about as a result of a convergence between the Gregorian calendar which is solar, and which determines the date for Thanksgiving, and the Hebrew calender which is lunisolar, and which determines the dates of all Jewish holidays.

StarSat :  Change your view  (TV Advert)

You really must take a look at the advertisement which was recently shot in Clarens.  It’s absolutely fabulous.
The footage of Clarens and its people is awesome – it could almost be an advert for Clarens.




Click here to see the video

Clarens Skies – Ophiuchus

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens News

Constellation of the Week

Genevieve Blignaut
The Ophiuchus Constellation, also known as “The Snakeholder”, lies on the celestial equator and is depicted as a man holding an enormous snake with both hands. The snake is represented by the adjacent constellation Serpes, with Ophiuchus splitting the Serpes constellation to two parts.

About Ophiuchus

Often times referred to in its Latin name “Serpentarius”, the constellation is associated with Aesclupaius, the famous healer in Greek mythology. “The Serpent” represented by the Serpes constellation, is divided into two separate parts by Ophiuchus. Serpens Caput forms the head of the snake whilst Serpens Cauda forms the tail. The snake is usually depicted coiling around the Ophiuchus man.

The Serpent Holder, Ophiuchus, is associated with the noted Greek healer Aescupalius.

Read more

Update on Ison

Gerald Rhemann in Namibia in SW Africa captured this photo of Comet ISON on November 21, 2013

Comet ISON is still holding its own after many speculations that it might’ve broken apart by now.

Thursday November 28 2013 marks the perihelion of the comet that has captured and held the gaze of so many. At 20:24:57 SA time, Comet ISON will be at its closest point to the Sun at 1.1 Million Kilometers away, and if it stays in tact, will then start its journey past our beloved Earth.

Read more

Tshepong Christmas Party 2013

Tshepong Christmas Party 2013Many hearts were filled with much joy and gratitude as Tshepong celebrated Christmas in all its glory.

Just as the halls of Tshepong were decorated with care, love and commitment, one could feel that those attributes abound throughout the centre’s grounds (with such wonderful staff at hand) and settle in the hearts of every child.

The excitement of the day was almost tangible and I am sure many will treasure the memory for eons to come. Thanks were given to all that made the day possible for the children in our community; the loyal staff without whom Tshepong simply could not continue forwards, as well as all the volunteers and community members for all their support in the manifestation of the dreams and hopes of the Tshepong Team, enabling them to enrich the life experience of almost 200 children in the Kgubetswana community.

It was also with great sadness that the children and staff at the centre said farewell to the adored Jamie and Mcken. These two incredible women have been focused on developing the art skills of the Tshepong children and, after many years and much growth, are now saying their goodbyes. The development of the artistic skills of Jamie and McKen’s students are astounding and the new heights reached because of their dedication towards their students, will forever be treasured in all witnesses’ hearts.

During this time of the year, events like these contribute magnificently to the gratitude and love of the masses, and we at the Clarens News truly hope that one and all will have a very merry festive season. (Genevieve Blignaut)

Bana ba Hlokang – Letter of Thanks


P.O. Box 180 Clarens 9707 
Bana ba Hlokang celebrated their Christmas party on the 22nd December at Tshepong and what a celebration it was!   204 children each received an umbrella, a personal gift  and ofcourse lots of goodies to eat.  The Social Worker from Bethlehem organised a jumping castle for the event and only 6 children were allowed to jump at a time so the staff had their hands full trying to give everyone a turn.  Every child had their face painted and many of the staff and older children dressed up in fun outfits.

A BIG thank you to the Protea Hotel, who not only provide a warm meal once a week during the year and do “craft workshops” with the children, but also supplied 10 huge cakes beautifully decorated and over 200 packets of chips and sweets for the party.

Starfish Global funders  supply 150 of the children with school uniforms, blankets, food parcels, food for the pantry etc. throughout the year and they also donated some of the  umbrellas and gifts for Christmas.

Thomas and Sarah and their dedicated staff have proved themselves as an invaluable team, who care for the needs of every child.  Tshepong is indeed a place of great blessing.  We thank them most sincerely for their hard work throughout the year and for their huge effort to make the Christmas party such a splendid occasion.   Hours were spent decorating the hall, wrapping presents and just making sure that a lasting memory of sheer joy was created for every child.

Our appreciation  to the ladies who baked cup cakes, to the dedicated management team, to those who supported financially.

Bana ba Hlokang

Environmental Education

Damien1-100x100As of the 1st of November and counting onwards from April of this year, a total of approximately 1140 individuals have been the recipients of one or other form of environmental education through the rangers and Sherri Gersh of the C.V.C.
The majority of people who received training were local residents and several external groups were also catered for. This included the students of Clarens Primary (grades 1 – 7), Dihlabeng Christian School, Clarens combined, Moriting wathuto high, (ranger) Eben’s Environmental Club, the Thusanang Care Group, Jordania Primary School, Clarens Ladies Friendship Club, Clarens Working on Fire team, a host of township residents, the traditional healers, wood collectors and even the rangers themselves. Topics covered were myriad and included environmental issues and solutions, ecosystem processes, features and functions, indigenous and alien plant identification, ecosystem health, Balance in Nature and Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), to name a few.
The content of the EE has always been tailored to meet the needs and levels of understanding of a particular group or individual and can thus take the form of nature hikes, fun days with nature based games, lectures, informal talks, tutorials and workshops. A great deal of time and care therefore goes into the preparation for each event and it has been terrific to see the amount of positive feedback from all of those involved in the C.V.C. EE events. Many thanks to Sherri and the C.V.C. rangers for their outstanding dedication and enthusiasm. Thanks also go out to all our participants without whom we could not have hoped to have achieved such great success. We hope that the year 2014 brings as much and perhaps if it’s not too much to hope for – more success.

Thank-you Clarens

Letter from Nick and Cindy Osborne

My husband and I got married on the 16th November 2013 and decided a SA honeymoon would beat the typical Thailand honeymoons that many take.
We decided to keep it Local because it’s “lekker”.
So off to Clarens we ventured!
What an amazing time away.We simply wanted time to stop for us. From Sunday the 17th November till 20th November we hid away in this beautiful town.
Clarens has so much to offer.
We didn’t manage to get to do everything, but it’s given us reason to come back. We just wanted to thank ALL the towns people for a wonderful time in this beautiful town.
We have fallen so in love with Clarens.
A big thank you to The Clarens Country House and to Toni and Peter for such an amazing time at The Clarens Country House. Our new home away from home.
We cannot wait to see you all again, and thank you for making our time so wonderful.
Much love and appreciation,
Nick and Cindy Osborne.

Plant of the week: Dianthus basuticus

Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” where we’ll be looking at a member of the carnation family.
Dianthus basuticus subsp. basuticus (known as the Lesotho Dianthus, Lesotho Carnation or Drakensberg Carnation in English, Lesothose grootblom-wilde angelier in Afrikaans or hlokoa-la-tsela in Sisotho), is a dicotyledonous herb which often forms small mats on rocky grass slopes, crevices of rock sheets and on cliffs. “Dios” refers to divine (scent) whilst “anthos” refers to the flower, most likely referring to the heavenly scent of some species in the genus. What makes it interesting is that there are only 4 species of Dianthus growing in the entire Eastern Free State. D. basuticus subsp. basuticus was photographed on the Kloof Mountain Trail (Distr. Eastern Mountain Region – Mpumalanga) which would make sightings of this species rare unless you are eager for a bit of a climb. This little herb grows at altitudes of between 1400 and 3050 m A.S.L.

Read more


The Twitcher:

First, apologies to those nice people who drove round and round the Clarens Square looking for the village’s first traffic light, as reported in last week’s Clarens News. However, your frustration at not finding it would have been resolved by reading all the way to the bottom of my column: It is in fact operating quite effectively in the Clarens Brewery, literally lighting up the lives of many happy imbibers. So park your car and pop in for the safest drink in the country. Provided the light is green, of course! Last week I promised birds. Lots of birds. Well, I’m embarrassed to say that I have failed in my mission to find new and exciting species to report, notwithstanding a clutch of White Storks busily turning the soil outside Bethlehem. Winter visitors from Europe, these creatures are more charismatic than most Scandinavian tourists and have a particular fondness for small tractor drivers. If you happen upon an empty pair of Wellington boots beside an idling tractor, you know what happened. A Crested Barbet (or two) is currently patrolling my garden and a pirouette of Mouse Birds are standing guard over my fledgling grapes, waiting for the moment they fill with sweet juices. Not much more to report, however, and I haven’t seen a Black Eagle since the old King died. Ah well, maybe next week. Lots of reaction to the news of a Gallery Association Winter School next year: Ladies from a retirement home in Fouriesburg have volunteered to pose nude for the life drawing class and the sale of easels in Bethlehem has skyrocketed.   Read more

The Clarens – Golf News

clarens open



This weekend – Weather

This weekend –  Music

Friday 29 November, 2013:
The Grouse and Claret: 20h00: Violet Somedays

Saturday 30 November 2013
The Grouse and Claret: 20h30: Slipstream

This weekend –  Sport



This Weekend – Other Events

Farmers Market:  Saturday:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

Clarens News Plesierrit Machpela Ruiterklub




Coming Events

As always there is lots to look forward to

7 December: Clarens Open
14 December:  Bark for Life
14 December: NG Kerk Flea  Market

Click here to find out what’s in store


The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend

The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend will be from 6-8 December 2013.

There are 5 available spots and you can contact Susan :  dpguitarweekends@gmail.com

The workshop is unfortunately not open to the public, but a Show will be held on the last night, and one and all are invited to come enjoy the sounds created over this very exciting weekend.

Here is a link to a documentary from the Dan Patlansky weekend in Clarens:


Talking of Mushrooms

The Clarens Golf Course is sprouting mushrooms – and this reminded me of a favourite poem by Siyata Bhatt

If you named your daughter Garlic
Instead of Lily or Rose
She would travel far
to gather mushrooms
After a night of rain
She would rescue snails
putting them back on the broad leaves
with high stems able to support them
She would never lose
a crop of tomatoes.

You would never know
she was Garlic
because she would smell of roses –
her garden overflowing with fennel.
She would travel far
to gather mushrooms, that daughter
you named Garlic.
And unlike Tolstoy’s Verenka
She’ll meet a man
who won’t mind



Remember to check out the classifeds section.  There’s another job offer this week.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to