Tag Archives: Coming Events

9th May 2014: A change in the Weather

 

Snow on Mount Horeb Clarens



Table of contents: A change in the weather; Other changes? Oh yes – we had elections this week; The National MTN MTB Series –  Report Back; Parking in Clarens; Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works; The Twitcher; Clarens Tourism Forum AGM; Letter from Clarens Ratepayers Association; Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve; Female Entrepreneur Awards : Closing date 14 May 2014 Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave Helping SA – Cancer awareness campaign Coming Events: Mother’s Day Coming Events: Super rugby Making Clarens News Work for you


A change in the Weather.

No – we haven’t had snow yet, but since this editions photograph was taken on 11th May last year we can’t be blamed for thinking that it could snow at any time now.   We’ve certainly been blessed with the most fabulous weather recently, but  a quick look at accuweather – shows much coolet weather ahead.  They’re not predicting snow…….. but you never know!


Other changes?  Oh yes – we had elections this week.

Letter from Mandy Prior

Well another election has come and gone. There is some good news!! The DA has become the official opposition in the Free Sate. The sad news is that the voters’ numbers were down from the last Local election, however way up from the last National election.

Unfortunately in National elections the word on the ground is that “we must vote ANC so that the White government never comes back into power”.

Do not lose heart though because every year sees the majority become more and more educated in the ways of government.

Unfortunately, there still seems to be an apathy amongst White and youth voters to take ownership of the country. I can quite understand the resentment amongst the middleclass as they watch their rates and taxes squandered and the infrastructure of the country crumble.

The only way available to us to bring about change is to vote.

Thanks to all who made the effort, no matter which way you voted, to give a voice to the country.

Clr.Mandy Prior

For more comments on the elections see The Twitcher below.


The National MTN MTB Series –  Report Back

Letter from Clarens Toursim Forum:

And so another superb event concludes in Clarens. Sincere thanks to Advendurance, event owners and organisers of the MTN MTB Series in Clarens.

Thanks also to other contributors to the success of this event:A Massive thank you from the Advendurance Team to the entire Clarens Community for their support of this event. 2014 Saw their largest number of entries to date for the Clarens leg – 1825 unique entries with a total of +/-2200 riders over the 2 days. This event first started in Clarens in 2004 with 250 mountain bike riders so the growth over the last 10 years is evident! In a post-event meeting attended by Wessel van der Walt and Francois Theron (Advendurance), Paul Pretorius (Advendurance representative), Rodney Wainwright (CVC + Fire Association), Dawn Wainwright (Paballo’s Nursing Services) and Tammy Hancock (CTF), the future of the event in Clarens was discussed with the objective and vision to further improve, grow and enhance the event. To this end the date of the 2015 Clarens leg has been moved to 17 – 19 April 2015. Contributing factors to the date change are:

i.         to avoid the conflict with a usually productive long weekend in Clarens; and,

ii.         date change of another major mountain bike race event.

Read more


Parking in Clarens

Parking in ClarensIf facebook is anything to go by, the recent cycling event in Clarens seems to have sparked off the perennial debate on parking in Clarens.  We published an excellent article by  Louw van Biljon  in Clarens News last year.  Click here if you missed this well researched article.  There’s much food for thought.


Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

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      


The Twitcher

Whew!  Another election gone and everything stays the same.  Give or take a percentage point here or there, all we have to show for billions of Rands-worth of hot air in the media is the introduction of red berets to the Parliamentary fashion ramp and the demise of the oldest politician on the block.  Along with some other long-standing stalwarts of Parliamentary privilege, Mangosuthu and his late-lamented goat herders have largely disappeared, leaving KZN with some pretty boring okes in dark suits.  Gone forever are nights of intrigue in what was briefly the world’s smallest provincial capital (to whit, a one-roomed hotel and a three-storey parliament) and cow’s foot soup for breakfast.  He will be missed, not least by journalists everywhere, as the longest speech-maker in contemporary history.  Your faithful scribe actually remembers the world’s newspapers calling his offices in Ulundi (or should that read, in desperation), asking them to halt a 794-page faxed speech from their silky leader.  Ah, those were the days of real communicators.  Goodbye Gatcha and enjoy the pension.   Read more


Clarens Tourism Forum

Clarens Tourism Forum AGM The Annual General Meeting of the Clarens Tourism Forum will take place on the 22nd of May 2014 at 16hOO at Mont d’Or Hotel, Clarens. Click here to see the Notice, Agenda, and Proxy Form


Letter from Clarens Ratepayers Association

Hi There Dihlabeng Budget:  Attached ( Click here ) is the letter which Rodney and I compiled following the Budget meeting, which was held on April 23rd.  The letter was hand delivered to various parties in the Municipality and contains our concerns about the Budget and other serious matters.  Simultaneously an article from the DA, with similar concerns, appeared in the local “ Vrytstaat”.

High Mast Lighting:  We’ve had a number of complaints from around the Village and in Larola about the high mast lights in the Township, they are facing either upwards or into the village.  Shining into bedrooms of residents homes and the accommodation for visitors. The new one in the Stadium has exacerbated the situation.  We have talked to the Contractor at the Stadium.  He has agreed to call back the electrical contractor to adjust the lights and also to set them so that only 2 of them come on at night.  However, it may take some time to get the electrical contractor back.  Hold thumbs!

With regard to the other lights, Peter Reed advises that the guy with responsibility for these is on leave, but will be back early May, when the other lights will be adjusted as necessary. Knowing that these lights were installed in the Township for security purposes, they are not really doing much good shining in the sky.  Please pass this info to anyone else who has a problem – I don’t have the email addresses of all residents, only those who have joined the Ratepayers Association. Kind regards Pat Chairperson, Clarens’ Ratepayers’ Association 058 256-1123  raubenheimer@icon.co.za Click here for more about the Clarens Ratepayers Association

Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Protea Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Protea roupelliae Damien Coulson Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. Well it’s been some time since we’ve included a woody plant in our line-up of must-see-plants, thus this week’s plant hales from the Proteacea (Protea) family. Protea roupelliae(Silver Protea in English, Silversuikerbos in Afrikaans and seqalaba in Sesotho), is a small tree that grows to between 3 & 7 m tall. This plant is found on grass slopes in close proximity to rocky outcrops, usually at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L. P. roupelliae is endemic to S.A. One also gets the feel that they are in a totally different part of the country when walking among the Protea’s. The photos below were not in fact taken in the Clarens Nature Reserve but on private farmland within 10 km (or 5 minutes’ drive) of Clarens.     Read more


Female Entrepreneur Awards : Closing date 14 May 2014

Hi All.

The National Department of Agriculture,Forestry & Fisheries is running the competition for women in different sectors of agriculture.As the Provincial Department of Agriculture & Rural Development we have been tasked to invite all interested female Entrepreneurs to take part in this competition.

Thabo Mofutsanyana District is inviting all Female Entrepreneurs to take part and represent our wonderful district in the Province.If they win in the Province then they will represent Free State Province in the National Competition.  Read more


Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave

Please note that Sisters Henriette and Antoinette of Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens will be taking their well deserved annual leave as follows:

Paballos Nursing Care Clarens

Last day of work 1pm on Thursday 15 May 2014
First day of work 8.45am on Monday 9th June 2014Click here to see more notices on the Community Bulletin Board Click here for more information on Paballo’s Nursing Care

Helping SA – Cancer awareness campaign

Helping SA is having a cancer awareness campaign to raise funds for children with cancer in state hospitals.

There are a lot of children without winter pajamas or any pajamas for their stay in hospital, they also do not have much to keep them busy and their minds off what they are going through, the funds raised through this campaign will be used to buy the children clothing and toys and will also assist with the traveling for the children and their parents to and from the hospital. With this project in 2013 we made a lot of children smile and just for that minute or two they forgot about their pain and the scariness of what they are going through, we also did not just do this for children with cancer but also with other children that is ill or has dread illnesses. We will be doing the same this year to focus on all children to make what they are going through easier for them.

The fundraising will be done by asking for a R100 donation towards this project ….Read more


Coming Events: Mother’s Day

Mothers Day at Mont d'Or


Coming Events:

Click here:  To see what else is 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! Making Clarens News Work for you: Clarens News is here for you to enjoy, use, and promote all things Clarens.   Get it to work for your business by listing on the website.   Contact the editor@clarensnews.co.za

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25th April, 2014: Welcome to the New News

Clarens in Autumn


Table of Contents: Welcome to Clarens; Focus on Recycling:  Cleaning Up Clarens; Recycling: the why, what, how and where?; The Twitcher; Clarens Primary to be revamped; Clarens Village Conservancy; Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Female Entrepreneur Awards; Letter from the Clarens Ratepayers Association; A Dihlabeng Chicken Run; Dihlabeng Budget; Cluny Animal Trust Appeal; The MTN Mountain Bike Race: How you can make it work for you; Coming Events: 2 May, 2014:  Supper Theatre On the Square; Coming Events: 2 May, 2014: Artists Open Day at Sunnyside Guest Farm; Coming Events: 3-4 May: National MTB in Clarens; Coming Events: 31 May 2014:  Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day; More Coming Events; It’s super rugby time again; Conservation Sense


 Welcome to Clarens

Just a glance at the picture above and you know that this is Clarens.  And we at Clarens News are over-the-moon excited to launch our new website. As promised, our new website is now live. It’s a rather unusual website in that it has a dual purpose. The primary objective is to attract visitors to Clarens by telling them what a special town we have.   It is, however, also a website for the people who live in Clarens, and we hope that all the business owners and Clarens Organisations  will come to look at it as their website. In other words its a website for and about Clarens, and it’s there for both visitors and the people of Clarens to use, alongside these newsletters and the Clarens News facebook page. The website is an on-going project: we’re working on it all the time but there is still a lot of work to do – especially as far as listings are concerned, so please forgive us if we haven’t got your business listed yet. With your help – we’ll get there soon.  In the meantime, please enjoy all the information already on the website.  And should you wish to comment – please email us:  editor@clarensnews.com.


Focus on Recycling:  Cleaning Up Clarens

Clarens Recycling Centre Team

Clarens News managed to catch up with Evon Els and her helpers Mojalefa and Palo outside the Recycling Centre just after the beerfest.   Evon manages the Recycling centre, and together with Mojalefa and Palo,  goes to great lengths to collect recyclable materials from in and around Clarens.  It’s a big job – often smelly and dirty – and therefore, not for the feint hearted.

I asked Evon how she came to be so passionate about recycling, and she told me that it all started when she had an engineering business in Graaff Reinet.  She started to put aside all the scrap metal generated by her business, and next thing the community started bringing her tin cans and bottles, which she bought from them in an effort to alleviate the dire poverty in the area.  The effect verged on miraculous.  Not only was there money going into the community, but the whole town was cleaned up.  The effects of recycling are huge, and Evon is hoping that she can have the same effect on the Clarens community that she had in Graaff Reinet.

Materials are collected from the trailer parked outside the Bibliophile, restaurants, businesses, the transfer site,  schools, the Kgubetswana taverns and homes, and if you phone her, she’ll even come to your home to collect.  Read more

Recycling: the why, what, how and where?

Many of us have heard of recycling, but how many of us know the importance of recycling? I suppose that if asked, the majority of us would come up with a response like “because it’s good for the environment”, but there’s more to it than that… much much more. for the environment”, but there’s more to it than that… much much more. So why should we recycle? To start off with well … you guessed it – it’s good for the environment. The Earth only has finite resources and at some point these must run out – unless we start reusing that which we already have. But when we look deeper we will find that that it also aids socio-economic development. Recycling raises awareness which in turn prompts an alteration in behaviour which leads to action which results in positive change – streets are cleaner (reduce), attitudes are changed so that people now take pride in their surroundings and all the recycled materials can be used to make other new objects (reuse) and employment opportunities are created. Because pollution is reduced, quality of life improves – people are happier and more productive. This is particularly true of impoverished communities. This leads us on to what can be recycled? The following are just a few examples of what can be taken to recycling centres:    Read more


The Twitcher

One long weekend down, two to go.  Judging from the reaction of the restaurants, bars, coffee shops and guest houses, you could be forgiven for thinking we had won the lottery.  But if you happen to be a gallery or retail store owner, maybe not so much.  The point is that spending is selective in these stringent economic times:  Fill the tank with gas, fill the tummy with steak and craft beer and lay your tousled head upon a rented bed – and all is well with the world, apart from an upcoming election of course.  But whether or not you were on the receiving end of tourist largesse, it has to be said that Clarens at Easter was simply gorgeous: The trees are somewhere between butter and brown and the sunsets are an extreme exercise in sky theatre.  And if the Easter Bunny forgot about you, go buy your own little slice of chocolate heaven at your nearest village grocer; they need some business too!  Read more


Clarens Primary School to be revamped

Clarens Primary School

 
Clarens Primary, a school that was established almost a century ago will be celebrating their hundredth birthday  by receiving  a much needed revamp. The school is a non fee student school and depends largely on funding. Together with the dedicated teaching staff and helpers the school strives to bring out the best in learners by making use of what they have available.
Annetjie Coetzee - Clarens Primary School  Proud school principal Annetjie Coetzee has done her best to steer and direct the primary school through hard times. Last year (2013), after hearing about the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative(ASIDI), Annetjie  wrote to  this organisation on behalf of the school and the ASIDI, after inspecting the school, have now approved funding  (R15 million) for reconstruction. Read more
 

Clarens Village Conservancy

Clarens Village Conservancy - Spruit management The Clarens Village Conservancy rangers continue  their hard work.  Alien clearing from the Nature Reserve alone is a massive project necessitating much planning and physical effort, but given the systematic and scientific approach, there is hope that they will eventually overcome this massive problem,   Alien vegetation control is however one aspect of the work they do. Click here To read the Rangers April report , covering not only Alien Vegetation, but also Erosion Control, Environmental Education, and Trail Maintenance.  (You can also see previous reports on our Clarens Village Conservancy website page.) You  too can play your part, by becoming a member of the Conservancy, or by donating to the Conservancy in cash or kind.  (The Nature Reserve could for instance benefit from recyclable benches.) Click here for more information about The Clarens Village Conservancy.


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Delosperma sutherlandii D sutherlandii

Damien Coulson

 

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a striking member of the Mesembryanthemaceae (Vygie/Ice Plant) family. Delosperma sutherlandii (Sutherland Hardy Ice-plant in English), is a succulent herb growing to 120 mm high. The Latin Delos translates to “conspicuous”, whilst spermatranslates to “seed”, referring to the large capsule-shaped seeds produced by the plant. In grasslands between KZN and Mpum it grows at altitudes of up to 2100 m A.S.L. The seeds of D. sutherlandii require only a sufficient quantity of rainfall to open. One can “trick” the dry capsule into opening by sucking on it for a short while or dripping several water droplets on the capsule. The capsule opens before your eyes but will soon close as it quickly dries. Interesting to know that the vibrant looking flowers are among the largest of any Ice-plant. The photo below was taken on a section of the Kloof Mountain Trail during the spring of last year.   Read more


Female Entrepreneur Awards

Hi All.

The National Department of Agriculture,Forestry & Fisheries is running the competition for women in different sectors of agriculture.As the Provincial Department of Agriculture & Rural Development we have been tasked to invite all interested female Entrepreneurs to take part in this competition.

Thabo Mofutsanyana District is inviting all Female Entrepreneurs to take part and represent our wonderful district in the Province.If they win in the Province then they will represent Free State Province in the National Competition.

Here are the Categories of the competition:

  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: COMMERCIAL
  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: SMALLHOLDER
  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: PROCESSING
  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: EXPORT
  • BEST SUBSISTANCE
  • BEST FEMALE WORKER
  • MINISTERIAL AWARD: YOUNG WOMAN/ WOMAN WITH DISABILITY

Closing date for entering the competition is 14 May 2014.All interested farmers can contact Mr Tsepiso Mosia and get forms at his office in Dihlabeng Municipal office in Clarens. Good news is that Clarens is running for the hosting of the district event on 29 May 2014.Let us go for this challenge Clarens Farmers,remember Clarens is the unique town of WINNERS!!! Hope to hear from you soon.

Tsepiso Mosia Department of Agriculture & Rural Development FS Phone: 0710791332 E-mail: mosiatsepiso@yahoo.com


Letter from the Clarens Ratepayers Association

Hi there I would like to advise you that Chris Salt, Treasurer and Vice Chair of the CRA has resigned. Chris has been with CRA for 6 years and before that he was Treasurer of the preceding association, RAG.  Thus he has been volunteering his services to the Clarens Community for many years and we would like to thank him for his dedication, expertise and support. We will be advising you soon of the date for the CRA AGM for which Chris will prepare the financials; the meeting will most probably be held in early June.  At the AGM we will be electing a new committee; please give some thought to volunteering as a committee member – we have three to four meetings per year. I am sure you will all join me in thanking Chris for his work for Clarens. Kind regards Pat Chairperson, CRA  (Phone: 058 256-1123  email: raubenheimer@icon.co.za

Click here for more information about the Clarens Ratepayers Association


A Dihlabeng Chicken Run

Dihlabeng Chicken Run
Ben Horn

The Dihlabeng  church here in Clarens is about to take part in what they describe as a chicken run,  set to start in June this year is an agricultural  based community challenge.  This project will aim to serve three purposes: feeding those in need, educating young people, and empowering local men and women with the skills and resources to create a sustainable income. Project leader, Ben Horn, is currently doing a gap year in Clarens. (Next year he’ll be moving to Preston to start a church and study robotics at university.) Three years ago, after spending a month serving Dihlabeng Church in Clarens, and its local community, he decided he would return to do the same thing for his gap year. Ben is still at the coop building stage of his project, but is hoping soon to be in a position to house 20 laying hens producing between 15 and 20 eggs a day, which will go towards feeding those in need. The second way this project will serve the local community is by educating young people. This will be done in two ways: educating children through Dihlabeng Christian School, and getting young adults involved in the running of the project. Dihlabeng School shares grounds Dihlabeng Church, meaning that as the coops will be built at the church, they will also be on the school grounds.  Ben writes:  Through the project, we not only hope to educate children on how to properly look after hens, but also to provide a teaching aid that will help school staff teach the children about a range of agricultural and biological topics. Right from the day the project begins we hope to get young adults involved in every area of running the project, teaching them how to look after hens and a range of project management skills. Thirdly, we plan to do this by taking our model for looking after hens to families in the surrounding villages.


Dihlabeng Budget

Those of you who’ve read the twitcher in full, will have seen the comments on the Dihlanbeng Municipality Budget, which was presented to Clarens residents at the Martie Lotz Hall on Wednesday.  Your editor had planned to upload the budget onto the website – but has so-far failed to manage this. (A software glitch which we can’t seem to overcome at the moment.)   Should you wish to have a look at it, please email: editor@clarensnews.com, and we will email you a copy.


Cluny Animal Trust Appeal

Cluny Animal Trust Appeal


The MTN Mountain Bike Race: How you can make it work for you

Organisers of MTN Mountain Bike Race have approached the Chamber of Commerce offering exclusivity of the water points needed on the two race days to businesses in Clarens.  This means that Clarens businesses have the opportunity to nab the huge exposure available at these water points, back from Bethlehem businesses.   This year more than 2000 cyclists are participating who will all see your brand.  What is needed is a gazebo (preferably branded), your branding such as banners, t-shirts, etc., 3-4 people and spirit.  You need to set up by 6.30 each day , it will be out on a farm road and the length of time will depend on the race route but will be no longer than 3 hours.  You will be provided with water, drinks, apples, bananas, banana bread and jelly babies to be handed to the athletes.  You will need to brush up your motivational phrases, bring your own good cheer and strong voices, and anything else to make your brand stand out and have fun.

The race organisers need 4 water points.  Please respond to info@clarensbrewery.co.za if you want to grab one. Who knows – yours might feature on SuperSport?

The organisers also asked the Chamber to appeal to guest house & B&B owners to:

1 – offer an accommodation discount to the cyclists. (They realise this year falls on a long weekend but next year’s race has been moved to the weekend after the May long weekend)

2 – offer a discount if the cyclists skip breakfast on account of being out in the route

3 – be accommodating in a late check out if you have no guests booking in on the Sunday to allow the cyclists to have a shower after the race.


Coming Events: 2 May, 2014: Supper Theatre On the Square:

Theatre in Clarens - Cat Simoni Phone Carol at Gosto’s for further details: 082 416 3687Click here to find out more about Cat Simoni


Coming Events: 2 May, 2014: Artists Open Day at Sunnyside Guest Farm

Artists Open Day at Sunnyside


Coming Events: 3-4 May National MTB in Clarens

MTN in ClarensClick here For further information


Coming Events: 31 May 2014 Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day

Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day

The purpose of the event is to raise funds for the development of an animal hospital in Fouriesburg and the surrounding areas.

Why:

Animals are mans best friend, they are always there when we’re lonely, they never give up on us and share our joy and sadness

Contact Details: Jan Sander (c) 0782462553, (f) 058 223 0727 email: jansander22@gmail.com


More Coming Events

Have a look at the website for the list of other coming events.


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!


Conservation Sense:

A snippet of “conservation sense” as quoted from an old varsity buddy: “Chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree. That makes it a plant. Chocolate is salad”.

Thought it might make somebody’s evening. Any weight-watchers out there? Cheers, Damien

28th March 2014: Equinox

 

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?

 

Equinox

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.

 


 

Snakes

 

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: santa@in-a-heartbeat.co.za


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


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;
  • GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE  (GCCoC);
  • 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  (GCCoC)

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

SUNDAY 19/01/2014  : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED
SUNDAY 26/01/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED
MONDAY 27/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00
WEDNESDAY 29/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00
SUNDAY 2/02/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED

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

FEES MET GEES

For  more info:
 https://www.facebook.com/bieliemielie

 


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.


Classifieds

 

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:
editor@clarensnews.com

Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

24th January 2014: The Chamber of Commerce

Clarens summer Hay bales

Table of Contents:

  • Making hay while the sun shines;
  • GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
  • Kgubetswana Comes to the Party!;
  • GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
  • Meeting;
  • Trading Licences on the Square:  Dihlabeng Responds;
  • Self – drive: Clarens to the Vulture Restaurant: Golden Gate National Park;
  • Plant of the week:  Disa chrysostachya;
  • It’s for the Birds;
  • The Twitcher;
  • Other Community News;
  • This weekend – Weather;
  • Coming Events –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival;
  • Regional Festivals – Bieliemieliefees;
  • Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival;
  • More Coming Events;
  • Classifieds;
  • Not on the mailing list?

 

 


Making hay while the sun shines

Summer is in full swing, and the last few days of heat have seen Clarenites wilting.  Shoo …. it’s hot – but who would want to live anywhere else, especially with reports of record snow falls throughout the northern hemisphere. So – as the saying goes – make hay while the sun shines and enjoy these beautiful days.   The farmers are certainly making the best of this hay-making opportunity, as can be seen from the photo taken from the road between Clarens and Bethlehem earlier this week.
This week’s headline – Chamber of Commerce – highlights an important development in Greater Clarens – and the invitation for all business owners to take part needs to be taken seriously.  If you run a business in Clarens – no matter how big or small – you need to attend the meeting on Monday. This is your chance  to make your voice heard.


GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Kgubetswana Comes to the Party!

 A meeting will be held at 10h00 on Monday 27 January 2014 to initiate the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce, at the Dutch Reformed Church Hall on Main Street.

All business interests in the greater Clarens area will be able to discuss the concept and elect three directors to the first board of directors to represent their interests in the business growth of the village.  Three of five directors will be elected on Monday morning and Kgubetswana will elect two more to make up a board of five directors, including the chair.

In this regard, business interests in Kgubetswana met last night to establish their own business organisation, named the Clarens Business Development Cooperative.  This signal event is an important one for the whole community and confirms the interest of Kgubetswana in development, training and mentoring.  This body will then nominate two directors to the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce, confirming the establishment of a single, representative entity to guide the future development of Greater Clarens.

Recent events, particularly the contentious issue of trading licences on the Clarens Square, confirm the need for such a body to negotiate issue of concern to business and ensure the survival of the village in these harsh economic times.  On a positive note, the establishment of an integrated representative body opens the way to a brighter future for all the residents of Clarens.

All business interests in Clarens and its surrounding farming area are invited to the meeting on Monday and nomination forms for the election of directors are available from The Clarens News .  Representatives of the Clarens Business Development Cooperative will also attend the meeting and provide an insight into their ground-breaking initiative.


GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Meeting

Date:  27 January 2014

Meeting Time: 10h00

Venue:  Dutch Reformed Church Hall, Main Street

All business interests in Clarens and its surrounding farming area are invited to the meeting on Monday and nomination forms for the election of directors are available from The Clarens News .  Representatives of the Clarens Business Development Cooperative will also attend the meeting and provide an insight into their ground-breaking initiative.


Trading Licences on the Square:  Dihlabeng Responds

Readers will recall that on January 7 of this year, 63 rate-paying businesses signed a Memorandum of Complaint in respect of the granting of trading licences to vendors on the Clarens Square.  This Memorandum was forwarded, courtesy of the Clarens Unit Manager, Peter Reed, to the Municipal Manager in Bethlehem.

We have pleasure in reporting today that two representatives of the Local Economic Development Forum (Thembalethu Dladla, Manager Tourism and Business Development, and Lebohang Mofokeng, Officer Emerging Business) asked for a meeting with the facilitators of the Memorandum of Complaint, Peter Badcock-Walters and Natalie Meyer.  This was duly held in Peter Reed’s office last week and those attending were kindly introduced by Mandy Prior.  The meeting was positive and to the point: The Dihlabeng representatives went to great lengths to assure Clarens that they were seriously concerned and recognised the unique value of Clarens to the Municipality and the Province.  They were also somewhat in awe of the collection of 63 signatures in less than 24 hours!  The Clarens facilitators indicated that the memorandum summarised the concerns of rate-paying business and that straight answers were required to the questions put to Dihlabeng.

The following points were discussed and agreed:   Read more


Self – drive: Clarens to the Vulture Restaurant: Golden Gate National Park

Self drive - Clarens to Vulture Restaurant

Genevieve Blignaut

If beauty and the vastness of nature is what you seek, the Vulture Restaurant, located in the Oribi Loop in the Golden Gate National Park, is just the thing for you.  The drive of 58 km’s will spoil you with tremendously beautiful views of the Rooiberg and landscapes stretching as far as the Drakensberg. Leave Clarens on the R712  towards the Golden Gate National Park.  Continue straight and allow your eyes to follow the hypnotic lines of farmfields whilst the mountains overhead carry the whispers of ancient voices straight to your heart.  If you fancy some horse riding, why not stop at Bokpoort on the way, or if you have a rumbly tummy picnic at Sunnyside Guest Farm or lunch at The Gourmet Shed are both easily accessible from the drive.  Alternatively stop at one of the many other  treasures along your way:  Café Moulin, Sugar & Cinnamon, The Busstop, Kiara Lodge and the Koffiepot, all filled to the brim with delicious yummies and ready to welcome you with great hospitality.   Read more


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week:  Disa chrysostachya

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Disa chrysostachya Damien Coulson

 

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a member of the Orchid family recently spotted in relatively low abundance at just 2 localities in the CNR.
Disa chrysostachya (the Torch Orchid in English; and mametsana in Sesotho), is a perennial that rises to between 250 & 650 mm tall. It usually occurs in damp grasslands, marshy areas or below cliff seep lines at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L., and occurs from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo.
D. chrysostachya has on average 3 – 5 densely overlapped leaves arising from the base of a thick fleshy stem. The inflorescence is tall and cylindrical and slender. The flowers are small, bright orange/yellow with a reddish tinge. A spur is present on each flower and hangs straight down. The flowers are 5 – 11 mm long, flowering from late December to mid Jan. This plant hasn’t been observed growing in great abundance, which would rather obviously make any sightings all the more dear. It’s growth form is also rather unusual and makes for an interesting observation.   Read more


It’s for the Birds

Mary Walker  Clarens NewsThis Saturday, if you happen to be out driving on one of the dirt roads in the countryside and you find yourself behind an annoyingly slow car, your patience and restraint will not go unappreciated.  The CAR Project is having its summer day out and in various parts of the country slow cars will be driving along routes away from the main roads.  No, this is not a vintage car rally!  In fact, for much of the time these cars will be parked at the side of the road and the occupants will be out of the cars and standing on the veld grass verges, staring off into the distance; with binoculars glued to their eyes, and paper and pencil handy.

These are CAR Project volunteers, made up of many hundreds of persons around the country.  And a carload of ladies from Clarens will be among their count this Saturday.

The Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcounts (CAR) Project dedicates two days each year, one in late July and one in late January, to a mass bird count, where specific bird species are counted in a certain type of terrain subject to specified criteria.  Sounds too much like work?  No, of course not!  It’s a fun outing in your own car, with your own padkos, and with something challenging and satisfying to do along the way.  And at the end of it you are contributing to a national ornithological database.   Read more


The Twitcher

I have really tried hard to write about birds this week.  I really have.  But when a rumour of global proportions does the rounds, what can a boy do, especially when it’s about cricket?

It appears (as the actress said to the Bishop) that a local farmer and businessman has the healthiest of obsessions with red balls and white caps.  In short, he has the most laudable of ambitions: namely, to bring civilisation to Clarens by building a world class cricket pitch on his farm, thus liberating it from the lowly role of feeding the people and boosting the economy.  Well, he is a farmer, so maybe that’s not strictly true.

The point is that this farm, in the shadow of a mushroom rock, could soon be heaving to mammoth fours and sixes at the behest of tall, chisel-featured cricketers of every make and persuasion.  Yes, it may indeed be true.  Imagine, if you will, dear reader, the visiting Australian cricket team taking to the field and bowling cabbages back and forth – all to the rapturous applause of both Australian residents of our own dear village.  And imagine the opposition, the Clarens and Country Districts All Stars, gearing up in the nets, in the shadow of one of the village’s premier wedding venues?

Picture Bruce Weyers, trim in skin-tight Teflon strides and size 59 pads, leaping gymnastically to his left and right, demonstrating the fine art of wicket-keeping.  Conceive, if you will, of the Sector Police Forum Chair lying crumpled on the turf after receiving a vicious bouncer from Les ‘body-line’ Thake.  Picture Ollie  ‘the kilted catcher’ Esplin at silly mid-on and Greg ‘the prowler’ Mousley at silly mid-off, taking profane direction from team Captain and star of the third-worst batting line up in the world, Brad ‘one off the wrist’ Goldblatt.  Imagine!   Read more


Other Community News

Clarens Family Pharmacy:  Trading Hours from 19th January to NOTICE CHANGES in TRADING  3 February 2014

SUNDAY 19/01/2014  : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED
SUNDAY 26/01/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED
MONDAY 27/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00
WEDNESDAY 29/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00
SUNDAY 2/02/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED

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:  To view Click here


This weekend – Weather

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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!

Have a look at the Clarens News website Events.

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

      13 – 16 February 2014.  Reitz

FEES MET GEES

For  more info:
 https://www.facebook.com/bieliemielie


Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival

Click here for more information


More Coming Events

Have a look at the Clarens News website Coming 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 this issue to find out more.)


Classifieds

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:
editor@clarensnews.com


Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

17th January 2014: Summer time, and the living is easy..

 

Clarens to Fouriesburg Pierneef landscape

Table of Contents:

  • Summer Time, and the living is easy….;
  • IMPORTANT COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT;
  • Self – drive:  Clarens to Fouriesburg;
  • CVC Report-Back December 2013;
  • Clarens Skies –  The Emu;
  • Plant of the week:  Scabiosa columbaria;
  • Letters to the editor;
  • The Twitcher;
  • Other Community News;
  • This weekend – Weather;
  • This weekend – Music;
  • Coming Events;
  • Classifieds;
  • Not on the mailing list?

 


 

Summer Time, and the living is easy….

We couldn’t say it any better.  Beautiful days, long evenings, and a chance to recover from the holiday season.  Everywhere you look there’s a photo opportunity, and we had a tough time deciding which photos to feature in this week’s news.  The evening light under a stormy sky throws up the most amazing colours  –  reminiscent of a Pierneef palette.  No wonder so many artists come to live in Clarens.


 

IMPORTANT COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT

The Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce:
THE WAY FORWARD

Readers of The Clarens News and Eish! will be aware of efforts to initiate a Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce over recent months.  You will also be aware that a Constitution has been drafted and that many meetings have been held with business interests in Clarens and Kgubetswana to ensure the creation of an inclusive and representative body.  The Clarens News would like to acknowledge the efforts of everyone involved in the process to date and notes that the current facilitators, Peter Badcock-Walters and Chris Pefanis, have decided to call a meeting of Greater Clarens businesses on Monday 27 January 2014, to adopt the draft Constitution and elect three members of the first board of the Chamber.

We note however that there are several issues of importance that must be recognised ahead of this meeting.  First, whilst businesses in Upper Clarens have already met in various forums to discuss this matter, those in Kgubetswana have yet to resolve the standing of their business association and its representation.  Equally, recent events in Clarens (such as the issuing of trading licences on the Square by the Dihlabeng Municipality) demand active management by a representative body competent to speak for the town’s business community.  For this reason, the facilitators have deemed it necessary to elect three of five board members immediately, in order to assume negotiations with the Municipality and other parties, but will reserve two seats for the Kgubetswana business community.  Representatives of the Kgubetswana business community will be invited to attend this meeting and agree to the election of two such representatives in due course.

Second, the draft Constitution of the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce will be circulated with immediate effect to every business owner in Clarens, Kgubetswana and the wider geographic area surrounding Clarens.  This will include farmers, guest houses, restaurants and tourist operators in the area, to ensure the inclusion of everyone with an interest in the growth and development of this unique part of the Eastern Free State.  Circulation of this draft Constitution will be by means of a link to this copy of The Clarens News as well as Eish!, Clarens News Facebook page and/or printed copies delivered to those without electronic connections.  Businesses are asked to read this document and prepare to comment on it and/or support its adoption on 27 January.  If you regard yourself as a business owner and have not received a copy of this Constitution by Wednesday 23 January, please urgently contact either Peter Badcock-Walters (peterbw@eastcoast.co.za) or Chris Pefanis (comms@clarenssa.co.za).  Alternatively, if you are aware of a business that has not been included in this mailing, please feel free to print out this information, the draft Constitution and the nomination form referred to below, and pass these along.

Third, a nomination form will be circulated to all the businesses described above and situated in this area by 23 January.  This form will allow you to nominate up to three members of the first board of the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce, including an interim chairperson, to represent Upper Clarens.  Your nominees must be business persons resident in the Greater Clarens area and must be willing to serve as board members of the Chamber.  We note that neither Peter Badcock-Walters nor Chris Pefanis will be standing for office, as their role is simply to facilitate the creation of this Chamber.  Voting for these three seats will take place at the meeting of 27 January following discussion of these points.

Finally, the meeting will take place at the DRC Hall on the corner of Main Street and Van Reenen Street at 10h00 on Monday 27 January, 2014.  As a business owner, you are respectfully urged to attend and participate in the election of the first board of the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce.  Your business future in Clarens may depend on your participation and involvement.

The Editor


Self – drive routes from Clarens :  Clarens to Fouriesburg

Self drive route Clarens to Fouriesburg rainbow over Maluti Mountains

Many would agree that the drive between Clarens and Fouriesburg is one of the prettiest in the entire Free State.  A straight drive on the excellent tarmac road takes under half an hour, but it is wise to set aside more time for this beautiful route in order to fully enjoy the impressive sweep of vistas the area affords.  The route runs through the heart of the Brandwater Basin, with the Rooiberg Range to the north, the Maluti Mountains to the south and the Witteberg Range in the far west.  It is a feast of distant mauve peaks, lush green valleys, golden sandstone precipices and, for much of the year, big blue skies.

Leave Clarens on the R711 south, which is clearly signposted as the road to Fouriesburg.  Soon after you leave the town, you will pass a pretty valley on the left, with a small tree-lined river meandering through it.  This is the Little Caledon River, which has its source far to the east in the watershed of the Golden Gate Highlands.  The sandstone cliffs that frame the valleys in the early part of this drive flaunt typical examples of rock overhangs sculptured by many thousands of years’ weathering.   For map and further details click here  


 

Clarens Village Conservancy Report-Back December 2013

To read all the latest news on what’s the Clarens Village Conservancy have been up to Click here
We at Clarens News are particularly excited to learn that there will soon be markers for a new trail (currently unnamed).  Your faithful editor will walk it as soon as possible – and report back. This is after all,  a great time of the year for hiking with so many wild flowers in full bloom after the recent good rains.


 

Clarens Skies –  The Emu


Genevieve Blignaut
Forming the head of one of our most popular constellations in the Southern Hemisphere, “The Emu”, lies the Coalsack. This nebula appears as a dust cloud near the Southern Cross, blocking out the sky almost completely.Nebula’s are formed by the dust and gasses from long-dead stars, but also signals rebirth as new stars are born from these same gasses. The dust particles gravitate with immense power towards each other, in order to create the required pressure for the birth of a star to commence. Nebula’s are extraordinary life-creating life forces and each react in a different manner to the light bodies that surround them. Some nebula’s, like the Coalsack, appear as dark patches against the sky, (absorbtion/dark nebula), others absorb heat from nearby stars and glow as effect (emission nebula) still others only reflect the light of the bodies that surround them (reflection nebula).   Read more


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week:  Scabiosa columbaria

 

Damien Coulson

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a not-so-familiar wild flower that is currently in full bloom…and has something to do with all the Meadow White butterflies Pontia helice helice we’ve been seeing lately.

Scabiosa columbaria (the Wild Scabious in English; Bitterbos in Afrikaans and tlhako-ea-pitsi in Sesotho), is a perennial that obtains an average height of 750 mm. It is usually found growing in grasslands and on basalt rock at altitudes of up to 3200 m A.S.L. This interesting wild flower is widespread all the way from the Western Cape through to Europe and Asia where it is believed to have originated from.

The leaves are arranged in a rosette formation arising from the base and are 40 – 180 long X 40 mm wide. The margins may be entire or deeply lobed. The flower heads are white – off-white/cream, 10 – 25 mm in diameter on a solid yet branched stem of 120 – 300 mm long. The flowers are actually white-pink, when viewed more closely and hermaphroditic. The calyx is easily recognisable with 5 purple-red lobes. S. columbaria flowers from end Oct – early Feb. After flowering, the seeds develop in interesting rounded bristle-heads, which gradually fall apart as the seeds ripen and are ready to be redistributed by the wind.

While photographing the small white flowers of S. columbaria, the author observed several small invertebrates, from beetles to wasps to bees to butterflies perching on the inflorescence. In fact several thousand of the Meadow White butterfly were observed in one location obtaining nectar exclusively from this flower despite many other flower spp.being present in relative abundance in the CNR.   Read more


 

Letters to the editor

On the 6 of January 2014 we were having lunch at the German restaurant on main street where my daughter choked on an olive.
I would like to send a big thank you to everyone that was involved, The Paballos Nursing, the man sitting behind us and the man on the street that helped with the Heimlich, the lady in the grocery shop, the waiter in the restaurant, the restaurant owner and all the people involved.
When we return to Clarens we will pass by to say hi to everyone and let you all meet our daughter Valentina.
I can promise to you all that we will teach our daughter to be kind and helpful as you all were to us that day.
Thank you again
Fausto and Anna Vietri
083 284 2563


The Twitcher

 

Imagine the Clarens Sector Police Forum.  Imagine them engaged in earnest discussion of matters politic, community policing and social responsibility.  Stern, upright men of letters; steely-eyed, gazing into the future with determination and honest vigour.  Imagine them ordering a round of Coke to parch their strained throats, hoarse from the stresses of their unselfish task.  Wednesday evening in the quiet village of Clarens.

Imagine this halcyon scene outside a place of social interaction.  Well, actually, the Grouse and Claret.  Imagine that – coincidentally – an irresponsible driver, somewhat detached from reality, was to circle the Clarens Square on two wheels, at rather high speed, before executing an intriguing manoeuvre in which he rotates his borrowed VW Golf on the proverbial ‘tickey’ and spins around the corner into Van Zyl Street.  All the while, and this is a completely non-judgemental statement, with his car radio straining the range of human hearing.

Imagine, if you can calculate the odds against this, that this young man loses control of his borrowed and uninsured vehicle, and accelerates across the lane and into a parked car approximately one-metre from the assembled ranks of the Clarens Sector Police Forum, now arrested (if you will pardon the expression) in mid-swig.  Imagine, if you can, the moment of complete silence that follows as several brains attempt to re-assemble the chain of events that has, quite fortuitously, unfolded before them.

Read more


 

Other Community News

Clarens Family Pharmacy:  Trading Hours from 19th January to NOTICE CHANGES in TRADING  3 February 2014

SUNDAY 19/01/2014  : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED

SUNDAY 26/01/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED

MONDAY 27/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00

WEDNESDAY 29/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00

SUNDAY 2/02/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED


 

This weekend – Weather


 

This weekend – Music

Friday 19th January 2014
Friends:  20h30:   Slipstream


 

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

Have a look at the Clarens News website Coming Events page.


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 


Classifieds

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:
editor@clarensnews.com


 

Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

13 December 2013: Oh dear, it’s a Friday

 War in the valley

Table of Contents:

Oh dear – it’s a Friday; Light a candle for Madiba; War in the Valley; Stella Hancock – 93 years of memories; Christmas is coming; Clarens Skies –  Taurus; News from Clarens Village Conservancy; Plant of the week: Papaver aculeatum; Golf News: Festive Season operating hours; This weekend – Weather; This weekend –  Music; This weekend –  Other Events; Coming Events; Calling all Restauranteurs


Oh dear – it’s a Friday

Considered by many to be an unlucky day.  We at Clarens News have however always found that friday 13 can also be an incredibly lucky day. With Monday being a public holiday, many South Africans are closing up shop early this year to go on their well-earned Christmas holiday break and just about everyone in Clarens has shaken out their welcome mats as we ready ourselves for the holiday influx. Monday is South Africa’s Day of Reconcilation,  The 16th December is associated with two momentous historical events in South African history: The Battle of Blood River which took place in 1836, and the formation of Umknoto we Siswe in 1961. From now on, however, I am sure that it will also be associated with Nelson Mandela whose great example laid the foundation for true reconciliation in this beautiful country of ours.


Light a candle for Madiba

27_mandela_r_lead1-e1372978055244-650x262


War in the Valley

In a game of chess it is a risky move to retreat to a corner of the board when your defences are compromised.  In a corner and thus ruling out further retreat, you must be sure that effective frontal attack, or even attack from the rear on your opponent, is still an option open to you.  Without adequate opportunity for this, the outcome is most likely not going to be in your favour. This is the hard lesson learned by the Boers in the Brandwater basin during the Anglo-Boer War. Our photograph this week is of the Sunnyside area, looking west towards Clarens and further on, towards Fouriesburg, with the RooibergRange straddling the northern side of the landscape, stretching all the way to the Witteberg beyond Fouriesburg.  This is the view that Olivier, one of the Boer leaders who refused to surrender to the British, would have seen, had he looked back while on his hurried march to Golden Gate, the last remaining escape route out of the valley. Read more


 

Stella Hancock – 93 years of memories

Stella Hancock – A Full Life Article by Mary Walker Imagine a turquoise sea so flat and clear you can see the shadow of a small boat gliding across the sand below it.  Imagine small outcrops of lushly vegetated islands rising like shaggy green pillars from the water.  Islands with frilled skirts of ivory sand, too numerous to count, untouched, unspoilt, languid in vast fields of sea and sky.  Imagine sea-gypsies, nomadic, living in their wooden boats, subsisting from the sea.  In this place, idyllic beyond conception, Stella Hancock spent most of her first few years of life.  Read more


Christmas is coming


Clarens Skies –  Taurus

Genevieve Blignaut     The Bull, embodied both Osiris and his sister Isis in the eyes of the Egyptians. The brother and sister were respectively represented as bull-god and cow-goddess. According to Greek myth, the passionate god Zeus was thought to have disguised himself as a bull in yet another of his love affairs.The exquisite Europa, daughter of King Agenor, was strolling along the sea shore with her companions at her side, when Zeus noticed her and instantly became completely infatuated. The clever god immediately disguised himself as a magnificent white bull and upon appearing amongst the group, none felt fear as his calm demeanour radiated brilliantly.  Read more


News from Clarens Village Conservancy

Damien Coulsen has sent us a report detailing the rangers activities in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.   Below is just a short paragraph on work done on the trails. November proved to be a busy month for the rangers who have completed the revamping of the trail directional markers along the Spruit, Kloof Mountain Trail and Mallen Walk, and initiated work on the Porcupine Trail markers – 6 down and just 3 to go! The C.V.C. has also produced 100 new trail markers at no small expense, in order to provide all users with the easiest possible trail navigation system yet. The rangers were assisted by the workers of the TCG who helped remove a good deal of Brandbos from between Scilla Walk trail and the Ridge Estate. Further work on the Brandbos removal project will recommence early January after the workers return from the festive season. Click here to read the full report


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Papaver aculeatum

Damien Coulson: Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a small dicotyledonous plant from the Papaveraceae (poppy) family. Papaver aculeatum (known as the Orange Poppy in English, Doringpapaver in Afrikaans or sehlohlo in sisotho), is a small herb of around 0.1 – 1.5 tall depending on the surrounding geology. It may be found in rocky places, among scrub, in dry riverbeds and on cliffs, often proliferating in areas of disturbance. P. aculeatum grows at altitudes of 1600-2950 m A.S.L. and is generally widespread throughout S.A. Spp. Of the Papaver genus are all moderately frost tolerant. This small herb is interesting as it is the only poppy originating from the Southern hemisphere. This is not a herb that one would generally hand-pick without gloves as it is covered in stiff yellow spines and fine hairs and could result, if nothing else in itchy hands. The leaves are approx. 120-130 mm in length and are deeply lobed, with the toothed margins appearing almost tattered.  The flower, although simple in design is an attractive light-burnt orange, flowering from October through to March. The fruit are tiny (10-20 mm wide), ribbed and oval.  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.


This weekend – Weather


This weekend –  Music

Backpackers Friends Annual Jamboree Friday 13 – Sunday 15 December 2013:  The backpackers Its the Backpackrs Friends 35th jamboree and musicians from all over Clarens will be stopping over at the backpackers to strut their stuff and have some fun.  The Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters, Slipstream, and Voetstoets will be there together with various other “surpiise” bands.  The jamboree is however not just about music.  It”s also a “family”affair, so everyone is invited.  On Saturday evening  there will be a sheep on a spit  (R120 pp) and braai packs will also be available.  Those wanting to imbibe are however asked to bring their own..  . Friday, 13th December 2013 Friends:  20h00:  Van Smith Saturday 14th December 2013 Street Cafe:   12h00:  Deon:  The Soutie from Toti Friends:  20h00: Van Smth Artichoke Stop in at the Artichoke to enjoy Double Barrel.  They will be playing all weekend on an ad hoc basis. Double Barrel hail from Pietermarizberg and play a variety of music with a “classical touch. Sunday 15th December 2013 Artichoke:  12h00:  Deon the Soutie from Toti Friends:  14h30:  Van Smith


This weekend –  Other Events

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 .  


Coming Events

Be sure to visit the website: www.clarensnews.com, to find out what else there is in store.


 

Classifieds

Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to buy a generator?  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 editor@clarensnews.com


 

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 toeditor@clarensnews.com

1st November 2013: After rain

Clarens News: 1st November 2013, After Rain
Contents: Chirstmas trees and snow; Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce; Film crew in Clarens; Clarens Craft Beer Festival; Clarens Recycling Centre; Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve; Tshepong  – Place of Hope in Clarens; The Twitcher; Tourism News; Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality; This weekend; Coming Events; Classifieds; Clarens Skies
 

Clarens News Snow in Clarens

After this week’s welcome rain, we were rather hoping that Mary would post a photo of Clarens wearing a green robe, but I guess our comment on the snow in last week’s news, and that rather hopeful remark about a white Christmans in Clarens was just too much for her.   (Serves us right!)

The photograph 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 tojansander22@gmail.com .


Christmas trees and snow

When I was a child, on a mid winter’s night, my father lifted me, still half asleep, from my bed and carried me to the window.  What I saw through the clear pane was a thing more magical than I had ever seen before.  The snow was still falling, each flake wide as a fairy’s mantle, dancing and fluttering in slow descent.  Our trees stooped handsomely under satin white cloaks, their bows low and heavy, their brittle fronds casting off gathering flakes like dark-gloved fingers of witches.

I recall being conscious of an immense stillness.  The world outside had transformed beyond my knowing it, without a whisper to draw attention to its silent metamorphosis.  To me this was more wondrous even than a glimpse of the fairies who lived in the moss between the garden terraces.  I knew my eyes would never tire of this pure white fantasy; but soon, sleepy-eyed and happy, I was returned to my bed.

In the morning it was still snowing and it snowed for two days.  It snowed thickly right across the city, right across the Orange Free State, across almost the entire Highveld.  This was the big snowfall of 1964.
Read more


Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce

Last week’s Eish! questioned progress on the development of a Clarens Chamber of Commerce.  A good question indeed and a very timeous one.   The following points summarise the current position and describe the proposed way forward:·

– Following a number of town meetings earlier this year, a process of consultation was initiated by a three-person team including Ray Meyers, Randall Poultney and Chris Pefanis.  This group undertook a series of meetings with individuals and small groups in Clarens, to ascertain appetite and preparedness for an inclusive, apolitical and non-racial Chamber of Commerce.  The considerable efforts and commitment of this group is acknowledged.

– It is noted that this initiative is based on the philosophy that Upper and Lower Clarens constitute a single community and that the interests of every business in them is bound to the success and stability of development in Clarens.

– Facilitation of this process was taken over by Peter Badcock-Walters and Chris Pefanis in September 2013, and a draft Constitution for a Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce circulated amongst business interests in Lower Clarens.  This was intended to facilitate a meeting of business interests there to discuss the concept and agree involvement.

– In spite of extensive planning, attempts to hold a meeting in Lower Clarens have so far failed.  Although it is by no means clear, it would appear that reasons include an assumption that this was and is a politically-partisan agenda and the fact that many – if not most – businesses there are in fact owned by non-South Africans.

– The draft Constitution is available and will be circulated to all businesses in Upper Clarens next week.  Perhaps the key point is that an independent Board of five members is proposed, three from Upper Clarens and two from Lower Clarens.  This weighting is driven by the comparative value of business in Upper Clarens and Lower Clarens, and the Board, once elected, will elect a Chair.

– Given this situation, it is proposed that the urgent need for such a Chamber should be expedited through a town meeting within the next 10 days.  At this meeting, it is proposed that agreement should be sought to proceed to establish the Chamber, and that Lower Clarens should be asked to organise its business interests and elect two directors to join the Board.

– The Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce should therefore be formed through adoption of the draft Constitution and the initial election of three directors from Upper Clarens.  The process for doing this, and a time frame for review of the draft Constitution and election of directors, should be agreed at this meeting.

– It is noted that Peter Badcock-Walters and Chris Pefanis are committed to facilitating progress to the establishment of this Chamber and have no interest in standing for election to its Board.  It is also reiterated that this is a non-political and inclusive initiative designed to ensure the future of Clarens and protect its business interests.

– Any questions, comments or requests for copies of the draft Constitution can be directed to Peter Badcock-Walters on peterbw@eastcoast.co.za or Chris Pefanis on info@highlandcoffeeroastery.co.za.


Film crew in Clarens

Hot air Balloons over Clarens

There was a buzz in the air this week as 80 locals experienced the adventures that advertising has to offer.

Eggfilms service chose our beautiful village as their prime location for shooting a top-secret advert.  The innovative and creative team behind Eggfilms, which includes international producers, are striving to create a highly creative and effective advert, whilst keeping costs in the minimum.

Highly regarded for both their logistical and creative expertise, the team has received numerous work offers stretching across South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and even the Indian Ocean Islands.

The team enjoyed every minute here and the producer Nicci Cox asked to please extend a very big thank you to every one in town for the warm welcome and friendliness bestowed upon them.

Be sure to keep an eye out for more news on the release of the advert shot right here in Clarens. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you anything about the ad at this stage – except that it features a couple of  hot air balloons.


Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 launches!

The Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 is being launched today, 1 November, and already there is a hype in the social  media about it. Exciting times! The fourth edition of this popular festival,taking place 21-23 Feb, will see some changes: new exciting breweries, absence of some of the older ones, new food vendors, longer hours (put not too long!) and more music which includes an exciting band from Jozi… Most notable of all is a lack of corporate sponsorship or any sponsorship at all for that matter. We declined the offer of sponsorship from SAB since their requirements were not beneficial for the festival or the village. The beer festival almost didn’t happen as a result, but some support and clever footwork from locals, friends and partners in the events industry opened the doors. Long live the entrepreneurial spirit and here we go – solo!

So, besides launching what else is up?  Accommodation woes, that’s what!  This is also an appeal to the owners of every guest house, B&B, self catering establishment, hotel and booking agency  (and tent, cave, kennel) to please, please, please support the festival by taking bookings for festival goers only as far as possible – we will fill them up, guaranteed.  If there are existing bookings that you don’t know were made for the fest, how about contacting the guests and informing them of the event? If there is a wedding party booked – how about suggesting to the guests that they extend their Clarens experience by visiting the fest on the Friday? And, if you are booked up, please don’t just say “the village is full” – please refer them to the festival website where they can contact us for alternatives. The reality is that the festival relies on people to make it work, and whilst the perception is that we make a huge amount of money from this, we don’t and in fact are in the red after three years. So the 2014 edition is a watershed one; if we get the numbers we will continue with the festival. If not, this will be the last. Please don’t let that happen by supporting the festival!

For a preview of the website Click here
You should also have a look at the Beer Fest Facebook page


 

Clarens News Beerfest 2013

Getting the Beer Fest to work for you

You can not only support the Beer fest but also get it to work for you by advertising on the beer fest website.  To find out more click  here
AND
If you still have accommodation available over the beer fest  weekend, please email: natalie@clarensbrewery.co.za.  We need to make sure that everyone wanting to come to the Beer Fest has somewhere to stay.


Clarens Recycling Centre

Clarens News Plastics Recycling

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens NewsHelping the environment can always start in the comfort of your own home.

Many of us may not even give recycling a second thought, as it didn’t play a significant part in our upbringing, however the numerous benefits of the act should be enough to get all very exited over our never-ending refuse.

The Clarens Recycling Centre  has been running for three years and continues to grow in strength day by day. Evon Els talks excitedly about the increase in recycling material that is collected on a weekly basis, and states that more and more  people are becoming involved.involved.  Many of us have driven past the recycling trailer, next to Clementine’s restaurant opposite Mosiac Pizza, without giving it a second thought, but Evon states that the recycling material collected from the trailer has trippled in weight since August 2013 and various shops and business in town have also come on board.

Garbage can become quite interesting when sorted into plastics, returnable bottles, cardboard boxes, tins, cans, paper and glass, and even more so when breaking glass according to colour and sorting plastics according to type. All-and-all recycling requires and incredible amount of hard and dedicated work.

We can all help Evon and her team reach their target of 700kg’s of cardboard boxes and 6 ton’s glass bottles: all you have to do is to fill a separate black bag with all your recyclable plastics, glass, paper,  tins and cans and either load it on the recycling trailer on your way to buy milk, or quickly drop it off at the depot before your game of golf.

Happy Recycling everyone!

For more information contact Evon Els 076 293 2742


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Gnidia capitata

Gnidia 2Damien Coulson:
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at another plant of the Gnidia genus (family of Brandbos which was published in one of the very first PoI snippets).
Gnidia capitata (commonly known as Gifbos in Afrikaans and setele in sisotho), is a medium sized perennial shrublet of up to 300 mm tall. The genus nameGnidia is derived from Knidos – an ancient Greek city. This plant grows in rocky grasslands at up to up to 1800 m A.S.L., and is widespread throughout the eastern regions of S.A.

The leaves on G. capitata are blue-green to grey, sharply tipped, relatively narrow (30 mm long X 3-6 mm wide) and appear tufted. The plant is generally multi-stemmed. The infloresecens is surrounded by a somewhat wider collar of leaves and the flowers are small (aprox 6 mm diameter with calyx tube of around 15-25 mm long), glossy and five lobed. Fine silky hairs cover the flowers and the sepals are a mustard orange-yellowand silky hairs below. The petals are smaller and scale-shaped. The flowers are in full bloom from Oct- Dec.  Read more


Tshepong  – Place of Hope in Clarens

 


Clarens News Tshepong - A Place of HopeGenevieve Blignaut Clarens NewsTshepong, like the meaning of the word, truly is in every way a Place of Hope.

Established four years ago as an initiative of the non-profit organization Combined Churches In Action (CCIA), Tshepong has grown every step of the way and today many could not imagine their lives without the love and support from all involved. One could say that the the Bana ba Hlokang (Children in Need) feeding programme that had previously been housed in a temporary shelter at the grounds of the Ithumeleng Clinic, served as the springboard for Tshepong. Although many children received food on a regular basis, one had to ask oneself – how much more could be done for the greater community with adequate facilities and facilitators?

And so hope became tangible for many in the community, with the multi-purpose hall built on the lands of the Uniting Reformed Church in the beautiful Kgubetswana.  The large hall would be able to tend to many different needs with facilities such as a kitchen, a small office, bathrooms, computer facilities, cleaning areas and smaller meeting rooms.  Read more


The Twitcher

Clarens News The TwitcherBack to normal and clumps of international tourists clogging up the square, ‘Oooooohing’ and ‘Aaaaaaahing’ over our summer weather, frosty mornings and all.  As far as I can tell, there is no festival, fair, fete or other social event scheduled for this weekend, but who knows.  It seems that these things crop up at short notice and are occasionally successful, so brace yourselves for a surprise.  Planning, as for example in the case of the extraordinary Clarens Craft Beer Festival, confirms that these thingscan be spectacularly successful.  And what better place to do them than the Clarens square, now looking great, thanks to the town manager and his increasingly effective staff.
Not much to report on the ornithological front other than an explosion in the number of Indian Mynahs.  It would appear that they have joined the same eager, elbowing ingress into our benighted country as the Mozambiquans, Zimbabweans, Congolese, Ruwandans, Ethiopians, Nigerians, Albanians and Eastern European Mafia.  If all of them simply nested in the trees, it might be okay, notwithstanding the mess below.  However, they tend to permeate society at a more fundamental level, so you are likely have a Congolese car guard shepherding Nigerian hijackers away, while you relax in the shade sipping a Mozambique beer served by a Zimbabwean waiter, in the indirect employ of a Serbian drug lord.  So much for birdlife.
Of greater interest, hot off the press, is the news that Kaalvoet is probably a girl!   Read more


Tourism News

Tourism News 3


Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality

 

Mayoral Charity 3

 

 


This weekend – Weather

acuweather

It’s set to be sunny for the rest of today.


This weekend –  Music

Friday 1st November 2013
The Grouse & Claret:  20h00:  Belinda
Friends: 20h00:  Van Smith

Tamahanste Tavern:  19h30 onwards:  The Battle of the DJs,Fouriesburg featuring DJs from Clarens, QwaQwa, Fouriesburg and Bethlehem.

Saturday 2nd November 2013
The Grouse & Claret:  20h00:  Rick & Denzl

Friends: 20h00:  Slipstream

Artichoke:  12h00:  Belinda


This weekend – Rugby fixtures

Congratulations to the Sharks for winning the Currie Cup.  And what an entertaining game the final turned out to be.
Now that the Currie Cup is won, some of us may very well start displaying some rather odd symptoms.  (Currie Cup rugby withdrawal).   Unfortunately we do not know of any quick-fix solution, but suggest that the following international rugby fixtures may ease the pain……….a little.


This weekend – Other events

Saturday: 2nd November, 2013

Farmers Market:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

Tshepong  Christmas Party,  Tshepong Hall:  14h00  (sponsored by Protea Hotel Clarens and The Bakery at 530 Sias Oosthuizen Street, Clarens)   Entrance is free.

Fouriesberg Rose Festival
For further details contact Paula Greyling 083 501-3999

 


Coming Events

Remember, remember the 5th of November,

Gunfire, Treason and Plot.

Should you be planning to celebrate this event with fireworks, please consider the animals in your immediate vicinity.  We suggest you drive out of town – and celebrate well away from our precious pets..

Visit the Clarens News website to see what else is planned in Clarens.


Classifieds

Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it in our Classifieds section.

Should you wish to place an advertisement in this section please email: editor@clarensnews.co.za
(Classified advertisements are free.)


Clarens Skies

In celebration of  comet ISON appearing in our skies from 28th November, 2013, we have decided to run a weekly article on our Clarens Skies.  Genevieve Blignaut has already started researching solar events, and discovered that a very rare solar eclipse will take place this Sunday.
Read more


Note from the editor

Our website is still “work in progress” and you can expect to see some changes every week.  In view of last year’s shortage of accommodation over the beer fest, we have decided to upload a business directory for Clarens Accommodation as a matter of urgency.  Please contact editor@clarensnews.co.za should you wish to list your accommodation on our website.