Tag Archives: Community News

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?



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.





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

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28th February 2014: Time for a quick breath

Time for a quick breath Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Table of Contents

Time for a quick breath;
Beerfest:  Thanks Clarens;
Thanks to the Beerfest;
Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Plant of interest:  Habenaria falcicormis;
The Twitcher;
Community News: Draft Environmental Management Plan;
Other Community News;
Welcome Madame Butterfly;
Artisanal Bread – Freshly baked in Clarens;
This weekend: Surrender Hill Marathon;
Next Weekend:  Sensational Summer Sizzler – Challenge for Charity – 9th March, 2014;
Next Weekend –  Supper Theatre in Clarens;
Poetry Book Launch:  8th March:  The Turtle Dove Told Me;
It’s super rugby time again;
Not on the mailing list?

Time for a quick breath

The photo above was taken last weekend at the beerfest.  And what a wonderful weekend it was.  The beers on offer, the food,  as well as the bands were all outstanding, but I think what impressed the most was the wonderful atmosphere.  Quite a few of the festival goers told us that this was their first visit to Clarens and that they were so impressed they’re planning to spend their future holidays here.   Well done to all the accommodation establishments, restaurants, and everyone else involved for making this such a special event.
Also impressive is how quickly the square was cleared and how quickly all the rubbish was carted away.  We are extremely lucky to have such a good municipal team, who together with our recycling angel Evon (see article below)  keep the town clean, neat and tidy,  The beerfest may be over but there are lots of exciting events happening both this and next weekend.  In fact, there’s just enough time for a quick breath before we all need to get into party mode again.

Beerfest:  Thanks Clarens

So the beerfest has come and gone… Phew! what a weekend.From the organisers, thank you very much Clarens for making the most special village in the country available for this event.  We know that many a first-time visitor was blown away by what’s on offer and have joined the swelling ranks of returning regulars.A couple of special thanks:Clarens Security: People who do not know this elite outfit are at a loss!  This is the first year that we’ve had decent security and we will most certainly make use of them again. These guys were super-professional, super-diligent and made our job so easy.  They put all the other companies we have tried to shame, and some of those are very well known in this village. Well done and thank you Daniel & Pitso; you were champions.Working on Fire: once again our boys and girls in blue and yellow served the brewers at the festival and once again, they were very impressed and complimentary. They also contributed hugely to the setup and cleanup operation without which we would have battled. Restaurants and Accommodation: thank you very much to Clementines, the Highlander and Artist’s Cafe for providing several meals for the crew from JHB – they were taken aback by the hospitality. And thanks to Johan Lehman for providing seriously discounted accommodation for them.The JHB team that partnered Clarens Brewery for the event loved being here and are keen to do the 2015 edition with us.  Great news!  If anyone wants to send an e-mail to them (comments, compliments, general thanks) you can mail gavin@shiftsm.co.za, but please copy info@clarensbrewery.co.za


Thanks to the Beerfest

Soccer Team Tshepong Clarens


soccer team photo[1]

soccer team photo[1]

A big thank you to Natalie, Stephan and the Clarens Brewery team for giving us the opportunity to sell cool drinks at the Clarens Craft Beer Festival this year and for your generous donation of the 2 kegs of juices which sold out! We were able to raise R4000! Which will go towards Tshepong Orphanages soccer team’s end of season function.
Our sincere gratitude,  Sherri Gersh & The Tshepong Soccer Team

Clarens News is planning to bring our readers regular updates on Soccer in Clarens.  Watch this space!

 Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

 Plant of interest:  Habenaria falcicormis

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Habenaria falcicornisDamien Coulson head ranger Clarens Village ConservancyDamien Coulson



Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Bi-weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a member of the orchid family Orchidaceae, from the widely distributed Habenaria genus – sometimes referred to as “bog orchids”.Habenaria falcicornis is one of only a small group of wild-flowers that have featured in the bi-weekly Plant of Interest columns without an English common name. One could only surmise that the very reason for this upset is that the plant is really not all that common –at least not to the casual observer, and for that it earns its place as one of our “interesting” plants. It does however have a Sesotho common name: uklamkleshe. This not-so commonly observed wild-flower may be found in marshy or waterlogged grassland areas at altitudes of up to 2900 m. A.S.L., and its range extends from the Western Cape all the way through to Zimbabwe.Read more

The Twitcher

There are times when birds simply don’t feature in a Twitcher’s life, overshadowed perhaps by events of apparently great public consequence: a riot; an earthquake; birth; death; or a beer festival.

In and of itself, the Clarens Craft Beer Festival was what you might expect.  Four and a half thousand thirsty visitors, more food of generally good quality than you can shake a stick at and the happiest little village in the Southern Hemisphere.  Oh, and seventy-two pregnancies, sixty-nine of them unplanned and one uncertain; the balance involved a twin-conception for a pair of lovelorn accountants from Parys who managed the feat in the toilets of the Highlander.  In short, it was a runaway success and confirms that people of all three genders will travel clear across South Africa to sample their favourite cup of foaming brew.  God knows what next year will bring, but odds on five thousand five hundred are pretty short.  So brace yourselves, Clarenites, and practice your dance steps.   Read more


Community News: Draft Environmental Management Plan

In terms of s. 39 (2) of the National Environmental Management:Protected Areas Act, No. 57 of 2003, the Clarens Village Conservancy (CVC), being the appointed management authority in terms of s.38 (2) for the Clarens Nature Reserve, hereby submits a DRAFT Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to the public and relevant authorities for consultation. This draft EMP is compiled in reference to, and should be read with, the Dihlabeng Spatial Development Framework which was approved in 2013.

Hard copies of the draft EMP are available at:

– the Clarens public library in Bester street, Clarens,
– the Book Nook, above the Methodist Church Hall in Clarens (Tue 10h00-12h00 and Thu 14h00 – 16h00),
– Clarens Xtreme Adventure Company, Swart street, Clarens,
– Tshepong public hall in Kgubetswana,
– the Dihlabeng Municipal Office in Main Street, Clarens,
– the Village Grocer in Main Street, Clarens.

An electronic copy of the draft EMP is available for download at:

All comments and suggestions to improve the draft EMP, and all requests by individuals or organisations to be registered as Interested and Affected Parties (I&AP’s), should be submitted to the CVC on the forms provided with the hard copies, or electronically to cvc@webmail.co.za, or in any format to any one of the CVC committee members listed in the EMP (and whose contact details are also available on the CVC website) by 28 March 2014, please.


Other Community News

Bird Interest Group:  
Interested in being part of a Bird Interest Group?   Clarens News invites interested persons to contact us (editor@clarensnews.com) with their input and ideas.  We’ve had very few responses so far – come on Clarens residents.   Just think you may even get to meet the Twitcher!

Community Notice Board
Please note that we now have a Community bulletin Board on the website:  To view Click here


Welcome Madame Butterfly

Shops in Clarens Madame Butterfly

Nadine Grobler  opens her new shop Madame Butterfly in the On the Square Centre in Clarens, on 1st March 2014.  Nadine is looking forward to opening her shop in Clarens and says that this has been her dream for a couple of years.  Both Nadine and Jan Albert  see themselves as part of a new young generation of entrepreneurs inspired to teach others. Nadine certainly knows how to walk the talk, and has taught a number of young ladies in Johannesburg who started out with no sewing skills and a point where they are now employed as seamstresses. Following on this experience, Nadine is looking forward to starting up sewing and knitting classes in Clarens, and believes that this would be a way to make a significant contribution to the Clarens community.  Click here  to see some of the gorgeous outfits that Nadine has made.


Artisanal Bread – Freshly baked in Clarens

Artisinal Bread in Clarens

OH MY –  A tummy rumbling experience:  getting a pic of  Natalie Dell checking on a batch of Ciabatta loaves about to come out of the Mosaic Pizzeria oven.

Natalie lived in Clarens 20 years ago, but went off to Johannesburg seeking fame and fortune – but says all she got was a “burnt out husk of a person.”  So now she’s come home to Clarens, and she’s brought her bread making skills with her.  Natalie specializes in artisanal wood-fired bread, and is baking Ciabatta loaves, Ciabatta rolls, rye bread and brioche in Mosaic’s pizza oven.

Stop in at the Farmer’s Market (outside Bibliophile) to buy some of her fabulous bread.  (Get there early – I hear she sold out last week.)  If you can’t get to the Farmers Market (or  if you get there too late) you can also find her bread at the Village Grocer, or phone and order directly from her on 083 608 1441.   Natalie is calling her  business #goodstuff.  (What a great name!) and can also be contacted by email:  nataliedellsawyer@gmail.com


This weekend: Surrender Hill Marathon


Welcome to all the participants and their supporters.

The race starts tomorrow (1 March 2014) at The Base, 530 Sias Oosthuizen Street.  (And this is also where the race will finish.)  Starting time:  06h00.
There’s still time to enter:   Late entries will be accepted at The Base tonight (17h00 – 20h00) and tomorrow morning from O5h00-06h00.  (And – there’s also pasta available at The Base tonight, for all those still in need of some carbo-loading.)

Click here to find out more about the race


Next Weekend:  Sensational Summer Sizzler – Challenge for Charity – 9th March, 2014

Sensational Summer Sizzler Challenge for Charity - Clarens

Want to know more about this event?   Click here to read Tammy Hancock of the Clarens Tourism Forum’s letter about how it all works.

Not sure who you should donate your money to?  Click onto the Clarens News website link to Organisations in Clarens     as from tomorrow (the list is being updated right at this moment.)  You’ll find a list of organisations – all of whom contribute in some way to our Clarens Community, and who could do with your help.


Next Weekend –  Supper Theatre in Clarens

Supper Theatre in Clarens

For further details Click here

Poetry Book Launch:  8th March:  The Turtle Dove Told Me

Bibliophile book launch Clarens - Thandi Sliepen

Join Debra and Thandi  for a glass of wine and an easy afternoon at the launch of local poet and artist, Thandi Sliepen’s book, The Turtle Dove Told Me. There will be an exhibition of Thandi’s art and all are welcome to this special event.


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!

This weekend we have two South African teams playing down under.



Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to open a restaurant?  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:


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