Tag Archives: Events in Clarens

24th April, 2015: Celebrating Freedom

Peerneef evening - Fouriesberg roadMG_0018


Celebrating Freedom

On Monday (27th April) South Africa celebrates Freedom Day.  Freedom Day (27 April) is a national public holiday in South Africa and serves to commemorate the country’s first democratic post-Apartheid elections, held in 1994.  It’s also a day where we can all take a little time out to reflect on the role which each and every South African needs to play to ensure that our country moves forward – and who could say it better than Nelson Mandela:

Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul, and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all. 

Clarens News would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a wonderful weekend, and a meaningful Freedom Day on Monday.

Ashburton MTB Clarens

The Ashburton MTB race held in Clarens last weekend was a resounding success.   The event attracted 2200 entrants – many of whom had travelled from Europe – and comments ranged from “this is the best in the world” to “fabulous route, fantastic scenery…it simply couldn’t be better.”    Advendurance organizers put a large part of their success down to the wonderful co-operation they got from the farmers en-route, who went to great lengths to make sure that the event would be a success.   The Clarens Village Nature Reserve’s new trail (Caracul trail) which formed part of the route also got rave reviews.   This is an event which Clarens can certainly be proud of and speaking to Clarens restaurants and businesses, it quickly becomes obvious that this event helped to make for a bumper weekend in the town itself, so a big THANK YOU to Advendurance for bringing MTB to Clarens.
Local organizer Paul is very pleased with how well the event went off, and anticipates that interest in Clarens MTB will continue to grow and to go from strength to strength.   He did however add, that the size of MTB Clarens will always be limited by the amount of accommodation available in Clarens.
Have a look at the Ashburton MTB series website:  http://www.nationalmtbseries.com.  to see their video feature, highlighting this year’s race.

Classic Cars:  SARRA MacGregor Maluti Meander

Classic car enthusiasts are in for another treat this Sunday.   (And didn’t you just love the jaguars that visited us in March.)   This weekend SARRA are holding the MacGregor Maluti Meander and the 29 Classic cars participating in this event will arrive in Clarens on Sunday, where they will be joined by classic cars belonging to the Maluti Auto Club.
SARRA stands for the South African Regularity Rally Association.   Classic Regularity Rallying is modeled on the rallies of earlier times where a crew of driver and navigator needed to keep their rally car on the route and on time, catering for many scheduled speed and direction changes, the weather, traffic and road conditions. The famous LM rally was run on this principle until the 1970’s, as was the Monte Carlo rally. It is a sport of precision and accuracy, rather than an all out quest for speed like the modern special stage rallies.
To learn more about Regularity Rallying visit the SARRA website: http://www.sarra.co.za/

7 Things to Do in Clarens

We love it when we find a blog about Clarens.   Have a look at http://myslowjourney.com/2015/04/21/7-things-to-do-in-clarens/
There are of course a lot more than 7 Things to Do in Clarens.   Just have a look at the Clarens News Website page for Activities:   http://clarensnews.co.za/activities

And even MORE Things to Do in Clarens

Dons Kritzinger has sent us a list giving information on activites, clubs and the churches in Clarens.   Dons put this list together specially for  Newly Arrived Inhabitants of Clarens.   (And even though we’ve been around for a while, we found quite a lot of information we didn’t know about.  Thank you Dons.)
Click here to see the list

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Article and photography by
Damien Coulson
Head ranger:
Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts.  After some time out due to the recent MTB Cycle Series race through Clarens this past weekend, the CVC can now breathe a sigh of relief…and continue producing interesting articles. This week we’re going off on a slightly fresher tangent – we’ll be focusing on an exotic member of the Asteraceae (Daizy) family.

Cirsium vulgare (Scotch Thistle in English, Skotsedissel in Afrikaans) is considered a naturalised exotic in S.A. This group are Alien & Invasive Plants (A&IP’s) that have occurred within our country for a long enough period of time, measured in decades, to be deemed “natural” (though not to say beneficial, and more likely detrimental to local ecosystems). C. vulgare occurs naturally in parts of Africa and Asia, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, South America, Hawaii and the Pacific islands, but is classified as a Category 1 weed.  Read more




Foot Clinic in Clarens


The editorial staff had a special treat this week.   Sister Julie visited us on the Golf Estate and tended our feet.   Oh what bliss.   And to think we didn’t even have to go anywhere for this amazing treatment.   Sister Julie works at Hospice in Bethlehem, but is happy to call on you after hours and over weekends  to make your feet happy for you .

Street Numbers in Clarens

(Letter from the Clarens Chamber of Commerce)

The CRA has put communiques out regarding the implementation of street number changes, specifically the deadline.  This process was kicked off several years ago before the existence of the Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber has received complaints from businesses regarding the changes, specifically the cost of change,  and has had meetings with the CRA to try and determine the reasoning and where in the process the change is. Besides wanting to conform to street numbering in the rest of SA, the CRA is concerned that erf numbers do not appear on GPS tracking data making it impossible for emergency services, deliveries and visitors to track places down.  Whilst this may have been the case many years ago when the process was kicked off, it is not the case today and every erf number in Clarens appears on GPS data maps; probably a result of Google charting the data 2 or so years ago.   As part of the process the CRA has  contacted Garmin to determine how long it would take for street numbers to be listed as opposed to erf numbers and the answer is quite simply that they don’t know.

 To this end, the position of the Chamber is that none of the businesses (or the residents for that matter) are obligated to display the street number as opposed to the erf number until such time that the electronic and print versions of the relevant maps have been updated.

Big upcoming Event in November – Get ready NOW!

 BMW Motorrad Days 6 – 8 NOVEMBER 2015 Make Life a Ride – all the way to BMW Motorrad Days 2015 WANTED:  Your Accommodation WHY:BMW are bringing their Motorrad event to Clarens in November, attracting 2000 – 3000 enthusiasts. Every single bed in Clarens and its surrounds will be booked out for this event. Problem is, not every bed is known! Please supply the details of your establishment/guesthouse/B ; B/farmstay etc., with email address, to ensure that you do not miss out. Please spread the word to those who do not have access to the internet. Tell your friends, family, neighbours, etc. Details can be sent to: TAMMY HANCOCK ctf@clarenssa.co.za   or NATALIE MEYER clarenschamber@gmail.com


25 April  2015
Clarens Country Market

See you from 10 am onwards 

29 April, 2015
Clarens Garden Club Meeting
St. Fort
30 April – 2 May
Photography Workshop – Rosendal
Presented by Hanne Koster
1st and 2nd May 2015
Andre the Hilarious Hypnotist
Martie Lotz Hall
2nd May, 2015
Gule Wamkulu
Ism-Skism Gallery“Gule Wamkulu:The Big Dance”
by Africa Geographic photographer Andrew Brukman.
  3rd May, 2015

Book Launch: Bibliophile
The Pursuit of Life, David Zefferit

David Zeffertt has been a soldier, a shepherd, a trade-union organiser, a public servant, an advocate, and, for over forty years, a professor of law. He continued full-time lecturing until the age of seventy-two and published his last legal book in his eighties.
This delightful collection of short stories is his first published work of fiction. and will be launched to the public at 10 am on 3 May 2015 at our bookshop, Bibliophile.


9th May, 2015

Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day

  15-17 May, 2015
Dan Patlansky Guitar Weekend

Only 30 places available – book now if you want to attend.

  16 May, 2015

Anglican Autumn Fair

Uitkyk Farm (Green Goose)

  18-21 May, 2015

Richard Rennie “Paint with Me” workshop





Win 2 tickets to the Smoking Dragon Adrenalin Festival

It sound like fun, fun, fun.   To win 2 tickets be the first person to print a page of this newsletter and take it round to Lauren at Peter Badcock-Walters Gallery On the Square.

And – Speaking of Events:

SA’s most loved festival will be back in 2016. We cannot wait to see all you craft beer lovers again…
Tickets will go on sale in November, take our advice and book your accommodation now.


Remember to have a look at our Classifieds page on the website, especially if you have property to let.
Browse around – you’re bound to find something of interest.

12 December 2014: Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Clarens is just fabulous for holidays.   There’s something for everyone.   Have a look at the all the Activities we have listed on our website:   http://clarensnews.co.za/activities/
We are often asked what there is for the kids to do.   Some suggestions include:
Picnics in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.   Adventures such as Quad biking, Paintball, Zipline, Archery, Climbing Wall, as well as horse and pony riding, swimming (under supervision of course),  Putt Putt and Fishing – all of which can be enjoyed by people of all ages.   Nena – see the events below – are also holding the first of three programs specially for smaller children.

Good news from Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce

The letter (see below) is great news.   After all, where would we be without all the businesses who contribute to making Clarens the special town it is.

Click here for your membership form

Clarens Open Feedback

 Article and photography
by Mary Walker



Last weekend the final event of the year for the top golfers in the Free State province took place in Clarens.  The Heineken Clarens Open is a three way partnership between Heineken, The Clarens Golf Estate and the Free State Golf Union, and counts towards provincial colours and points.
This is the second year of the event, which was held over two days, last year’s having been played on one day only.  The Clarens Golf Estate General Manager, Francois Schoeman, envisages that it will become the biggest annual amateur golfing event in the Free State.  This was the only Free State Golf Union tournament that has been able to fill its field this year, and neither Eskom nor the weather were successful at undermining the success of the event.  To see the results etc Read more 

More News from the Golf Estate

Phone:  058 256 1270 / 1319
Cell: 082 326 4908
Email: gm@theclarens.co.za

Order your Christmas Trees

What a fun (and useful) way to support the CVC.

More about Christmas Trees

Tips for keeping your tree looking good:

The most important thing you can do is keep the tree watered.   Cool temperatures also help.   If you’re not bringing you tree in right away, let it sit in a bucket of water outdoors or in a cool place inside.

Try to keep it away from direct sunlight, winds, and sources of heat like heaters or appliances.

If your tree has been sitting for more than a day, make a fresh cut at the bottom at least 10cm above the original cut.   A smooth, clean cut will help the tree absorb water more readily. Place the freshly cut tree in lukewarm water,

Do not overload electric circuits.   If a fuse blows when you turn on your lights, it means that the line is overloaded or something is defective.

Lots of presents under the tree will of course, also help it to look good!


13th December: NG Kerk Christmas Market

Ons hou Saterdag vlooimark op Clarens Plein, ons verkoop boerewors rolletjies, sosaties, skilpadjies en pannekoek. Daar is baie stalletjies – boeke, klere, juwele, handgemakte items, kersbome, tuisgemaakte produkte, olywe en nog vele meer. Kom geniet die dag saam met ons.







13 December:  Bark for Life  Can/SA










13 December: Andre Swiegers in Clarens









Raoul and Black Friday at Friends


15 -19 December:  Nena Small Child Development:








20 December:  White&Black Events Co. Launch










Restaurant News – Christmas Lunch

The following restaurants have indicated that they will be open on Christmas Day.

As we get their menues these will be uploaded onto our Events Page, but in the meantime, here are their telephone numbers so that you can be sure to have a table booked.

278 On Main:  0825565208   (278 Main Street) buffet lunch Click here to see the menu

Adamo Restaurant : 058 256 1212  (Protea Hotel) Click here to see the menu

Amigos Restaurant :   082 797 5079 (Main Street) Christmas dinner bookings essential

Artichoke:  058 256 1283 (Main Street)

Bon Appetit: 079 873 1318  (Rosemary Centre – Main Street)Click here to see the menu

Clementines: 058 256 1616/ 082 453 7060 not Christmas style 3 course meal.

Courtyard Cafe : 082 650 1503  (Oosthuizen/Main Street) Christmas dinner only on Christmas eve

Gosto: 082 416 3687 (On The Square Centre) Portuguese style dinner

Maluti Lodge: 058 256 1422/3   072 725 8549  (Steil Street)

Mont D’Or : 058 256 1272

The Lazy Gecko:  (Main Street): 061 405 8776 Breakfast/Lunch not Christmas style

Clarens on the Word Wide Web

Traveller 24
It seems that Clarens is going to be really busy these holidays.   traveller24.news24.com have Clarens listed at no 4 of South Africa’s top busiest towns this festive season.   To see the full list click onto their blog.

Travel Ground
Clarens has  also been featured in two separate Travel Ground blogs.   (The second one being an abbreviated version of the first.)   Click here  to see the second blog.

And if you missed the first blog:  Click here

Clarens News
We at Clarens News are also working madly and getting everyone listed.   In the meantime, our presence on the web seems to be growing nicely.  As of today we have 2,333 likes on our facebook page, and our google rating is improving steadily.   Please keep sending us photographs etc for your Clarens News listings.   (There is no charge for being listed on the Clarens News website.)

Prince Harry visits Lesotho

Maliba Lodge, Based in the Ts’ehlanyane National Park in Lesotho had the great pleasure of hosting both Prince Harry of Wales and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho over this past weekend. They were in Lesotho together to continue their remarkable work with their Lesotho based charity Sentebale.

To find our more about Sentebale visit theirwebsite.

Being that we are so close to Lesotho, Clarens is an ideal base for those wishing to explore the mountain kingdom.  (Remember to bring your passport.)

The Clarens News website has several articles on visiting Lesotho.   The articles are full of useful tips.   Have a look at http://clarensnews.co.za/exploring-lesotho/





Remember to have a look at our Classifieds page on the website.   An interesting new building block now manufactured in Clarens has just been listed.   You may also need to order your Christmas cake……..

5th December, 2014 newsletter

Golf course


This weekend Clarens will be welcoming all those golfers (as well as their families and supporters) taking part in The Heineken Clarens Open.   Players will be playing 54 holes of stroke play on the newly planted course. Playing 36 holes on Saturday the 6th of December and finishing with 18 holes Sunday the 7th. The clubhouse will also be showcasing its new menu’s and recently updated facilities.

The golf course is looking magnificent (as can be seen in our feature photograph above taken by Mary Walker.)

Francois Schoeman (General Manager: The Clarens Golf Estate):  THE CLARENS GOLF ESTATE has gradually been climbing the ladder toward becoming the premier golfing destination in the Free State. Recently the entire Golf Course was rejuvenated by re-seeding the entire course. Adding to the new turf they purchased three machines of the highest quality to further help improve the course to attain top national standards.    Read more



Clarens Golf Estate Community Association Manager
Earns International Qualification

Francois Schoeman, General ManAger of The Clarens Golf Estate, has been named a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) by the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB). The board administers the CMCA examination, a rigorous test that measures knowledge of community management best practices. Francois Schoeman joins CMCAs worldwide who have demonstrated the skills essential for managing homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives to the highest levels of Business expertise.

Francois Schoeman has joined an elite few with this qualification in South Africa. Management has been seemingly easy to Francois Schoeman and he has continued to develop himself personally into one of the top Community Associations Managers in South Africa. With his latest achievement he is set to continue his steady climb to the top of the industry.

There are +-3 000 Home owners Associations and 56 000 Sectional Title Schemes in South Africa. An Estimated 5 million people reside in organised communities.
Managers like Francois Schoeman manage assets in excess of R800 billion in the South African residential market. The value of property in organised communities is 27 percent of total residential property in South Africa. These skilled professionals are trained in the evolving complexities of community association management. CMCA-certified managers have the expertise needed to safeguard the assets of community associations, protecting home values and providing homeowners with peace of mind.

The CMCA is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and complies with the NCCA’s stringent international standards for a professional certification program.

CAMICB is an independent board that sets the standards for community association managers worldwide. It is the first and only organization created solely to certify community association managers and enhance the professional practice of community association management. Merging existing Business acumen with industry specific knowledge. Francois Schoeman is currently the only CMCA in the Free State Province, South Africa.





Travel ground have posted an excellent blog:  Clarens – An Artists’ Haven for Everyone by Roseanna McBain.    The article has been shared on all their social media sites which have at present 5,329 Twitter fans, 28,831 Google+ followers and 66,643 Facebook fans.

It will likely also be shared on LekkeSlaap (their sister website) once it is translated to Afrikaans, to their fan base of 1460 twitter followers, 123,972 Facebook followers, and 10,969 followers Google+ followers.

This is great news for Clarens and will we believe go a long way to re-establishing Clarens as a major Art Centre.

Myosotis semiamplexicaulis


Damien1-100x100Article and photographs

by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on our first member of the Boraginaceae (Borage) family.

Myosotis semiamplexicaulis (Forget-me-not in English, Vergeet-my-nie in Afrikaans & sethutu in Sesotho) is a bushy herb which may grow to 600mm tall. This little bush prefers moist ground amongst scrub and often rock (near ravines or on well-shaded southern mountain slopes) with an altitudinal range of 1400 right through to 3000 m A.S.L.

The genus name Myosotis harks from 2 Greek words – myos meaning mouse and otis meaning ear, most likely referring to the characteristic petal shape. The species name likewise comprises 2 words – semi or “partial” and amplexicaulis or “stem grasping” in reference to the leaves at their basal point closest to the stem.   Read more

Editor’s note:  When Damien sent us this information he drew our attention to the SANBI status for this species is DDT (explained in-text). So if you know of any varsity students looking for a research project, here’s a possible subject.


Order your Christmas Trees

Christmas tree sale





















What a fun (and useful) way to support the CVC.


Small child development over the holiday period


Small child development, holiday program

Dates: 15 -19 December, 9:00 – 12:00, Theme: Telephones

            22 – 24 December, 9:00 – 12:00, Theme: Christmas

            29 – 31 December, 9:00 – 12:00, Theme: Old Year/New Year

For children, age 4 – 5 years

                     (Min. 6 children/group – Max. 12/group)

                      Bring own snacks

Place: N.G. Church Hall, Clarens   Cost:   R90/child/day

For more information, contact: Nanette Campher: Cell: 072 240 8561

E- mail: nenanettecampher@gmail.com

Upcoming Events

There’s a lot happening this month.   For more Events please have a look at the Events page on the website.


Heinieken Open 20131206_104030[2] 6-7 DecemberClarens Open
Save our horses comedy 6 DecemberBrian Taylor Comedy Eveningat Shumba Valley 
Clarens Country Market10171100_386446191497111_6617258284236721055_n 6 DecemberClarens Country Market
Belly dance 6 DecemberYalla Habibi
Christmas 2 13 DecemberNG Kerk Christmas Market
Andre Swiegers 13 DecemberAndre Swiegers in Clarens


Restaurant News

The following restaurants have indicated that they will be open on Christmas Day.

As we get their menues these will be uploaded onto our Events Page, but in the meantime, here are their telephone numbers so that you can be sure to have a table booked.

278 On Main:  0825565208   (278 Main Street) buffet lunch

Adamo Restaurant : 058 256 1212  (Protea Hotel) details only available 1st week of December

Amigos Restaurant :   082 797 5079 (Main Street) Christmas dinner bookings essential

Artichoke:  058 256 1283 (Main Street) details only available 1st week of December

Bon Appetit: 079 873 1318  (Rosemary Centre – Main Street)not Christmas style 3 course meal.

Clementines: 058 256 1616/ 082 453 7060 not Christmas style 3 course meal.

Courtyard Cafe : 082 650 1503  (Oosthuizen/Main Street) Christmas dinner only on Christmas eve

Gosto: 082 416 3687 (On The Square Centre) Portuguese style dinner

Maluti Lodge: 058 256 1422/3   072 725 8549  (Steil Street) details only available 1st week of December

Mont D’Or : 058 256 1272 details only available 1st week of December

The Lazy Gecko:  (Main Street): 061 405 8776 Breakfast/Lunch not Christmas style



Community News (Notices and Letters)

Letter to all DA residents of Ward 20 (Clarens) from Mandy Prior

 To all DA residents of Ward20 (Clarens).  I would like to thank you for your support over the past three years.

Unfortunately, due to health concerns, I have handed in my resignation as Councillor.

Fortunately, I hand you over into the capable hands of Councillor Roger Nhlapo, in the knowledge that he will keep the DA base strong in our area.

With the country in the state it is, I can with confidence say, the Democratic Alliance and its policies, is the only party that gives us hope for the future.

Best Wishes.

Clr.Mandy Prior

Clarens Ratepayers Association:  re Sewerage

 Following on from my email of Nov 15, when I reported that some residents in the Village had received their September Municipal Account with the overstated sewerage charges, it appears that on some accounts, the error is still appearing on the November accounts.

 The Municipality apologises for this error; they had thought that it had been corrected when we raised it with them at that time and they are now going through the process of rectifying the error.  It would appear that the 50% discount, which the CRA had negotiated some years ago for those on the small bore sewerage system, had inadvertently  not been processed.


Pat Raubenheimer


Clarens’ Ratepayers’ Association: Phone: 058 256-1123/083 450-7070

email:  raubenheimer@icon.co.za


Tshepong Christmas Party

The Tshepong Chistmas party has come and gone, but for those of you who couldn’t be there Dons Kritzinger sent us some photographs:   Click here to see them.


Remember to have a look at our Classifieds page on the website.   An interesting new building block now manufactured in Clarens has just been listed.   You may also need to order your Christmas cake……..



Celebrating Art

Richard Rennie 50111

Today is Richard Rennie’s 82nd birthday!   HAPPY BIRTHDAY RICHARD!    I’m sure it will be quite a celebration at the Richard Rennie Gallery this afternoon  See you there.

AND on this special occasion it seems appropriate not only to celebrate Richard’s birthday, but also to celebrate art in Clarens.   Clarens is known as an art centre – and our art scene seems to be getting more and more vibrant.   One of the things that is so special about the art in our town is that there is such a wide range of art on offer – something to everyone’s taste.   The website has a list of the galleries in town – and a new ART ROUTE is about to be published.

Calling all artists:

Clarens News has  already uploaded most of the Art Galleries to Galleries Page on our website, and are happy to promote all art (and related) courses on our events page.  (If you have a gallery, please check the information on your page – and if you can’t find your listing, please send us your information so that we can rectify the matter.)

Clarens News would however like to take our website a step further and honour all those artists who live and work in Clarens but do not have a gallery of their own.   We’ve seen your work in our restaurants, hotels, and shops, but we’d love to have you listed on our website as well.   Please send us your details:  who you are, your contact details, a description of your work with one or two images if possible, and where visitors can see your work.     We are also happy to highlight news from your blogs or facebook pages in our newsletters.

And on that note.   We’ve been following Peter Bonney’s blog:   http://peterbonney.co.za/my-far-away-vondeling-paintings/   Click onto the blog and catch a glimpse of his latest work.

Clarens on Printerest

Another exciting development for Clarens News is that we are uploading images of Clarens onto our Printerest page.   (We were thinking of adding a gallery page to our website – but concluded that using Printerest would make it much easier for everyone to share.)  We’ve already started with a few and are about to upload an image posted to our Clarens News timeline on facebook from Lize Artist On Demand.   Lize writes:

I stay in Midlands KZN and was on holiday in Clarens in August. I went to Kado and was fascinated with the old Chev and took a photo as I decided I had to do a painting and thought I will share it with the Clarenites.


Have you heard of the Klopse?   The KLOPSE is kind of Friendship Club that meets monthly (every month on the last Monday evening of the month) in the Methodist hall.   It had its beginning around 2001 as the “Afrikaanse Aand”. Although never exclusively Afrikaans it provided an opportunity for especially Afrikaans speakers to come and share with others their professional and general interests. The name was adopted after a talk by the late (Professor) Daan Wybenga (an eminent linguist) in which he explained the origin of the “Klopse” movement among the Coloured people at the Cape: they observed the “Clubs” of the British, and decided to have their own “Klopse” (from the word “club”). So Clarens’s own “Klopse” was born!

The KLOPSE in Clarens welcomes all friends who are interested in an informative talk (often illustrated) on a wide variety of subjects. In 2014, for example, subjects like the following were dealt with by knowledgeable local people: The Incas of Peru; African Music, Legends and Heroes from the Greek Classics; Sustainable Development of Cities; The Science of Diamonds; A sea voyage along the coast of Norway; The Conservation of the Clarens Environment. The variety is great, and the subject matter always interesting.   All are heartly invited to the gatherings at 18:30, on the last Monday of the month (except December). More information is available from Dons Kritzinger, 082-849-1505 or 058-256-1179.

The November meeting was postponed to this Monday (1st December, 2014)  .   You’ll find further details on the Events Page..

Ebola – A Threat to our Tourism Industry

Having just visited the Netherlands, Greece, France and Italy, I can’t say I am particularly surprised to receive an article from The Economist:  Economic Consequences of Ebola.  As soon as anyone we met discovered we were from South Africa they asked about Ebola.   We did our best to explain that it wasn’t a problem in South Africa, and those that believed us and didn’t move away, then asked if we knew any of the schoolgirls that had been kidnapped (Nigeria), or if we (like the “blade-runner”) slept with a weapon next to our bed.  It all seems so far-fetched, but yes these factors are probably having an impact on the number of tourists who visit South Africa – and will be felt even in Clarens.

So what can we do about it?   Not much except to spread information on the facts as widely as possible.   Derek Joubert’s article Ebola and Africa written for AG Africa Geographic is an excellent read, and we would suggest that it be passed on whenever possible.  ( You never know – it could make a difference.)  Click here to read the full article.


Have a look at the events page on the website.   With Christmas happening next month it seems that there’s already a lot of planning going on in Clarens to celebrate this special day.   But – why wait until Christmas – there’s a lot of fun to be had in Clarens before then.   Check the Clarens News facebook page on friday afternoon for news on the weekend’s music and weather.    Other events coming up soon include:

28th November:  Richard Rennie’s 82nd Birthday
29th November:  Cherry Food Market at Cafe Moulin
29th November, 2014:  Clarens Country Market
29th November:  Anton Benzon & Dianne Erasmus at Robert Badenhorst Art Gallery
29th November:  Christmas time show at Martie Lotz  hall
30th November:  Cherry Food Market at Cafe Moulin
30th November:  Christmas Carols service
KLOPSE FRIENDSHIP CLUB:  Ist December  Klopse Friendship Club
Brian Taylor Comedy Evening at Shumba Valley
6-7 December:  Clarens Open
6th December: Yalla Habibi


AND then there are lots more exciting events coming up in December, but more about those in the next newsletter.  (You can, of course, take a sneak preview by visiting the Events page on the website.)


Christmas is coming

Calling all Clarens Restaurants.   Please let us have your Christmas lunch menus:   We will upload them on our events page.   (Christmas Lunch is, after all, an event).


Remember to have a look at our Classifieds page on the website.   An interesting new building block now manufactured in Clarens has just been listed.   You may also need to order your Christmas cake……..

Final Thought: Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was celebrated in the USA yesterday.    Speaking personally, I give thanks everyday that I am lucky enough to live in Clarens.

21 November, 2014: So much happening


Not only do we have the Cherry Festival taking place in Ficksburg this weekend, and Tshepong are having their Christmas party this afternoon.

Tshepong Christmas party

And there are a lot of other events coming up in and around Clarens.   Have a look at the events page on the website.   With Christmas happening next month it seems that there’s already a lot of planning going on in Clarens to celebrate this special day.   But – why wait until Christmas – there’s a lot of fun to be had in Clarens before then.   Check the Clarens News facebook page on friday afternoon for news on the weekend’s music and weather.    Other events coming up soon include:

24th November:  70’s evening with Cat at Gosto’s Restaurant

28th November:  Richard Rennie’s 82nd Birthday

29th November:  Cherry Food Market at Cafe Moulin

29th November:  Anton Benzon & Dianne Erasmus at Robert Badenhorst Art Gallery

29th November:  Christmas time show at Martie Lotz  hall

30th November:  Cherry Food Market at Cafe Moulin

AND then there are some really exciting events coming up in December, but more about those in the next newsletter.  (You can, ofcourse, take a sneak preview by visiting the Events page on the website.)

Clarens open

Oh – yes, it’s the Clarens Open.   It’s only happening next month but you need to book now.   And just in case, you think you may not be up to it – have a look at the Richmond Golf Club rules below.   Reading through them not only says something about golfers, but it also makes playing the Clarens Golf Course sound really easy!   Click here for more about the event and how to book.

Golf Rules


CVC Report Back

Damien Coulson has sent us his report on Clarens Village Conservancy activities during October, 2014, inclulding alien clearing, environmental education,.   As always, it makes very interesting reading:   alien clearing; environmental education; trail maintenance, and the rangers patrols.   Ofcourse, all of this work needs to be funded, and so your membership is of vital importance.  If you’re not already a member, Click here, for your membership form.   It only costs R300 a year! (Remember too that donations are always welcome.)


CVC Spring editionAlien clearing

Click here to read the full report.


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Cotyledon orbiculata Damien1-100x100Article and photographs by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve



Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Crassulaceae (Crassula) family.

Cotyledon orbiculata (Pig’s Ear in English, Plakkies in Afrikaans & serelile in Sesotho) is a succulent shrublet whose stem may grow to 900mm tall. Many of you will have recognised this widespread plant which tends to grow on sandy or rocky soils. In the grassveld around Clarens you’ll generally find C. orbiculata at higher altitudes on the rocky sandstone mountain slopes (approximately 2000-3000m A.S.L.), occurring from the Western Cape through to Mpum.

Read more







Thank – you (from CCIA)Thank you.

For more information contact Evon at 073-708-7832 or Dons at 082-859-1505


News from The Recycling Centre

Clarens Recycling IMG_0062Evon reports that she is getting fantastic support from the people of Kgubetswana (including Zama Zama and Hunter’s Tavern) who are collecting and delivering materials to the recycling centre.   The children especially are getting involved.   (It seems that all the Environmental Education carried out by the CVC is having effect.)    Our ever-caring Evon encourages the children and puts aside glossy magazines for them to use in their various school projects.   (Incidentally, a cancer facility from Klerksdorp is now also collecting magazines from the recycling centre.)   A few minutes with Evon and you soon come to realise that one man’s waste is another man’s treasure.   Should you have items you’re not sure what to do with – drop them off at the Recycling Centre – Evon is sure to find a needy home for them.   And on that note, Evon would like to thank Jaap and Hilda Boonstra for dropping off a box of spectacles – which she is about to drop off at an eye clinic in Bethlehem where they will be put to good use.  Click here to find out more about the Clarens Recycling Centre, what it does, and how to get there.

Christmas is coming

Calling all Clarens Restaurants.   Please let us have your Christmas lunch menus:   We will upload them on our events page.   (Christmas Lunch is, after all, an event).

News from the Mountain Kingdom

Good news.   Maliba Lodge which suffered severe fire damage nearly two years ago has re-opened:    They sent us the following press-release:

Maliba Lodge Celebrates The Opening Of The New Main Lodge

After considerable perseverance over the past 15 months, Maliba Lodge takes great pride in announcing the completion, and opening of the newly constructed Main Lodge. Enriched with Local architectural design elements, this new building showcases a Reception area, family Restaurant, relaxation and bar area, breath-taking viewing deck and an exclusive private lounge and restaurant for 5 Star Mountain Lodge guests, an exciting enhancement from the previous building design.

Visitors to this brilliant new Lodge will be welcomed with unique furniture and creative designs and artwork representing local Basotho culture. Complimenting this exhilarating enhancement to Maliba Lodge, comes the addition of a fully independent conference centre boasting a private restaurant and bar, presentation area, adjoining accommodation and viewing deck.

In July 2013 the main Maliba Lodge building was devastated by a fire. Fortunately there was no injury as a result of the unfortunate incident, and all accommodation was left entirely unaffected, and has been perfectly operational during the construction period. The owners Chris McEvoy, Nick King, and Stephen Phakisi moved swiftly to plan, and personally fund a rebuilding program, faithful in the dedication of their valued Maliba staff.

This seemingly unfortunate event posed a silver lining whereby the new building would allow for much desired enhancements to be added to the new Maliba Lodge as well as provide contractual employment for over 50 Lesotho locals, above the lodge staff, who were incremental in the building of the new building, stepping out of their roles to be involved in the rebuild.    Click here to read more

Comment from your editor

I visited Maliba Lodge a few weeks ago – courtesy of Maluti Tours.   (The new structure is looking great.)   The great thing about visiting Lesotho is that you come face to face with Africa:  the beauty, the wildness, the clear big sky, the people…..etc.etc.etc.   This is such a contrast to Europe.   (And having just spent a month in Europe and visited Amsterdam, Athens, Rome and Paris, the contrast really hit me on this trip.)   It was specially wonderful to see how the people of Lesotho live with the seasons – and I managed to get some shots of ploughing, and sheep shearing.   Here they are:

Lesotho Oct 2014 _0028


Lesotho shearing sheep





Remember to have a look at our Classifieds page on the website.   An interesting new building block now manufactured in Clarens has just been listed.   You may also need to order your Christmas cake……..



vrugtekoek 3


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

Clarens - Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey

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

Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey

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


Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project


Clarens News The Maluti Highlands Water Project Katse Dam

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

The Twitcher

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


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

CTF  logo  

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

CTF call for assistance please!

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

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

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

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Zalusianskya microsiphon

Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Zalusianskya  microsiphon

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


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

Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

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

Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave

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

Restaurant Specials: This weekend

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

Restaurant Specials: During the week

Monday – Friday:  The Posthouse breakfast! Sart the day on the right note.  The Posthouse Breakfast ranges from R22 – R30, and includes tea and coffee. Wednesday:  Friends HAPPY HOUR from 20h00 to 21h00.  Live music. Thursday:   Golden Age Day at Bon Appetit Bistro: (Rosemary Centre) Every Thursday (except Public Holidays) is now “Golden Age Day” @ Bon Appetit Bistro. If you are in the Golden Age (over 65 years old), come enjoy Breakfast (served all day), a light lunch, tea, coffee or cake and get 10% discount on your bill.  Open from 9.30am till 4.00pm. Friday:  Courtyard: Specials at the Cafe every friday from 12 noon, and at the Restaurant every friday evening from 18h00 Friday:  The Highlander: HAPPY HOUR from 17h30 to 18h30.

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

Clarens Awesome Autumn Braai Challenge for Charity

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

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

Coming Events: Cluny Trust Golf Day: 31 May 2014

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

Coming Events: Clarens Country Market – every Saturday

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

Coming Events: Always something happening in Clarens.

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

Super rugby

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game!


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

Making Clarens News Work for you:

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

Be amazed:

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

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28th November, 2013: Happy Thanksgivvukah

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

Clarens News header 28th November 2014


On coming home

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

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

The photograph above (also by Mary Walker) features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to jansander22@gmail.com .  I’ve ordered several – as Christmas presents.


Happy Thanksgivukkah

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

StarSat :  Change your view  (TV Advert)

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




Click here to see the video

Clarens Skies – Ophiuchus

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens News

Constellation of the Week

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

About Ophiuchus

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

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

Read more

Update on Ison

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

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

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

Read more

Tshepong Christmas Party 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Bana ba Hlokang – Letter of Thanks


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

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

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

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

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

Bana ba Hlokang

Environmental Education

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

Thank-you Clarens

Letter from Nick and Cindy Osborne

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

Plant of the week: Dianthus basuticus

Damien Coulson:

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

Read more


The Twitcher:

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

The Clarens – Golf News

clarens open



This weekend – Weather

This weekend –  Music

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

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

This weekend –  Sport



This Weekend – Other Events

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

Clarens News Plesierrit Machpela Ruiterklub




Coming Events

As always there is lots to look forward to

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

Click here to find out what’s in store


The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend

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

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

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

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


Talking of Mushrooms

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

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

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



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

27th September, 2013: Let’s Braai

Clarens News; Exotic vegetation in Clarens

Exotic Vegetation

Our photograph this week shows a cluster of cosmos flowering blithely against the backdrop of a high ridge on the Rooiberg range.  In the late summer months these resilient flowers enrich our roadsides with their shades of pink, red, mauve and white, their distribution extending from the midlands, through the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal, the Drakensberg foothills, the Eastern Free State and many parts of the highveld.  The story of their introduction to South Africa is well documented.   Cosmos, closely related to the sunflower, is listed as an alien plant species in South Africa.  Once exotic plants become ‘naturalised’ and able to propagate and establish themselves in natural surroundings, their impact or potential impact should be assessed and, where necessary, management procedures put in place.  Read more

Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery (House of Woven Art), Clementines Restaurant , the Village Grocer and the Old Stone Bottle Store.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to jansander22@gmail.com .  ….More on the Cluny Animal Trust

Let’s Braai
Community Braai Challenge – 29th September 2013

Please submit your entry forms as soon as possible. (Certainly no later than noon on Saturday)

 Appeal for Braai Challenge Prizes


Thank you to the following establishments for their generous support in Prize sponsorships for the event:
Clarens Brewery, Homing Instinct, Highland Roastery, Clarens Yoga Centre, Horeb Butchery, Clarens Destinations, Garment Gallery, Posthouse Restaurant, Brambleberry, ClarensXtreme

Plant of the week: Moraea stricta

Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Plant of the week”. We’ll be looking at a plant at the far end of the spectrum as opposed to last week’s plant of the week – this time around we’ll be looking at a small bulbous wildflower that has only been observed in 2 localities over the last month.

Moraea stricta (commonly known as Bloutulp in Afrikaans), is a small plant of between 15 & 25 cm in height and is widespread throughout Africa. Stricta refers to the straight or upright appearance of the flower. M. stricta grows in grasslands in close proximity to rocky outcrops and slopes at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.LM. stricta is interesting in that the leaves are usually absent during the flowering stage (Sept – Nov).   Read more


Illegal Activites in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

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Over the past two weeks the C.V.C. rangers have noted an increase in the number of ripped-open bags being dumped along the Spruit. This week

Please submit your entry forms as soon as possible. (Certainly no later than noon on Saturday)alone, 6 full bags of household refuse have been cleaned-up and removed from the trail.

One instance of illegal muti-digging was observed in the Clarens Nature Reserve. An individual dragging 2 very heavy sacks behind him was asked to open them for an inspection – both were full of medicinal plants (bulbs, tubers, corms, roots, etc.), some of which were protected and vulnerable plant species. The rangers also asked the individual to produce a permit, which he did, however the permit seemed suspect. Some while later down at the station, the police found the permit to be fraudulent and on questioning, the statement of the culprit was as one of the rangers so eloquently put it, “kind-of like a Jackie Chan karate movie – completely fong-kong and full of loops!”.

All jokes aside, the rangers are working hard to keep the environment that we all love and enjoy in as pristine a condition as possible, but even they cannot be everywhere at once. This week the rangers got lucky and apprehended a culprit red-handed, however the eyes of the community need to be kept vigilant to similar activities. Thanks to those of you who have assisted the C.V.C. with information at times, and to the rest – stay sharp

In connection with illegal or suspect environmental activities the C.V.C. can be contacted at:
Head Ranger:Damien Coulson – 076 833 8910;
C.V.C. Chairman:  Rodney Wainwright  –   083 680 7770.

A Black South Easter Blows into town

Black South Easter blew into town unexpectedly this week, and blew all of us who saw them away. Band members Nkoza Sitsholwana (vocals), Jim Curve (base), Dan Boshoff (guitar) and Jerry Mbowa perfromed for us at Street Cafe, Artichoke and Friends.  We loved it – and fortunately Black South Easter love us too.  They plan to re-vist Clarens again soon.  (Look out for their new album: Black South Easter In Waves)

Environmental Education: 88 students at St Fort

On Tuesday the 17th of September the C.V.C. rangers attended an environmental education event at St. Fort farm on invitation from Clarens Xtreme  with  a total of 88 grade 6 students from Jordania Primary – a local school based in Bethlehem. The students were out on a 4 day leadership camp where they would learn about teamwork and the basic problem solving skills necessary to become the next group of prefects. The experiences of those 4 days would help the students to develop these attributes and ultimately play a role in prefect selection in early 2014.   Read more

This weekend – Live Music

Friday 27 September 2013
Grouse & Claret:  7.30pm  onwards:  Ric and company
Street Cafe:  8.30 pm onwards:  Grumpie Old Men

Saturday 28 September 2013
Street Cafe:  12h00-15h00:  Deon, the Soutie from Toti
Artichoke:  after the rugby:  Jana and Mia

 This weekend – Rugby fixtures

This weekend – Other things to do

Farmer’s Market outside the Bibliophile. 10h00 – 14h00.

Dinner Dance at Courtyard Cafe.  R150pp  Includes 3 course meal. Phone 082 6501503 to book

Community Braai Challenge on the square.  14h00 – 18h00.


Coming Events : Classic Clarens Festival












Coming Events : Bibliophile Bookfest 2013

Writers dinner, Film Premiere, authors, supper theatre – and lots more.

To see the program 


MORE Coming Events :

Visit the Clarens News website to find out about all the other events coming to Clarens.


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.com
(Classified advertisements are free.)


Note from the editor

The best laid plans of mice and men.  We promised you an Adventure page on the website last week…..sorry.  We are still struggling with the web design aspect of the news.  (Probably because the editor would much rather be doing something else!)

ADVENTURES.  We have all been working hard at collecting information on all the adventures on offer in Clarens. Our aim is to build a website which reflects Clarens and everything it has to offer, but,  we need your help to achieve this. Please let us know what adventures you have to offer to our Clarens visitors:  email: editor@clarensnews.com