Tag Archives: Plants found in Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Pycnoporus sanguineus

Pycnoporus sanguineus
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. This week we’ll be looking at something a little different, a unique species of Bracket.
Pycnoporus sanguineus is not your typical plant – in fact, this bracket mushroom actually belongs to an entirely different kingdom – one that many either love or hate and is neither plant nor animal, but lies somewhere in between (scientists observe that mushrooms are more closely related to insects than plants – freaky right?)  Yes, for those of you “in-the-know”, P. sanguineus is in fact part of the Fungi kingdom.
Many refer to fungi in a very general sense as mushrooms.  But what exactly are mushrooms then, how do we differentiate between different forms of mushroom, and to top it all, is it even correct to refer to all fungi as mushrooms? Well no, and yes – confused?  While it isn’t generally incorrect to refer to fungi as mushrooms, the term is more applicable to fungi whose growth-form (physiognomy) consists of a distinct stem (stipe) with a cap (pileus) and gills (lamellae) under the cap. A good example of this are the various species of edible capped mushrooms (usually agarics) found in your local Pick ‘n Pay or Checkers. Fungi are heterotrophs (obtain food from other organisms – not unlike animals) yet have cells with cell walls (as do plants) consisting of chiton (the exoskeletons of insects) and may be classed in 1 of 2 groups – macrofungi or microfungi (microscopic i.e. invisible to the naked eye). Macrofungi differ greatly in morphology, size, colour and edibility and these characteristics are the basis of differentiating between various forms; although it is always best to consult a reputable field or pocket guide before deciding whether or not a mushroom should be handled or consumed.
Pictured above is the bracket fungus P. sanguineus, always found occurring on decomposing wood from trees such as pine. This particular specimen was found on an old and partially decayed Weeping Willow along our Spruit trail. It is widespread and inedible, although non-toxic. It is of small-medium diameter, bright orange, and is observed “fruiting” from November – April.

Throughout history, mankind have found fungi to be of great appeal. Much mystery and mythology surrounds fungi. They have found a place in children’s fairy-tales, been used to stimulate unearthly visions and often vivid hallucinations, have found their way into traditional medicines and are the basis of modern antibiotics (such as penicillin). They have been used in the production of an array of adult beverages and have been used the world over in a huge plethora of culinary masterpieces. Fungi can either be beneficial as already mentioned or be the source of acute poisoning in humans and livestock.
One particularly alien species Ophiocordyceps camponoti-rufipedis, is known to abduct carpenter ants Camponotus rufipes by rooting itself in their brain-stem, driving them into sunlight and sprouting from their heads whilst simultaneously killing the host in the process – talk about bizarre! (Don’t worry – their distribution is limited to certain tropical forests). For the most part fungi play an important ecological, cultural and spiritual role the world over.
You’ve heard of the Food pyramid in school yes? Well fungi form the basis of this pyramid as decomposers. As implied, their primary ecological role is to decompose and restore to the earth, in basic form, all plant and sometimes animal matter; thereby facilitating the growth of new life forms. Careful examination of almost all known terrestrial biomes and ecosystems will reveal the presence of fungi of one or another form.


Click here for more information on plants in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Click here for more information on the Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Kniphofia thodei Baker



Kniphofia thodei Baker Kniphofia thodei Baker

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Asphodelaceae (Red-hot Poker) family.

Kniphofia thodei Baker (Thode’s Poker in English and Leloele in Sesotho) is perennial monocotyledonous herb growing to a towering height of just 500mm. Unlike many other species of the Red-hot Poker genus, this little guy enjoys a bachelor’s solitary existence including freedom from group tyranny and peer-pressure. One will need to prepare a backpack to find our hero as he prefers “hanging-out” on moist high-altitude grassveld mountain slopes at up to 2750 m A.S.L. He is also an endemic to the Eastern Mountain Region (EMR), making him even more interesting…and don’t all bachelor’s lead interesting lifestyles?

Photographed on the steep slopes near Titanic Rock and our Sky-Contour Trail, this individual was no easy find (as is any decent bachelor) and may at first glance be misidentified for several of the more prominent of the Red-hot Poker genus in the area.

The leaves are narrow, recurved, around 5 mm wide by 300-400mm long, blue-green, soft to the touch, with slightly coarse or toothed margins. The inflorescence consists of a single dense spike of tubular and hanging measuring approx. 70X40mm, grading from orange apically, to yellow-white below. Flowers measure a mere 20-30mm in length. Flowering occurs from spring-early summer (November to March). Uses:


This solitary Poker would make for a highly attractive garden ornamental, especially in areas of partial shade with moist, well drained soils. Red-hot Pokers hybridise readily with wild specimens, making Id in gardens particularly difficult.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for K. thodei is listed as of Least Concern.


Click here for more information on plants in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Click here for more information on the Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Agapanthus campanulatus

Agapanthus campanulatus
Agapanthus companulatus (Photo: D Coulson)
Agapanthus companulatus
Agapanthus campanulatus (Photo: D.Coulson)

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 Agapanthaceae (Agapanthus) family.

Agapanthus companulatus subsp. paten (Bell Agapanthus in English, Bloulelie in Afrikaans & Lera-laphou in Sesotho) is a deciduous perennial herb which may grow to 100mm tall. This species prefers moist rocky areas such as waterways and drainage lines, near valley bottoms and rocky slopes. A mid-high altitude species, it is commonly found growing at the 1800-2400m A.S.L. band. A. companulatus subsp. paten is found occurring in the Eastern Mountain Region (EMR) of the Drakensburg in montane grassland through to Mpum, the Eastern Free State and Gauteng.

The derivatives agapé – love and anthos – flower, hint at the attractive nature of this particular wildflower. A conspicuous plant, it’s almost always found in colonies and it is hard to confuse the sky-blues and characteristic long, slender, bell-shape with other wildflowers. This particular specimen was found growing along the Titanic Trail and again along the Spruit (always in close proximity to water). This plant contrasts nicely with the various shades of green vegetation amongst which it grows, and is large enough to photograph without having to first get dirt on your elbows and knees…

The leaves of A. companulatus subsp. paten are long and slender (150-400mmX10-25mm) and dark green-grey grading to a red-purple colour towards the base of the stem. The umbel inflorescence is characteristic for this plant and the florets are wide-open to slightly reflexed. Each floret comprises 6 light-blue to purple tipped petals (approx. 35mm X 10mm) with a dark blue vertical mid-stripe and 6 stamens. The floret tube is shorter than the lobes by 1/3, with each floret borne on its own stalk and supported by a long, slender stem. Flowering occurs from Jan-March. Uses:

Ecological role

The flowers of this plant attract a host of pollinators such as bees whilst the seeds are wind-dispersed.

Traditional Uses

New-born Sesotho babes are bathed in a cooled infusion of the leaves to strengthen them against the elements. A soothing baby-lotion is also made from the rootstock to treat “cradle cap” (a dermatological condition of the head, unique to infants). It’s also been reportedly used as a lucky charm against lightning.


This is amongst the most popular and sought-after of garden ornamental species and is great at growing from cuttings. Many of the gardens in Clarens have these growing where the soil is moist.


Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve



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Ajuga ophrydis

Ajuga ophrydis
Ajuga ophrydis (Photo: Damien Coulson)



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

Ajuga ophrydis (Bugle Plant in English & Senyarela in Sesotho) is a perennial herb which may grow to 250mm tall. This remarkable yet understated herb grows sparcely distributed in rocky grassland areas, in close proximity to rocky slopes at higher altitudes up to 2700 m A.S.L, occurring from the Eastern Cape through to Mpum.

An altogether attractive plant, this specimen was observed above the Porcupine Trail, along what will soon be our new cycle route – the Caracal Contour. Interestingly this specimen and several new wildflowers were only observed in the area in which cattle have been excluded and in which an intact portion of fence remains, and is evidence of the need to conserve our natural heritage. As a matter of interest, this is the only member of the Ajuga genus which has been recorded in S.A.

The paddle-like leaves of A.ophrydis are basal and rosetted for the most part, measuring 30-170mm long by 15-40mm wide. The margins are covered in fine hairs and are toothed, sometimes slightly roled inwards. The inflorescence measures approx. 200mm long and is spiked. The whorled flowers are relatively small (12-14mm) and are blue-mauve. Each flower consists of a 5-toothed calyx with 1 reduced upper “lip”. 4 brown curved stamens appear as “eyes” on each floret, giving each flower the semblance of a miniature face. Flowering occurs from Oct-Feb. Uses:

Ecological role

The flowers of this plant attract a host of pollinators thus assisting with pollination of both wild plant and food-crop species.

Traditional Uses

This plant has been used in the formulation of traditional medicines and has apparently been used in traditional medicine to relieve menstrual pains.


Those who’ve tried to propagate A. ophrydis have found it an easy plant to grow from cuttings.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for A. ophrydis is listed as Least Concern

Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve



Click here to read other articles on The Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Boophone disticha

Boophone disticha.  Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve
Boophone disticha (Photo: Damien Coulson)

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts.  This week we’re focusing on a member of the Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis) family.

Boophone disticha (Bushmans Poison in English, Boesmansgif or Gifbol in Afrikaans & Leshoma in Sesotho) is a perennial geophyte which may grow to 600mm tall. This extremely toxic bulb grows in grassland and rocky areas, usually on hill slopes. B. disticha occurs from sea-level right through to 3000 m A.S.L, distributed throughout S.A. Boophone distich is both drought tolerant and frost resistant. This particular specimen was observed on the Kloof Mountain Trail; however additional sightings above Scilla Walk, Porcupine and the Sky Contour trails have been recorded. Please note (again) that this plant is both highly toxic to people and livestock.

The leaves of B. disticha are arranged in a very prominent fan formation with dark green undulating margins, usually appearing after flowering has taken place. The oh-so-infamous bulb may obtain a diameter of 170mm and is almost always partially exposed to the sun. The bulb consists of layer-upon layer of thick and (highly toxic) dark coloured scales. The round compound flower is red-pink and each floret is held aloft on its own stalklet. A thick stem supports the flower-head. Flowering occurs from Aug-October. Uses:

Ecological role

The flowers of this plant attract a host of pollinators thus assisting with pollination of both wild plant and food-crop species.

Traditional Uses

The Khoisan believed that the leaves of B. disticha had special properties associated with the otherworld. A mummified bushman body was discovered in the Baviaanskloof wrapped in the leaves of this plant. Their belief is that this helps bridge the divide once the soul passes to the other side. The Khoisan thus regard this plant as one of the most mystically potent of all medicinal plants. It is also used by sangoma’s to enter a trancelike state; however since the plant is poisonous, the dosage must be absolutely spot-on or one may end up in I.C.U. or worse. Hunting is another traditional use whereby flint arrowheads are dipped in the poison and facilitate paralyses in quarry. Additional uses include use in psychotherapy and during circumcision as an anti-inflammatory and disinfectant.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for B. disticha is listed as Declining as a result of overharvesting for any number of traditional and medicinal uses. What many don’t realise is that the plant requires a minimum of 10 years to reach flowering stage and even then the plant does not flower every year. Declining status arises when a population has a large geographical range but numbers in the veld dwindle and/or their prevalence on muti markets increases substantially.

Damien1-100x100Article and photograph by Damien Coulson
Head ranger:  Clarens Village Nature Reserve



Click here to read other articles on The Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve


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……..



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


Cotyledon orbiculata


Cotyledon orbiculata. Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve
Cotyledon orbiculata (Photo:D.Coulson)
Cotyledon orbiculata. Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve
Cotyledon orbiculata (Photo:D.Coulson)
Cotyledon orbiculata. Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve
Cotyledon orbiculata (Photo:D.Coulson)

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.

The genus name Cotyledon comes from the Greek word kotyledon that means cup-shaped hollow, in reference to the leaves of some species. The species name orbiculata comes from the Latin “round circle”. Beware though, unlike other similar appearing families, such as the vygies (Aizoaceae) and most aloes (Asphodelaceae), the sap from the leaves of C. orbiculata are toxic. The variability of leaf size, shape and colour is influenced by the immediate environment; however 5 variants of this spp. are currently recognised in the botanical society. This specimen was observed on the recently established Sky Contour trail (available on the soon-to-be released, new and improved trail map).

The paddle or pig’s ear-shaped (hence the English common name) leaves of this species measure 50-100mm long X 35-60mm wide, are succulent and fleshy with a grey-green tinge. A characteristic red lip is evident on the leave margin. The branched inflorescence is borne aloft a thick stem with each of the nodding red-orange (yellow varieties exist) and tubular flowers measuring 30-40mm. Flowering occurs from Nov-Feb. Uses:


Cotyledon orbiculata makes a nice pot plant or garden ornamental in succulent rockeries. It’s also a good plant to have as its tubular flowers are ideal for attracting sunbirds, whose long and curved beaks are specifically adapted to feeding on this form of flower.

Traditional Uses

Used traditionally as a poultice to treat boils, the leaves are heated and applied. The sap is also said to help treat warts, corn and general inflammations. Although toxic (cotyledontoxin), carefully moderated doses of the sap (from one leaf) can be used as a vermifuge. The leaves are also thought to be of use in the treatment of epilepsy. Livestock and domestic animals who eat the leaves suffer from a condition known as cotyledonosis. The Southern Sotho use a dried leaf as a protective charm for an orphan child and as a plaything

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for C. Orbiculata is listed as Least Concern

Damien1-100x100Article and photographs by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve



Click here for other articles about the plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Click here to find out more about the Clarens Village Nature Reserve


14 November, 2014: The newsletters are back

Rainbow over Clarens

After all the recent welcome rain – how could we not head this newsletter with a photograph of a rainbow.   It’s so nice to see smiles on the faces of our farming friends, and to see the dams filling.

Yes – the newsletters are back

We had so many requests for our newsletters that we decided to post them out again.Thank you to all our faithful Facebook followers for staying in touch via facebook. We will continue to post news – especially about Clarens weekend music events – on facebook, but since facebook is not really that suitable for our more in-depth articles, these will be published in our newsletters as well as on the relevant pages on our website: www.clarensnews.co.za.

Website News

The Clarens News website is getting better and better, and we’re slowly catching up with all the business listings. And GOOD NEWS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS, we have taken the decision to list all Clarens businesses for free.   So if you haven’t yet sent us all your details, please send them to editor@clarensnews.co.za.  We will get your business listed  as soon as possible.  (You may have to be a little patient, since doing the listings is a rather time consuming business.)   Clarens still does not have an official info centre (but we’re holding thumbs that the CTF may yet pull something out of the bag.)   In the meantime, Clarens News, will continue to strive to provide everything you need to know about Clarens.


Construction begins on delayed Stortemelk hydro plant near Clarens

Clarens News received the following google alert:

South African hydropower NuPlanet has broken ground on a new hydroelectric power generation plant on the Ash River. The plant, which will be built into the wall of the Botterkloof dam, is expected to cost R200m and be operational by the middle of 2016.The original plan, which was approved under phase 2 of the national Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement program (REIPPP) was due to come online this year, but was delayed by the REIPPP and a refinancing initiative, NuPower managing director Anton-Louis Olivier told htxt.africa.The existing dam will be unchanged, Olivier says, and the plant itself built on currently unused farmland.Stortemelk is a very small plant capable of producing just 4.1MW of energy at peak capacity – enough for a few thousand homes – and around 25GWh a year. It is being built with the backing of a local charity which will be returning profits from the plant back into other community project.NuPlanet already operates a similar hydroelectric installation at nearby Bethlehem.[Via – HydroWorld, Image – NuPlanet]

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Pachycarpus macrochilus 2
Head ranger Damien Coulson has added yet another plant to the list of Plants Found in the Claren Village Nature Reserve.   The latest addition is  Pachycarpus macrochilus (Large-lipped Pachycarpus in English & leshokhoa in Sesotho)  a perennial geophytic herb whose stems grow to 140-330mm tall.   Click here to read more about this interesting plant.


Click here To see all the plants that Damien has written about so far.




 November is Cherry Time

IMG_1358The Ficksburg Cherry Festival kicks off on  20th November,  and Ionia Farm has already started doing Cherry Tours.  For further details visit the Events page on our website.

But of course, there’s also a lot of other things happening in November.

This Weekend:  Welcome back Dan Patlansky

Dan Patlansky
This weekend we welcome Dan Patlansky and all the guitarists taking part in his guitar workshop.  Unfortunately, this event has been booked out months ago, but, as with previous Dan Patlansky workshops, Clarenites can get  to hear some of the guitarists on their last night here.   They will be playing at the backpackers on Sunday evening from about 7 pm onwards, and anyone wanting to braai something to celebrate the occassion will be happy to learn that there will be braai fires available for them to use.



This Weekend: Golden Gate Half Marathon (Saturday)

runnersSouth African National Parks (SANParks) together with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Setsing Super Spar will host the Working for Water QwaQwa Golden Gate Half marathon on Saturday 15th November 2014 at Basotho Cultural Village inside the Park. The marathon will end at Setsing Super Spar in QwaQwa.

The marathon, which aims to improve the wellbeing and heath of the surrounding communities, was initiated by Biodiversity Social Projects (BSP)’s Working for Water in the Park as part of SANParks vision of ‘Connecting to Society’. It is a follow up to the successful marathon held last year and this year promises to be even bigger.

Click here for further details


This Weekend:  Daniele Pascal at Bon Appetit (Sunday)

Daniele Pascal A treat for all music lovers – and especially for Francophiles.    Daniel – known as an ambassador of the French Chanson is renowned for her work on Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel and the French Café Song genre.

Daniele will be performing at Bon Appetit on Sunday even1ng (6.30pm)  For bookings call 079 873 1318

Tickets are R230 per person, which includes a 2 course meal.

LADIES NIGHT at Artist’s Cafe  with Salon Norma Jean   (20th November)

Ladies Night 3


Salon Norma Jean have teamed up with Artist’s Cafe and are hosting a Ladies Night on the 20th November, to launch their exciting new range of Hannon products.

Booking is essential.

Click here for For further details


RICHARD RENNIE turns 82 on the 28th November

Richard Rennie 82

Richard continues to be an inspiration to all.    He will be celebrating his 82nd birthday on the 28th November, and everyone is invited to join him at the Richard Rennie Gallery from about  noon onwards. It promises to be a fun afternoon – extending into the evening.

Christmas Party – Phaphama Youth


Letter from Ntsebe Mofokeng:  Paphama Youth Development

It feels unbelievable that it is Christmas will be approaching us soon! As we get into the spirit of giving and sharing with our loved ones, we must reflect on how privileged we are to be surrounded by our precious family and friends, that we need to remind ourselves that there are little children who are affected by HIV do not have a Mom & a Dad to love & feel loved and this time of the year is a sad and desolate time for them. We cannot fill this void but we can ease their sadness by showering them with gifts and a fun filled day.
You can replace the brick that the little boy is pushing as a toy car and the little girl whose eyes are shining bright and made the doll out of ragged cloths.

We are asking, most sincerely, for you to consider making a contribution to this special day. We would like to ask for any gifts for children aged between 06 – 14 years in supporting our Christmas Party for 100 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children. We would also like to have the jumping castle sponsored. (Clarens News will be sponsoring the jumping castle.)We humbly request the company to purchase toys and refreshment for children. To most of these children it will be the first time receiving a gift and feel like they are cared for and belong somewhere.
The Christmas Party is planned as follows:
Date: 20 December 2012
Time: 12:00 – 16:00
Venue: Kgubetswana Community Hall in Clarens

Vision: Developing individuals, restoring relationships, motivated and revitalizing communities.

All the donations are needed and appreciated, regardless of the amount. Please think about this and how important the work of Phaphama Youth Development is, and consider about the positive impact it will make in the community we live in. Please, send the donation to Phaphama Youth Development at the below bank account. Your help will help us to expand and outreach every individual affected with the issue.

For more information or clarity you are welcome to contact Ntsebe Mofokeng @ 078 245 1709 during office hours.

Click here For more information on Paphama Youth Development.


Clarens Open – Time to book NOW

Clarens Open

Click here for further details










 Comedy Evening at Shumba Valley (6th December)

Comedy Evening


I’m told that Brian Taylor is really funny and will appeal to all those of us who belong to the slightly older generation that still have a sense of humour.

Click here for further details





Cluny Animal Trust – Fundraising

Cluny bookshelf

This is our latest fundraising effort, a tiny library/bookstore. We would like to put them at guest houses, guests can then read, buy or exchange the books by putting a donation in the tin. We will exchange the selection once a month. Please leave us a message in the comments if you are interested in getting involved! Share, Share, Share with everyone that might be interested!    Click here for more information on The Cluny Animal Trust.

And don’t forget to buy  your copy of the new Cluny Animal Trust Calendar, on sale at various outlets in Clarens.


 Classifieds – and all sorts of other information.

Remember to check out the Classifieds Page on the website.   AND  if you’re looking for a plumber, electrician, or any other services in Clarens please to to the Eat, Sleep and do more page


Pachycarpus macrochilus

Pachycarpus macrochilus Pachycarpus macrochilus 2


Pachycarpus macrochilus (Large-lipped Pachycarpus in English & leshokhoa in Sesotho) is a perennial geophytic herb whose stems grow to 140-330mm tall. In order to observe this species one will need to get on a proper set of hiking boots and head up to the rocky higher mountainous areas of the grassveld (1600-2200m A.S.L.) occurring from the Eastern Cape through to Mpum.

Break the stem of this guy and your fingers will be covered by sticky milky latex (as with most members of this family). The Latin macrochilus is derived from macro meaning large, and chilus, in reference to the lip-like structure of the flower corona.


On first inspection one will notice the stems of this little herb are sparsely and coarsely hairy. The leaves measure 30-150mm long by 17-43mm wide. The leave margins (on stalks of 5-15mm) are slightly undulating and also have sparsely distributed coarse hair. The flowers – occurring in clusters of2-6 -are what make this plant really interesting as they are cup shaped. When young the closed flowers are borne aloft, but hang when mature and open. The flowers measure 16-28mm and are green-yellow-clay red. The lobe tips are open and somewhat re-curved and measure 13-25-9-17mm. Flowering occurs from October-Jan. Uses:


This species has been known to be browsed by goats in summer despite the plants milky latex.


Although not a “beautiful” plant per se, P. macrochilus is certainly an interesting and unusual plant to observe, and thus makes for a remarkable specimen for photography.

Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger:  Clarens Village Nature Reserve



Click here for other articles on plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Asclepias stellifera

Asclepias stellifera. Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve
Asclepias stellifera (Photo: D.Coulson)


Asclepias stellifera (Common Meadow-star in English & khola-ntja in Sesotho)  is member of the Apocynaceae (Milkweed) family and a perennial geophytic herb whose stems grow to 120-300mm tall. One will find this herbaceous species in grassland and often among rocky outcrops at altitudes of 2200 m A.S.L., occurring from the Eastern Cape right through to Botswana.

Break the stem of this guy and your fingers will be covered by milky latex. In almost all cases this says one thing about the seemingly meek little plant: Do not ingest me! I’m toxic! As its name aptly suggests, the florets have been likened to the clichéd rays of stars harking from children’s books. 

The flowers of A. stellifera occur in 4’s and have 5 petals enclosed by as many skirt-like sepals. Each petal appears almost rolled inwards along its length forming what resembles a partially closed tube and is tinted purplish-black towards the centre. The stems can measure up to 50mm and the flowers measure between 4.5-7mm long by 3-4mm wide. The inflorescence is panicle-esk. The fruit resemble cushion-star capsules of length 6-10mm by 5-12 and are slightly beaked but touch-smooth. The leaves by comparison are long and thin (10-105mm X 0.5-2mm wide) and have a prominent midrib. The margins are rolled under and the whole blade is covered in short, fine & tufty hairs. Flowering occurs from September-Jan. Uses:


These small geophytic perennials endure annual regrowth of their stems, particularly (and shortly) after fires followed by the first spring rains. Their presence in the veld may act as an indicator of the biological diversity of the landscape. In truth only 1 in 3 plants in the grassland actually comprises grasses. The rest can be grouped into geophytes, annuals, trees and shrubs. Milkweeds are an important nectar source for bees and other nectar-seeking insects and use three defences to limit damage caused by caterpillars: hairs on the leaves, toxins, and latex fluids.


Milkweeds are beneficial to nearby plants as they repel certain pest invertebrates. The leaves of Asclepias species are the primary food source for monarch butterfly larvae and other milkweed butterflies and thus draw butterflies to gardens. Many Milkweeds also reportedly give off a pleasing fragrance in the early parts of an evening.


Natives of South America and Africa used arrows poisoned with glycosides from Milkweeds during hunts.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for A.stellifera is listed as Least Concern.


Damien Coulson (Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve)

Sebaea leiostyla

Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Sebaea leiostyla
Sebaea leiostyla (Photo: Damien Coulson)

This is the first Plant of Interest picture  taken using the new Powershot SX520.

Sebaea leiostyla is an annual herb whose stems grow to 100mm tall. One will find this herbaceous species in moist grassland areas often in close proximity to cover shrubs and streams at altitudes of 2600 m A.S.L., occurring from the Eastern Cape right through to Mpum.

To spot this little herb one must be prepared to follow one’s curiosity and really get in close to the subject. A camera with a good macro function is useful and could help aid in the identification. The word leio is Latin for smooth, styla Latin for style, in reference to the bare style on which the flowers are born.

The oval leaves of S. leiostyla measure approx. 10-15mm by 6-8mm wide, are scattered and oppositely arranged and appear dark green and somewhat waxy or glossy. The inflorescence is dense and held aloft by simple or branched and mostly bare stems. The flowers are small (5-15mm diam) with a corolla tube that’s usually longer than the petals. The flowers comprise 5 light-mustard yellow petals, partially enclosed by yellow-green sepals. Flowering occurs from Oct-Jan. Uses:


Small they are, but they make a brilliant pot plant or alternatively planted against a wall they make great ornamentals.


Many spp. of the Genus Sedoides have medicinal properties. S. leiodstyla is used by the Sesotho as a snake-bite remedy

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for S. leiostyla is listed as Least Concern.

Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger:  Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Click here For more information on the Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.

Geranium pulchrum

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:Geraniium pulchrum
photo: Damien Coulson

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Geraniaceae (Geranium) family.

Geranium pulchrum (no common names), is a hardy shrublet that grows to around 1.2m in moist areas (marshland, stream-banks, at the bases of cliffs and near seeplines), as with many geranium spp. This geranium grows at an altitudinal range of 1500-2285 m A.S.L.

G. pulchrum tends to form dense stands in higher altitudes and is endemic to the EMR. The Latin “pulchrum” means “beautiful”, in clear reference to the heart-shaped florets. At first glance it may resemble several local geranium spp., but when in doubt take a glance at the leaves and compare to those of similar spp.

G. pulchrum has stems that are basally woody & silky textured and flexible near the apex. The leaves are fairly large for a geranium and measure 80-120 mm in diameter and have 5-7 deep notched lobes. The leaves are hairy above and appear silvery and silky below (the hairs trap moisture and act as an anti-desiccation mechanism), with stalks longer than the leaves. The inflorescence are moderately sized and singly/occurring per stalk. The 5-heart-lobed flowers are really a small-marvel and grade from a light-deep pink with deeper pink/purple veins leading to the white corona. The flowers measure 20-35 mm in diameter and flower stalks measure approx. 60 mm, appearing silvery.  Flowering occurs from Dec-March.



This herbaceous plant and the art of photography go together well. Be prepared to take your camera into moist areas and make sure of your footing where slipping is likely to occur.


As far as geraniums go, this one is definitely worthy of the garden and makes an attractive ornamental or hedge-plant.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for G. pulchrum is listed as Least Concern.

Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve



Click here for more articles on the plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve



Clarens News Polar Bear jpg

Contents: Polar Bears get ready; Report back: Awesome Autumn Braai Challenge for Charity; Report back: Cluny Golf Day; The Twitcher; The Sunnyside Sunday Braai; Bowling; Clarens Village Nature Reserve; CVC Report Back April 2014; CVC Environmental Impact Study; Sungazers – Our gorgeous Free State Dragons; Paballos Nursing Sisters; Restaurant Specials; Coming Events; Making Clarens News work for you; Last Thought.

Polar Bears get ready:

Pictured above is Shifty – our Clarens News Polar Bear.   As you can see she doesn’t mind the cold in the least, and she’s ready to do her bit for The Cluny Animal Trust on 28th June.

Yes, It’s that time of year again, when the mad, brave and thermally irresponsible jump into near freezing water and swim float or splash desperately about for 50 metres in a dam amongst reeds and mud, all in the name of “doing it for charity”.

This year it is going to be a little different. There will be 2 distances: 50 metres, and about 100 meters (depending on how low or high the dam is). Also there will be a few “floating trophies”, or spot prizes attached to buoys that the swimmers can grab on their way past. The third addition is that there will be a dog category. This will, however, be only for dogs that truly enjoy swimming for the love of cold water. There will be no throwing of dogs into the water, and only minimal encouragement allowed. The owner may swim with the dog at theIr own risk, or throw a floating toy for the dog to retrieve.  Dry towels are essential for drying the dogs afterwards, and before and after the swim they MUST be under full control on leads, as there are resident dogs and other livestock on the farm.   Please contact Jan Sander or Katherine Barker for sponsorship forms, or if you are not going to brave the water, how about sponsoring someone who is?  Phone:  0782462553.   

Report back: Awesome Autumn Braai Challenge for Charity 

The “Awesome Autumn” 2nd Clarens Community Braai Challenge for Charity was held on Sunday 25 May on the beautiful Clarens Square. Six teams entered and nominated a charity of choice to whom they would donate their winnings in the event that they did indeed win!

1.    Clarens Village Conservancy (their charity was themselves) 2.       Sector Police Forum (their charity was themselves) 3.       Sandstone Vets (their charity was Cluny Animal Trust) 4.       Clarens Brewery (their charity was Thusanang Care Centre) 5.       Clarens News (their charity was Centre Ballet) 6.       Tsamahanste Tavern (who didn’t indicate who they were playing for)

The total takings on team entries, plates of food sold and cash donations came to R4550!   Generous cash donations were received by Mont d’Or Hotel and “Team Wildcard 2’ consisting of Bruce & Debbie Marx and Sjoerd & Anne de Boer. Therefore, the winners of the best chop (SPF), best pap en sous (Clarens Brewery) and best side dish (Sandstone Vets) split this money in three and will donate it to their charities. Therefore, the SPF, Thusanang Care Centre and Cluny Animal Trust each get R1516.  Well done!

Great prizes were donated by local business; thanks very much to them:

Post House Bon Appetit Old Stone  Bottle Store Highland Coffee Roastery Protea Hotel Courtyard Cafe Clarens Xtreme Clarens Brewery Homing Instincts

These were awarded to best overall team (Brewery), best spirit (SPF), first to serve (CVC), best looking table (Brewery), last team to serve (Tsamahanste), the smokiest fire (SPF – really!) and the best overall dish (Brewery).  Most of these were donated right back to charity to give those people an opportunity to enjoy the great prizes.

Thanks to everyone who participated, supported, donated and enjoyed the day

Report back: Cluny Golf Day

Clarens News Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day

Jan Sander reports:  We couldn’t have hoped for better weather on Saturday in Clarens on our golf day. The sun was brilliant, hardly a cloud in the sky, and although the wind came up occasionally, it was not enough to ruffle any feathers.   


The Twitcher


woody_and_doris-1Birds?  Did that last time, if you remember, and quite satisfying it was too.  But time for something new, methinks, to satisfy the inner man, or should that be woman; perhaps even person?  That’s the problem with gender.  Just when you think it’s all buttoned up (or should that be unbuttoned?) it turns out there is yet another group of activists determined to advance their take on what I always thought was pretty straightforward.  But maybe straight isn’t a politically-correct word either! If you think I make light of the issue, bear in mind we areliving in a world of person-hole covers, door-persons, chair-persons and even tea-persons.   I feel sure there are more, but I will not tax you, dear reader, with my over-fertile imagination.  Writing documents, particularly for the development world, isn’t what it used to be, either.  For example, acronyms now cover the first 42 pages and incorporate abbreviations for types of person (?), acts, attitudes and unguents which stretch the boundaries of credulity.  But they are taken mightily seriously and seem to require the daily rewriting of the Shortened Oxford Dictionary.  Nice though that everyone now gets a shout at redefining their gender, what they elect to do with it and who gets a sniff at it too.  One of the reasons, perhaps, why we all live in this little sheltered nest, high in the mountains of the Eastern Free State.  A much-loved resident of Clarens, now sadly deceased, once defined the village as a refugee centre for eccentrics; certainly that was a large part of the reason why Mrs Twitcher and I settled here.  What you see is what you get, so to speak, although there are a few residents about whom you might wish to know less.  Read more  

The Sunnyside Sunday Braai:  A tradition dating back to 1932!

Clarens News Sunnyside braai

Tradition.  Tradition. Tradition.  Every Sunday, weather permitting, a Sunday braai is served at Sunnyside.  This is not the usual DIY affair, so you need to be there at 1 pm sharp, as this is when lunch is served.  (And you need to book beforehand:  Phone Ann Boland: 058 256 1099.) Ann told us that this has been the tradition at Sunnyside since 1932. The braai takes place in a beautiful setting, next to a little river:  George’s Spruit (named after George Mousley) where children can spend hours catching crabs (using home-made “fishing rods”).  If you’re into those traditional values where children run free, dogs can just be dogs, and you enjoy good wholesome food then this is where you should be lazing away your Sunday afternoons.  The cost of a lunch is R80 for adults and R50 for children.  Sunnyside is not licenced, so you need to BYO.



Clarens News Bowling at Sunnyside Clarens News caught up with the Sunnyside Bowling Group last Tuesday.  This is an informal group (no need to dress up in the usual bowling attire) and anyone is welcome to join.  If you would like to join be sure to be there by 9.00 am on Tuesdays.  And don’t be put off if you don’t have a set of bowls – phone Millie on 058 2561312 who has a spare set you could borrow.  It looks like great fun.


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Disa versicolor Disa versicolor 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 time we’ve decided to focus on a specimen from the Orchidaceae (Orchid) family. Disa versicolor (Apple-blossum Orchard in English), is a robust orchid of between 300 & 600 mm tall usually found in damp grassland at altitudes up to 2400 m A.S.L. It’s widespread throughout S.A. and also occurs in Mozambique and Angola.It is interesting to note that unlike most plants which grow from seed alone, D. versicolor also spreads via an underground rootstock or sucker-system. The exact origin of the word Disa is unknown; however some have postulated that it stems from dis meaning “double” which refers to the 2 large “wings” on the flower style. Alternatively Disa may mean “rich” or “plush”, referring to the spectacular display of the original specimen recorded for the genus. The direction in which the spurs point is a useful means of spp. identification. Versicolor means “variably coloured” referring to the changing of colour of the florets through the flowering season. This specimen was photographed on the Scilla Walk.   Read more

 CVC Report-back April 2014

Clarens Village Conservancy REPORT BACK APRIL  4     Damien 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.)     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.


The Clarens Village Conservancy – Environmental Impact

Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works:

Clarens Village Conservancy Environmental Impact Study I’m sure that most Clarenites are totally unaware of the work carried out by the Clarens Village Conservancy in looking after the Clarens environment in general.   Committee members not only keep an eye on the Clarens Village Nature Reserve, and the Clarens Village Recycling Centre, as well as the Working on Fire team, but also keep an eye on developments and planned developments in our area.   Earlier last week committee members Louw van Biljon and Toni B Walters met with Paul Scherzer of  E & D Consulting Services to discuss what environmental and visual impact of the proposed upgrade of the  Clarens Water Treatment works. would have on Clarens.   Click here to learn more about the proposed upgrade of the Clarens Water Treatment upgrade.  Please note that should you wish to participate in this process you need register and comment before the 9th June, 2013.


Sungazers:  Our gorgeous Free State Dragons

Clarens News Sungazer Clarens News received the following letter from Dr Ian Little, Manager, Threatened Grrassland Species Programme, Endangered Wildlife Trust

Hi All  We want to recognise the Sungazer as South Africa’s national lizard! We realise it seems like spam but we really need your vote and it’ll only take 1 minute. Please join us in this ground breaking initiative. You can be one of the key people to make this happen! Please sign the petition and pass it on to all of your contacts, regardless of their background or interests. This is important to all of us.https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Department_of_Arts_and_Culture_Make_Sungazers_South_Africas_national_lizard/  Thank you

I’ve been led to believe that these wonderful dragons occur in our area (although I confess I haven’t actually seen one yet.) We’ve been surfing the net to find out a bit more.  Click here for more information.   AND if you happen to spot one – please let us know:  editor@clarensnews.co.za


Paballo’s Nursing Sisters:  They’ll be back soon!  

Paballo’s Nursing Sisters:  They’ll be back soon!The sisters will be back at worK from  8.45am on Monday 9th June 2014Click here to see more notices on the Community Bulletin Board Click here for more information on Paballo’s Nursing CarePaballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens has one nursing sister available for a position as live in night companion/nurse, this is due to the sad passing of one of our dear patients. For more details, please contact Dawn Wainwright at 058 256 1037 or 083 635 5881.


Restaurant Specials:

Monday – Friday:  The Posthouse breakfast! Sart the day on the right note.  The Posthouse Breakfast ranges from R22 – R30, and includes tea and coffee. Monday:  Protea Hotel: 17h00 – 19h00:  Soup and Sherry specials (R35) includes assorted breads and and the 1st sherry free.We also have periodic cake specials at R35 for cake and coffee/hot chocolate/cuppachino. Wednesday:  Friends Happy Hour from 20h00 to 21h00.  Live music. Wednesday:  Brambleberry @ The Ash (Old Cranford):  Burger and Pizza Specials Thursday:   Golden Age Day at Bon Appetit Bistro: (Rosemary Centre) Every Thursday (except Public Holidays) is now “Golden Age Day” @ Bon Appetit Bistro. If you are in the Golden Age (over 65 years old), come enjoy Breakfast (served all day), a light lunch, tea, coffee or cake and get 10% discount on your bill.  Open from 9.30am till 4.00pm. Thursday:  Brambleberry:  Happy Hour 17h30 to 18h30 followed by two-course meal special Friday:  Courtyard: Specials at the Cafe every friday from 12 noon, and at the Restaurant every friday evening from 18h00 Friday:  The Highlander: Happy Hour from 17h30 to 18h30. Need to make a booking?   Click here for a list of Restuarant telephone numbers


Coming Events: 12th June, 2014:  Wine Tasting

Clarens News Morgenhof EstateWine Tasting Event



Coming Events: 14 – 16 June, 2014  Tanya Jansen Exhibition and Live Painting

Clarens News Tanja Jansen exhibition     Click here For more information


Coming Events:  26 June 2014 : Brel meets Hardy

Clarens News Supper Theatre Brel meets Hardy

Coming Events:  27 June 2014 :Rocky Horror Party Nite

Clarens News Rocky Horror Party


Coming Events: 2015 Beer Fest:  27 and 28 February 2015

NO – It’s not too early to make a note in your diary!   Clarens Beer Fest 2015 Clarens Brewery : As with this year, we appeal to accommodation owners to try and reserve their accommodation for beer festival goers. It made an huge difference to the festival this year and we are very grateful to them for supporting the festival in such a positive way.


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.

As you can see – we’ve got lots of supper theatre happening this month.  But that’s not all…… Click here:  For more information on what’s  happening in Clarens.



A “must have” for anyone who loves Clarens


Clarens capsNote from Rolf Schlub: I have now made another run of 100 Clarens-Clarens caps.

They are available from either Renel at the grocery shop or from Dean &

Maureen at the Maluti Tours at R 75.- each.

The proceeds will again go to someone local who deserves financial support.

To all Guesthouse owners, please tell your guests about this great souvenir.

Every local resident should have one also.

Springbok 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! Rugby

Municipal Rates:

On a rather sad note:  The Clarens Village Ratepayers Association advise that Clarens July Municipal accounts will show a 6% increase.



The Classifieds page on the website has some very interesting ads.   Need a washing machine, a house to rent, or a carpenter to fix up that old furniture?  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.

Last thought:  Today is the  70th Anniversary of D- Day. (June 6 1944)

The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the Allied invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war.


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