Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce Established! 28 January 2014 The business community of Greater Clarens met yesterday to establish a Chamber of Commerce for the Greater Clarens area (GCCoC) and elect directors to its Board.  The meeting, attended by 47 businesses, agreed that the objective of this body was to establish a representative and inclusive structure to develop a shared vision for the business future of Clarens and effectively manage and report its implementation.  The meeting followed an extensive and inclusive consultation process over the last year, involving business interests in both Upper Clarens and Kgubetswana. In a parallel step, Kgubetswana has met to establish its own representative business body, the Clarens Business Development Cooperative.  This body was represented at the meeting yesterday and will nominate two Directors to the Board of the GCCoC.  Upper Clarens business elected three Directors and the consolidated Board will elect a Chairperson. The 47 Upper Clarens business representatives attending yesterday’s meeting were entitled to vote for three representatives each, and in total 123 votes were cast for six nominated candidates.  The six candidates, in alphabetical order, were Lee-Ann Benney (Protea Hotel), Malcolm Hickman (Kalm Guesthouse and Kalmer), Natalie Meyer (Clarens Brewery), Richard Rennie (Richard Rennie Studio and Gallery), Debra Stewart (Bibliophile) and Carl Swerts (The Gallery). The successful candidates and GCCoC Board members are Natalie Meyer, Malcolm Hickman and Carl Schertz.  The Clarens Business Development Cooperative will shortly nominate their two Board members, ahead of the first meeting the consolidated Board.  The Board will then establish a non-profit company in terms of the draft Constitution and will be entitled to co-opt expertise to assist with development and decision-making.        In terms of an agenda for action, the electoral meeting yesterday noted a number of priorities for the Board to consider.  These included business rates; public toilets; use of the Clarens Square; hawkers and a demarcated area for these to operate; sewage; water; geographic area of representation; and links with other forums such as Tourism, Rates, Conservancy and F
                      Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Bi-weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a member of the orchid family Orchidaceae, from the widely distributed Habenaria genus – sometimes referred to as “bog orchids”. Habenaria falcicornis is one of only a small group of wild-flowers that have featured in the bi-weekly Plant of Interest columns without an English common name. One could only surmise that the very reason for this upset is that the plant is really not all that common –at least not to the casual observer, and for that it earns its place as one of our “interesting” plants. It does however have a Sesotho common name: uklamkleshe. This not-so commonly observed wild-flower may be found in marshy or waterlogged grassland areas at altitudes of up to 2900 m. A.S.L., and its range extends from the Western Cape all the way through to Zimbabwe. The Latin word falcicornis means “sickle shaped”, whilst Habenaria can be broken down into Habena meaning “strap/belt” and aria meaning “possessing”. Together these words refer to the strap like/long spur characteristic for each flower of the genus. H. falcicornis is relatively hardy, growing to between 220 and 800 mm tall – likely as a result of the environmental conditions prevalent in the area in which it grows. It has a stout light-green leafy stem with long lanceolate shaped leaves of 4 – 20 cm in length. The inflorescence is rather loosely arranged on short stalks. The flowers are white – light green with yellow stamens. The spur is longer than the flower at 20-40 mm which tells it apart from its close relative H. dives, who’s spur measures a mere 8-15 mm. The former species flowers from Jan – March. Uses: Gardening This plant would make an attractive garden ornamental and be well suited to gardens that border on marshy or seasonally waterlogged areas in the grassveld regions of S.A. Conservation Status According to SANBI, H. falcicornis is classified as of Least Concern. Click here for more articles on the plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Res
IMPORTANT NUMBERS Police: Charge office - 058 256 6000/1/2 Officer on duty – 082 466 8904 Medical: Dr Japie van der Merwe:  082 823 1559 Paballos Nursing Henriette Hohne – 082 327 1035 Antoinette Earle - 083 236 1293 Hospitals: Hoogland Medi Clinic - 058 307 2424  emergency ward (private patients) Dihlabeng Hospital  - 058 303 1000 (government patients) Ambulance Services ER 24 - 086 108 4124 Netcare 911 -  079 146 9144 Government Ambulance  -  058 303 1226 Fire: Dihlabeng Fire Department – Structural fires  - 058 303 5161 Clarens Fire Association – Veld Fires Gerald Storbeck - 079512 6840 Rodney Wainwright - 083 680 7770 Dave Green - 078 738 3866 Tsepiso Mosia – 071 079 1332 Snakes: Clarens Xtreme: Ollie - 082 56 36 242 Clarens Municipality Office Hours: Clarens Office -  058 256 1411 Bethlehem Office - 058 303 5732 After Hours Michael Molaba (Supervisor) - 079 538 6887 Elias Vilakazi (Water) - 076 368 9733 Churches NG Kerk:  Eredienste op Sondae 09:30 in kerkgebou in die in die Hoofstraat Vir ander aktiwiteite (Bybelstudies, ens) inligting by Kerkkantoor (Maandag en Donderdagoogend, tel 058 256 1341, Lizette le Grange) Methodist Church:  Church building c/o Bester and Roos streets Worship services on 1st, 2nd and 4th Sundays at 10:30 Information: Bernie Platte: 058 256 1208 Anglican Church:  Worship on 3rd and 5th Sundays at 10:30 in Methodist Church Contact: Richard Koch:  058 256 1020 Various other churches meet in Kgubetswana on Sundays.  Contact Tshepong: 058 256 1268 &n
                      Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at an attractive specimen of the Iridaceae family. Crocosmia paniculata (Falling Stars in English, Vallende Stetetjies in Afrikaans and khahla-ea-Bokone in Sesotho), is an evergreen herbaceous species that typically grows to between 1 – 1.8 m, usually in clumps rather than solitary. Krocos – saffron and osme – smell, refers to the saffron-like aroma of the dried flowers once placed in warm water. This vivacious wildflower bares an affinity for moist grassland areas and may be observed in close proximity to rivers, streams and forest margins. The plant has been recorded at altitudes of up to 1500 m A.S.L. This particular specimen was found growing on a section of the Spruit hiking trail just above Lake Clarens adjacent to one of the recently installed wooden bridges (also in close proximity to an old willow covered in a form of bracket fungi/mushroom – giving the area a sort of magical ambiance and a slightly disconnected sense from the rest of reality). The leaves of C. paniculata (not Cussonia paniculata as covered in an earlier PoI), are crimped and measure approx. 750 mm by 60 mm. The inflorescence is dense withZigZaging (alternative common name) branchlets. These beautiful flowers are curved, tubular orange/yellow- scarlet red and around 75 mm long with 3 short (30 mm) tepals and sepals and 3 yellow anthers. Flowering Dec – end Feb. Uses: Cultural uses Used as a traditional medicine in the treatment of dysentery and infertility. Gardening Makes for an attractive and in fact rather spectacular garden plant when planted in the front garden, so long as sufficient moisture and semi-shade is provided. Many plants of this genus have been domesticated and hybridised for this very purpose. Has been known to become invasive in grasslands; however this has not been observed to be the case anywhere within the C.V.C. Conservation Status The SANBI conservation status for C. paniculata has been recorded as of Least Concern.   Article and photographs by Damien Coulson (Head Ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve)
“Kgotso” we greet you in peace The Basotho Cultural Village is a living museum situated east of the magnificent Golden Gate National Park. The village will give visitors a unique insight into the ways and lifestyle of the traditional Basotho people.Traditional homesteads of the 1700’s have been reconstructed on sight and resident tour guides will explain the significance and use of daily household implements as well as the importance and symbolism of traditional clothing. Furthermore the making of basket ware and crushing of maize will be explained whilst one can enjoy traditional dances on display.   Contact: 058 721 0300 Basotho Cultural Village Tour After receiving permission from the Chief to enter his village, you will be offered a sip of Sotho beer as a token of hospitality and even a game of Maraba-raba can be enjoyed. At the houses of the first and second wives beautiful and colourful utensils are explained and from there one can even receive a sneek preview of the future at the Chief’s Ngaka (bone thrower). Tours from Clarens: Maluti Tours:  Click here for Contact details Clarens Xtreme:  Click here for contact details   Matlakeng Herbal Trail The herb trail is only open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, during the Spring and Summer months, and must be booked 2 days in advance.  The trail starts at The Basotho Cultural Village.  A social ecologist and ngaka (traditional healer) escorts groups on a scenic 2 hour trail, all the while locating an array of grasses, roots, herbs, leaves and bark and explaining how these are prepared and used to cure ailments from toothache to sexually transmitted diseases, as well as their ritual uses in Basotho Culture.  Hikers can also expect to  see wild-life, as well as some well-kept rock art. Contact: 058 721 0300    
AfriSki Skiing and snowboarding during the winter season - Lesotho JUNE – SEPTEMBER Clarens is a mere  two hours away from Afriski  ski resort   (But add in a little extra time for the border post.) AND if you need some reasons to go - just have a look at the following videos:    Afriski Mountain Resort 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MewqQPxebPk ·         Snow making 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEmJXUhT88M ·         Winter Whip Snowboarding competition; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6lAn4hwHck ·         MTB cup series (Summer activity); https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWoyzfc14tI ·         Pudi Ski School; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHVypGf6jWg ·         Afriski Enduro weekend; (Summer activity) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbFW0ob25XA You can of course drive there yourself (see Clarens to Afriski) but if there has been a good snow fall in Lesotho we strongly recommend that you go with one of the Clarens based tour operators:  they know the road and their vehicles are properly equipped for all conditions.  All you need to do is to book a shuttle, and arrive early in the morning with your passport, some warm clothing and a camera. (The route takes you through some stunning scenery.)  Your guide will not only get you there and back safely, but will show you where to go and what to do once you are at the resort. Spend most of the day on the slopes, and be back in Clarens in time for dinner. Book a day-trip from Clarens: Maluti Tours:  Contact details Clarens Xtreme:  Contact details   Self drive:  Should you plan to drive there yourself, please have a look at our Self-drive/Sightseeing page:  Clarens to Afriski for everything you need to know in order to have an enjoyable journey there and back.   Trip Essentials (whether you're going with one of the Tour Companies or driving there yourself) Ensure that you have a valid passport in order to enter Lesotho.   SADC , British, American, and EU citizens do not require a visa.  Should you not be carrying a passport from one of these countries please check with the Lesotho embassy. http://www.foreign.gov.ls/services/default.php.   All children under the age of 18 need to carry an unabridged birth certificate. Take the following -  Appropriate clothing:  Warm socks; thermal underwear; warm shoes with good tread and a second pair of shoes in case your first pair get wet; ski pants (waterproof) to use on the slopes; beanie and scarf.  - Sunglasses or goggles.  You need to protect your eyes rather than run the risk of snow blindness.  - Sunscreen and lip balm.   Just because it’s cold does not mean you won’t get sunburnt   - Cash and Credit cards.  The Lesotho currency comprises of one Loti (plural Maloti) which is divided into 100 lisente (singular sente). The currency is linked to the South African Rand which is also accepted. Mastercard, American Express, Visa and diners club are accepted in the main centres and in most lodges and hotels.  It is not necessary to have ski-ing equipment.  You can hire everything you need at the resort.   &n
          Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Bi-weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a member of the orchid family, Orchidaceae, from the widely distributed Habenaria genus – sometimes referred to as “bog orchids”. Habenaria falcicornis is one of only a small group of wild-flowers that have featured in the bi-weekly Plant of Interest columns without an English common name. One could only surmise that the very reason for this upset is that the plant is really not all that common –at least not to the casual observer, and for that it earns its place as one of our “interesting” plants. It does however have a Sesotho common name: uklamkleshe. This not-so commonly observed wild-flower may be found in marshy or waterlogged grassland areas at altitudes of up to 2900 m. A.S.L., and its range extends from the Western Cape all the way through to Zimbabwe. The Latin word falcicornis means “sickle shaped”, whilst Habenaria can be broken down into Habena meaning “strap/belt” and aria meaning “possessing”. Together these words refer to the strap like/long spur characteristic for each flower of the genus. H. falcicornis is relatively hardy, growing to between 220 and 800 mm tall – likely as a result of the environmental conditions prevalent in the area in which it grows. It has a stout light-green leafy stem with long lanceolate shaped leaves of 4 – 20 cm in length. The inflorescence is rather loosely arranged on short stalks. The flowers are white – light green with yellow stamens. The spur is longer than the flower at 20-40 mm which tells it apart from its close relative H. dives, who’s spur measures a mere 8-15 mm. The former species flowers from Jan – March. Uses: Gardening This plant would make an attractive garden ornamental and be well suited to gardens that border on marshy or seasonally waterlogged areas in the grassveld regions of S.A. Conservation Status According to SANBI, H. falcicornis is classified as of Least Concern.   &nbs
Clarens News managed to catch up with Evon Els and her helpers Mojalefa and Palo outside the Recycling Centre just after the beerfest.   Evon manages the Recycling centre, and together with Mojalefa and Palo,  goes to great lengths to collect recyclable materials from in and around Clarens.  It's a big job - often smelly and dirty - and therefore, not for the feint hearted. I asked Evon how she came to be so passionate about recycling, and she told me that it all started when she had an engineering business in Graaff Reinet.  She started to put aside all the scrap metal generated by her business, and next thing the community started bringing her tin cans and bottles, which she bought from them in an effort to alleviate the dire poverty in the area.  The effect verged on miraculous.  Not only was there money going into the community, but the whole town was cleaned up.  The effects of recycling are huge, and Evon is hoping that she can have the same effect on the Clarens community that she had in Graaff Reinet. Materials are collected from the trailer parked outside the Bibliophile, restaurants, businesses, the transfer site,  schools, the Kgubetswana taverns and homes, and if you phone her, she'll even come to your home to collect. Unfortunately, not all Clarens businesses seem to be aware of the recycling centre and still empty all their refuse material into one black bag for the municipality to collect. But Evon was quick to point out that The Highlander, Artichoke, Clarens Xtreme, Old Stone Bottle Store, 278 On Main, and The Village Grocer are extremely loyal supporters and make it really easy for her collect.  Many Clarens residents are also good enough to drop off materials at the centre itself - and this is a great help.  Evon has also been impressed with how many Kgubetswana residents bring their materials - sometimes in wheelbarrows - to the centre.  Evon now buys some of these materials from members of the Kgubetswana, and this has created several micro-businesses in the community.   The Environmental Education projects run by the CVC also seem to be having an effect, and many Kgubetswana residents are aware of the value of recycling and show their support whenever they can. Once on site, all the materials are sorted - and in instances where the materials are very dirty, washed.  Once the materials have been sorted and crushed, they are baled in readiness for transport, so that they can be sold. A task which is not as easy as it sounds, as the prices offered are generally very low, but thanks to Evon's negotiating skills, she manages to get the best prices going.  Transport to buyers is however a huge problem.   Transport costs are extremely high and where tolls need to be paid it becomes unviable.   Evon has however managed to find a buyer in Qua Qua and is hopeful that she has managed to overcome much of this problem. It's easy to forget how much "rubbish"  even a small town like Clarens can generate.   As an example last weekend the recycling team collected 800kg of cardboard, 3 tons of glass bottles, and 400 kg of plastic bottles (and if you consider how light plastic is, this is a huge volume). What you can do to help: - Drop off material at the Recycling Centre.  (See map below of where to find it.) - Put recycling material in the trailer outside Bibliophile. - Separate recyclable material from other refuse into a separate bag.  (Any bag will do - as long as material for the recycling centre is not mixed up with other refuse.  Evon tells me that she only needs to kick a bag to know whether or not it contains material she can recycle. Even if your bag ends up being collected by the Municipality, Evon will be able to identify it at the transfer site.) - Phone Evon: 076 2932742 if you have material you would like her to pick up.       &n
Art Clarens is so well-known for its art and craft that it is often referred to as the Art Mecca of South Africa.  And given that Clarens has over  20 galleries and that so many artists have chosen Clarens as their base, this is hardly surprising. Visitors are invited to do the Art Route, or simply stroll from gallery to gallery to enjoy the wide variety of artwork on offer. Many of the galleries and artists also offer courses.   Aspiring artists can choose from a few hours of tuition in one of the local galleries or stay-over of a week of total immersion. Check our events page to find out more about courses on offer. Clarens offers aspiring artists  a chance to explore a wide variety of media, find inspiration or simply have some fun. Craft More and more crafters are now making their home in Clarens, and you will find interesting articles – many of them made in Clarens – on offer in some of the shops. Crafts vary from leatherwork and glass work, to hand-made knives, candles  and soft furnishings. Clarens is an art-lovers paradise: spend the day browsing through the many art galleries - you're bound to be inspired.  The galleries have a wide range of  South African artworks, and many well-known South African artists live and work in Clarens. Click here to see the list of Galleries in Clarens Click here to find out about Art courses in Clarens   News Items Clarens Art Route &n