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Titanic Challenge Trail Run

Titanic Challenge Trail Run

The atmosphere at the first cross country race the CVC ever organised was electric, the weather played its part, and most of the athletes proved that they were indeed Up for The Challenge! The 35km run kicked off at 7 am, the 21km at 7:30am, and the 10km run at 8:15am on a magical saturday september morning. (3/9/2022)

As the team promised, all 3 routes had amazing views. Awesome race photographers volunteered their services and made most of the trails. You can view and purchase your Race Photos by clicking on the link below and typing in ‘Titanic Challenge‘ as there are a few different folders. 

A whopping 560 athletes registered for this, our first, race. As far as we could tell, all had a good time.

Images for slider: Karel Meyer

35 km run

Amongst the men Gary Calitz came in first at 03:26:37 with Trude Carstens at 03:58:47 among the ladies.

21 km run

Men: Fusie Dhlamini finished first in 01:49:34 Ladies: Simone Malan in 02:08:14

10 km run

Men: Monyatsuwa Mofokeng  in 00:52:37 Ladies: Kerry Walton in 01:00:53

Here’s to the volunteers!

Image: Zane Frost

To our amazing volunteers, sweepers, route clearers and markers, trail supporters, water point peeps, marshalls, race organisers, medics, photographers, sponsors, donors, vendors a huge thank you! All the proceeds of the Titanic Challenge Trail Run went to the Clarens Village Conservancy for the maintenance and upkeep of the trails and reserve.

Who wants to live forever?

Who wants to live forever?

If you are an everlasting, then yes!

And when you opt to live in the grasslands of Clarens, you just may succeed.

As long as you follow the example of proteas and group your two types of florets in your single head with floret, set in the middle as inconspicuously as possible and then show of your colourful, dry sandpaper-like bracts for all life to enjoy. Don’t forget to flower between November and March. 

Everlastings belong to the genus Helichrysum (Helios Greek for sun and Chrysos Greek for gold), one of the largest genera in the sunflower family. There are about 15 different helichrysums in the CVC occurring in the streamside bush, on the slopes and in the higher grassveld. They prefer rocky, cool and moist south-facing sandstone slopes in fynbos vegetation.

According to the botanist, Bertil Nordenstam, the adjective -um means remarkable, strikingly unusual, distinguished, excellent, most beautiful etc., and indeed this is one of the most striking species in the genus. The large strawberry-like rounded capitula are really ‘eximia’.

They occupy many different habitats and there are about sixty different species in Qwaqwa, with a number of rare ones on top of the Drakensberg. 

It comes in yellow, white, red…

Helichrysum cooperi is used as a love charm by the Zulus. The dry leaves are mixed into an ointment which is applied all over the body after the bath. As a result the desired lady finds the man irresistable. From a horticultural point of view Helichrysum cooperi is a good fill-in plant with its bright golden yellow flowerheads which may be produced for more than three months.

Helichrysum cooperi is a fast-growing biennial herb up to 1.5 m high. In young plants the leaves are crowded in an almost whorl-like arrangement but as the plants grow older the alternate leaf arrangement becomes apparent. The leaves are simple, oblong, net-veined and have an entire margin. They are light green and sticky with a covering of tiny hairs. The bottom leaves become dry when the plants grow older. The fresh leaves produce an aromatic smell when crushed between the fingers. Plants start to flower from early January until late March and produce many bright golden yellow flowerheads arranged in a large spreading leafy inflorescence. The flowerheads are shallowly cup-shaped and contain about 1000 tiny florets. When mature the flower heads close and become dry. They produce many very fine ‘seeds’ (fruits) about 1 mm long containing a single seed. At their top the ‘seeds’ have a tuft of fine bristles.

Helichrysum cooperi grows in the Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Lesotho. The species is found in grassland in full sun; it loves moist conditions and often grows near or on forest margins.

The genus Helichrysum was named by Philip Miller (1691-1771), a British gardener, who was superintendent of the Chelsea Physick Garden of the Society of Apothecaries from 1722 to 1770. The genus name Helichrysum comes from the Greek words helios, meaning sun, and chrysos, meaning gold. Most species of this genus have golden yellow flowers. According to Elsa Pooley (1998) the specific epithet honours Thomas Cooper, 1815-1913, an English plant collector and cultivator who came to South Africa in 1859.

The flowers of Helichrysum cooperi attract many small insects like bees, flies and beetles which pollinate them when moving from one to the other. Seed dispersal is by water or wind. The leaves may hold the seed (fruit) with their sticky surface thus preventing them from being blown away by the wind.

Scilla natalensis

Scilla natalensis

Merwilla plumbea (Scilla natalensis) is a graceful perennial bulb, and with its tall plumes of blue flowers, the showiest of the South African scillas. It is deciduous, growing during summer and dormant in the winter. It can grow up to 1 m tall, often in large colonies on cliffs and rocky slopes. Widespread in eastern summer rainfall areas. 

The Flower

A rosette of 6 to 9 broad, tapering leaves emerges from the top of the bulb in spring. The leaves are attractive in their own right, with clearly distinct veins which give them a two-tone effect, particularly when back-lit. Their colour is light green with white-grey overtones, they can be entirely green, or they can have purplish colouring on the margins, at the base or at the apex of the leaf, or the underside can be partially or entirely shaded with purple. They can be completely hairless, or one or both sides can be covered in short hairs. The leaves of a well-grown plant can reach a height of 30 to 50 cm with about equal spread.

Traditional medicine

The ash from a burnt plant, and the bulb in powdered form, is rubbed into cuts and scratches, and over sprains and fractures. Decoctions are taken as enemas for female infertility and to enhance male potency and libido. It is also known to be used as a purgative, a laxative and for internal tumours, and is used in conjunction with other ingredients in infusions taken during pregnancy to facilitate delivery and in treatments for chest pain and kidney troubles. It is also an ingredient in a medicinal preparation for cattle suffering from lung sickness. It has magical properties for the Tswana who rub the powdered bulb into the back, joints and other body parts to increase their strength and resistance to witchcraft. The plant appears to have significant analgesic and antimicrobial activity, and phytochemical studies have found that it contains compounds known to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-mutagenic properties which would support its use for the treatment of strains, sprains and cancers.


Merwilla plumbea has shown itself to be selectively toxic to mammals. It is said to be poisonous to stock, particularly when the young leaves appear in spring. Experiments on sheep, using fresh bulb as a drench, proved fatal to the sheep, yet it has been proven an ineffective rat poison. It is apparently toxic to man when raw, even the sap is reported to burn the skin, and for any preparations taken internally the plant must first be heated. This plant should be treated with extreme caution, as taking any part of it internally is potentially fatal. 

What is in a name?

Merwilla plumbea is the name given to a combination of several speciesnamely S. kraussii, S. natalensis and S. plumbea. This description pertains primarily to the form previously known as Scilla natalensis. This genus has been named after F van der Merwe, a botanist who worked on this family. The species name refers to the lead blue colour of the flowers. 

The Afrikaans name blouberglelie, which means blue mountain lily, is also applied to other South African species of Scilla and is a name that has been in use for hundreds of years. It earned the name blouslangkop, which means blue snake’s head, presumably because the emerging flower stalk resembles a snake, and the tips of the flower stalks are often coloured bluish-purple. The Zulu name inguduza means “searching the body for the cause of the ailment”, indicating its use in KwaZulu-Natal as a diagnostic tool.

Source: SANBI

Photos: Joan Keyter


Klipdorpie Clarens titel dié storie in Maroela Media

Klipdorpie Clarens titel dié storie in Maroela Media

Oermooi en outentiek noem die skrywer van die aanlyn-nuuskanaal, Maroelamedia, ons Clarens. 

Om aan te haal uit die inleidingsparagraaf:

“Na die lang, reguit rit deur die uitgerekte Vrystaatse vlaktes, veskyn die berge van die Oos-Vrystaat soos dramatiese klipkastele op die horison; toringspitse, oorhangkranse, grotte. Die sandsteen is goudbruin en gloeiend in die laatmiddagson. “Die juweel van die Vrystaat” word Clarens genoem – ’n dorpie gebou uit die pragtige klip van die omgewing.”

Lees gerus verder https://maroelamedia.co.za/leefstyl/reis/klipdorpie-clarens-oermooi-en-outentiek/

Amohela to Sunday

Amohela to Sunday

Where are the hills, they asked!

We are done with the hills. Today, Sunday 25, is about our nature reserve.

They climbed up to the Sky Contour; swerved onto Route 2030; joined the Caracal Contour; went down in the Porcupine Trail and descended towards the dam to enter Hill/Steyn street; got onto Spruit Walk from the Rangers Log Bridge along the parkrun route to the parkrun bridge exiting Berg Street. They are all fine! See?