We just want to have some fun

We just want to have some fun

Clarens Villagers celebrated Halloween, 31 Oct, with a Fun Run which was organized by the CVC. It was the first run to be had since the covid lockdown. It was a welcome occasion indeed as was the soft drizzle. Both humans and dogs enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Starting point on the corner of Church and Market Streets. Starting time at 08:00

What is more, the Fun Run will be repeated every Saturday until Parkrun is allowed to re-open.

Meet some of the CVC organizers: Heather Grundy (left), Ann de Boer (middle) and Lynda Henry (right). 

Marshalls Frank Perold, and Di Stuart in place with Rita van Eeden keeping them company.

Spot Spiderman…

See you next week, same time, same place!

A new route got added to the Kloof Dam Walk

A new route got added to the Kloof Dam Walk

By popular demand!

We finally listened!

Demands for a shorter route circulating closer to the water edge kept pouring in so we added a new loop to the Kloof Dam in the Clarens Nature Reserve.

This route complements the extensive network of trails in the reserve and is an easy and short scenic route for those preferring a quick walk.

The route starts on the dam-wall, on the side closest to the village. An uphill zigzag takes you to a bench after 300 meters. From there, the route is fairly level and mostly follows exposed sandstone. Just follow the orange arrows. At the T junction, turn right and complete the route in a clockwise direction.

It is proving to be very popular with visitors and locals alike!

Why are our snakes a little more active, nowadays?

Why are our snakes a little more active, nowadays?

They are feasting before the big fast!

During winter they do not eat at all or if they do, very little. This explains why they are stuffing themselves now and why we are seeing them more often prior to winter. They are hunting to build up fat reserves and then they will be off to seek a suitable shelter for the cold months ahead. But some snakes, like pythons and Puff Adders, are actively busy with mating on the Highveld right into the middle of winter..

Our winters are not cold enough for snakes to hibernate and although they are far less active in winter, they may emerge from their winter hide-outs on a warm winter day to bask in the sun.  Even when we have frost on the Highveld and temperatures drop well below zero, these snakes are relatively warm a meter or two underground where the temperature will not drop below 20 degrees C.

Hibernation has been described as an inherent, regular and prolonged period of inactivity during winter and the term ‘brumation’ is popularly used for reptiles. Snakes in cold regions of the world do hibernate and often in dens where hundreds or even thousands of snakes may share the same winter shelter.

With a dramatic drop in snake activity in winter, very few bites are reported and the majority of bites on humans are recorded in the warm summer months of January – April.

According to Professor Harry Greene, snakes consume between 6 – 30 meals per year and this is in summer. During winter they do not eat at all or if they do, very little. Because snakes are ectotherms and require no food for their heat requirements, they can survive with very little food and a large Puff Adder probably consumes less than 1 kg of food per year.

 

You will often see a rinkhals basking just outside its hole when a winters day warms up to around 23 degree Celsius.

Gladiolus saundersii, Welcome

Gladiolus saundersii, Welcome

Saunders’ Gladiolus, also known as the Lesotho Lily, is not often seen in our immediate area, on the contrary! Rodney Moffat, an honorary research fellow of the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State, now living in Clarens, says he often sees this lily in the Drakensberg but cannot recall when he last spotted it in Clarens.

This elegant lady stands 400-600mm tall, usually grows in colonies in fairly dry rocky places between 2400-3000m. The leaves are sturdy, erect and grow into a fan to 15-25mm wide with the midrib thickened, showing prominent veins. The flowers are large, more or less 60mm wide, usually downward facing and strongly hooded. It is bright red with a broad white mark and speckling on three lower tepals.

The flowers can be eaten as salad or cooked as a pot herb. It is often used in traditional medicine to treat diarrhoea.

It is time for the annual migration

It is time for the annual migration

The Pioneer White butterfly recently flew through our Village to who knows where

The white butterflies just went through our village again. According to Professor Marcus Byrne from the school of animal, plant and environmental sciences at Wits University this is an annual migration and the white butterflies are called Belenois aurota which means beautiful gold dusting referring to the colour on their wings. 

They might be coming from the Kalahari and travels across the continent but where exactly they are going to is not clear. It is also not clear whether they do a return journey.

On average these insects live for about a month and can travel huge distances on the wind. With all the reports published about insect populations declining one should take heart in natural events like these happening.  

The Belenois aurota belongs to family Pieridae; it is a small to medium size butterfly commonly called “The Pioneer White”. They are mostly found in Africa and South Asia.