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Newsletter

November 2022

TITANIC CHALLENGE TRAIL RUN

by Nicola Brown

In September we hosted the first Titanic Challenge Trail Run which was a huge success with lots of great feedback about our trails and the natural beauty of the Conservancy! 

An outsider’s perspective is always a great reminder that we are incredibly lucky to wake up every day in this stunning corner of the world. 

When we started planning the run back in March this year, we estimated that the event might draw about 250-300 runners to Clarens, so when we hit 560 entries over the 3 distances, we felt ecstatic, to say the least! What’s also been really great to see in the weeks following the run, is the hype that’s been created by the event in the trail-running community and already, the excitement is building for next year’s installment!

With amazing support from our sponsors and the great turnout of runners – we are incredibly proud to say that we managed to reach our fundraising target for this year’s event. What this means is that the CVC has been able to allocate a portion of the funds raised towards a very worthwhile cause – the building of a wheelchair-friendly route within the Conservancy.

While this route will be a 3-year project, phase 1 can now officially begin due to the success of the 2022 Titanic Challenge Trail Run. I, for one, feel very excited about this addition to the village and proud to have been part of a team with this inclusive mindset. 

Gary Calitz – male winner of the 35km Titanic Challenge in a time of 3h:26m:37s

Trude Carstens – female winner of the 35km Titanic Challenge who finished in 3h:58m:47s.

Both runners will be record holders going forward and we hope to see them back next year to defend their titles. 

Next year’s event

While the 2022 event was made up of a scenic 10km, a challenging 21km, and a tough 35km route – we are already planning to come back bigger and better next year with the addition of a 50km route which promises to be an epic experience for anyone feeling up to the challenge!

Tickets for the 2023 race will go on sale towards the end of January and (dare we even say it out loud?!) we are hoping to reach 800-1000 entries so, please make sure to spread the love by telling friends and family far and wide about the next Titanic Challenge.

To help them (or you, feel inspired to enter next year’s race, here are some shots taken of the day as well as an email written by Cassie Carstens who took part in the 35km event. We have shortened his letter for this article.

“Geagte Titanic Challenge organiseerders,

Na drie dae se rus voel ek dat ek genoegsaam herstel het om hierdie epos te tik.

Ek wil net graag dankie sê vir ‘n uitmuntende resies wat julle aangebied het laas Saterdag. Dit was so mooi. Dit was so genadeloos. Dit was so lekker!

Om te hoor dat dié jul eerste resies was het my verbaas. Die kwaliteit van die hele projek was so briljant gehanteer, dat dit gelyk het of julle ou hande met die dinge is.

Welgedaan!

Die paaie was uitstekend gemerk en skoongemaak. Die mense langs die pad was soos ou vriende. Die vulstasies was soos groen oases in die woestyn. En die steiltes was uitmergelend! Dis al waaroor ek kan kla (met ‘n vet tong in die kies natuurlik)…

Teen 25km toe loop die dam leeg. Niks meer nie. Finish en klaar! F****ôl oor. En daar’s nog 10km wat ek moes doen! Daai laaste stuk was rof. Daar was blase waar my tone moes wees, en krampe het so elke vyfde tree begin byt aan die bene. By die laaste waterpunt het ek alles in die rugsak verorber, volgemaak met water, en voort geploeter. Daai laaste klomp klein bultjies was rillers! Dit was bloed sweet, snot en trane, en stadig stap tot op die eindstreep…maar ek’t hom klaargemaak! My eerste 35km!! Verheug en verrinneweerd! Ek was lanklaas so gelukkig. Die sonsteek en tekort aan water het gelukkig eers laat middag getref, en die blase was erg…maar nie so erg nie.

So ja, ‘n laaste gelukwensing en ‘n hoop dat hierdie wedloop een van die groottes in SA sal word. Soos wat dit Saterdag gelyk en gevoel het is dit alreeds!

 

Groete en sien julle weer in 2023,

Nr 34 aka Cassie”

On behalf of the organisers, an enormous thank you goes to each and every volunteer, runner, ranger, marshall, sponsor, vendor, business, medic and individual, who so generously gave of their time to help the event team execute this event. We certainly couldn’t have done it without the help of the CVC members, Jan and the Clarens Eagles, all our awesome photographers, our sponsors and support team, all the waterpoint staff and our vendors -THANK YOU!!

I would also like to personally thank the event team for the hours spent together around the planning table – I am so grateful for all your input, your knowledge and expertise, your professionalism, and the enormous amount of positive energy you brought to each meeting and race day to make the inaugural event the huge success it was.

GRAFFITI IDIOT

Article by Willie le Roux

On 26 September 2022 Angela Lillyman and Samantha, her faithful four-legged walking partner, came across a very disturbing incident of vandalism. Some ignorant individual spray painted his name and then some more just next to the lookout bench on the highest point of the Clarens Mountain trail in RED paint. As Angela fittingly said: “What idiot does something like this?” Why does someone carry a can of red paint up the mountain if they were only going for the magnificent view? We as a community will not stand for behaviour like this.

A request was posted on the CVC Keeping a lookout WhatsApp group inviting anybody who would like to come and assist to clean up the mess.

At 7 am on Wednesday 28th September a group of volunteers set off from in front of Aspen Guest house and were met by some early birds already enjoying coffee at the bench. Many hands make light work of removing the paint without a trace of the vandal’s handwork. It turned out to be a very positive outing in which the mountain was again restored to its natural beauty.

 A huge thank you to Mercia Jacobs for baking the promised and very tasty muffins.

BLUE SCILLA

Article by Prof Rodney Moffett

One of the shorter trails in the conservancy is the Scilla Walk, named after the Blue Squill,  Blouberglelie or Blouslangkop in Afrikaans and Kgerere in Sotho. This iconic lily blooms at about the time the red-chested cuckoo or Piet-My-Vrou arrives in October and may be seen on the edge of the sandstone cliffs throughout the conservancy. Widespread in South Africa, occurring from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo, it is very specific in its habitat, only being found on the edge of rock overhangs.

The plant spends most of the year as a large leafless bulb of many dry scales, with the new leaves appearing after the winter, followed by the impressive spikes of small blue flowers in spring. A pale pink flowered form also occurs but is rare.

Formerly known as Scilla natalensis, botanists later found that no true scillas occur in Africa, and our plant had to have another scientific name, which is now Merwilla plumbea. Merwilla in honour of Dr Frederick van der Merwe, a medical inspector of schools, whose hobby was a study of aloes and bulbs, and plumbea Latin for leaden blueish-grey.

The plant is poisonous with young leaves having proved fatal to sheep. However, antelope such as Duiker apparently come to no harm when eating the flower spikes. The bulbs are especially toxic and must be treated with great care. Despite this, the Basotho use it in several different ways. These include cooked or raw scales to facilitate delivery in women and to treat sprains, fractures and boils. It is also used by them as an enema for internal tumours in humans and as an enema to treat lung disease in cattle.

There is one other species of Merwilla, M. dracomontana, which also occurs in the conservancy, but this is a dwarf plant, whose flower spikes only reach about 10 cm in height.

NEWLY APPOINTED RANGER

Article by Gerald Roberts

The CVC is happy to announce the appointment of a new field ranger, Lawrens Mofokeng, who joined our other three field rangers on 1 November 2022.

Lawrens is from Clarens and has a Diploma in Tourism as well as a Certificate in First Aid. His appointment was made possible from funds raised from the Titanic Challenge Trail Run which was held in September.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all involved from the community who supported this successful event which will once again be held on the 2 September next year.

THANK YOU GROUNDCOVER

Article by Gerald Roberts

The CVC recently purchased new pants, jackets and boots for our three field rangers. As our rangers do a lot of walking while patrolling the Conservancy, it is essential for them to have good quality boots.

We would like to thank Groundcover for providing us with excellent boots at a much reduced price, which our rangers have confirmed are very comfortable. 

Here are our three rangers Alfred Mokoena, Benjamin Mashinini and Sylvester Rarseki displaying their new boots.

DONATIONS OF EQUIPMENT & MATERIALS

Article by Gerald Roberts

The CVC Executive Committee would like to express its sincere gratitude to the following people for their generous donations of equipment and materials which are being put to good use in our Conservancy.

 Sjoerd and Anne De Boer for two bicycles, a wheelbarrow, spades and a grass hoe.

Hilton Abrahamse for spades and pickaxes.

Glen and Elrina Mcloud for four cubes of crushed stone.

Here can be seen where the crushed stone has been used to improve a muddy section of the route along the Spruit Walk near the Golden Gate bridge.

NEW BENCH

Article by Madeleine Scholtz

On Monday, 31 October, Willie and the rangers took the new bench that was donated to Sjoerd & Anne de Boer, up the mountain and planted it just above Sjoerd & Anne’s house. It was done just in time before the De Boer’s visit to Clarens on 2 Nov. The De Boer’s was so happy to see the new bench with the name plate on and enjoyed sitting there overlooking the beautiful Clarens from above.

The bench was donated by friends and locals from Clarens as a farewell gift to the De Boer’s. This will always be a place where we will remember these two kind-hearted people and all the wonderful and good things they have done for our community.

RECYCLING

Article by Madeleine Scholtz

South African households produced about 30.5 million tons of waste. In Clarens we only recycle about 5% of what we should recycle. There is a significant amount of waste that could be recycled that ends up in the landfill site. Recycling is an excellent way of saving energy and conserving the environment.

  • Up to 80% of dustbin rubbish can be recycled
  • On average, 16% of the money you spend on a product pays for packaging, which ends up in the rubbish
  • As much as 50% of average waste in the dustbin could be composted

Most common products that end up in landfill sites are aluminum, glass, paper, and plastic.

So here are the BIG QUESTIONS: Do you recycle? If not, why not?

Please complete this: QUESTIONAIRE

Black-Winged (Shouldered) Kite

Elanus caeruleus Blouvalk (A); Phakoana-mafieloana (SS) 

Article by Bo van der Lecq

By far the most common of our small birds of prey in our area; a frequent pole or telephone wire sitter where it uses these most common perches to hunt from. The only kite that can hover whilst hunting, its much larger cousin being the Black-chested Snake Eagle, the only other bird of prey that hovers whilst hunting, but from a much greater height.

Distribution: From Southwestern Europe and North Africa, south to South Africa. Also from India east to Papua-New Guinea. Widespread in southern Africa, but absent from very arid western areas, some forested areas of the east, and the high Drakensberg plateau.  

Population & Demography: The total southern African population may be as many as 100,000, equating to a density of 190 birds per 100 hectares. Breeds within 12 months of fledging, possibly earlier with a longevity of approximately 10 years. Causes of mortality include collisions with barbed-wire fencing, becoming hooked, spiked, or tangled in thorns of acacia spp. Often preyed upon by Bateleur, Tawny eagle and Spotted Eagle-Owl.   

Average size: Small. Height 30 cm; Weight 236-257 g; Wingspan 84 cm; 

Identification: Distinctive smallish grey and white with black shoulder patches and bright red eyes. Frequently hovers in search of prey. 

Habitat: Woodland, particularly where largely cleared croplands and road verges.

General habits: Usually singly by day, prominently perched on vantage point or in hovering flight. Roosts in bushes, large trees and palms.

Nesting: Monogamous. The nest placed just below the tree canopy. Laying March. Eggs 2-6 usually 3-4. Incubation is 30-33 days. Nestlings 33-37 days. Dispersal 42-70 days. 

Status: Not threatened. Common resident.

Food: Primarily rodents, lizards, insects and small birds.

 

 

3G STAPPERS

Artikel deur Swannie

3G is die handelsmerk van die N.G.Kerk se nuwe bediening, spesiaal vir ons “Derde Generasie”. Dit is nou mense wat aktiewe, oorvloedige en sinvolle lewens wil leef, na die ouderdom van ongeveer 60/65.

Hieruit is die 3G-Stappers begin as ‘n aktiewe sytak. 

Ons wil:

  1. ‘n Gesonde leefstyl kweek, deur gereeld te stap;
  2. ‘n Vrolike sosiaal ondersteunende groep wees;
  3. Veilige stapgeleenthede bied; en   
  4. aan ‘n verskeidenheid van behoeftes t.o.v. tyd, afstand en moeilikheidsgraad voldoen.

Die stap program is:

Maandagoggend 08:00 – 09:30 op die gholfbaan (skoolvakansies en publieke vakansiedae is uitgesluit)

Woensdagmiddag 16:00 – 17:30 die Spruit -“walk”. Ontmoet mekaar by die noordweste end van Naudestraat by die spruit (erf 254 – Meander Stay)

‘n Langer stap (8km plus) eenkeer per maand, op die 2de Donderdag. Ontmoet mekaar 08:00 voor die N.G.kerk in die Hoofstraat.

Vir meer inligting kontak gerus vir Swannie  by: 0825334849.

Household rubbish dumped in conservancy

Article by Willie le Roux

While on a walk along the Spruitwalk Johan (a member of the CVC) and his dog, Max, alerted us that once again household refuse was dumped in the bushes. We quickly got a few residents together and went to clean up.

On arrival, we found a site that looked like it has been dumped there on a regular basis for quite some time, almost like a personal dumping site. Evidence was found as to where the refuse came from and a letter of reprimand was sent to the owner.

We ask that people please assert themselves of the household refuse removal days for their specific area, as there have been changes to the schedule recently and not to put their bags out prior to the day of delivery. Guest houses that make use of cleaning services must also please inform the cleaners not to leave black bags out if they will not be removed on a specific day. The problem is that scavengers go through bags looking for food or items to recycle for extra money and leaving behind a big mess for someone else to clean up.

We need to work together to keep our lovely village clean. Please also note that we can’t expect the rangers to clean up every time, that is not part of their responsibilities and summer is a very busy season for them to maintain all the hiking and mtb routes. We as residents would have to participate and help to keep the conservancy clean. We have to look out for our neighbours and make them aware if there seems to be a problem.

Refuse removal schedule

MONDAYBusinesses
Town
TUESDAYKgubetswana
WEDNESDAYPhahameng
Businesses
THURSDAYKanaana
Larola
FRIDAYRidge
Lower section of the Ridge ( Le roux St from Van Reenen up)

South African Police

Article by Gerald Roberts

Captain Mofutsanyana, the Station Commander of the SAPS in Clarens and senior members of her staff to discuss the safety of people visiting the Conservancy. She also personally visited the Conservancy and was introduced to two of the field rangers employed by the Conservancy.

Following these meetings and her visit, the SAPS agreed to support and cooperate with the CVC in ensuring not only the safety of visits to the Conservancy but also other related policing matters.

The key issues discussed and agreed upon included the following:

When incidents occur in the Conservancy that require the intervention of the SAPS, the field rangers employed by the CVC need to call the police station or may call Captain Mofutsanyana directly on her cell phone, thereby ensuring a speedy SAPS response.

The importance of police visibility and an accessible police presence in the Conservancy was highlighted. Captain Mofutsanyana agreed that the police would undertake patrols in the Conservancy over weekends. She also indicated that the police would assist the CVC in dealing with homeless people living in the Conservancy. This would be done in collaboration with the social workers of the Provincial Department of Social Development. The SAPS would also assist where possible, with incidents of poaching, cattle grazing, Illegal firewood gathering and the removal of plants for medicinal purposes. 

Since our meetings, the SAPS has responded quickly when contacted and has also undertaken patrols in the Conservancy.

We would like to thank Captain Mofutsanyana and her staff for their cooperation and trust that this will continue in the future.