+27 (082) 881 6251 • PERMITS ARE AVAILABLE AT SEVERAL OUTLETS IN TOWN • chairperson@clarensvillageconservancy.com


do take pictures

do use binoculers

do use the dustbins

do not uproot plants

do not make fires

do not chop wood

no motorcycles allowed

no cars allowed

do not bother the snakes



A permit is required for all activities in the Clarens nature reserve, which includes hiking, mtb and fishing. Buy your permit here.


It is very unusual, but not exceptional, to see a snake when you’re walking. However, there are plenty of snakes of all kinds. Fortunately, these reptiles are very shy and move away quickly when they hear you coming. Most of our hiking paths are sufficiently well-used for snakes to avoid them. Many of the common snakes are not venomous. Statistically, it is more likely to be struck by lightning!

To avoid meeting snakes

  • Stay on the paths and walk in single file.
  • Do not walk across bush or push your way through undergrowth and overhanging trees unless you are wearing boots and long trousers.
  • Do not sit anywhere before you have stamped around a bit and checked for holes in the ground.
  • Do not step over logs or rocks facing the sun unless you can see where your foot will be landing. Snakes, especially puff adders, often lie against a warm sunny rock to rest. Rather step up onto the rock or log first.
  • Do not sit on big stones or rocks until you have looked into crevices and holes, and made a bit of noise.
  • Do not enter old buildings, disused structures without very carefully checking for snakes. Take a stick and poke around a bit.
  • Do not disturb piles of cut logs or rubble.

if you see a snake

    • Wait for it to move off. If it does not, it might be protecting their young, so retreat and go around it.
    • On no account attack it. It has every right to be there, and is an essential factor in the ecological balance of the countryside. In any case never tackle a snake unless you know what you are doing, or have no option.

if you do get bitten

  • Lay down, keep still and calm. Breathe.
  • Drink water. Stay conscious. This is very important.
  • Somebody must stay with the victim. Another must go seek help.
  • Do not use a snake-bite outfit unless you know exactly what you are doing.
  • If you are bitten call any of the emergency numbers.
  • Try to identify the snake. See below.



The rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) is quite venomous. Like most snakes, they will do virtually anything to avoid a confrontation.The rinkhals will rear up and spread a hood and hiss loudly. They will also spit venom with extreme accuracy up to 2 meters of distance, usually aiming to the face or eyes. Sometimes they will convincingly feign death, and people get bitten when picking up what seems to be a dead snake. The rinkhals is usually a nocturnal species, but sometimes it may be observed basking in the sun during the day. 


The puff adder is a fat snake, marked with pale-edged chevron-like patterns running along the back from behind the head and becoming bars towards the tail. The head is broad, triangular and heavily keeled. A pale stripe runs along the top of the head. Except for a hissing sound, it will remain motionless if approached. Puff adders can strike extremely fast from an S-like coiled position- and at .25 of a second, it is the fastest striking snake in the world.

There are no deadly insects, spiders, or goggas in our area. Of course, a few people are allergic to bee stings, for example, and there are stinging bees around, but they are not normally aggressive. In some areas, you may find scorpions, usually under flat stones. Their stings are agonizing but not fatal for normal healthy people. A few spiders have poisonous bites, and some others may give you an infection from a non-venomous bite. In some areas, you may find ticks. These will trouble your dog more than you. They are small slow-moving red insects which suck blood and sometimes carry the germs of tick fever. Periodically look all over your legs, all the way up, and brush off ticks if you find them, pull them off your dogs. There are wasps, hornets, horseflies and mosquitoes but none should cause you lasting harm.


take care

Our routes are generally safe but stay alert. If you carry a bag with you, make sure its one of those that can be attached firmly to your person such as a rucksack, don’t carry more money than necessary, nor irreplaceable documents and take care of those costly cameras, binoculars etc. We advise you to keep your cellphone with you in case of emergencies. It is also advisable to take adequate fresh water with you.


To minimize erosion steep paths are often zigzagged: it is sometimes easy to sidestep these zigzags but please don’t. Every time you do this you help establish an erosion gully. 


Do not create your own or create shortcuts.


Every winter appalling damage is caused by bush-fires. The old-growth of the bush is very dry and burns fiercely and easily. Prevailing strong winds spread the fires extremely fast. Nearly all fires are caused by carelessness – cigarette ends, dropped matches, illegal picnic-fires or stoves and even sloppy supervision of break-burning. If you do start a fire, and if it gets out of control, please contact us immediately. If you perchance see a fire, again, please contact us immediately.

We are lenient towards critters

Dogs are allowed under control. You must make sure they are with you and/or on a leash. Rogue dogs might be prosecuted.

If they make a mess on the square, or in the streets, or on the sidewalks, please pick it up.

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