Our Requests


You need a permit to go fishing in our trout dam and to go cycling on our trails. You can obtain these from the committee. See the contact details.

respect our rangers

Our rangers are mostly overworked and underpaid. In summer they are constantly harassed by fire duty and they do a marvelous job with scant thanks. Whenever you meet up with them, they deserve the uttermost courtesy, especially if their duties require them to check your permit or ask who you are.

take care

In most parts of the civilized world these happy days, the nearer you are to a city the greater the possibility to be accosted. Clarens is no exception. On no account should a lady walk alone, even two women are vulnerable. Parties of children are sometimes targets. Unaccompanied males are generally safe. If you do have a bag with you, make sure its one of those that can be attached firmly to your person, don’t carry more money than minimally necessary, nor irreplaceable documents and cling to those costly cameras, binoculars etc.

Quite a few hiking routes are like paper chases with hundreds of cast-off tissues and sweet papers along the way. Many resting spots are disgustingly littered with cans and broken bottles – it is instructive to see how bad the mess is after a fire has swept away the bush-cover. We do have a few trash cans along the trails but please, always take your empty containers and plastic and paper rubbish back with you.

paper chases


Every winter appalling damage is caused by bush-fires. The old growth of 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.

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, burn them. There are wasps, hornets, horseflies and mosquitoes but none should cause you lasting harm. Some of these creatures are extremely poisonous, but the quantity of poison they can give you is far too small to be deadly. Generally speaking, you can forget all about them.



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 overhaning 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.

Besides, there is a snake god which chalks up names of people who are nasty to Earth snakes.

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 tourniquets. If your lips are not cracked, suck out the poison.
  • Try to identify the snake.
  • Do not use a snake-bite outfit unless you know exactly what you are doing.
  • If you are bitten and you are on your own (very foolish) try to get to people or lay down in the pathway where you will be found easily. Do not worry – concentrate on confessing your sins.



Address: De Leeuw St, Bethlehem
Phone: 058 307 2000



Katherine Barker: 058-223-0918 / 082-788-6287


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.


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. 

Hiking Companions

Most people like to go with good friends or relatives. But once in a while, join a specialist, someone who is an expert on flowers, birds, butterflies or geology. There are quite a few of those in Clarens. Just ask the committee members. These people can turn a familiar route into one startingly new for you.


Every walk on this site has been mapped that is sufficiently detailed to ensure that you find your way. You can order online

Where to buy camping gear

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