Clarens, also known as the “Jewel of the Eastern Free State”, is a little Village in the mountains, on the Edge of the Golden Gate National Park looking down over the Drakensburg and is the best place to find peace and tranquillity. Clarens was established in 1912, named after a town in Switzerland where exiled Paul Kruger spent his last days.
Clarens is honoured to be nominated for Kwela’s South African Town of the Year Award.
With an easy three to four hours’ drive from Johannesburg, Clarens has become the long weekend attraction for those after an arty, sleepy hollow with just enough entertainment not to be dull. With a wide variety of options available, you’re sure to find the perfect Clarens accommodation. If you’re looking for a buzzing night scene, an assortment of high-end restaurants and bars, a place to see and be seen, Clarens is not for you. It’s is not the type of place you visit to be blown away by modern-day amenities and is rather somewhere you visit to escape – a small town proud of its heritage and natural beauty.
You don’t need a car in Clarens, with most bed and breakfasts a short two-kilometre walk from the quaint town centre. However, if you plan on discovering the grand Golden Gate National Park on the outskirts of town, you’ll need a set of wheels. No matter where you’re travelling from, the introduction to Clarens and its surrounding beauty is splendid. Sitting in a valley surrounded by sandstone cliffs, green and golden forestry and a number of streams, Clarens is the epitome of a small-town escape.
Clarens is an artists’ haven with many well-known artists either living in or frequenting the village, with many art galleries scattered around the village square and the town. The tranquil village ambience combined with scenic views and a mild climate has made Clarens a popular getaway for city dwellers from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Durban, among other places. Clarens is known for its spectacular sandstone mountains and wonderful climate; it is one of the most picturesque spots in South Africa and has recently been acclaimed as the best trout fishing waters in South Africa. The mountains around Clarens are part of the Clarens Village Conservancy and are protected by Employed rangers who help preserve the beauty of the area.