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Clarens – Kwela Town of the Year

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.

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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.

Titanic Rock in Clarens South Africa

Titanic Rock – Overlooking the Entrance to Clarens

Things to see when visiting Clarens in South Africa

The small town of Clarens often referred to as ‘the jewel’ of the Free State is an enchanting tourist attraction full of art, history and adventure.  With its breathtaking landscapes of Majestic Maluti Mountain and the Rooiberge, and an abundance of trees that each reveals its personality with every change of season.

It’s a place that can appeal to just about anyone with its array of choices from extreme sports of 4×4 trails to mild activities. It’s a peaceful place with plenty of fresh air and scenic views, restaurants as well as a world-renowned Titanic Rock.

The rock is one of the town’s many historical attractions especially since it’s overlooking the entrance to the getaway destination, Clarens. That attracts those from afar and even near as it’s just a few hours’ drive for those who dwell in the hustle and bustle of Durban, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.

And what uniquely describes Clarens history of its geological and architectural features is what the town is built on, sandstone formation. From the many buildings in the town of homes, restaurants, and nature reserves, places of activity or accommodation and wedding venues.

The most notable sandstone cliff in the area is the Titanic rock situated just 2kms north of Clarens. It’s a huge rock that stands like a sentry to welcome all who visit the village. The uniquely shaped rock forms part of Clarens history as it was named by a resident after the Titanic ship tragically sunk. Due to its remarkable resemblance and being shaped like the bow of the ship.

Surrender Hill in Clarens

Surrender Hill Clarens Free State

Is a historic Anglo Boer War site about 10km on the Fouriesburg road from the town of Clarens. The site was proclaimed a heritage site in 1986 and marks the place where Free State Boers surrendered to British troops on July 31 1900. The surrender was the culmination of a series of fierce battles fought between Fouriesberg and Golden Gate.

There’s no greater history lesson than that where you get to recount the historical experience first-hand. And Surrender Hill Battlefields Heritage site is a must visit for its Anglo-Boer War history, is a must for history buffs and the spectacular views the hills afford.

It’s where there are graves and memorials of soldiers who died there in the conflict that lasted until 1902. The defeat at Surrender Hill was one of the most serious setbacks suffered by the Boers during the conflict.

For a little more history on the Surrender Hill Battlefields the British destroyed numerous Boer commando weapons. Including six million rounds of ammunition, and captured three field guns, 2 800 head of cattle and 4 314 men.

These days the Surrender Hill remains an active battle site as it also plays host to the annual Surrender Hill Marathon, a 42km race, which starts at 2 000m. If you’re one of the participants in the annual Surrender Hill Marathon, the marathon is a gruelling race and a Comrades Marathon qualifier.

Off-Road enthusiasts should also check out Old Mill Drift 4×4 drive which takes you past this heritage site. This pass is recommended if you want awesome scenery and want to take the road less travelled. That’s rough, slow and tough, with very steep sections especially the part that takes you over the mountain.

Hiking Trails in Clarens

Boesmanskrans Hiking Trail in Clarens

Boesmanskrans farm has a trail that has something to offer the hiker that’s a bit different to others in the same area.

If you and your small group of buddies are looking for a hiking trail filled with scenic views, accommodation that’s comfortable, facilities that are well-maintained and equipped. Vegetation that’s lush and full of surprises then Boesmanskrans Hiking Trail provides that perfect setting. (more…)

4x4-trails-clarens-sa

Bergwoning 4×4 Trails Clarens South Africa

Surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Golden Gate National Park, lies the scenic 4×4 trails of Bergwoning, a mere 15 km from the Free State’s art Mecca, Clarens.

The one trail is a grade 3 trail that promises to be a memorable one for the whole family to share. It’s a 6km, self-drive, family oriented scenic trail that offers spectacular views that will take roughly 2 hours to complete. (more…)

Angels Wings Hiking Trail Clarens

Angel’s Wing Walking Trail Clarens

On this hike in Clarens you definitely have angels with you as there’s nothing difficult to that extreme about it. I would say it’s the hiking version of going glamping. It’s definitely not considered the most challenging hikes around town, but is definitely popular for its great weekend break away from the city. (more…)

Wedding venues-Clarens-Dunelm-Guest-Farm

Wedding venues Clarens — Dunelm Guest Farm

What is always ideal are wedding venues Clarens as they cater to the whole wedding experience. Just as much thought goes into most of the accommodation in Clarens the same can be said about its wedding venues, that all play to a theme, whether a rustic barn wedding or a farm elegance venue.

Wedding venues Clarens also offer wide open, scenic spaces that the wedding couple and their guests can enjoy on their wedding day out in the lovely setting that is the small town of Clarens. And not only that but some of the wedding venues in the area also double up as honeymoon accommodations or offer accommodation where you can even book out the property if need be to house your wedding guests.

Dunelm Guest Farm is situated near Clarens in the centre of the mountainous Brandwater Basin of the Eastern Free State in South Africa, near the Lesotho border. And what’s great about this guest farm is the views and choice of different venues to choose from for the ceremony and reception. For the ceremony the different venues you can choose from include steel gazebo on the lawn, a sandstone chapel or bush chapel. While for the wedding reception, the venues to choose from include sandstone out-building, a picturesque ruin or farmyard barn.

Along with the fact that there are a lot of things to do as there’s so much on offer at Dunelm Guest Farm and its surrounds. From extremely demanding activities right down to general hiking and viewing of rock art. There are also plenty of shops/stalls and restaurants to visit. Also loads of quiet spots for those looking for solitude. This wedding venue Clarens is ideal for those who enjoy places off the beaten track.

Accommodation at Dunelm Guest Farm ranges from luxury self-catering units to a luxury bed & breakfast.

 

Brand New Things To Do in Clarens

Brand New Things To Do in Clarens

This year in Clarens over the Easter weekend look forward to something brand new, The Lush Festival, from 24 to 27 March 2016. The unique music and lifestyle festival offers a variety of all things to do in Clarens, such as activities available to Lush participants that will include an official trail run and fun run, and a three day Mountain biking tour event, as well as a music concert. (more…)

Mountain Odyssey

Mountain Odyssey

You have packed your bags and you’re on the road driving to your next adventure. For a one-stop booking service for not only finding available accommodation, but also for all the activities in and around Clarens look no further then Mountain Odyssey who make arrangements directly for you. (more…)

Kiara Lodge

Kiara Lodge

Kiara Lodge is a Clarens accommodation that is set at the foot of one of the more beautiful places to be found in the Eastern Free State, the Maluti Mountains between the road to the Golden Gate National Park, just 8km and the town of Clarens, which is only a 14-15 minute drive. (more…)