Clarens is part of the scenic Highlands Route and is surrounded by mountainous splendor. The Rooiberge is the range encompassing the village, whilst further on towards the southeast, the mighty Maluti’s stand proud in shades of purple and blue.

All around are the sandstone cliffs with their multi-coloured layers. This horizontal strata is a unique geological feature of the area, and is known as the Clarens formation.

Clarens is known for its spectacular sandstone mountains and wonderful climate; it’s one of the most picturesque spots in the country and has been acclaimed as the “Jewel of the Free State” rich in loveliness.

And there are more jewels and hidden treasures to see and be found in this small town like one of its places of interest. Mushroom Rock on Clifton Farms about 3km on the Fouriesburg road. The trail to Mushroom Rock from Golden Gate should only take 50 minutes to complete. As it’s a short, easy 1.5 km back-and-forth route.

After setting out from the Glen Reenen Rest Camp the path takes you to the base of the striking, red-shaded Mushroom Rock.

For the best views of Mushroom Rock are those from the other side of the main road through the park: along the Ribbok Trail or the Zuluhoek (Afrikaans for Zulu’s Corner) vehicle lookout point.

Nevertheless, the imposing cliffs are still worth a close-up visit, for the geological masterpiece that’s this true beauty. You’ll see the Mushroom Rock jutting above the rock shelf atop the mountain directly adjacent to St Fort