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Clarens - The Jewel of the Eastern Free State
Clarens is situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in close proximity to the Golden Gate National Park and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Clarens is an Artists haven with many well known artists either living in or frequenting the village on a regular basis with many art galleries scattered around the village square.
Clarens offers a wide range of accommodation from Hotels, B&Bs self catering and camping facilities. See this Clarens Accommodation directory for more details. Also contact Midlands Reservations for accommodation offered in and near Clarens.
- St Fort Country House
- Red Mountain House - Bed & Breakfast Accommodation in Clarens
- Cranford Inn - Clarens guest house accommodation offering Bed and Breakfast
- Maluti Mountain Lodge - B&B accommodation in Clarens - Eastern Free State
- Cottage Pie B&B - B&B accommodation in Clarens
- Lake Clarens Guest House - Bed and breakfast accommodation in Clarens
- Kiara Lodge - Upmarket B&B accommodation and wellness centre between Clarens and Golden Gate
- Graceland Lodge - Accommodation between Bethlehem and Clarens
- Sir Henrys Guest House - Guest House Accommodation in Clarens, Free State, South Africa
The tranquil village ambience combined with scenic views and a mild climate makes Clarens the ideal weekend getaway for city dwellers from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Durban. These cities are all approximately 300km from Clarens or a comfortable 3 to 4 hours drive away. In spite of its small permanent population Clarens has a wide variety of accommodation to choose from which is listed on this web site ranging from bed and breakfast establishments to country inns and guest farms. There are also excellent restaurants situated around the village square to choose from. Some of the best fly fishing opportunities in South Africa can be found in the Clarens area as well as many other outdoor activities such as hiking and for the more adventurous, abseiling and white water rafting.
Scenery and Places of interest in Clarens
- Titanic Rock - overlooking the entrance to Clarens
- Clarens Museum on the square
- Mushroom Rock - about 3km out of Clarens on the Fouriesburg Road
- Surrender Hill - a historic Anglo Boer site about 10 km on the Fouriesburg Road
- Golden Gate National Park for walking and bird viewing - beautiful scenery
- Qwa Qwa National Park and Basotho Cultural village - game and bird viewing.
- Bushmen paintings at Kiara Lodge (only known bushman painting of a dassie) and Schaapplaats farm, a 20min walk. Enquire at the Info Centre.
- Fertility caves - Fouriesburg road
- Dinosaur trails - speak to Gideon Groenewald at Sues Zoo in Market Street.
- Clementines and the Clarens Music Appreciation Society
Telephone: (058) 256 1616
- The Highlander Adventurer and Pub
Specialises in organic food and also use herbs from own monastic herb garden
Telephone: (058) 256 1912
- Clarens Bakery and Saloon
(058) 256 1406
- The Street Cafe
Large Variety of Excellent Cuisine
Telephone: (058) 256 1064
- The Post House
Telephone: (058) 256 1534
- The Tourist Trap
Out of this world pancakes
- Maluti Mountain Lodge
Telephone: (058) 256 1422
- Lord Roberts Restaurant & Armoury Pub
Variety of restaurants to suit your taste
On the road to Golden Gate National Park
Telephone: (058) 256 1324
- The Grouse and Claret
Traditional English family pub
Goode Foode Fayre Pub Menu
Flyfishing in Clarens
- Groenhoek Guest Farm
Three Beautiful dams set 13km from Clarens towards Golden Gate, stocked with Rainbow Trout
- Craigrossie Trout Lodges
Two well stocked dams of 3 hectares and 5 hectares set only 8km from Clarens. These waters are stocked with Rainbow and Brown Trout. Strictly catch and release!
- De Molen
7 Km of pristine river on the little Caledon River. Set only 8km from Clarens in the Clarens Valley. A qualified River Guide is on hand to show you the wonders of a small stream. Strictly, catch and release!
- Lake Clarens
A productive dam set at the entrance to Clarens. This, dam is, well stocked with Rainbow, brown and golden trout. Strictly, catch and release!
The Police Station Kms of un-spoilt River Frontage. Catch and release and barbless Hooks.
- Zaaihoek Trout dam
A beautiful 8 hectare dam with an impressive depth of 12 meters. Well stocked with rainbow and brown trout. Fish of over 3kg are regularly caught. A qualified Fishing ranger will help you select a fly and also properly release your fish. Strictly catch and release! A second dam is available for bass and blue gill. Zaaihoek offers rod, Kick boats and float tubes for hire.
- St Fort Country Manor
A lovely dam near the house stocked with Rainbow, Brown and Golden trout and river frontage on the Small Caledon River. A qualified river guide will help you catch the trout. Strictly catch and release.
- Koeberg Guest House
A few kms of pristine small stream trout fishing for rainbow brown trout within the Clarens Valley.
Clarens, located 40 km from Betlehem, forms part of the scenic Highlands Route and is surrounded by the beautiful Rooiberge and the Maluti Mountains. All around are the magnificent sandstone cliffs with their multi coloured layers, a unique geological feature of the area and aptly known as the Clarens formation. Founded in 1912 and named after the Swiss village of Clarens, were President Paul Kruger spent his last days in exile, Clarens has become known as the ‘Jewel of the Free State’ – rich in natural beauty, with an aura of peace and tranquility. The village has more trees than most other Free State towns, providing an unforgettable spectacle of colour during spring and autumn. The town is known for it’s many arts and crafts shops, offering a range of curious and original works of art, and it’s beautiful sandstone buildings, adding to the picturesque atmosphere of the village. The best way to appreciate the beautiful surroundings is by biking, hiking or climbing which promises opportunities to admire the spectacular panoramas of the field flowers and game such as the eland, black wildebeest and smaller antelope. Clarens is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities ranging from rewarding hikes in the Clarens Conservancy to mountain biking and horse riding in the surrounding hills. The popular Golden Gate National Park is located near Clarens, attacting many visitors to the area.
How to get there
Bethlehem 40 km, Fouriesburg 36 km
Altitude: 1760 m above sea level
Bushman Rock Art
On Schaapplaats farm and the Golden Gate
Clarens Museum - At the information centre
Dinosaur Trails - Enquire at Sue’s Zoo in Market Street
Surrender Hill – a historic Anglo Boer War site about 10 km on the Fouriesburg road.
Ash River Outfall
One of the Highlands water scheme’s view points on the Bethlehem road approximately 8 km from Clarens.
A beautiful conservation area offering numerous outdoor attractions, including hiking and mountain biking trails with overnight facilities.
Qwa Qwa National Park
Easter Flea Market and Beerfest – April
Takes you to various artist who have opened their galleries to the public.
Arts & Crafts
Cinderella Castle - Built from beer bottles
Clarens Cottage – Gifts, curious and arts
Clarens Trading House – Traditional African trading post
Clarens Weavers – Ethnic weaving carpets and wall hangings
Country Bumpkin – Exclusive little gift shop
Country Living Gallery
Di Mezza & De Jager - Blankets and tradition
Dyckman Gallery - Leading South African still life artist
Enslin Vorster Gallery – Landscape art and pottery
Ralph Sentraal Oos Kooperasie - You name it and they have it.
Robroach – Suppliers of real mountain sandstone.
Rooikat – Handmade knives and pottery
Something Else – gift shop and gallery, pottery, leatherwork and more
Sue’s Zoo – Dinosaur Den, dinosaur trails, toys and books.
Tayla Kids – children’s clothing from Tayla.
The Posthouse – Country store and restaurant
The Small Room – Twice as Nice Cat Roons, Candles, ethnic art and upholstery
Twin Oaks Galley – Weaver’s Nest Gallery
Clarens scenery in pastels and oils.
Wood & Whimpsy
Lookout Rock - On the Kloof Trail, view the Maluti Mountains
Mushroom Rock - About 3 km on the Fouriesburg road
Titanic Rock - Overlooking the entrance to Clarens
4 x 4 Routes
Bokpoort Holiday & Game Farm, Rebellie Game Farm
The majestic Black Eagle, the magnificent Lammergeyer (Bearded Vulture) and smaller pigeons soaring and tumbling in the blue sky is sheer pleasure to observe, while numerous water fowl can be seen in the many ponds, pans and dams.
Bass at Kloof Dam, fly fishing at Townlands Dam and Bokpoort
Greywing Partridge Shooting – Qwa Qwa
Hiking – Bokpoort Trails, Kloof Hike, Lesoba Hiking Trail, Rebellie Game Farm
Rhebok Hiking Trail
Golden Gate Highlands National Park – 2 days and 1 night, maximum of 18 persons per group. Advance booking essential. Hikers to provide all own necessities.
Scilla Walk – An hour long amble
At Schaapplaats, Bokpoort, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Qwa Qwa
Mountain Biking / Cycling
Bokpoort Mountain Bike Trail
Bowls, fly fishing, golf, squash, tennis
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