Clarens Freestate

Clarens is in the Free State Highlands….

A stone throw from Golden Gate Clarens is located in the Freestate, 40 km’s from Bethlehem and on the just north from Lesotho. Clarens is  about 4 hours normal travelling from Durban, 3 hours from Johannesburg, and 3 hours from Bloemfontein. Clarens is known for its spectacular sandstone mountains and wonderful climate, it has the most breathtaking scenery in South Africa. Clarens has recently been acclaimed as the best Trout Fishing waters in S.A. Horse lovers will find that Clarens is an undiscovered jewel.
Accommodation , Conferences and Outdoor Activities – Clarens has something to offer for everyone. Looking for accommodation in Clarens or activities in and around Clarens? Then look no further. We offer self-catering accommodation or Bed & Breakfast accommodation. Clarens Eddies is one of the highest reccomended places to stay in Clarens and for Golden Gate accommodation.

Clarens Freestate

About Clarens

Clarens is an easy 3 to 4 hour drive from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Durban.
We offer the ideal weekend getaway, corporate breakaway or a romantic weekend away with your significant other. Clarens has and excellent choice of restaurants to satisfy the palets of the most dicerning food lover.
Accommodation ranges from self catering, B&B, backpackers and lodges to guest houses, guest farms and country inns. Situated in the Clarens Valley in the Eastern Free State Highlands, Clarens is known for its spectacular sandstone mountains and mild climate.
Clarens is acclaimed as one of the best trout fishing spots in South Africa and it is also spectacular horse riding country. Clarens offers the visitor a very wide variety of activities, ensuring that everybody, from nature lovers  to adventure seekers an unforgettable experience.
For art lovers Clarens has much to offer with many galleries and various art styles to choose from. Clarens is truly an artist inspiration! Many well known artists live in and around the village, whilst others frequent Clarens on a regular basis.
Clarens is part of the scenic Highlands Route and surrounded by the Rooiberge, and further on by the majestic Maluti’s which borders Lesotho.  Everywhere you look you will see our famous sandstone cliffs with multi-coloured layers, which is a unique geological feature of the area.
This formation is also known as the Clarens Formation.
The Titanic is prominent rock formation  that welcomes all who visit the village. Its name dates back to 1912, when Clarens was established. This was also the year of the tragic sinking of the Titanic.
A resident in Clarens, unknown unfortunately, looked at this rock formation and remarked that it looked very much like a sinking ship! The name stuck. Clarens has become known as the “Jewel of the Free State” – an area extremely rich in natural beauty, where visitors come to drink in the peace and tranquility.
Our quaint village is endowed with more trees than most other towns in the Free State province, which paints the village in the most wonderful colours during spring, when all the fruit trees blossom.
In autumn, our stunning Lombard Poplars attract photographers, nature lovers and artists from all over to revel in the colours and capture its beauty on film and canvass. Many Arts & Crafts shops adorn the village, offering visitors a wide selection of original artwork and curios.
Come take a leisurely walk around President Square and up Main Street and browse through the wide variety of curios available, or appreciate the talents of the many artists who display their products in the Arts & Craft shops, or simply sit down at one of the many restaurants and coffee shops and relax with a drink of your choice while taking in the peace and tranquility of our wonderful village.
Close to Clarens is the outlet from the Highlands Water Project, that brings fresh water from Lesotho to feed into the As, Liebenbergsvlei and Wilge Rivers into the Vaal Dam. Water from the Vaal Dam is then abstracted, treated and pumped to the various users in the Rand Water Supply area.
The name Clarens was derived from an attractive village in Switzerland, situated on the Northern shores of Lake Geneva – the second largest fresh water lake in Europe – near Montreaux, where President Paul Kruger spent his last days as a voluntary exile.
It was also the home of Lord Byron, and the Clarens region in Switzerland was immortalized in Rousseau’s Nouvelle Hèloïse. It all started when in 1910 the farm “Leliehoek” was sold, and in 1911 the farm “Naauwpoort”, both to a company who wanted to establish a village in the mountains.
These two farms were then divided into separate stands and sold for the then majestic sum of fifty pounds each. To finalise the negotiations a commission was appointed in 1912 and a decision was made to name the village Clarens in honor of President Kruger’s influence in the area.
President Paul Kruger led a commando of burghers against the Basotho leader Moshoeshoe and defeated the Basotho at the Battle of Naauwpoortsnek in 1866, after 5 burghers were murdered by them in the Eastern Free State on 29 September 1865.
A monument in honor of these 5 burghers was originally erected on the farm Ararat just outside Clarens, but was later moved to Clarens and re-sited on the town square.
This has proven to be an apt name indeed, as the splendour of the surrounding mountains does the original Swiss village more than just credit.

 Thing to do in Clarens

Arts, crafts, galleries & shops in Clarens

Walk around President Square and visit the many arts & crafts shops.
These shops include :
Gift shop & gallery, pottery, leatherwork, cat rocks, candles, ethnic art & upholstery
The Artist Amble takes you to various artists who have opened their galleries to the public. These galleries include :
Weaver Nest Gallery – Clarens scenery in pastels and oils
The Enslin Vorster Studio – Landscape art & pottery
Rooikat Gallery – Handmade knives & pottery
Visit The Barbet, for Authentic local craft, Art Gallery, coffee shop and weekend braai. Horse rides for the children.
Visit our country store, The Post House
Buy traditional blankets at Di Mezza & De Jager, on Sias Oosthuizen street
Bibliophile a special little book shop (& CD’s)

Places and activities of Interest in Clarens

Titanic Rock – overlooking the entrance to Clarens
Clarens Museum – at the information centre on the square
The Ash River Outfall is one of the Highlands water scheme’s view points on the Bethlehem road about 8km from Clarens
Mushroom Rock – on Clifton Farms about 3km on the Fouriesburg road
Surrender Hill – a historic Anglo Boer War site about 10km on the Fouriesburg road.
Golden Gate National Park for walking and bird viewing – beautiful scenery
Bushmen paintings on Schaapplaats farm and in Golden Gate

Sports & Leisure in Clarens

Hiking – 2 trails in the Clarens Valley, Clarens Conservancy Hikes & Hiking Club
Golf, tennis, bowls, squash
Horse riding can be enjoyed at Schaapplaats
Flyfishing at Clifton Farms and Craigrossie.

Places to eat in Clarens

Street caffe
Country Lodge
The Post House
Kiara Lodge – Golden gate road

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