The Eastern Free State town of Clarens is situated about 20km from the Golden Gate Nature Reserve, 40km from Bethlehem, 40 km from Fouriesburg and is on the Northernmost point of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.  Clarens is an easy 3 to 4 hour drive for city dwellers from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Durban.

Clarens has a flourishing tourist trade as well as an established artist community. It truly is an artist’s haven because of its pure natural light and stunning natural colors as well as its peace and serenity.  Many well known artists live in and around the village, whilst others frequent Clarens on a regular basis.

With this as a foundation, Clarens has become the ideal holiday and weekend getaway, with a wide variety of holiday and weekend accommodation to choose from, offering Free State hospitality and suited to all tastes, from bed and breakfast to self catering accommodation or Hotels and exclusive lodges in Clarens for those who want to be nearer the activity in town, to quiet farm accommodation just outside the town.  Golden Gate offers camping for the true outdoor enthusiast who wants to be right in the mountains, or the relative comfort of the Golden Gate Hotel also set amongst the mountains of Golden Gate.

There are excellent restaurants to choose from in Clarens that will satisfy the culinary tastes of even the most ardent food lover. 

The variety of coffee shops, bars, art galleries, retail shops and book shop, as well as the Clarens Museum will take up most of your leisure time, or you could take a ramble along one of the rivers or mountain paths that meander through and around the town, and just enjoy the peace and beauty of this mountain getaway.

Clarens is not known as the adventure capital for nothing, and offers self catering, bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation and the activities that support this demand.  It offers good trout fishing, both dam and natural river fishing. 

The Sterkfontein dam, which is about an hours drive away offers some of the best yellow fish fishing in South Africa.  It is also spectacular horse riding country.  Clarens offers the visitor a very wide variety of activities such as hot air balooning, river rafting, horse riding, trout fishing, 4×4 tracks, on and off road cycling, quad biking, absailing, tennis, golf, archery and putt-putt. 

Clarens ensures that everybody, from nature lovers who want to relax and drink in the surrounding beauty, to the more active who want to wander into the mountains or to the real adventure seekers looking for an adrenaline rush or a new thrill – you can all count on a truly remarkable stay.

Clarens is part of the scenic Highlands Route and is surrounded by the Rooiberge, and not far away are the majestic Maluti mountains which border Lesotho.  Everywhere you look you will see the multi-coloured layers in the sandstone cliffs which is a unique geological feature and add to the majestic beauty of the area.  The nearest Lesotho border post is half an hour away and opens up the whole Lesotho kingdom to the traveler who enjoys skiing, mountains and rough terrain, all set in the spectacular mountain beauty of this country.

The area is well known for its many natural features such as Mount Horeb, Golden Gate, the Mushroom Rock, caves, many with Bushman paintings, Dinosaur trails, and the Fertility Cave.  The Basotho Cultural Village is situated in the picturesque Golden Gate Nature Reserve, both of which are worth a visit.

Everywhere you look the views are good, and they change every minute of the day, which usually ends with a beautiful unique sunset.

The sandstone that is mined in the area is a very popular building material and many beautiful sandstone structures have been erected using these natural hand cut blocks.

A prominent rock formation, known as The Titanic, welcomes all who visit the town.  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.




Find out more about the tours and activities offered in and around Clarens and into Lesotho