SA Seniors love the captivating and charming Clarens.
With its quaint, quirky businesses, stunning art,
gastronomic delights, Clarens is a fabulous place for
seniors to go and have fun while recharging their batteries
Those from Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal get the best deal – Clarens is only a three hour hop and a skip from either Johannesburg or Durban. Not only is Clarens known as the Jewel of the Free State, but also the Art Mecca of South Africa as well as the adventure capital of the Free State.
The absolute best way to get to know Clarens is by foot. You don’t want to miss a thing, so put on your comfortable walking shoes and take a stroll and expect to discover little hidden gems around each corner – like quirky art galleries and delish craft beer. Probably best to pick up a copy of the Clarens Visitors Guide, to ensure you track down all the attractions that abound in the charming and quaint Clarens.
Captivating places to stay
The names of the lodges, hotels, B&Bs are really cool! Who wouldn’t want to head for the mountains to be able to stay in a place with a quaint and quirky name! Check out these four stunning establishments – all of which have a pensioner offer in place!
Knock Out View
Where else would you find rooms named Faith, Love, Hope, Joy and Peace – aren’t those names so enticing?! The two self-catering units, Peace and Joy, have not just a knock-out view, but unique and enchanting views! Knock Out View is surrounded by the Rooiberge Mountain Range. It’s only a short walk to the Artistic Village and a short drive to the Clarens Golf Club. Knock Out View is renown for its beautiful lead glass artwork, glass doors and lamp shades, all uniquely placed in each unit. Clarissa is the charming manager who will welcome you on arrival and offer you any assistance you may need during your visit. Click here for more information.
St Fort Country House
St Fort is a gem nestled in the Eastern Free State Highlands. It has been in the Goldblatt family since 1964. The Goldblatts are country folk at heart, and believe that time is measured by the sun and the changing seasons, and things happen as they should – slow and steady. They have turned St Fort into an open home with warm hospitality and a big heart. A place which takes one back to a bygone era when life was simpler. St Fort is a place to find rest for the body and restoration for the soul. One takes in the beauty of the place, by walking and breathing in fresh mountain air, and of course being well fed with home baked fare. “A meeting place. Where time stands still, the weary find rest and the adventurous play.” Doesn’t that stir your inner soul? Click here for more information.
Are you planning a family reunion, best friends gathering, or perhaps need a peaceful, rejuvenating breakaway for those within your bubble? Hopton House offers you that quality accommodation located within walking distance of the magical town of Clarens. So easy to explore and enjoy the numerous art galleries, the restaurants, the activities and attractions that Clarens has to offer. Hopton House is a comfortable and delightful country style house accommodating 8 guests with all the amenities you need, and more.. Enjoy tranquil evenings on the covered patio, with the fire pit in the large, well-established garden and beautiful views of the majestic mountain range. Click here for more information.
Periwinkle Grove Cottages
Would you like to stay in a cottage in the midst of a rose-scented garden with over 1000 rose bushes? And not only that – enjoy beautiful views of the Clarens mountains and the Free State terrain? The cottage names – Periwinkle Cottage, Bella Rosa Cottage, Grove Cottage sound absolutely magical! The Periwinkle Grove Cottages are set in peaceful and tranquil surroundings, just a short walk away from the centre of beautiful Clarens. The cottages come complete with all the amenities that will help to make your stay a memorable and comfortable one. Relax, refresh, explore and enjoy a wonderful stay at these cottages in a quaint setting overlooking beautiful mountains. The delicious and unique breakfasts are served in your cottages and are getting rave reviews from guests! By all accounts, a perfect stay is on the cards. How about this for a review?
What a fantastic place to stay in the heart of Clarens, with breathtaking views in all directions ! Unbelievable nights sleep on a bed of clouds ! It was so good the last time we stayed that we have returned for another 4 nights !
Click here for more information.
Awesome things to do in Clarens
Hiking is a very popular activity in the Clarens area and is a hiker’s paradise. A network of conservancy trails, such as the Clarens Mountain Trail, the Porcupine Trail, the Caracal Contour, the Titanic Trail are but some of the several mountain trails that lead out of the village. The longest is a 4.5km, three-hour hike up the mountain; the shortest a 500m amble down the stream in the village. Remember to purchase your Clarens Village Conservancy permit from all participating stockists. Click here for further information.
If gastronomic delights and craft beer are your thing, a little bird told us about the following:
Gosto – a firm favourite amongst locals as well as visitors. Gosto is a beautiful restaurant with Portuguese inspired cuisine and known for its taste sensation. Think prawns, garlic, delicious steaks and great wine selection.
Cherry on Top aka Down Town are serving incredible burgers, milkshakes, breakfasts, platters and even picnic baskets. Sit on the deck and enjoy the soft blues music in the afternoon while taking in the beautiful views of Clarens.
Love waffles? The Platform serves up all things waffles. Both sweet and savoury treats, the most incredible OTT milkshakes, and wait for it? The waffle burger! Don’t ask – you’ll have to get to Clarens to sample this gastronomic delight!!
Clarens Brewery has 25 different beers, ciders, G+T pre-mixes and juices on tap and all visitors get free tastings of their most popular products. Line your stomach with their lunch menu, focused on German-style sausages and pickles.
Be sure to visit the Kooperasie Restaurant. Serving South African local favourites like bobotie, pap en kayings, afval and much more, and featuring a live band on most weekends, you’ll have a real fun experience!
Clementines Restaurant – once an SA Railways bus service maintenance shed, morphed into an upmarket country dining establishment and renamed Clementines! Don’t forget to make a reservation – Clementines is very popular and a local institution!
Retail therapy and art galleries (and a bakery thrown in for good measure!)
Clarens is known as the “art mecca of South Africa”. There are loads of art galleries, so best get that Clarens street guide and check out which ones could be your cup of tea.
Tobias Art is not just an art gallery. It offers landscape paintings, rich in South African colour and culture, handmade pottery, printed t-shirts, stickers, signs, shopping bags, cotton serviettes, place mats and aprons. All locally made!
The Courtyard Bakery and Café has teamed up with Underground Ceramics which hosts pottery classes and workshops. Find your creativity and create a ceramic piece from start to finish. And enjoy freshly baked goods and cappuccinos alongside a variety of jams, sauces and other deli goods from the Courtyard. The word’s out that the Courtyard is well known for its monster lemon meringue tarts! Mmmm!
The Blanket Shop started in 1946 as a general trading store, with the main focus being supplying blankets to the region’s Sotho people. The store still does a roaring trade, though the clientele now includes lots of tourists.
The House of Woven Art has a grand collection of oriental rugs “marketed” by Olivia the shop cat.
The Jacket Shop is a treasure trove of bargains! You have to search and scratch but people have been known to find a second-hand Barbour or a Hugo Boss coat for as little as R100.
So many adventurous activities in Clarens. They include zip lining, archery, abseiling, hot air balloon rides. Perhaps a relaxed game of golf is more your thing. You can do that too!
Whitewater rafting on the Ash river is safe for littlies right up to centenarians. Clarens Xtreme brings you wildly exciting whitewater-rafting on the Ash River, one of South Africa’s unknown treasures. A bucket list adventure perhaps?
From jaw-dropping rock formations and viewing real-life dinosaur fossils
to exploring the beauty of the Golden Gate National Park,
to relaxation and chilling out,
Clarens is one of those incredible quaint, quirky towns
where there is something for everyone.
Stunning art, collectible vintage paraphernalia, interesting food stuff.
Stores with names like The Purple Onion, The Cheeky Mouse, The Ugly Duckling.
One article like this cannot do Clarens complete justice!
The only solution is a visit to Clarens,
allowing yourself enough time to experience the adventure
and to return home, recharged.
Article by You’ve Earned It / YEI