The Clarens Golf Estate, Free State
Did you know?
The 27m Lombard poplar, transplanted from a local farm to the Clarens Golf Estate, is reputed to be the tallest tree transplanted in the southern hemisphere.
Who would imagine that you'd find yourself thinking of broken-hearted maidens as you work your way around the stunning Clarens Golf Estate course in the Free State? But you may well, for the 360-degree view of the golden sandstone mountains that frame the course includes the legendary Mount Setlofe (also known as Mount Horeb).
According to the Basotho people who come from this area, Mount Setlofe is actually a shy maiden who was due to be married to a handsome warrior named Matsa (who is incarnated in another mountain here called Rhebokkop). Tragically, he left her for another, and, every time she remembers this, she draws her veil around her head and weeps. When the people of Clarens see that Mount Setlofe is shrouded in mist, they know the maiden is weeping and that it will rain.
That’s the beauty of golf – no matter where in the world you travel, it offers intriguing landscapes along with the challenge of the game. At the Clarens Golf Estate, local legends combine with mountains, rivers and a par-71 course to offer visitors a stimulating 18 holes. Great care has been taken to ensure the course’s risk-and-reward design offers a memorable game.
The estate offers the services of a resident PGA professional to help you fine-tune your game. It also has a fine clubhouse with a fully stocked bar and restaurant, as well as luxury accommodation in privately owned homes that are made available to visitors. For those who enjoy walking, the estate offers exceptionally scenic trails.
The nearby town of Clarens is renowned as a jewel of the Free State, a tourist-friendly destination where resident artists, interesting shops and fine restaurants will keep you well entertained and well fed.
And while in the area, be sure to visit the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, famous for its beautiful, towering sandstone cliffs.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Clarens Golf Estate
Golf operations manager and PGA professional
Tel: +27 (0)58 256 1270/1319
Cell: + 27 (0)82 326 4908
How to get here
Clarens is 315km (about a three-hour drive) from Johannesburg and 390km (about a four-hour drive) from Durban. It is best to drive there in your own vehicle.
Best time to visit
All year round, but if you are planning to do any of the other activities offered in and around Clarens, such as white water rafting, keep in mind that winters (May to August) are cold and the mountains near here are often covered in snow.
The roads are good and a sedan vehicle will suit your purposes (or a 4x4 if you would like to head off the beaten track).
What will it cost
A round of golf (18 holes) is R260, while juniors/students pay R140. There are self-catering two-bedroom villas to rent on the estate, from about R1 000 per villa per night. Staying at these villas also entitles you to a substantial discount on the price of a round of golf.
Length of stay
Spend two to four days here to take in the surrounds and activities.
What to pack
Golfing clothes and equipment, although there is a fully stocked shop for those who need it.
Where to stay
At the Clarens Golf Estate itself, or in any number of B&Bs, guest houses and farm stays in and around Clarens.
What to eat
There is a great choice of restaurants in Clarens, including the Brambleberry Restaurant at the Clarens Golf Estate.
The Clarens Tourism website contains information about the various activities in this tourist-friendly region.
There are plenty of interesting shops in Clarens. You might have to restrict yourself from buying too much!