Did you know?
The ‘Titanic' Rock at the entrance to Clarens is a geological phenomenon. This rock formation was given this name in 1912 after the sinking of the real Titanic.
The Castle in Clarens is not exactly a castle, and it's not exactly in Clarens either.
This fun guest house, just outside Clarens in the Eastern Free State, looks like it has been transported straight off the pages of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. It's not quite a castle, mind you, and consists of just 2 bedrooms that have been decorated with exotic items from around the world.
It's small, intimate and fantastical in every sense. The chandeliers are from North America, the carpets from Dubai, the tiles are Italian, and bric-a-brac items from Windsor Castle are found all over the place.
Based on the idea of the famous old 'bottle castle' of Clarens (built from over 50 000 beer bottles), the owners of the Castle in Clarens wanted to add to the area's offbeat architectural history.
‘We wanted to create something very exclusive and very different,' says owner Manie van Schalkwyk. 'Guests book out the entire castle, and you don't get just one room – the entire castle is yours to live out your fantasies.'
It has been dubbed 'Rapunzel's Tower' by the locals and one can spend hours in the 'Chamber of Angels' or enjoy sundowners from 'Sunset Corner'. Rooms are over-the-top, definitely fit for a prince or princess.
The fun, arty town of Clarens nearby is worth a visit and for those who love the great outdoors, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is just down the road and there are other fun options in the area such as fossil hunting and visiting the various rock art sites in the area.
There are no dull moments to be had in this part of the world, and as the saying goes you are responsible for creating your own magic – it just helps if you are staying in a castle where the lines of fantasy and reality blur.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Castle in Clarens
Mobile: +27 (0)83 2680 497
How to get here
The Castle in Clarens is situated in the Eastern Free State. Travel along the R712 past the Golden Gate Highlands National Park and the town of Clarens. After 5kms you will see signposts to the Castle in Clarens. Detailed directions are on the website.
Best time to visit
Clarens is delightful during spring and summer. It can get very chilly in winter when snow settles on the Maluti Mountains, adding to the romantic drama of the area.
Around the area
The town of Clarens has great art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. You could also go hiking in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, enjoy a fossil-hunting safari, or go game-watching on horseback.
Length of stay
The Castle in Clarens is the perfect weekend getaway. If you choose to stay 3-5 days you’ll be able to do majority of the activities in the area as well as exploring the fun town of Clarens.
What to eat
There are loads of great coffee shops and delis in Clarens. Shop for local produce at the various farm stalls in the area.
Local art at the numerous galleries in Clarens.