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AAre you a creative soul? Does the great outdoors fuel your artistic spirit? Visit the charming town of Clarens in the Free State and you’ll discover why we call it an artist's hideout.
When you get there, it’s easy to understand why creative people gain inspiration from its beautiful surrounds. When it comes to nature, breathtaking scenery, art and good old fashioned fun, Clarens is the ideal getaway.
NNo sooner do you arrive in Clarens then you find yourself in a frenzy of art-buying, restaurant-hopping, cycling, game driving, trout fishing, birding and late-night partying; then ask yourself where exactly did that quiet weekend or couple of days go? To heaven, that’s where!
TThat’s the point! Clarens is so rich with experiences that you need to make sure you set aside enough time in the area because it passes all too quickly.
Situated along the Highlands Route, a stone's throw from the incredibly expansive and impressive Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Clarens is blessed with the kind of views that only artists paint. It’s a reason this area has inspired some of the best landscape artists in the country. The Golden Gate gets its name from the shades of gold and orange cast by the sun on the sandstone cliffs.
Many of the homes, restaurants and shops in Clarens were crafted from sandstone, contributing to the town's appeal. Make a point of popping into the local arts and crafts stores. Ask about the Artists Amble, a fun route that incorporates a number of galleries run by local artists. If you're in the mood for shopping, make a point of addling the colourful traditional Basotho blankets, arts and crafts to your list.
Clarens, Free State
AAsk any of the stores for a copy of the local community magazine, 'The Speckled Bean', which has loads of information on activities in Clarens, as well as insights into various social and community projects in the area.
If you crave some adventure to complement the calm, head out to a choice of holiday farms such as Bokpoort Holiday Farm in the Maluti Mountains near Golden Gate, which specialises in horseback adventures. Alternatively, find out about the fossil-hunting safari (Yes, dinosaurs roamed these plains) or visit the rock art at Schaapplaats Farm. History buffs should head for the Clarens Museum, Surrender Hill and other Boer War sites not far from town. This really is the small town that has it all!
CClarens offers a dynamic array of attractions and is an adventure tourism hotspot, with quad biking, paintball, abseiling and white water rafting all available nearby.
So, if you’re looking for inspiration, then plan a trip to Clarens and find out for yourself why it’s called “The Jewel of the Free State”.