Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back
Free State

You are only moments away

Adventure
Entertainment
Attractions
Sport
Routes
Trails
Weekend Getaway
Countryside Meanders
City Breaks
Small town charm
Canoeing
Kayak
Walking
Hiking
Kayaking
Rafting
Trail Running
Mountain Biking
Meet South Africa

SSometimes it’s not enough to just soak up awesome scenery, you need to immerse yourself in it, to be able to feel a part of it. In the Free State province, near a little town called Clarens, you can do exactly this. Whether it’s feeling the rush of the rapids with some white-river rafting or hiking up incredible mountains, there are plenty of adventures to have in this scenic corner of South Africa.

Did You Know?
OOne of the most famous rock formations around Clarens is known as the “Titanic” as it looks like the front of a ship.

Rafting

Your adventure starts in Clarens where you meet your guides before driving 12km out of town to begin the day's (or half-day, if you prefer) rafting down the Ash River.

AAlthough white-water rafting can be quite extreme, have no fear as there are “rapids and rafting for everyone”, says Ollie Esplin, owner of Clarens Xtreme, which has been taking visitors down the river since 2005.

“Even if you have never done white-water rafting before, you can do it, and you don’t need to be fit”, he says. “It's a young river and therefore it's a narrow river, where the current is pushing you the whole time, making it easy to navigate the six- to eight-person rafts we use.”

Going down this 18km stretch of the Ash River will take you about a day (or a half-day on the 9km option). The river has grade three and four rapids, including Car Wash, Fish Pond and Big Surprise (because the river makes a 90-degree bend and then, surprise, there’s a waterfall).

Clarens, Free State

Food
When to visit
How to get here

SSome rafting companies in Clarens accommodate children on calmer parts of the river. Esplin’s company takes those under the age of 10 out of the raft for the rapids, and they then walk or drive to the next section of the river, where they can hop on again.

In winter (May to August), the ride is called the Polar Bear Challenge because the water gets pretty icy. But don’t worry, you’ll be given a wetsuit to help keep the cold out.

LLand adventures

You don’t have to get in the water to enjoy an adventure though. Clarens is adjacent to the scenic Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Famed for its golden sandstone sentinels, this Free State park is a great choice for families who enjoy wide open spaces. It’s located in the foothills of Lesotho's Maluti Mountains and is renowned for its extraordinary landscape, and the caves and shelters that are there to be explored.

Here that you can explore the mountainous terrain and get your boots on for some spectacular hikes. Try hiking up the Brandwag Buttress, or Ribokkop, the highest point in the park, or you could spend the night in the wilderness on the two-day, one-night Rhebok Hiking Trail.

While you’re there, you can also visit the Vulture Restaurant, explore the area on horseback, hop on a mountain bike or go on a game drive. But whatever you do, don’t forget to take the time to stop and enjoy the park’s amazing panoramic views.

Who to contact
How to get here
Best time to visit
Around the area
GET AROUND
What will it cost
Length of stay
What to pack
Where to stay
What to eat

Related articles

Active adventure

The art landscape in South Africa

Active adventure
The art landscape in South Africa

South Africa’s history of art is a long and interesting one

Active adventure

10 great quad-biking spots in South Africa

Active adventure
10 great quad-biking spots in South Africa

Quad bikes, or all-terrain vehicles, are a great mode of transport for doing sightseeing off the beaten track.

Active adventure

Travel tips for pets - the unconventional family members

Active adventure
Travel tips for pets - the unconventional family members

Often our pets are part of the family. For some people that extends to travelling with their pets.

Active adventure

Train journeys - an unforgettable experience with someone special

Active adventure
Train journeys - an unforgettable experience with someone special

What can beat that feeling of going to sleep with a Karoo moon in the sky outside, and waking up to a pot of fresh coffee, surrounded by Cape vineyards as the Blue Train makes her stately way into the Mother City?

Active adventure

Afriski - snowy slopes in Africa

Active adventure
Afriski - snowy slopes in Africa

Come play high in the Mountains of Africa, skiing and snowboarding, then relax in one of the bars at Afriski.

Active adventure

Fearfully great lizards - the hunt for dinosaur fossils

Active adventure
Fearfully great lizards - the hunt for dinosaur fossils

South Africa is one of the best countries in the world to view evidence of dinosaurs.

Active adventure

Bloemfontein – a thrill seeker’s paradise for exhilarating adventures

Active adventure
Bloemfontein – a thrill seeker’s paradise for exhilarating adventures

Bloemfontein – a thrill seeker’s paradise for exhilarating adventures

Active adventure

Trail running adventures the SA way

Active adventure
Trail running adventures the SA way

Trail running and Mountain Biking in South Africa is extremely popular, and a growing sport for many South Africans and visitors alike.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2018 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy