Captivating, Carefree Clarens

Clarens: Mountains at Golden Gate

What do Joburgers and Durbanites have in common? Although Capetonians are probably coming up with all sorts of things in their minds right now, the answer is simply: Clarens. Being just three hours’ drive away from both cities, it’s become a favourite destination for both.

“While Clarens has grown into a bustling little town of art galleries, restaurants, cafés and the exceptional Clarens Brewery, the area around this Free State town has much to offer within just a short drive,” says Avukile Mabombo, Group Marketing Manager of Protea Hotels by Marriott. Having been to the area many times, Mabombo has these useful tips on what to explore in and around the town:

  • The outskirts of the town, fringed by the Rooiberge, boast opportunities for activities such as golfing, river rafting and tracking dinosaur footprints in the nearby Golden Gate Highlands National Park. All of this is just a 20-minute drive from the town centre.
  • You can also do quad bike trails and horseback game viewing within the National Park, and if you’d rather use your own horsepower, there are plenty of mountain bike trails just outside of town into the mountains. And if that hasn’t completely tired you out, try your hand at abseiling, archery or even paintball, all available on the outskirts of this artistic town.
  • The sacred Motoulong Cave (Fertility Cave) is situated off the dirt road towards Fouriesburg. Motoulong has been a place of worship for as long as cultural memory extends. Its name means “the place where the drums keep beating” and is an important area for both traditional religions and Christian churches. You will often find candles within the deep crevices lit to symbolise this. The cave is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • If you have your passport with you, day trips into the Maluti Mountains in Lesotho offer opportunities to briefly explore this landlocked country’s beauty. Pony-trekking trips, craft market visits, scenic drives and hiking trails (or even just a casual walk) are all possible. You can even book a few ski lessons up in the mountains at the AfriSki Mountain Ski Resort in the winter months.
Protea Hotel Clarens: Mountain view

The town of Clarens is also worth walking the length and breadth of. Bursting with creative talent, the streets are lined with art galleries, with a strong focus on local artists. That’s the beauty of Clarens, it caters for both the adventurous and the sedentary among us.

Source and image: Bonny Feldman for Irvine Partners