Known as ‘the jewel of the Free State’, Clarens is a charming artist’ town in the foothills of the Maloti Mountains that offers the perfect escape from city life. It is a key point along the scenic Highlands route, which includes the Golden Gate Highlands National Park – linking the towns of Harrismith, Bethlehem and Fouriesburg, all along the Lesotho Highlands, the Malutis and the Drakensberg. Here are some things that you have to do when you visit the jewel of the Free State.
Golden Gates Highlands National Park
The Golden Gates Highlands National Park owes its name to the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park’s sandstone cliffs. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park boasts rolling hills and expansive views, with the Drakensberg visible in the distance. Khoisan rock paintings are found in caves throughout the park and there are numerous hiking routes and viewpoints. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening.
Go horseback riding
Bokpoort Cowboy Ranch will transport you into the Wild West as you gallop through open fields surrounded by towering cliffs and rock formations. This family-farm has been around since 1865 and overlooks the whole of the Clarens Valley – so be sure to take your camera along with you. If you’re not so into horse riding, Bokpoort also offers mountain bike trails, clay pigeon shooting, trail running, and archery!
If an adrenaline rush is what you’re after, Clarens has got you covered. If you thrive on adrenaline, you’ll love Clarens Xtreme. This adventure company offers all kinds of heart-pumping activities like white water rafting, quad biking, paintball, abseiling, MTB trails and much more.
Go to the Basotho Cultural Village
The Basotho Cultural Village, boasting colourful architecture, gives visitors some insight into the traditions of the South Sotho culture. Meet the chief and his traditional healer, who will guide you on a Herbal Trail tour on which you’ll be shown San rock art and learn about the medicinal herbs often used by the Sotho people. Visitors to the village will be taken on a tour, will get to taste traditional food and traditionally-brewed beer and will find out how arts and crafts are created. They also offer accommodation should guests wish to experience Basotho hospitality.
From stores selling mohair products to deli’s filled with the tastiest treats, a day spent wandering the streets of Clarens is a day well spent. Make sure you visit these four places in Clarens in the Free State to make the most of your trip!
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