If you are looking for things to do in Clarens then look no further than this list. Clarens is a quaint town in the Free State province of South Africa, located in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. Similar to the world-reknowned Drakensberg, the area of Clarens and Maluti is know for it mountain terrane and gorgeous views. The town is a bit of a hidden gem but is popular with the adventurous for its eclectic small town vibe and amazing mountain scenery.
Our List Of Things To Do In Clarens
When visiting the town of Clarens, there are ample activities to get up to and we have compiled a list of some of our favourite things to do. Whether you want to take on the natural terrain through a mountain hike, or take a leisurely expedition exploring the artistic side of Clarens, you will surely find something that catches our fancy.
Golden Gate Highlands National Park
The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations and offers a multitude of things to do in Clarence. The national park is most noted for its sandstone cliffs which glow in a golden hue when lit by the sun, giving rise to the name of Golden Gate.
It runs along the western border with the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. It’s an area of fantastic shapes and landscapes. You will see wonderful eroded sandstones that have been sculpted by nature. In the evenings and early mornings, it takes on a wonderful orange glow when the sun rises or set.
There are a multitude of points of interest and lookouts to appreciate when you are here. There is the imposing Brandwag Rock, which you will see in most photos about Golden Gate National Park. The highest point in the park is Ribbokop, and it is accompanied by other lookout pints like Zuluhoek and Generaalskop.
There are hiking trails that are ideal for hikers of all experience levels, from 1 hour long hikes, up to the 31km long Rhebok Hiking Trail which takes 2 days for the eager and experienced hikers. Apart from the landscape, there is a diverse range of wildlife that you can see while at the Park. Wildlife in the area includes different species of buck, zebra and birds of prey like the rare bearded vulture and bald ibis.
Basotho Cultural Village
Basotho Cultural Village, located in the Golden Gate National Park, offers guests an opportunity to learn about the rich history of this area and how the local inhabitants got by. You will be treated to performances by actors dressed in traditional attire, carrying out activities how they were all the way back to the 18th century. There is also a lot to please the senses, with various artworks scattered throughout the village, and the colorful huts being works of art in themselves.
Basotho cultural village doubles as accommodation with three rondawels where guests can stay. Camp activities include game drives and hikes under the supervision of professionally trained guides. Basotho Cultural Village provides a holistic experience of the Sotho culture. Whether it is listening to old tales from the elderly women in true oral tradition, or seeing women grind maize as the did many generations ago you get a true reflection of the rich Sotho culture.
This viewpoint is located along the Scilia Walking Trail and is a must see for anyone who like likes epic views. Be sure to bring your camera along because this is one of the most magnificent views you will see for quite a while. You can reach the viewpoint by either mountain bike or on foot. The path is as easy one as far as mountain trails go and the trip is well worth it when you eventually get there and take in the scale of this natural feature. The stretch of land is 300 metres is particularly mesmerizing around dusk when you can see the sunset over the mountains surrounding the Clarens area.
Clarens Brewery has a lot of history and is one of South Africa’s first Brew-Pub, Cidery and Distellery. It is located in the amazing Maluti Mountain region and has been serving customers since the early 90s. For many a visitor, this is one of the first stops when visiting Clarens. The place is always lively and the beers and ciders that are sold are well-known and popular beyond the town of Clarens. You will enjoy hand crafted ales that is sourced from both local and international sources with a focus on the highest quality. The Brewery has 8 different craft beers in their standard range along with various seasonal ales and specials.
The best way to go about your selection is to go through the taster panel of beers and find yourself a favourite. Our avourite was the IPA with its fruity citrus character. Even if you are not there for the beers, Clarens Brewery has a lunch menu of delicious snacks that perfectly complement the main offering of craft beer and cider. The menu consists of a selection of meats, cheeses and starches to go with your ales. The German style sausages are quite the fan favourite. Clarens Brewery is open 7 days a week from 10am to 7am (6pm on Sunday) so if you are in Clarens, be sure to check it out.
White Water Rafting
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush or a memorable experience, why not go White Water Rafting? Clarens extreme offers a range of extreme sports for visitors to Clarens, among them, braving the rapids of Ash river, just outside of the town. You can enjoy the rapids as well as scenic vegetation and bird life in this natural habitat. White water rafting is suitable for anybody from 6 years and older, and experienced guides lead you through the pristine waters. The activity is great for groups and is a fun way to spend half a day with family or friends.
You can book a trip with Clarence Extreme who will provide all basic equipment, transport to and from the river, as well as some light refreshments. They are open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm and you can book a trip by contacting them through their website or by phone (number on the website).
Blou Donki Art Gallery
If you are looking for a change of pace while in Clarens, the Blou Donki Art Gallery is one way to go. Situated in the Sindmill Centre, this art gallery showcases and sells art pieces from local artists from across the country. For collectors and those who appreciated visual art, this place is a must-visit. You have art works here from emerging artists to those who are well-established. The caliber of the works on display is very high which might surprise you for such a small town. Have a coffee and enjoy the gallery’s collection of paingings, sculptures and functional art.
The gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and entrance into the art gallery is free. A leisurely stroll on a Saturday morning to admire the work of talented artists is well worth the visit. You might even find something you like to buy and take home with you.
Clarens Dinosaur Tour
No you are not going to see dinosaurs in Clarens. At least not live ones but you probably knew that. The Clarens Dinosaur Tour is a field excursion where you get to learn all about the prehistoric giants that lived around Clarens and the Gold Gate National park area during prehistoric times. On the tour, you will get to see a large variety of fossils from dinosaurs as well as prints they me in the environment.
It is a lesson in the geology and archaeology of the area and you will get to find out how the earth was during that period. The tours are 2-3 hours long and can be booked by contacting Clarens Dinosaur Tours directly.