7 things to do in Clarens

I recently had a mad 24-hour whirlwind stop in Clarens as part of the South African Tourism #MeetSouthAfrica 2015 campaign. Although we managed to fit in a crazy amount of stuff , I definitely want to return and do it all at a slightly more leisurely pace. Here’s my Top 7 Things to do in Clarens (in no particular order):

Shop

Clarens is well-known for its art galleries, but there are also quirky antique shops, lots of lovely farmstalls selling local produce,  and more interior decorating shops than any husband can handle (my tip: leave them at the brewery – see no 7). Don’t miss well-known Freestate artist Johan Smith’s gallery, and be sure to visit the Purple Onion Deli.

It doesn't get more typical Freestate than Johan Smith's beautiful paintings (courtesy: Johan Smith gallery)

It doesn’t get more typical Freestate than Johan Smith’s beautiful paintings (courtesy: Johan Smith gallery)

Eat

There are plenty of eateries around. I recommend going for a hearty, traditional dinner at (at least) one of them. We ate at Clemetine’s; a homely place that is always filled to the brim with a mix of locals and visitors (remember to book). My oxtail was scrumptious, and the lamb shank and homemade soups also looked amazing. The Lady of the Manor is Clementine herself, a tortoise cat that may reward you with her presence if you are really lucky. I was!

Clarens Clementine's

Hungry bloggers

Hungry bloggers

Watch the sunset

Mountains, wind pumps and beautiful trees; what better setting could you have for the Perfect Sunset?

Clarens

Clarens

Get out

I went for a run along one of the roads that seem to just lead straight into the Golden Gate mountains. The surroundings were stunning! On the way back, I passed Kgubetswana  township and had a whole team of little supporters running alongside me. There are also plenty of hiking trails a stone’s throw away from the town square, and for longer hikes I cannot recommend the Golden Gate Highlands National Park enough.

Clarens

Clarens

White water rafting

This is when it gets serious! I had so much fun braving the rapids of the Ash River with my team of crazy bloggers, in the safe hands (or should that be paddles?) of Clarens Xtreme. This is not for sissies though; 9 rapids and icy cold water will challenge you to the core. Check out this little clip from my dear friend Di Brown (aka The Roaming Giraffe). I’m front left, fighting the rapids for sheer survival (on some boats, I find that you get less wet at the front – this is NOT the case with rafting)…

Happy rafters

Happy rafters

Team #MeetSouthAfrica

Team #MeetSouthAfrica

Check out street art

Ism-Skism is a residency programme for artists. Their aim is to allow people the opportunity to produce and exhibit their art whilst engaging with local artists and community members. They have an amazing gallery on the square, but it’s in the Kgubetswana township you can find their real legacy in the form of street art. As far as I know, they do not have organized tours at this point but if you are interested in seeing some of the work, and engaging with the locals in Kgubetswana, contact them on Facebook.

Clarens

Clarens

Clarens Ism-Skism

Drink craft beer

The Clarens Brewery makes an astonishing range great craft beer, and also fruit ciders that are pretty rad. In true brewery style, there’s plenty of wurst and other German snacks and meals. Do not miss this place!

Craft beer and wurst; a perfect combo!

Craft beer and wurst; a perfect combo!

Their selection includes Blone, IPA, Englis Ale, Red, Weiss and more!

Their selection includes Blone, IPA, Englis Ale, Red, Weiss and more!

So do yourself a favour and go explore Clarens, I promise you won’t regret it!

Cosmos aplenty along the Freestate roads

Cosmos aplenty along the Freestate roads

We met this gorgeous girl while walking around Kgubetswana. Her name is Felicia and I just had to share this picture!

We met this gorgeous girl while walking around Kgubetswana. Her name is Felicia and I just had to share this picture!

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5 responses to “7 things to do in Clarens

  1. Your whirlwind tour of Clarens seems out of whack with your usual “slow journey”. It’s a beautiful part of the world so you need to go back at your own pace. Lots of cool places to eat, a fine secondhand bookshop too. Don’t miss the Golden Gate Highlands National Park and the Basotho Cultural Village not far away.

    • Ha ha Roxanne! Slow is not necessarily slowly 😉 But I will most definitely go back soon to explore more. Not a big fan of cultural villages; is this one worth visiting?

  2. Pingback: 24th April, 2015: Celebrating Freedom - Clarens News : Clarens News·

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