Posted in Travel & Explore

Clarens – the jewel of the Free State

My “then” fiancé arrived in one of those fancy ‘Fortuners’… on our wedding day.  After a most incredible day of celebration and love with one another and our guests, we packed our things, conversation and desire for adventure in my humble little i10 and my beautiful wife and I headed off to Clarens.

Known as the jewel of the Freestate; and after a week there, we came to understand why:

Our first 2 nights were a few kilometres outside of Clarens at Garden Gate Hotel & Chalets.  Our self- catering chalet was magical.  The view from the veranda was beautiful.

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And of course we were feeling on top of the world (imagine the dragons…):


The first day, we drove into Clarens to explore and get some food supplies.  As we approached it was as if this “hand” of the Cactus waved a greeting at us:


We had heard about the famous Jacket Store and decided to see if we would find anything that we fancied.  We did.  These retro winter coats.

This mural is just outside the shop:


Then my wife and I decided to be like the ‘million’ tourists before us and get a picture in this frame:


(There is just something about South Africa, right?)

We ambled through the famous Clarens square and found this cute little spot called The Lazy Gecko:


I love restaurants that have tables right on the sidewalks and people walk by.  (Kind of reminds me of places in Italy that I have visited.)

On our way back to Golden Gate, we found an abandoned house that we wanted explore.  I caught this image of the trees:


And we drove past the Van Reenen’s family graveyard:


That evening we were bid ‘good night’ by the orange glow of the setting sun:


We dined on scrumptious chicken burgers and sipped on a gift of wine.


(I love how a simple meal like this can be so enjoyable.  Catherine and I are like that.  We’re not “air and graces.” We appreciate the smallest beautiful moments.)

The following day we climbed the Brandwag Buttress that overlooks the Golden Gate Hotel.

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After two nights in the Golden Gate area; we headed into Clarens for the remainder of the week.  Eating pizza in the warm August sun was in order:


Then we found our next accommodation.  Clarens Retreat:


There is a lot to do in Clarens.  For those who like the outdoors.  There are hikes around the town on the nearby mountains.  From them you can get a panoramic view of the town.

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For those who are into art & crafts, there are numerous galleries and quirky shops.

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For those who like to dine out.  For dinner, we can recommend Gosto (a Portuguese restaurant) and Clementines.

We were told to have breakfast at The Post House (isn’t that such a cool name?)

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Soaking in the morning sun while eating breakfast.  Bliss!

The Clarens Brewery is a must see; and taste too:

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There are various flavours of ciders and beers.  (One of my favourite moments was sitting under the afternoon sun sipping on beer with my wife and watching the day draw to an end; as the sun hid behind the nearby hill and the remains of the visitors scattered back home.)

For accommodation, we definitely recommend Clarens Retreat, but also Mount Rouge.  We stayed in one of their cosy rooms called The Attic.  Loved it.  The view of the nearby mountain was a great addition.

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If you like coffee; one must visit Highland Coffee:


Clarens will stay in your heart one you visit there.  We had such a surreal week there and felt like one of the residents by the end of it.  It is definitely a peace of heaven; that place.

I managed to capture these pics too throughout the week:

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And how odd is this sign?


“Beware of the ducks!” 😉

Thank you Clarens for a wonderful and dreamy time.


(Our travel companion; Paddington photobombed the photo too.)



I am an aspiring and up and coming writer. Dubbed the wondering wanderer. Do come check out my stories.

2 thoughts on “Clarens – the jewel of the Free State

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