Clarens - Jewel of the Eastern Free State, ZAF

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Clarens, 9707, South Africa

Clarens, dubbed the "Jewel of the Eastern Free State," is a small town located in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in the Free State province of South Africa. The town was founded in 1912 and named after the Swiss town of Clarens, where the exiled Paul Kruger spent his final days. Clarens is approximately 336 km from Johannesburg, 284 km from Bloemfontein, and 389 km from Durban.

Tourism activities

Clarens is renowned as an artists' paradise, with many acclaimed artists either residing in or regularly visiting the village. Art galleries are scattered around the village square and town, making it a hub for artistic expression. The town's peaceful atmosphere, picturesque landscapes, and mild climate make it a popular escape for city dwellers from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Durban, and other regions. Clarens is particularly famous for its magnificent sandstone mountains and delightful weather conditions, and has recently been acclaimed as the premier destination for trout fishing in South Africa.

The town is a prominent destination on the picturesque Highlands Route, surrounded by a stunning range of mountains. The village lies within the Rooiberge range, while towards the southeast, the Maluti Mountains loom in a majestic range of purple and blue hues. The entire area is marked by striking sandstone cliffs with their distinctive multi-colored layers. Sandstone is a ubiquitous feature of the Clarens Valley, with many homes made from or clad in the material.

The area offers a variety of accommodation options, including bed and breakfasts, self-catering units, lodges, backpackers, and farm guest houses.

Visitors to Clarens can engage in a range of activities, such as horse riding, abseiling, hiking, fly fishing, fossil hunting, white water rafting, and golf. Live music performances are a popular feature on weekends.

During the Jurassic period, around 200 million years ago, the eastern region of the Free State in South Africa was inhabited by a variety of large dinosaurs. This was a time when the supercontinent Gondwana still existed and dominated the southern hemisphere.




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