20 Best & Fun things to do in Clarens, (South Africa)

things to do in Clarens

Clarens is a fascinating city located in the Maluti Mountains in the Free State of South Africa. The city is rich with lots of luring things to do ranging from picnic parks, restaurants, beaches, mountains, and many more.


The city is an ideal location for versatile travelers both outdoor doers and introverts making it the ideal destination for people of all ages.

So it comes as no surprise to learn that this dynamic town offers a selection of top local restaurants and great other interesting things to do. There is also tons of superb accommodation in Clarens.


Along with fantastic lodging options, it offers pet-friendly and self-catering lodging. Clarens would be the ideal destination for you to visit, regardless of whether you want thrilling activities or are content with wandering around town.

Here are some of the top things to do in Clarens, South Africa, if you’re looking to get a taste of real South African culture without leaving the city.

Best Things to Do in Clarens

1 Visit Golden Gate Highlands, National Park

things to do in ClarensGolden Gate Highlands National Park is popularly known for the gold shade of its sandstone cliffs which comes from the rays of the sun.


The national park is one of the top destinations in the city that tourists usually visit. The natural park is renowned for its breathtaking vistas, tranquil atmosphere, and accessibility via tours leaving from Clarens.

You will adore the natural scenery of the ravines, grasslands, enormous woodlands, and gullies in addition to the vibrant sandstone formations. The natural park is also home to a wide range of species that are flourishing.

2 Visit the Bibliophile Bookshop

Colourful Clarens – Homemakers Online – Homemakers OnlineIf you’re looking for the biggest fascinating bookshop in Clarens, then it happens to be Bibliophile, a pretty red corrugated iron building reminiscent of the gold prospecting town of Pilgrim’s Rest in Mpumalanga.

A wonderful selection of new and preloved books, including a children’s section; well worth a visit and browsing. There are regular book signing events and a Saturday craft market is held in the front garden.

The books that are for sale are classics, appropriate to readers who want more traditional series, such as the original Reader’s Digest volumes, English encyclopedias, classical poetry, and biographies.

Yes, this may not be the place for you if you’re seeking a huge selection of books, but in all honesty, it’s one of the coziest places in Clarens. This is one of the romantic things to do in Clarens for a couple.

3 Visit Johan Smith Art Gallery

Johan Smith Art GalleryClarens is a multifaceted city that offers a variety of attractions for visitors of all ages. One of the best things to do in Clarens is to visit the Johan Smith Art Gallery if you’re interested in learning about and revolving around the rich history of Africa.

The gallery, which was founded in November 1999 by the well-known South African artist Johan Smith, houses a sizable collection of fine art, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glass, and many other materials. It is regarded as one of the top tourist attractions in the city.

4 Hike in Clarens Conservancy

South African National Parks - SANParks - Official Website - Accommodation, Activities, Prices, ReservationsHiking is another well-liked outdoor activity in and around Clarens. Locals and guests can enjoy some amazing, picturesque walks via the Clarens Conservancy (or Golden Gate Highlands National Park).

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Enjoy a variety of trails in and around Clarens, all of which have been created and are maintained by the community’s Clarens Conservancy.
There are many trails and paths to choose from, such as the Kloof and Dam Walk (1 km), Spruit Walk, or the lengthier Kloof Mountain Trail (4.5 km), which takes around three hours to complete but is unquestionably worthwhile.

The Mallen Walk, Sandstone Koppie-Maluti View, Scilla Walk, and Leucosidea Trail are just a few of the rewarding routes. Each has a different length and offers beautiful scenery to explore.

5 White Water Rafting

Clarens Xtreme - Go.See.Do.South AfricaYou may partake in a variety of amazing, heart-pounding activities in and around Clarens thanks to the nearby adventure zone Clarens Xtreme.

These include wall climbing, MTB trails, archery, abseiling, and more, but white water rafting is undoubtedly one of the greatest.

On Ash River, which is located just outside of Clarens, you may create a splash with lareCns Xtreme. This beautiful river provides year-round white water rafting experiences and offers nine rapids, stunning scenery, and great birdlife.

White water rafting is fun to do with friends, family, and couples or even as a company outing. The allowed age range is “6 to 106,” making it excellent, supervised fun for the whole family.

You will be guided safely and successfully through grade 111 and IV rapids by knowledgeable guides. This is one of the most romantic things to do in Clarens, especially for couples who want to explore the city while participating in beach activities.

6 Go Mountain Biking

Clarens District Mountain Biking Trails | TrailforksMountain biking is undoubtedly one to try if you’re certain you’ll enjoy all the outdoor goodies Clarens has to offer.

Take a trip on one of the nearby routes on your mountain bike. There are several options, ranging from a leisurely 11 km town circle to a course through the Clarens Village Conservancy to some tricky single-track with challenging climbs to a mountaintop.

Clarens Xtreme will sell you a map for a little cost if you want more information about a different path to go while mountain biking. Clarens Xtreme offers services of cheap things to do in Clarens.

7 Clarens Brewery

CLARENS BREWERY - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - TripadvisorIf you’re a lover of beer and wants to have a taste of both local and continental cocktail, Clarens Brewery is a perfect place to visit.

Nestled beneath the majestic Maluti Mountains. The 2006-founded microbrewery makes fruity English ale, stout, IPA, and German-style unfiltered beers. The on-site kitchen offers a delicious range of filling dishes that go perfectly with your brew.

8 Go Horse Riding

South African National Parks - SANParks - Official Website - Accommodation, Activities, Prices, ReservationsOne of the family’s romantic things to do in Clarens is to go Horse riding. Horseback riding is one of several outdoor activities families or individuals can enjoy in the Clarens wilderness.

Do an hour-long morning ride into the mountains around the village or a two-hour sundowner ride on a cowboy ranch.

9 Clarens Golf Estate

The Clarens Golf Course - Clarens Country Stay - Over looking ClarensThe Clarens Golf Estate is a par 71 golf course located in the center of Clarens. You’ll be met by the incredibly chic and opulent clubhouse, which is ideally situated to provide a breathtaking view of Mount Horeb.

You can enjoy a pleasant round of golf on the course’s beautifully maintained Kikuyu fairways and Bentgrass greens, which are surrounded by magnificent Lombardi poplar trees. You will enjoy the tranquil pleasure of playing golf at Clarens Golf Estate.

10 Visit the Cherry festival

Ficksburg Cherry Festival - Clarens Country StayVisit the Cherry Festival is one of the fascinating annual festivals that usually takes place every month of November.

The Cherry Festival usually took place every third week of November. It is the country of South Africa’s oldest agricultural celebration.
The festival features cherry tours, a golf classic, a half-marathon, cherry and product competitions, veteran car exhibitions, equestrian competitions, and beer fests each year.

New exhibitions now include food and wine and A ‘ready, steady, bake’ competition, is always a firm favorite to watch as is the making of cherry mampoer (a South African moonshine).

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The festival is typically hosted by a well-known national figure, and well-known South African artists perform live.

11 Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary

Volunteer at LIONSROCK - LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary - a FOUR PAWS ProjectVisit the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary to get up and personal with lions, leopards, tigers, caracals, and cheetahs.

The wildlife in this area is completed by wildebeests, zebras, eland, duikers, impalas, and a variety of bird species in large enclosures that offer a setting that is close to nature.

Take a game drive trip to observe the area’s wildlife in motion as well as the 25 enclosures that house scores of lions and tigers.

You can learn more about animal life by watching a DVD lecture. A restaurant, a pool, and lodge-style lodgings are on the site.

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12 Embark on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot air balloon experience – HyperliBooking a once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon flight is another must-do activity whilst in Clarens.

A hot air balloon flight over Clarens with Hot Air Ballooning SA is always a fantastic choice, whether you book it for a special event, such as a birthday, wedding anniversary, or surprise engagement, or simply as an amazing life remember.

Experience the breathtaking views and scenery of the Maluti Mountains and surrounds when you book an incredible Clarens hot air balloon ride. Make a weekend or mini-holiday of it and enjoy a special stay in SA’s adventure capital. This is also one of the romantic things to do in Clarens.

13 Take a selfie with Titanic Rock

The Titanic Rock stands sentry over Clarens | In Clarens som… | FlickrTitanic Rock, is probably the most well-known sandstone cliff and one of the must-visit attractions in Clarens just a mere 2 kilometers north of Clarens.

This natural rock structure is well-known for its rocky backdrop making it the ideal location for selfies. It was given the nickname “Titanic Rock” not only due to the design of its ship-like bow but also because Clarens was founded in the same year as the infamous RMS Titanic sank.

14 Taste German food at Roter Hahn

Roter Hahn, Clarens - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - TripadvisorRoter Hahn is the finest spot to go if you are in the mood or have a craving for some German food and genuine Bavarian cold brews while you are in Clarens.

The restaurant’s carefully crafted German-inspired menu has been a favorite among patrons ever since it first opened its doors to the public in 1984.

Additionally, the restaurant has a European atmosphere that truly increases appetite! Along with the greatest Belgian beer and other homemade delights, Roter Hahn also provides German brews. This is among the top fascinating things to do in Clarens.

15 Explore Nature Beauty at Rebellie Game Farm

Rebellie Game Farm-Thabo Mofutsanyane Updated 2023 Room Price-Reviews & Deals | Trip.comThe Rebellie Game Farm, which is tucked away in the gorgeous Maluti Mountains, is the ideal haven for you to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Breathing in the cleanest air and taking in the beauty of nature right in front of you will undoubtedly relax you and help you regain your vitality.

Additionally, Rebellie Game Farm provides lodging with the highest levels of comfort, luxury, style, and service. The mountainous landscape and a variety of species in the vicinity make it a sanctuary for four-wheel-drive enthusiasts as well.

16 Visit Modern African Art at Blou Donki Gallery

Blou Donki Art GalleryThe Blue Donki Art Gallery is situated smack dab in the middle of Clarens. This art gallery is renowned for its extremely contemporary, stylish, and fashionable atmosphere, which showcases some of the best works produced by both renowned and up-and-coming artists around the nation.

Fine collections of paintings, sculptures, pottery, photos, and even utilitarian art are on display inside the art gallery. Sip a cup of coffee while being submerged in the beauty of contemporary African art.

17 Enjoy Breakfast at Artist’s Cafe

Artist's CafeOne of the most well-known family-friendly restaurants in Clarens is Artist’s Cafe, where you can have a delectable breakfast with your friends and family.

With its wonderful assortment of country cuisine and its cozy atmosphere, dining out at this restaurant would undoubtedly be enjoyable.

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With that lovely, unusual view of the mountains in front of you, sitting outside will even improve your meal experience. This restaurant welcomes children and provides a kid’s menu as well as a playground with playing toys in a farm setting and an old red tractor that guests may climb.

18 Enjoy Coffee at Highland Coffee Roastery

Highland Coffee Roastery - Clarens Country StayVisit the Highland Coffee Roastery near Clarens’ central plaza for a great cup of coffee after a long day of exploring. The Highland Coffee Roastery roasts its beans in small batches on-site using both domestically and globally obtained coffee beans.

It’s the go-to spot for everyone to get some energy to start the day or to simply enjoy a cup of coffee while chatting with friends and family.

19 Enjoy Painting at Addy & Hoyle Art Gallery

Addy and Hoyle Art Gallery, Clarens Inligting | Addy and Hoyle Art Gallery was founded by two of South Africa’s most well-known painters, Simon Addy and Lynne Hoyle, and is quickly rising to the top of the country’s art scene.

Take time to admire the exquisite artwork that these two artists produce. Additionally, the Addy and Hoyle Art Gallery is the only place where you can purchase their artwork, so take advantage of the opportunity to do so while exploring the gallery.

20 Try Delicious Dishes at The Highlander Restaurant

Highland Quarters, Clarens – Updated 2023 PricesOne of the greatest and most welcoming venues for families to eat and drink is the Highlander Restaurant. You will undoubtedly adore the restaurant’s hearty fare and its warm atmosphere.

Everyone will adore their wide variety of mouthwatering wood-fired pizzas, burgers, curries, pies, salads, soups, wraps, sandwiches, pancakes, desserts, and wines.

For families looking to have a wonderful weekend gateway, this is one of the romantic things to do in Clarens.

Best Time to Visit Clarens

January through June, July, and September are the best and busiest travel months in Clarens. This is one of the best times of year to visit Clarens. Tourists are unlikely to visit Clarens in December.

Frequently Asked Questions About Clarens

Where is Clarens located?

Clarens is situated in the northeastern part of the Free State province in South Africa, near the border with Lesotho. It’s approximately a 3 to 4-hour drive from Johannesburg.

What is the population of Clarens?

As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, Clarens had a population of around 2,000 residents. Please check for the most recent population figures for the town.

What are the main attractions in Clarens?

Clarens is renowned for its natural beauty, and attractions include the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Clarens Village Conservancy, Clarens Golf and Trout Estate, and the vibrant art scene with numerous galleries and studios.

What is the best time to visit Clarens?

The best time to visit Clarens is during the spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) when the weather is mild and ideal for outdoor activities. Summers can be hot, and winters can be chilly.

What outdoor activities are available in Clarens?

Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fly fishing, and bird watching in the surrounding countryside. The nearby Maluti Mountains offer excellent opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Are there any annual events in Clarens?

Yes, Clarens hosts various events throughout the year, including the Clarens Craft Beer Festival, Clarens Food and Wine Festival, and Clarens Arts Festival.

Is Clarens a pet-friendly destination?

Many accommodations and restaurants in Clarens are pet-friendly, making it a great destination for travelers with pets.

What is the cuisine like in Clarens?

Clarens offers a range of dining options, from traditional South African cuisine to international dishes. The town has several cafes, restaurants, and pubs where you can enjoy local and international fare.

How far is Clarens from the Golden Gate Highlands National Park?

Clarens is located near the entrance to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, making it a convenient base for exploring the park. The distance between Clarens and the park’s entrance is only a few kilometers.

Is Clarens a safe destination for tourists?

Clarens is generally considered a safe destination for tourists, but it’s always wise to take common-sense safety precautions and check for any local advisories or updates before your trip.

What accommodations are available in Clarens?

Clarens offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, lodges, and self-catering cottages. It’s a good idea to book accommodations in advance during peak tourist seasons.

Can I do day trips to Lesotho from Clarens?

Yes, Clarens is relatively close to the border with Lesotho, and you can arrange day trips to Lesotho to explore its unique culture and landscapes. Be sure to check visa requirements and any travel restrictions beforehand.

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