jewel of the free state

IMG_1529Named after a Swiss town where the exiled Paul Kruger spent his last days on our planet, Clarens these days is also know as ‘the Jewel of the Free State’. It’s not hard to imagine why when walking around the central square or staring at the colorful sunsets painting the sandstone embracing this Free State hamlet.

Long before celebs like Brad Pitt and Prince Harry discovered the tranquil atmosphere of the mountain village, artists saw the potential of the century old community. The light, the fresh mountain air, the views and climate inspired the free spirits of the Free State to settle here and give the place an unexpected bohemian vibe.

Clustered around the grass village square, you find many art galleries displaying both work of well-known South African artists as well as more and less tasteful souvenirs. Restaurants sit side by side with lunchrooms, bars and the bottle store so you’ll never have to worry about running dry or out of options to eat after hunting for a painting, photograph or sculpture to take home.

Clarens is surrounded by stunning sandstone formations that are copper colored in the morning, golden in the afternoon and red in the evening. All thanks to the radiant brush of the sun. The beautiful Golden Gate Highlands National Park as well as the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho are both just a stone’s throw away and activities in and around town include trout fishing, horse riding, hiking, fossil hunting, rafting and golf.

The village has many options to choose from when looking for a place to lay your head to rest after a day full of highlights ranging from guesthouses to luxury retreats like for instance the Protea Hotel Clarens. With no less than 70 rooms this stone mastodon offers a whole range of rooms and amenities. Mountain views, pool, Wi-Fi, roof top terraces, a fireplace for cold winter nights, excellent breakfast, lunch & dinner options and local art.

Clarens in short is an unexpected, happy surprise on a South African road trip and definitely lives up to its nickname.

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Clarens – Jewel of the Free State
Protea Hotel Clarens
Corner Main St. & Van der Merwe – Clarens – South Africa
T: +27 58 256 1212
W: www.proteahotels.com/hotels/Pages/Protea-Hotel-Clarens.aspx

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