Clarens
Close to the ground.

GPS: S 28 30.845 E 028 25.257 | pop. 4,000 | elevation 1,813 m/5,948 ft

Nestled in the breathtaking Maluti Mountains, the little country village of Clarens is a delightful surprise for adventurers and art lovers alike. Pastoral cottages and the charming art galleries that splinter off from the village square are dusted with snow in winter and are often blanketed with mist even in mid-summer. The nearby Golden Gate National Park and surrounding landscape offer limitless pursuits for extreme sport junkies, but it’s the cosmopolitan array of accommodations and restaurants in Clarens that have attracted celebrities such as Prince Harry and Brad Pitt while en route to Lesotho on goodwill missions.

Mountain Odyssey

Clarens is an up-and-coming destination for adventurers of all kinds. For a full list of all the activities available in the area, drop by Mountain Odyssey, which can make arrangements for you directly. One of their most popular activities is river rafting with Grade III-V rapids trips for groups of 4 adults or more (half day R400/person, full day R600/person). They can also arrange horseback riding at Clarens Stables near Golden Gate National Park (2hr, R250/person).


Fly-fishing

Fly-fishing is a popular pastime in the area. For rentals and guides, contact Stafford Botha or Garth Brooke for individual quotes.


Clarensxtreme

Clarensxtreme is a favorite of adrenalin junkies for their abseiling and quad rides. Clarensxtreme also does paintballing. Call for current rates.


Bergwoning Adventures

Bergwoning Adventures are favorites of adrenalin junkies for their abseiling and quad rides. Bergwoning also has horseback riding. Call for current rates.


Clarens is made for curious shoppers. You can easily spend a day poking through eclectic antique stores and boutiques in town, as well as high end galleries and craft shops. The most well known of these fine art galleries are probably the Johan Smith Art Gallery and the Blou Donki.


Johan Smith Art Gallery

Johan Smith Art Gallery and can be found on the right-hand side as you enter town, just before you hit the village square.


Blou Donki

Blou Donki can be found on the right-hand side as you enter town, just before you hit the village square.


Mid-range

Aspen Guest House

Aspen Guest House has five comfortable and homey rooms with individual themes and atmospheres based on the arts. The common area has a library of books to enjoy by a roaring fire and breakfast is served in bed. The guesthouse is just outside of town on a large plot of land next to the mountainside and is powered by solar energy.


Ash River Lodge B&B

Ash River Lodge B&B is on a rise above Clarens with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valley that guests can enjoy from their neat rooms or from the expansive deck.


Top-end

Lake Clarens Guest House

Lake Clarens Guest House is a cozy set of rooms and self-catering suites that have all the snug comforts of home with a touch of old-world elegance. The guesthouse is within walking distance from the center of town, but once inside it's easy to imagine you're far in the countryside because most rooms overlook a pond and grazing horses. Lake Clarens has gained the reputation of being one of the nicest guesthouses in town and has hosted celebrities passing through, including Brad Pitt, who stayed in Room 2.


RiverWalk B&B

RiverWalk B&B is a refreshingly modern change from the fussy Victorian guesthouses that abound in Clarens. The six spacious and immaculate guest rooms have a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and the willow-lined river just in front of the house. Breakfasts are a bountiful affair here and each room has under-floor heating for chilly nights and is stocked with its own bottle of sherry.


Clementines Restaurant

Clementines Restaurant is located in a converted barn just a block away from Clarens' main square. Homemade country favorites get a gourmet bent in this romantic dining room loaded with rustic charm. For melt-in-your-mouth comfort food, try the chicken potpie.


Café Moulin Restaurant & Bakery

Café Moulin Restaurant & Bakery pulls together a choice array of French favorites in a small whitewashed dining room that stays cozy in the winter with a wood burning fireplace. This is one of the few spots in town where you can have more than boerwurst and eggs for breakfast, and Saturday dinners feature gourmet pizzas and pastas.


Highlander Restaurant

Highlander Restaurant is a family restaurant that locals earmark as one of their favorite eateries in town for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The long menu of hearty country favorites caters to most every taste and inclination and the restaurant fills up at night with those who want a pint to go with their savory pie.


The Post House Restaurant

The Post House Restaurant has a host of homey basics and a popular breakfast. Picnic tables in a courtyard just off the village square make this a pleasant people watching spot.


Street Café & Restaurant

Street Café & Restaurant is a popular pub that has a wide porch and a cozy wood bar with a roaring fire. The restaurant also serves up hearty favorites. Head over anytime on weekend days for live music.


Friends Restaurant

Friends Restaurant is a favored gathering spot any night of the week, but gets especially packed on Friday and Saturday nights when it brings in live music. They also serve food.


The Grouse & Claret

The Grouse & Claret is a centrally located pub that is as popular with families as it is with bikers. It's often a hot spot for live music and a solid fallback option for a hearty meal and a pint.