Offbeat South Africa: Quaint and Vintage Clarens

Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Jewel of the Free State‘, the quaint village of Clarens is set in a beautiful scenery, surrounded by mountains.

Clarens in Pink

Quaint and pretty, Clarens is like a breath of fresh air

It took me only a few moments to understand why Clarens is so popular between people from Johannesburg and Durban as a gateway for the weekend, or a few days of  peace and relax. Quaint little shops whose tasteful decorations overlook the entrance, a vintage rusted tractor, an old blue car, and decorative windmills. Everything is pretty and neat.

Quaint Clarens

I visited Clarens on a weekday when the village is sleepy and the atmosphere laid-back, very different from weekends when, I’ve been told, the streets swarm with people and the town gets very busy. I don’t particularly like the crowd, and enjoyed Clarens as it was: peaceful and slow.

Clarens Village Grocer

At sunset, the view of the sandstone cliffs shaded in red is just beautiful

I strolled about, stopping every few steps to look at the lovely small shops. I loved The Garment Gallery, with the Mona Lisa decorating the façade and launching an alluring smile to the onlookers, the vintage clothes, the pretty pram and nearby the plastic boots filled with flowers. A little further, bright pink, yellow and green items delightfully displayed in front of the main door caught my eye.

Old Blue Car

The pretty Clarens Brewery – the only microbrewery in the Free State – is the place to go and taste a few samples of excellent hand crafted beer as well as ciders. Then there are the art galleries, as Clarens over the years attracted many artists and photographers, some of which opened spaces where they show and sell their works.

Clarens Brewery

At dusk, when  the surrounding sandstone cliffs get shaded in red and the windmills’ shadows stand out from the colorful sky, the view is enchanting. Clarens is well-known also for its restaurants, the most popular being likely the lovely Clementines, serving excellent food in a very cosy atmosphere.

Clarens at Sunset

Clarens is small and it doesn’t take long to explore the village. However, there’s a lot to do in the area, from horse-riding to short hikes in the nearby Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

Clarens Vintage Tractor

Mostly off the radar and overlooked by the majority of foreign visitors, I truly enjoyed this off-beaten area of the Free State , with its wild and breathtaking scenery and the quaint, vintage Clarens.

Useful information:

By car, Clarens is about 300 km. from Johannesburg, Durban and Bloemfontein. For accommodation and more ideas, visit the Clarens Website.


Note: This campaign is brought to you by the South African Tourism board and is supported and managed by iambassadorWild About Travel maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site.

More reading: The Thriving Maboneng Precinct: One of the Coolest Areas in Jo’Burg


About Me

Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Content Creation. Besides travel writing Simon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.

5 thoughts on “Offbeat South Africa: Quaint and Vintage Clarens”

  1. Oh, I love that ! I love Clarens …. I lived there in the Liliput House 🙂 Such an amazing place, and Golden Gate NP is just stunning. Keep posting – great photography !

  2. Sounds like the perfect place to spend a couple hours strolling and drinking a couple of beers!


Leave a Comment

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.