Clarens has charm and atmosphere by the boatload. Take a stroll through the tiny town to explore the many galleries and restaurants, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at one of the many adventure-based activities on offer.
Why you should visit: Clarens has a reputation for some of the best fly fishing and trout fishing locations in the country. Most of the fishing is in still waters, although the Caledon River is an option for those wanting to try a stream. There’s also the Ash River, 14km from the town. For river and dam fishing (trout, bass, yellowfish and carp) there’s the Clarens Conservancy Dam.
There’s also the Townlands Dam (permit required) and Clarens Village Nature Reserve (no permits) for bass or carp.
How much does it cost: Permits and fees may be required. Ask at The Clarens Golf and Trout Estate Clubhouse and Clarens Xtreme.
Dinosaur hunting expeditions
Why you should visit: Clarens was established in 1912 but long, long before then, other creatures roamed the landscape. Travellers interested in geology and palaeontology, or simply those interested in a tour with a difference, can join a fossil-hunting expedition in the town and surrounds.
The Dinosaur Tour begins with a comprehensive talk on the history of the region and then proceeds to a viewing of an ancient river bed where eager eyes can spot fossilised footprints of dinosaurs. Tours are suitable for all ages.
How much does it cost: Contact David on 083-469-4703/082-829-4978 for pricing. Tours take place at 09:00 and 14:00 daily, subject to booking.
Autumn festivals in Clarens
Why you should visit: Clarens is a year-round destination, but there’s something particularly special about autumn (February to April). Find the town coloured with red, orange and yellow leaves that fall from the trees. March is also festival time with many heartwarming (and heart-pumping) events.
The town’s calendar of events is always packed. The Clarens Craft Beer Festival (said to be the best craft beer festival in the country), a Lifestyle Cook-Off, Surrender Hill Marathon, a 1 500m swim in the Sterkfontein Dam, Rocky Mountain Festival Cycling event, classical concerts, Northern Drakensberg trail run, mountain bike challenges and the Festival of Dirt weekend trail all take place in Clarens and surrounds in the autumn.
Visit the art galleries
Why you should visit: If you’re not visiting during festival time, you can still feed your artistic soul. Wander through President Square and Main Street and pop in at the many art galleries and curio shops. The Art and Wine Gallery is a must-visit. It’s also reported to be the country’s first gallery joining those two elements that pair so perfectly. Blou Donki Art Gallery is another highlight and features the work of local South African artists.
Bergwoning 4×4 Trails
Why you should visit: If you’re exploring Clarens, take a detour to kick up some dust. Bergwoning offers two 4X4 trails. One is a 6km, two-hour, family-friendly self-drive trail, while the other is a 26km route guided by owner, Thys Martiz. It’s an adrenalin-busting adventure for experienced drivers.
How to get there: Contact Bergwoning Guest Farm, 15km from Clarens, for details.How much does it cost: Call 082-396-7595 for pricing.