As a village that was established in 1912, there is no shortage of history in and around Clarens. Cultures have come and gone since the Khoisan left rock paintings as evidence of their time spent in the area, before the Europeans moved in during the 1800’s.
The Basotho people fought hard to save a place for themselves in the face of massacres and terror perpetrated by chief of the Matabele, Silkaats, who succeeded in dispersing most of the black tribes in the area through sheer brutality.
Having managed to cling to a place for themselves in the Eastern Free State, things turned bloody between the Basotho and local burghers (Afrikaans settlers).
All it took to start a war that lasted a year between the boers and Basotho. Today you can see the monument erected to honour five burghers murdered during this war, right in the Clarens Village Square.
The Second Boer War, fought by the Republic of Transvaal and the Orange Free State (known today as the Free State) against the British Empire was the last in a long history of bloodshed before peace returned to this beautiful region.
After all the bloodshed, Clarens and the area surrounding this Jewel of the Free State, finally found a peace that befitted the beauty of this valley.
If history doesn’t do it for you, perhaps you’d like to indulge your taste in art in one of the many art galleries in Clarens. There is such a mixture of art on display around the village that you’ll find exactly what you like among the various styles on display.
Because Clarens is a well-known artist’s haven, you can expect to see the work of artists who are already well established, and those who are just beginning to offer glimpses into the inspiration drawn from this beautiful area.
Since Clarens is only a two to three hour drive from Joburg, Bloemfontein and a bit longer from Durban, you should have plenty of room in the car for a few stunning pieces of art from Clarens!
So, if history or art doesn’t grab you, the food will! Food is a central part of life around the Clarens Village Square, which makes sense when you consider that there’re over twenty eateries to choose from in this small village.
If all you can do is spend two or three days in Clarens, you’ll be able to have breakfast, lunch and tea in a different spot every day, with ease.
Then there’s the delightful craft beer brewed at Clarens Brewery. The passion for what these guys do in brewing craft beer and the distilling of artisanal gin is infectious, which will easily have you hanging around far longer than planned.
If what you need is excitement and adventure to top it all, you could not pick a better holiday spot than Clarens!
The activities on offer are mind boggling in the extreme! Bring along your mountain bike to enjoy the beauty of trails that are easy enough for those not too into straining themselves, or go for the tougher ones if you really want to work it.
Flyfishing, white water rafting, hot air ballooning, horse riding, cycling, hiking, quad biking ….. and on and on! There is no end to what you can do with any spare time you have on your hands in Clarens.
If this has you chomping at the bit to pack up and get to this beautiful valley in the Eastern Free State, contact the warm, hospitable team at Clarens Eddies B&B/Self Catering and book your pillow for the duration.
By the way, a weekend in Clarens is magic, but, it’s guaranteed you’ll be back for a longer stay next time to make up for what you couldn’t explore first time round!