File image: The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is worth a visit.
File image: The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is worth a visit.

IOL Travel itineraries: How to spend 48 hours in Clarens

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Aug 4, 2021

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If you hate planning your trip or creating itineraries, then you are in luck.

IOL Travel will create itineraries over the next few months to highlight several South African destinations. We offer advice on what to see, where to dine and adventure, and other tips to make your trip memorable.

This week, we feature Clarens. Known as the Jewel of the Eastern Free State, the town is in the Maluti Mountains in the Free State.

Here's how to spend 48 hours in this stunning attraction:

DAY 1

9am: Start your trip with an adventure. Clarens Xtreme's abseiling activity draws many adventurous sport lovers. The experience starts at Swartland, a 50m-high sandstone rock face overlooking Clarens, with the most striking views. It states on its website that "anybody who can fit into a rock climbing harness can do abseiling" and no experience is required. Other activities include wall climbing, paintball, putt putt and archery. Call 058 256 1260 or visit www.clarensxtreme.co.za.

1pm: Clarens is a foodie destination, offering quaint restaurants at every corner. After a morning of exploring, spend a few hours savouring the food offerings. Clementines, described as the most exclusive restaurant in Clarens, offers a vast food and beverage offering, including oxtail pie and chicken pot pie.

Other foodie attractions include the Artist's Café Clarens and The Platform.

5pm: Savour the views and enjoy a drink at Clarens Brewery, one of the country’s first brew-pubs, cideries and distilleries. Its beers, including Clarens Blonde, English Ale and Stout, are among travellers' favourite options. However, if you do not fancy beer, wine and gin are available. The brewery is the perfect setting to end your day of exploring before you head back to your hotel.

DAY 2

9am: After morning breakfast at your hotel, head to Bibliophile, a small family bookstore. Besides offering a selection of new, used and unusual books, you will also find stock maps, travel guides and souvenir books on Southern Africa, as well as a music section. That is not all, you will also find art supplies and games. Visit www.facebook.com/bibliophilebooks/

11am: Spend the rest of the day at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, a protected area known for its sandstone features including caves, overhangs, rock shelters and cliffs. Guests can enjoy activities like abseiling, canoeing, game drives, hiking, nature walks and horse riding. Visit www.sanparks.org/parks/golden_gate/.

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