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Well hello friends,
I just arrived home from the beautiful Clarens and I’m already missing the gorgeous mountainous back drop! I can’t believe there is such a gorgeous little town surrounded by such incredible scenery just a few hours drive from Johannesburg. I could post umpteen photographs of the Maluti Mountains and it still wouldn’t do it any justice. You have to experience it for yourself!
Where I Stayed
The homey self catering Knock Out View Guesthouse on Main Street is a five minute walk from the quaint town square of Clarens. Upon arrival at Knock Out View you are greeted by white washed wooden cabins with bright green roofs. Peace and Joy are the biggest units sleeping 4 people comfortably and there are 3 overnight units, Hope, Love and Faith which sleeps a total of 2. We stayed in Peace and the name suited the place to a tee. A deck with a patio set overlooked the incredible Maluti Mountains.
We enjoyed breakfast on the deck on the first morning of our stay and it was just so peaceful and relaxing!
The great thing about Knock Out View is that even though we had bought food before we arrived, our unit was stocked with milk, cheese & crackers, weetabix, tea, coffee, sugar and even Easter eggs! I thought that was a really nice touch especially if you’re arriving late.
Overall, the place was cozy, clean and very comfortable!
Where I Ate
The Lazy Gecko
A cute little cafe on Main Street offering light lunches, pancakes and flapjacks. The staff aren’t so great, our waitress couldn’t be less interested in us the first time we visited and the second time we visited the waiter got our order completely wrong. So would I recommend it? Not unless you’re looking for flapjacks as most of the restaurants in Clarens serve pancakes. The place has great potential, I just think the staff need a bit of training.
The Courtyard Bakery & Cafe
An open air restaurant situated on Sias Oostehuizen Street with lovely staff, yummy pancakes and a fresh vibe! Definitely give them a try for lunch!
The Highlander Restaurant
A pubby style restaurant on Market Street where we ate breakfast twice. Probably the best fry up I’ve ever had! Homemade bread and free range eggs are always a winner with me! Make sure you have a breakfast punch or an iced coffee with your breakfast, very refreshing! The staff were all incredibly friendly and helpful so I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who is in Clarens!
We ordered takeaway pizza from here and it’s genuinely one of the greatest pizzas I’ve ever had. We did warm it up in the oven at Knock Out View and reheated pizza always tastes one hundred times better in my opinion! I suggest the hawaiian pizza. Find them on Van Zyl Street!
Where I Shopped
I visited every single shop in Clarens except for the ones below Van Zyl Street. Most of the shops are “arty farty” or offer homemade crafts. There is a chain of shops called the Ugly Duckling, The Shop That’s Worth A Shop, an it is indeed worth a stop! I guarantee you won’t leave this place without buying something!
Do yourself a favour and check out The Purple Onion Deli, a fantastic shop offering homemade chocolates, condiments and souvenirs. (I spent way too much money in here hehe)
You’ll find all your essential food and toiletry items as well as petrol in the Clarens Meander Shopping Centre in Main Street.
What To Do In Clarens
The Golden Gate Highlands National Park offers hiking trails, horse riding and gorgeous vistas and St Fort is also a great place for a hike, you’ll get to enjoy scenic views and the interesting formation of Mushroom Rock! You’ll also find companies offering abseiling, archery, game drives and cave tours. I suggest you do your research and plan ahead if you’re interested in any of these activities though. You can also just eat and shop till your heart’s content!
How Safe Is Clarens?
It’s probably safer than most places in South Africa. There is an informal settlement that has popped up in the last few years on the outskirts of the town but we never had any problems while we there. There weren’t any shifty people walking around the streets except on the last day which was a public holiday and there were lots of people trying to sell you handmade crafts and offering to wash your car. It’s best not to interact with them as they usually use the money for alcohol, drugs or glue. Apart from the last day we hadn’t seen any of this behaviour in the town. We were there from Sunday to Wednesday so perhaps they are more active on the weekends? My advice for Clarens and anywhere in South Africa is to make sure your doors and car are locked and you keep an eye on your valuables.
Who Should Visit Clarens?
Those who love adventure and being active
People looking for a break
Families travelling to Kwazulu Natal/Gauteng
How Long Should I Stay In Clarens?
I stayed in Clarens for 3 days and it was probably a day too long for the amount there is to do. It’s perfect for an overnight stay, a weekend break or someone looking to rest their mind. Perhaps if you’re a thrill seeker, a longer stay would be more suitable but I was with my mom who really isn’t into abseiling or rock climbing so we mostly explored the town, Golden Gate National Park and enjoyed trying new restaurants but by the end of Day 2 we were pretty much ready to head home. However we thoroughly enjoyed spending time together and having a break from the hectic city life of Gauteng for a few days!
Overall it was a fantastic few days extensively exploring Clarens and I would suggest adding this place to your bucket list even for a 2 day stay. I promise, you’ll be glad you did..
Till next time friends,
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