Clarens Golden Gate National Park

Clarens – A Breath Of Fresh Mountain Air Near Golden Gate National Park

Clarens, once a small farming town remade itself into an artists haven, and a destination popular with travelers from both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Of course, an added attraction is the Golden Gate Highlands National Park just outside of town. So, if you look for a nice weekend destination, it’s about a four-hour drive from Pretoria and Durban.

Clarens brings a fun boutique experience and plenty of walking trails

We wrote about the St Fort Country House back in February and explained why the town seems so popular. It brings the opportunity for many activities like hiking and biking. Plus, galleries and art and interesting shops keep people browsing happily for ages. And if you prefer getting outdoors, you don’t need to look far for “horse riding, river rafting, golf, skydiving, and quad biking.” Of course, the beautiful mountain backdrop never grows old, no matter how many times you visit.

When you visit Clarens, one place we recommend, especially if you love stones, gems, fossils, and that sort of thing, is Clarens Rocks. Really fascinating, you might spend an hour browsing around there and take home some wonderful things to add to your collection. Or start one if you haven’t already. But you’ll find plenty of other interesting places to shop. On weekends, you’ll find home-craft stalls and curio shops and art everywhere. And it’s all set in a sort of old-world environment where plenty of refurbished sandstone buildings add to the feeling of yesteryear.

Exploring Gold gate National park

If you stay in the Golden Gate National Park, you might select Clarens as a day trip destination. And it’s not an unpleasant place at all. It offers varying levels of accommodation. The park lies about a 15-minute drive from the town along an attractive scenic route. On the way to the park, most people stop and take photos at the Titanic Rock in Leeuport Nek. In the Glen Reenen Rest Camp, chalets cluster below Brandwag Rock. The special orange glow formed by natural sandstones makes for many Instagram-worthy photos.

If you love bird-watching, then you can expect to see the Bald Ibis around their nests set in the sandstone. If you overnight there then a walk to Ribbokkop, the highest place in the National Park brings some nice photos ops as well. There’s nothing likely to endanger your life in the animal kingdom. So, walking is popular with views of eland, oribi, and wildebeest. But keep a keen eye out for snakes on the paths. And if you love interesting geology, it’s all around you. Actually, you might even pick up a book or two from the Rock Shop in Clarens.

Day trips in the area

If you drive yourself, then you might enjoy a trip to the historic site at Surrender Hill. That’s where General Hunter took the surrender of General Prinslooin 1900. And as a resident in Clarens, you can also enjoy the Golden Gate National Park. Take a short walk and picnic. And if you prefer more adventurous things, there are loads of guided trips and tours available.

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