Getting to know Clarens

Located at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, the cosy town of Clarens is fondly known as the "Jewel of the Free State."

With breathtaking natural surroundings, a well-established art scene and countless adventure activities, this much-loved local gem has much to offer the discerning traveller.¬†Clarens boasts a convenient location for South African visitors and tourists alike; it can be found just 300km from Johannesburg, 280km from Bloemfontein and 380km from Durban. The Bram Fischer International Airport in Bloemfontein is the nearest South African international airport from which to access Clarens, however, if you’re keen to include another country in your travels, the Moshoeshoe I International Airport in Lesotho is situated just 190km away.

History of Clarens

The small town of Clarens boasts a fascinating history dating back more than 2000 years. Rock art found nearby revealed the first human inhabitants to be the Khoisan nomadic hunter-gatherers. The town itself was established in 1912 when a prestigious company purchased two farms – named ‘Naauwpoort’ and ‘Leliehoek’ – and divided them into various plots of land. Clarens’ namesake is a town in Switzerland where Paul Kruger spent his final days as a voluntary exile.

The village was named in his honour as a result of his leadership role in the Battle of Naauwpoort Nek (1865) in the Free State-Basotho War. The battle took place near Titanic Rock, a striking rock feature for which Clarens is now known. Interestingly, Titanic Rock was named after the historic ship to which it bears an incredible resemblance. The ship tragically sank the same year Clarens was established.

Dinosaur Fossils in Clarens

Another enthralling footnote in the rich history of Clarens was the discovery of dinosaur remains in 2009. Bone fossils, tusks, claws, eggs and teeth from 200-million-years ago were unearthed at a construction site just outside the town, on the border of South Africa and Lesotho. The types of dinosaurs discovered include Massospondylus, Antetonitrus, Gorgonopsian, Ledumahadi Mafube, Lesothosaurus and possibly a Dicynodon lacerticeps. The Massospondylus is the largest dinosaur to be found in South Africa, at approximately 5m to 6m in length. Most of the remains can be found at the National Museum in Bloemfontein, however a number of fossils can be viewed via guided dinosaur tours. Find out more, here!

Where To Stay

Looking for places to stay in Clarens? Explore our stylish self-catering villas.

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What To Do

From white water rafting and mountain biking to browsing through art galleries and craft stores.

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News & Events

Read the latest news about Clarens and keep up to date with scheduled events in the area.

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When is the best time to visit?

Jan

Summer

6°/28°C

Average min/max temp

2mm

Average Rainfall

Feb

Summer

7°/28°C

Average min/max temp

2mm

Average Rainfall

Mar

Autumn

10°/24°C

Average min/max temp

0mm

Average Rainfall

Apr

Autumn

11°/17°C

Average min/max temp

7mm

Average Rainfall

May

Autumn

13°/15°C

Average min/max temp

17mm

Average Rainfall

Jun

Winter

7°/16°C

Average min/max temp

19mm

Average Rainfall

Jul

Winter

6°/13°C

Average min/max temp

23mm

Average Rainfall

Aug

Winter

8°/13°C

Average min/max temp

18mm

Average Rainfall

Sep

Spring

10°/20°C

Average min/max temp

7mm

Average Rainfall

Oct

Spring

12°/24°C

Average min/max temp

6mm

Average Rainfall

Nov

Summer

8°/27°C

Average min/max temp

0mm

Average Rainfall

Dec

Summer

16°/30°C

Average min/max temp

2mm

Average Rainfall