South Africa

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The town of Clarens is situated in the Clarens Valley in the Eastern Free State Highlands, near to the northernmost point of Lesotho. Clarens is known for its spectacular sandstone mountains, wonderful climate, and picturesque views. The town has recently gained a golf course, and boasts some of the best Trout Fishing waters in South Africa.

The relaxed village atmosphere and the spectacular views and mild climate makes Clarens a popular weekend getaway with visitors from both Johannesburg and Durban, both of which are about 3 - 3½ hours drive.

A Walk around President Square and Main Street, will reveal numerous arts and crafts shops, which offer the visitor a wide range of curios and original artwork. There are also a number of excellent restaurants.

The village has become know as the "Jewel of the Free State" and possesses an air of peace and tranquillity. there are more trees than most other Free State towns, and these form an unforgettable sight during the spring, with light green willows and the colourful blossom from the many fruit trees. While in the autumn, the vibrant shades of Lombard poplars attract artists and photographers alike.

Located very close to Clarens and nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State, lies the Golden Gate National Park, which derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock. With the possibility of spectacular thunderstorms in the afternoon, during cool highveld summers, and occasional snow during the cold winters, the park is well worth a visit any time of the year. This 11 600 hectare park is home to a variety of animals, including the Burchell's zebra, black wildebeest, blesbok, eland, oribi, and springbok, plus there are a number of rare birds including the bearded vulture, and the bald ibis, but sightings are rare.

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