The scenic setting, mild climate, nature areas, and the rather special Clarens village vibe all contribute to making Clarens a natural choice both for the people who live here and for visitors from elsewhere in South Africa and around the globe.
The geological history of the area can be read in the sandstone cliffs which surround Clarens and give Clarens its scenic setting and depending on which geological layer you find yourself you may find crystals (in the black rock at the top of the cliffs, or where, as a result of erosion they have washed down into river beds) or fossils dating back millions of years. The geological history of the area is well described in the following articles:
Golden Gate National Park (Article by Mary Walker)
Golden Gate National Park – Geology (Sanparks website)
Life Lines – Layers of the Past (Nikki Tilley – malotidrakensbergroute)
Hoe oud is die Rotse (Izak de Vries)
The Rooiberge virtually cradle the town, and to the east Mount Horeb at 2449.5 meters above sea level, overlooks the town of Clarens 639.5 meters below. (Incidentally Mount Horeb has a yellow smiley face, smiling down on the town. This was a radio relay station for the Clarens Police Station.)
The Clarens Village Nature Reserve:
A large part of the area overlooking the town makes up the Clarens Village Nature Reserve (managed by the Clarens Village Conservancy together with the Dihlabeng Municipality). The nature reserve covers a large area running along the western edge of the town and includes mountain, grassland, river streams and a dam . Hikers and picnickers are invited to enjoy this environment at no charge (provided they respect the rules: no littering, harvesting of plants, lighting of fires, or use of motorised vehicles of any kind.) Mountain bikers are also welcome to enjoy the well-made mountain bkiking trails, but need to buy permits (available from Clarens Xtreme, 530 Sias Oosthuizen Street) the proceeds of which go towards maintenance of the trails. (Read the Clarens Village Conservancy monthly reports for more information on work and activities in the Nature Reserve.) The Nature Reserve is rich in wild flowers which add an extra dimension to the enjoyment of the many hiking trails in the area. Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve are a regular feature of the Clarens News newsletters, and you can see all of those featured so far by clicking on the link.
The Golden Gate Highlands National Park:
Clarens has The Golden Gate Highlands National Park on the doorstep: scenic drives, game viewing, hikes ….. and lots more.