Once upon a time the Ash River was a tiny, rather uninteresting trickle, but now that  the Lesotho Highlands Water Project feeds in crystal clear  water all the way from Katse Dam, the stretch of river near Clarens has become a white-water rafter’s playground.  What’s more, it runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round.  This section of the Ash River offers 9 rapids and loads of excitement. White water rafting offered by the following companies and their experienced guides can be enjoyed by everyone. Clarens Xtreme: The action packed half day rafting includes all the basic equipment needed, transport to and from the river, drinks, and experienced guides to get help you negotiate your way down the rapids.  Approximate time of trip, three hours pick up to drop off. Minimum 2 persons. Contact details Outrageous adventures: Half and full-day adventures on the Ash River.  Transport to and from Clarens, equipment and refreshments supplied.  Experienced guides will  keep you safe while you have maximum fun. Contact details &nbs
Clarens Xtreme Another fun activity offered at the Clarens Xtreme adventure park . Zipline can be enjoyed by everyone. The Zip lines (150m in length) are fitted with harnesses and have a tandem pulley system to ensure maximum safety. Contact detai
      Swimming Clarens does not have an official community swimming pool.  And there’s no need. when one can go swimming in the clean, clear, chemical free  Kloof Dam in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve. (Maps of the Clarens Village Nature Reserve showing the location of the Kloof Dam are available at the Bibliophile, Old Stone Bottle Store, the Village Grocer and most guest houses.)   Whilst everyone is welcome, children are not allowed to swim in the dam without adult supervision. There are also beautiful clear pools where one can take a dip on many of the hiking trails around Clarens, as well as in The Golden Gate Highlands National Park.  &nbs
Stand at over 3000 meters above sea level and take in the view.      The day hike  (13km) starts at the Witsieshoek car park (Qua Qua). (Be warned, the last section of road from Phuthaditjhaba to the Witsieshoek Sentinel carpark is very rough)  and takes you to the edge of the Amphitheatre via two chain ladders and to the Tugela waterfall.   Hikers must be sure that they are well prepared for all weather conditions before starting off: the weather can change extremely quickly and one can go from full sunshine to misty conditions and even snow in a matter of minutes. Maluti Tours: (full day) tour starting in Clarens. Variations (over-nighting at the top) can be arranged.  Contact details Clarens Xtreme:   (full day) tour starting in Clarens. Contact details Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge:  To book a guide email info@witsieshoek.co.za or phone: 058 7136361  (Advance booking is essential.)  
    The CVC rangers together with Lothar Vogl  have started the New Year off with a big clean up. They've already  carted away a mountain of rubbish from the view site at  the entrance to Clarens on the Bethlehem Road,   (Nauupoort Nek)   and there are plans to cut the grass, refurbish the sign and generally make the village proud - and a lot more welcoming!  Sadly, the work of keeping the village litter-free is on-going, as the illegal dumping of rubbish  in and around the village continues to be a problem.  And, as if the rangers don't already have enough to do, they also have to contend with idiots who deface, tamper with, and even remove the newly painted signs on the trails.   Oh well, I'm sure they'll come up with an idiot-proof solution, but it must get very disheartening at times, especially when so much effort is put into maintaining and improving the trails. Regular users of the Spruit Trail will have noticed the new bridges and are probably already using them.   Lothar (who is helping out with the day-to-day running of the Clarens Village Nature Reserve)  has however informed me that this project is still incomplete, and there is still much work to be done:  low hanging branches and shrub growth as well as rubble at litter at the entry/access points to the trail is still to be cleared and steps as well as erosion control installations will be put in place at the steeper ends of the path approaching the bridge. The Spruit Walk is a must-do for anyone looking for peace and tranquility.  It's an easy walk - now made even easier - and is easy to access from Lake Clarens Drive, Van Zyl,  Market, Bester, and Van Reenen Streets. If you don't already have a map of the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Hiking trails, pick one up from the Clarens Village Grocer, Bibliophile, Maluti Tours or Mountain Odyssey.  The maps only cost R10  and all the funds raised from the sale of maps goes to the Clarens Village Conservancy to help with maintaining the trails.   (Members pay only  R5 .) Click here for your membership form. Click here to  find out more about the Clarens Village Conservancy. &n
  Meeting Victor Mokoena is like feeling the sun on your face after a few rainy days. The man has energy to spare and a megawatt smile. He is the Tourism Manager for the Northern Region of SANPARKS (Golden Gate) and the Chairperson of the Clarens Tourism Forum (CTF). Born in Clarens in 1980, he is a loyal and committed Claranite. He attended the Clarens Combined School from Grade 1 to Grade 12. When I asked him about his first job, he proudly talks about the years that he was a gardener in the village, earning R12 per week. Although he is quick to point out that the money was not what excited him about the job – it was the doorstop sandwiches that he got from his employers that kept his motivation high. Mr Mokoena Senior was a respected community leader with only a Std 6 level of formal education. Victor credits his father with teaching him about leadership and to this day Victor strives to meet the challenge his father gave him of being a better man than he – by touching more lives. The lessons in leadership have already paid off handsomely as Victor was awarded the SANPARKS  CEO’s Award for Leadership in 2012. The law’s loss is Clarens’ gain as Victor wanted to study law and had been accepted at UCT, when lack of funds scuttled that dream. He did have a job as a waiter at the Street Cafe (graduating from the role of gardener to car washer to waiter) and diligently plied his waiting craft in an effort to accumulate enough funds to pay for his tertiary education – and that of his brother, who now holds a B.Comm Accounting degree from the UFS and works in the UK. Victor attended the Qwa Qwa campus of the UFS and graduated with a degree in B Comm Management. He was due to attend his graduation ceremony – something he had looked forward to when his father passed away. Not willing to allow his dream to be deferred for long, he managed to arrange to graduate the following year. The personal sadness did not end there. Victor had an interview set up with Sanparks  at  9am on 31 August. His mother passed away at 7am that morning. Victor attended the interview and secured himself the position of Camp Manager of the Basotho Cultural Village. The man is determined. Victor has scaled 10 levels of posts within SANPARKS within the last 8 years and when asked about the secret of his success, he smiles and states that there is no secret, just hard work. I think that charm and an ease in engaging with all he comes into contact with is part of his ‘secret’. The driving force behind the commitment and hard work is the passion for unlocking minds, causing people to see things differently. Victor mentors colleagues and youth groups. He is a public speaker par exellance and loves to tell the stories that make people sit up and think. This philosophy he brings to his position as Chairperson of the CTF. The CTF is largely a behind -the -scenes organisation, laying the groundwork of promoting the Clarens area by aggressive marketing of the village and surrounds. Victor and his exco work tirelessly attending travel and tourism shows countrywide, engaging with the media for exposure, honing the strategy to make Clarens a destination. ‘Tourism is nothing else but spending money on experiences’, says Victor. Within the next 5 years Victor hopes to have joined Clarens Upper and Kgubetswana as a unit within the CTF. And to grow the tourism business to Clarens and the area. To this end the CTF is attending all the travel and tourism shows in the country with one aim in mind – get more people to visit Clarens and experience it. The CTF has been very instrumental in the promoting of the area and has been recognised by SANPARKS as Business Partner of the Year for 2013. This award highlights the symbiotic relationship that is inherent within the area surrounding Clarens. We are very fortunate to have, as a son of Clarens, a man who is the change he wants to see and is a living example of the Zen philosophy of being in the moment and giving life your all. Long may he stay with us.   Written by : Natalie Dell 27th March
  The Clarens Dinosaur Tour begins with a very comprehensive talk on Geology and Paleontology of the region. You will be given the opportunity to see a great variety of fossils – from teeth, claws and limb bones of the prehistoric giants, to the leaf impressions of ancient ferns – while learning about what the Earth was like during that period and how the different rock layers formed. The talk is followed by a trip to an ancient trackway where the fossilized footprints of dinosaurs can be seen and followed. The tours are usually from 2 – 2,5 hours long and are suitable for all ages. The walk to and from the footprints is short  (only about 800m) and easy. For more information and bookings:  please contact David on: 083 469 4703 News items Video: The 17th Annual Clarens Dinosaur Funw
Clarens Xtreme: For those who have their own enduro motorbikes but don’t have the venue to ride, Clarens Xtreme offer guided out rides from Clarens for full day or half day. The riding is intermediate to advanced, mainly rocky. Just like Lesotho Riding!!! Full and half day guided rides have a base fee which includes the first three riders and then an amount per person thereafter. There is unfortunately no self ride option as everything is private property. Get your riding mates together and let ClarensXtreme arrange your whole weekend in Clarens area or even a trip into Lesotho. We have a variety of package deals available. Grip and Whip…   Contact details Keep your eye on the events calendar for the annual Festival of Dirt!   &n
  Photograph of trout caught in Townlands Dam, Clarens by Oliver Scott (August 2013)   Clarens is a great area for  fishing – whether it be for trout or for bass. Trout fishing in the Townlands Dam Permits to fish in the Townlands Dam (catch and release) can be obtained from the following: The Clarens Golf and Trout Estate Clubhouse : Contact Details  Clarens Xtreme : Contact details   Fishing on the Ash River (Trout)  (Please note that the fishing offered is on a private stretch of the river) Contact:   Clarens Fishing Contact details Rob Silcock:  082 5730268   Other Dam and River Fishing Clarens Fishing : River and Dam fishing for trout, and bass, yellow fish and carp. Contact details Clarens Village Nature Reserve Dam:  Every now and again someone catches a good-sized bass or carp in the dam.   Permits are required.   (R25 per rod.   The funds go directly to the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.)  Available from Clarens Fishing or  The Jacket Shop.     There is also some excellent fly-fishing in Lesotho: Maluti Tours:  offer a two-night stopover tour for 4-6 people in self-catering accommodation near the edge of Katse  dam. (All provisions to be taken with as there are no shops and this is a remote area.) Contact details  If you’re planning to visit Lesotho – REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR PASSPORT &nbs
    Golden Gate Highlands National Park: The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is well known for its scenic beauty as well as its wildlife and birds. Click here to see the full list of mammals found in the park. Click here to see the list of bids found in the park  Self-drive trails:  (Maps available at the Information Centre opposite Glen Reenen Rest Camp). Blesbok Loop  (6.7km) Features the Zuluhoek lookout point and Generaalskop view point. Oribi Loop (4.2km) Be sure to stop at the Vulture Feeding hide.   (See Self Drive route Clarens to Vulture Feeding Site) Rebellie Game Farm Rebellie boasts a wide variety of game.  Look out for Eland,  Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Blesbok, Springbok, Black Wildebeest, Grey Rhebok and Mountain Reedbuck.  (Bring your binoculars.) Contact details   Tours Maluti Tours Tour of Golden Gate which takes in parts of The Golden Gate Highlands National Park which are not open to the general public.   Lots of opportunity to photograph game and birds. A visit to the Basotho Cultural Village included. Contact details Clarens Xtreme Tours of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park and the Basotho Cultural Village.   Contact details   Sethuthuthu Tours and Safaris Game drive  (4×4 game viewing vehicle) through what used to be the Qua Qua National Park (which now forms part of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.)  A chance to explore one of the last untamed wilderness areas in the Free State. Breathtaking scenery, plentiful game, dinosaur fossils and footprints, and bushman paintings too.  Lots of plains game to be seen.  Contact detail