"Clarens" Clarens by hayesstw
Clarens Travel Guide: 31 reviews and 58 photos
We left for our holiday just after 8:00. We travelled through Bapsfontein and Springs, and bypassed Nigel. We thought we would have breakfast in Balfour, but we saw no garages, and certainly none with restaurants. The streets were all in poor condition, and about half of them were being worked on.
We decided to go on to Villiers and have breakfast there, and reached it at 10:52, 197,2 km from Pretoria, but again there were no garages with restaurants, but one of them had a takeaway place, so we bought a couple of pies to eat on our way and filled up with petrol and left.
The road to Frankfort was being dug up in several places, and there were signs warning that one should expect delays of 30 minutes, but we didn't have to wait quite as long as that.
We didn't go in to Frankfort, but drove out on the road to Reitz, and stopped about 20 km along it to eat our pasties and sausaage rolls. We stopped where there were some trees at the side of the road, It was about noon and we had covered 241.3 km, There was a large ruined stone house on one side of the road, and an abandoned lorry and a derelect building all over prickly pears on the other, so we took several photos. The sky was full of fluffy cumulus clouds. As we went on from there I took some photos while we were moving, as there were poplar trees, some all autumn yellow, and some still green.
We arrived in Clarens about 2:00 pm, 386,8 km from Pretoria, and found the Cottage Pie B&B where we were booked to stay with some difficulty, The room was adequate, and it was right under a mountain, and the trees in their autumn beauty.
Barbara, the landlady at Cottage Pie, had recommended two restaurants for supper, and having been deprived of proper breakfast or lunch, but just had brunch of a couple of pies at the side of the road at noon, we wanted a decent dinner. The first one we tried, The Highlander, was fully booked,
so we tried the other, the Post House, which had a cheerful fire in the grate, and reminded me in a way of Monodendri in Greece. It was even about the same time of the year that we had been there, though there it was spring instead of autumn. Val had a T-bone steak and I had a rump steak, and we were wicked and had lemon meringue pie for pudding afterwards.
Then at 7:30 we went to have coffee with Dons and Anneke Kritzinger, and spent a very pleasant couple of hours, old missiologists reminiscing. Dons asked about Orthodoxy in Africa, so told him the story of the African Orthodox Church, and he said he was involved with the local congregation of the Uniting Reformed Church, and they also had a good ecumenical group in the village, which did things together.
We woke up at 5:58, and lay in bed reading for an hour or so, then we packed up, and went to breakfast at 8:00, and talked for a while to Dave and Barbara before leaving. We went to the "Golf and Trout Estate" to try to find Toni Badcock-Walters, and eventually did, and had tea with her. Their house, which they had converted from an old barn, was still being built.
We left Clarens at 9:54, and drove to Fouriesburg, but did not go in to the town, and from there the road deteriorated, with lots of potholes. We by-passed Clocolan, and saw Modderpoort in the distance -- the new tarred road is quite a bit further east than the old gravel road, though when I say new, it is a relative term, since the tar road was here when we last passed this way 26 years ago, in 1985. It was a beautiful day, with more Lombardy poplars in their autumn beauty.
We went in to Ladybrand to buy cold drinks, It was 11:28, and we had covered 156,6 from Clarens. Val took over the driving, and if anything the potholes on the road to Wepener were even worse than those on the previous stretch. We passed Hobhouse at 12:15, 212,8 km from Clarens, but did not go in. We stopped at Wepener at 12:45, (251,9 km) to go to a garage just off the main road to go to the loo, but it was an unpreposessing place, which, though it advertised as a tourist garage, did not have a cafe attached.
Near Zastron they were working on the road. We filled up with petrol at Aliwal North at 2:00 pm (379,8 km), where there was a proper tourist garage, with a Steers attached, and it was very busy, perhaps because it was a public holiday and the end of an extra long weekend, since many people seemed to have taken Tuesday off as well, It looked too crowded for lunch, so we went round the block to a Pub and Grill we had seen by the river side, and Val had a venison pie, under the disapproving gaze of a stuffed gemsbok head on the wall above, and I had a mince tortilla.
- Pros:Beautiful setting and scenery, especially in autumn
- Cons:Popular tourist place, so tends to get crowded at times
hayesstw's Related Pages
Clarens Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "The Jewel of the Free State"
- "Clarens and Golden Gate National Park"
- "Clarens: Spectacular Freestate!"
- "An oasis of art and craft ~ Clarens"
- "Quiet but lovely"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Clarens
- Hotels in Clarens
- Nightlife in Clarens
- Restaurants in Clarens
- Shopping in Clarens
- See All...
Explore the World
Badges & Stats in Clarens
- 1 Reviews
- 3 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 0 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (1)
Have you been to Clarens?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Clarens
Top PagesSee All Travel Pages (2)
No friends yet.
Latest Clarens hotel reviews
- Kiara Lodge
- 28 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 3, 2013