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Why did we hand pick Ashbrook Country Lodge?

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  • Cottages and studio rooms right in the heart of the little cultural hub that is Clarens
  • Variety of self-catering accommodation to suit all needs
  • Charming country elegance makes for a delightful stay

Ashbrook Country Lodge

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

In Clarens


-28.5206, 28.4176


Ashbrook Country Lodge opened at 19 Hill Street in 2005 with just two self-catering cottages, which proved to be a hit among guests. This popularity prompted owners Victor and Vanessa Knowles to buy another property and open up two additional cottages, before they expanded again by building two suites and two more cottages.

Featuring distinctive country charm, spaciousness, affordability and comfort, it is easy to see why the accommodation has received such high acclaim. The six cottages (named after famous composers and artists) come in one-bedroom and two-bedroom configurations, sleeping between two and five people in Queen-size, King-size and single beds fitted with down duvets and high-quality cotton linen. Sleeper couches in several cottages come in handy for sleeping an extra adult or two kids.

The lounges all have fireplaces and underfloor heating is a warming presence during winter, while the kitchens are modern and amply equipped for self-catering. From the patios, lovely views of the mountainous surrounds can be enjoyed in conjunction with a festive braai.

When the weather doesn’t play along, guests can spend some quality time in the lounge next to the fire, or find a good movie to watch on the satellite television. All the main bedrooms come with spacious full en-suite bathrooms, while second bedrooms have en-suite showers.

Rembrandt and Van Gogh are the two romantic studio suites, each sleeping two people in a Queen-size bed with full en-suite bathroom. Basic meals can be prepared in the kitchenette, but the rooms are better suited for couples preferring to dine out most of the time. Although crime is hardly ever a problem in leisurely Clarens, all guests do have the benefit of secure parking behind remote-controlled gates, just in case.

The quaint village of Clarens is an arts and crafts haven, and Ashbrook is a short walk away from the art galleries, unique shops and delightful restaurants scattered around the shady streets. It is easy to see where the town’s artists draw their inspiration from, as the surrounding natural environment is a pretty tapestry of sandstone mountains, rivers and willow trees.

The village’s high altitude and pristine waters make it a popular destination for trout fishing and the bordering Maluti Mountain range is a paradise for hiking, horse riding, photography and bird watching. Golden Gate National Park is within driving distance and well worth a day trip, while other adventures include white-water rafting and archery. Golfers can head to the Clarens Golf Estate for a unique and scenic round of golf in the mountains.

Rates & Summary

2 Double Cottages

Each sleeps 2 in Queen-size bed
En-suite bath and shower
Lounge with fireplace
Kitchen, patio with braai
Sleeper couch for extra child

2 Triple Cottages

Each sleeps 3 in King/twin beds and sleeper couch
En-suite bath and shower
Lounge with fireplace
Kitchen, patio with braai

2 Studio Rooms

Each sleeps 2 in Queen-size bed
En-suite bath and shower

Mozart Lodge

Sleeps 4 in King room and twin room
King room with en-suite bath and shower
Twin room with en-suite shower
Lounge with fireplace
Kitchen, patio with braai

Renoir Lodge

Sleeps 5 in King room, twin room and sleeper couch
King room with en-suite bath and shower
Twin room with en-suite shower
Lounge with fireplace
Kitchen, patio with braai


  • For pricing detail, click on CHECK AVAILABILITY & BOOK ONLINE above


All the rooms are self-catering
The Studio Rooms are better suited to couples who prefer to dine out


Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

Ashbrook Country Lodge offers a range of self-catering accommodation on two separate properties in the heart of the village of Clarens. Six cottages and two studio rooms cater to everyone from singles to couples and large families and groups of friends. Guests will enjoy the independence of flexible self-catering accommodation while admiring stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The cottages act as a perfect base for exploring the sights and sounds of beautiful Clarens.


  • Cottages and studio rooms right in the heart of the little cultural hub that is Clarens
  • Variety of self-catering accommodation to suit all needs
  • Charming country elegance makes for a delightful stay

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming costume, swimming towels, golf clubs, fly fishing gear, binoculars for bird watching/game viewing.

Road Conditions

All roads leading to Ashbrook are tarred.

Activities & Attractions

Nearby: fly fishing, hiking, horse riding, cycling, archery, mountain climbing, abseiling, white water rafting, game viewing, golf, arts and crafts.


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Lounge
  • Dining table
  • Covered verandah / patio
  • Electric blanket included
  • Fireplace
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Hair dryer available
  • Daily housekeeping
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • No Restaurant
  • Not licensed
  • Full Kitchen
  • Braai area available
  • Microwave oven
  • Gas stove
  • Fridge and freezer


  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • No swimming pool
  • Satellite television
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • No Wi-Fi
  • Good cell phone reception
  • No business centre
  • No conference facilities available

Access & Convenience

  • Child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops within 2km
  • Nearest fuel within 1km


  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted




Thabo Mofutsanyana

Free State


The northern and eastern sections of the Free State, commonly referred to as the “eastern Free State”, nudge up against the borders of Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Kingdom of Lesotho. Officially the region is called Thabo Mofutsanayana.  Mofutsanyana, born in QwaQwa, was a leading light of both the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party until his death in 1995.

Geographically, this region bucks a trend. While most of the Free State is flat, the eastern reaches tower up as the Drakensberg and the Malotis come into play. The landscape climbs and soars, leaving impressive cliffs and buttresses of sandstone, and hidden caves in its wake.

Nowhere is the scene more striking that at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park near the village of Clarens. The maze of sculptured rock formations here is almost too much to absorb.  Sunset colours the cliffs in shades of ochre, hence the reference to gold in the name of the park.

These higher altitudes, of course, do wonders for the eastern Free State air, which is crisp, clean and bracing, conducive to a feeling of good health.

Clarens is one of the villages that lie in the foothills of the Malotis. With its mountainous surrounds, it is said to be reminiscent of the Swiss village of Clarens, where President Paul Kruger lived out his exile.

A town of sandstone buildings set amidst farmland, it has undergone something of a reincarnation in recent years as an artists’ colony. Just three hours or so from Gauteng’s big cities, weekenders come down to roam its galleries and craft shops.

The principal town in this region is Bethlehem. Once again sandstone buildings are characteristic of the town, which is the centre of a farming community that produces the lion’s share of South Africa’s wheat crop.

It has both built and natural attractions, including a flat-water slalom course for canoeists on the Ash River. Bethlehem is also the location of an annual national hot-air balloon championship.

Also set against an imposing Maloti backdrop is Ficksburg, renowned for its annual Cherry Festival in summer. A gateway to Lesotho and its Katse Dam, the town’s environs offer much in the way of adventure activity, such as 4x4 trails, quad-biking, abseiling, trout-fishing and game-viewing.

Other Thabo Mofutsanyane towns are Arlington, Clocolan, Fouriesburg, Harrismith, Kestell, Lindley, Marquard, Memel, Paul Roux, Petrus Steyn, Phuthaditjhaba, Reitz, Rosendal, Senekal, Vrede and Warden.

Look out for

Golden Gate Highlands National Park – This park is a theatre of natural, towering sandstone formations, named “golden” for their colour at sunset.  At that time of day, the best place to appreciate the beauty is the highest point in the park, Ribbokkop.  The former QwaQwa National Park was incorporated into Golden Gate in 2005.  Horseriding is a popular outdoor pursuit in the park, which is valued for its plant, animal and bird life.  A number of accommodation options are available.

Basotho Cultural Village –  South Sotho architecture, arts and crafts, herbal medicinal remedies and cuisine can be explored at the Basotho Cultural Village near Phuthaditjhaba.  Song and dance folklore shows can also be enjoyed.

The Sentinel – Also near Phuthaditjhaba, it is the access point for a series of trails that lead hikers to the rear of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre and some of the country’s most magnificent scenery.  Geographical features to view are The Sentinel, Devil’s Tooth, the Eastern Buttress and the Tugela Falls.

Discovering cherries, Ficksburg  - The annual Cherry Festival in Ficksburg takes place in November.  It is a three-day event that attracts thousands and entertains with fun activities such as horse- and camel-rides.  Cherry farm tours, however, take place throughout the cherry season, which is in October and November.  Locally made cherry liqueurs, brandies and schnapps should be tasted to complete the experience.

Clarens – A host of things to do and see in Clarens includes the Artist Amble, a route of galleries open to the public; rock art on Schaapplaats Farm; sandstone formations such as Mushroom Rock and Titanic Rock; dinosaur fossils at Sue’s Zoo; fly-fishing as well as bass- and river-fishing; hiking and horse-riding.

Sterkfontein Dam, Harrismith – The third largest dam in South Africa, the Sterkfontein Dam is a popular venue for water sports and angling.  Predating the Lesotho Highlands project, the water that fills the dam is pumped up from KwaZulu-Natal.  It is then released into the Wilge River, from where it flows into the Vaal Dam.    The Sterkfontein Dam’s banks are surrounded by a nature reserve where strange rock formations are just as interesting to view as buck and raptors.  Camping and chalet accommodation is available, as well as hiking trails.

Salpeterkrans – At Fouriesburg you will find Salpeterkrans, one of the largest sandstone overhangs in the southern hemisphere, shaped by wind erosion.  It not surprising that it is considered a sacred site where ancestral worship and fertility rites take place.

Rosendal – like the town of Clarens, Rosendal is known for its arty vibe. There are numerous art galleries in and around town, as well as quaint shops and restaurants. The Meerkatkolonie Art Gallery is a must. Rosendal is a popular weekend getaway destination for those who live in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

When to go

To Do

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