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Why did we hand pick The Clarens Country House?

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  • Interesting connection to renowned storyteller, Herman Charles Bosman
  • Peaceful pastoral setting just outside the artsy town
  • Braai facilities, walking, birding, flyfishing all on your doorstep

The Clarens Country House

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

In Clarens


-28.5115, 28.4319


Clarens Country House offers charming self-catering accommodation in an attractively-remodelled sandstone sheep shed which pays tribute to the works of Herman Charles Bosman, arguably South Africa’s greatest storyteller. 

The guest house is run by the wife of artist Peter Badcock-Walters, who brought Bosman’s stories vividly to life with 90 pencil and crayon drawings in his coffee table compilation, The Illustrated Bosman. Peter is now the artist-in-residence at Clarens Country House, and much of the book’s original artwork is displayed on the walls of the rooms and verandah, creating a nostalgic, authentically South African atmosphere.

Surrounded by trees, rolling lawns and mountains on the Clarens Golf Estate, the guest house offers plenty of tranquillity and lovely views for visitors to enjoy, as well as ample opportunity for recreation. Accommodation in the main house consists of three suites, decorated in warming country-style luxury. 

The rooms all open onto the huge, comfortably-furnished ‘Oom Schalk se Stoep’. Named after Bosman’s fictional character Schalk Lourens - described as the biggest liar in Marico – this deep glazed verandah is the convivial heart of the house and offers stunning views over the lawns and mountains. Visitors can tell their own stories around two wood burning stoves during the cold highland winters, while al fresco dining can be enjoyed in summer. 

All the suites have full en-suite bathrooms and well-appointed kitchens leading to an open-plan lounge and dining area. Additional facilities include tea/coffee stations, satellite television, heaters, electric blankets, quality linen and towels. A decanter of sherry and a golf club corner are thoughtful touches. 

Facing east, The Ouhout Suite perfectly frames the sunrise over Mount Horeb - the Free State’s third-highest mountain - and offers a generously-sized bedroom with a choice of King-size or twin beds. The Wildeals Suite mirrors Ouhout, but faces west, with views over the golf course and village. 

With two separate King/twin rooms, the split-level Bosman Suite is as well-suited for families as it is for groups. One bedroom has views over Mount Horeb, and the other allows guests to admire the sun setting over Clarens. Separate from the main house, The Shepherd’s Loft is surrounded by willow trees and offers a dreamy experience for romantic couples. Picture windows frame lovely views of the dam, which teems with water birds, and guests can breathe in the fresh country air from seating areas in the private garden. 

Braai facilities, set under the trees next to seating areas, are available for the use of all guests. Although well-suited for simply unwinding from life’s stresses, the country house also offers plenty for those who want to do more than just relax. A network of beautiful walking trails is right on the doorstep and allows guests to explore the scenic estate and do some bird watching.

The golf course is one of the most spectacular and unique layouts in the country, and golfers are able to play on a homeowner’s card which offers greatly reduced rates. Fly fishermen can fish in a well-stocked trout dam right next to the estate, with permits available from the golf club’s pro shop, and the surrounding countryside plays host to numerous other trout dams and rivers, as well as hiking trails. 

A visit to Clarens will reveal the rich art culture and quaint character that has made the village a popular tourist destination. Tours into Lesotho, as well as extreme adventures, can also be arranged.

Rates & Summary

The Ouhout Suite

Sleeps 2 in King-size/twin beds
En-suite bath and shower
Open-plan lounge, dining area and kitchen
Shared glazed verandah with mountain views

The Wildeals Suite

Sleeps 2 in King-size/twin beds
En-suite bath and shower
Open-plan lounge, dining area and kitchen
Shared glazed verandah with mountain views

The Bosman Suite

Split-level family unit
Sleeps 4 in 2 King/twin bedrooms upstairs
Both bedrooms have full en-suite bathrooms
Extra single bed can be added
Lounge, dining area and kitchen downstairs
Shared glazed verandah with mountain views

The Shepherd’s Loft

Sleeps 2 in Queen-size bed
En-suite bath and shower
Open-plan lounge, dining area and kitchen
Outdoor seating area in private garden


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




Children of all ages are welcome.
The estate has a playground.

Why Stay Here?

Set amongst mountain-fringed willow trees in the Clarens Golf Estate just outside the village itself, Clarens Country House offers a mix of tranquillity and recreation, along with self-catering accommodation in a remodelled sandstone sheep shed and a romantic, separate loft room. Guests can immerse themselves the tales told by famous storyteller Herman Charles Bosman, with original artwork from his book displayed in the rooms and on the wide glazed verandah. Guests can play golf on the estate’s spectacular course at homeowner’s rates.


  • Interesting connection to renowned storyteller, Herman Charles Bosman
  • Peaceful pastoral setting just outside the artsy town
  • Braai facilities, walking, birding, flyfishing all on your doorstep


The loft room is set away from the main house and is perfect for couples who want privacy.

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 the country house are tarred or paved.

Activities & Attractions

  • Braai facilities
  • Golf course
  • Fly fishing
  • Nearby: hiking, horse riding, quad biking, Golden Gate National Park, Drakensberg Mountains, art galleries.


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Lounge
  • Dining table
  • Covered verandah / patio
  • Heater included
  • Electric blanket included
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood provided
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • No Catering
  • No Restaurant
  • Not licensed
  • Kitchenette
  • Braai area available
  • Microwave oven
  • Electric stove
  • Fridge or minibar


  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • No swimming pool
  • Satellite television
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi
  • No cell phone reception

Access & Convenience

  • Not wheelchair friendly
  • No babysitting
  • Very child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops within 2km
  • Nearest fuel within 5km
  • No shuttle service available


  • Credit cards accepted
  • 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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