Personal – Weekend Away | Clarens

Last weekend, Hubby and I took our parents to the Eastern Free State for a little getaway to thank you for their time, effort, and financial support put into our wedding last year.

It’s been a long time coming, and we’ve both wanted to see that part of the country, so we used the Fickburg Cherry Festival as a good reason to head to the Eastern Highlands, just north of the Lesotho border. On Friday evening, we were greeted by an impressive electrical storm over the Maluti Mountains in Clarens, but that lead to a beautiful hot and clear Saturday.

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As well as being an area known for its Cherry’s this part of South Africa is also know for its Asparagus – we indulged in asparagus and champagne.

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Can you see the trees moving – scary storm.

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We started early to Ficksburg to beat the crowds at the Cherry Festival (which turned out to be a good thing) and went straight for the main tent. Although Hubby was making his best effort to sample as much liqueur as possible, I was quite disappointed by the relatively small percentage of stalls with cherry wares. Most of the tent’s occupants were selling the usual flea market trade with no sign of a cherry tart anywhere 🙁 Also at the show grounds were classic cars, a dog show, music and fun fair rides. So all in all, just another small town’s annual fund raiser and a little let down compared to what I had in mind.

We took a quick drive around the “metropolis” of Ficksburg and saw the local town hall and church made from (authentic) massive sandstone bricks, not just the cladding like is so popular these days, and then made our way into the country for lunch at The Rose House. A quaint BnB with nothing but mountains for view and a wonderful farmstyle restaurant. A real treat compared to the throbbing masses in town!

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To add some culture and history to our trip, we went to see the Holkrans (Hollow Cave) of the Meiringskloof Nature Reserve, just outside Fouriesburg. This unique sandstone cave formed by erosion is shaped like an inverted amphitheatre and housed the town’s population of women and children (and livestock) in hiding during the Anglo-Boer war. That’s as much as I have managed to establish so far, but I’m keen to learn more!

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Our weekend ended with an amble through Clarens, from the dam in the hills to the shops and galleries around the square and a quick visit to the Ash River tunnel outlet point of the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme. Mr Engineer Hubby was so excited to see it, but was unfortunately let down when the channel was bare due to the rainy season not having started yet. But it looks like it would be fascinating to see in flood (if your brain works that way!).

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We decided to drive home along the “scenic route” through the Golden Gate National Park, which boasts more amazing sandstone rock buttresses and features, which really emphasises the diversity our country has to offer.

It was a special weekend with our wonderful parents and I look forward to my next adventure to another unique corner of our beautiful land!

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