It was about ten year ago, long before I began blogging. I received an unsolicited but rather attractive email.
This is what it said…
We found this limited investment offer just for you.
Would you like to take a walk on the tranquil side of life by coming home to XXX Estate in Clarens ?
Let us fly you there to find out!!*
The sales program is as follows:
- We meet you and your partner at Lanseria International airport at 8:30am.
- The flight to Clarens in our 8 seater helicopter takes approximately 1 Hour.
- Our Sales Manager does a short presentation.
- You are given a tour of the estate and the town of Clarens .
- Lunch on us.
- You are returned to Lanseria airport by 4pm.
It was an offer to visit a property with stands for sale, in Clarens, for the day. We were later asked to bring some friends along with too.
Of course, we agreed.
This was the confirmation we received.
This letter serves to confirm that I have booked the 26th of November for you and your family/friends to fly to XXX Estate in Clarens on our Agusta 119 Helicopter out of Lanseria International Airport. We can accommodate 6 passengers for the trip which takes a little over 1 hour to complete. The day will consist of the flight to the estate, a short presentation at the sales office by our sales manager, a trip around the estate to view the available stands, a trip around the brand new 18-hole golf course, a magnificent lunch at the Highlander restaurant in the town of Clarens, and then the return flight which should see us touch down at 4:30 in the afternoon.
I suggest that everyone wears casual clothes, comfortable walking shoes and a light warm top in case the weather turns a little chilly. Bring along a camera to record the many wonderful sights during the flight as well as our beautiful estate and town of Clarens.
It turned out to be an amazing day. The flight with our friends was loads of fun and as we were being driven to the estate, we passed a lion sanctuary where we saw some lions. The estate was beautiful and the fresh trout at lunch was delicious. The day ended too soon though and we had to fly back to Johannesburg.
I don’t know how much it cost the estate but it couldn’t have been cheap. We did consider buying a holiday property there in partnership with our friends but in the end we decided that it wouldn’t be feasible. (It would have been a great investment in retrospect though, considering how accommodation in Clarens in always in demand).
The brief visit, however, was a peek into the soul of the Jewel of the Free State and we vowed to go back again and spend more time there. It took ten years but we finally got around to visiting again on our road trip from Lesotho.
Clarens was named after the town of Clarens in Switzerland where former President Paul Kruger, an admired personality in the area at the time, spent his last years. It oozes charms from its cobblestone alleys, its quirky shops and restaurants, its cosy ambience and its picturesque landscapes. It is easy to see how the town has become an artists inspiration. Art workshops are often held here and there are over 20 art galleries on the Clarens Art Route, which is remarkable for a town this size. Even the caves in the mountains around Clarens boast ancient rock art.
The surrounding hills, rivers and mountains provide the perfect backdrop for activities like hiking, horse-riding, mountain-biking, fishing, archery, and white-water rafting. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is just a few minutes away too.
It is easier to relax here and the air is cleaner and fresher.
The Jewel of the Free State has a lot to offer. Add it to your South African bucket list.