Dog Friendly Accommodation - Clarens

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

On our recent road trip from Durban to Cape Town we discovered this dog friendly gem! It’s hard to find luxury dog friendly accommodation in a good location so when we stayed here, I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

The Windmill Cottage


Situated in the Freestate, just outside of Clarens, is Ridge Road Estate. There are three accommodation options and we stayed in the self-catering, Windmill Cottage which sleeps six people. This place ticks all the boxes: Karroo charm, beautiful interior, fully equipped modern kitchen, enclosed garden and a braai area, 'sinkdam' styled swimming pool with the most beautiful views and daily visits from their own resident pooches! They have a Jack Russell and Irish Wolfhound.

Inside the Windmill Cottage
We checked in for two nights, unpacked our bags and made ourselves right at home. This place is a perfect escape from the city and is well worth the roadtrip from Joburg or Durban. It feels remote but safe, as there is a security guard who walks around the premises at night which also puts your mind at ease.

The braai area

BEFORE you head to Clarens

Stock up on supplies and take these with you or stop in a big town before you get to Clarens! You can pick up a few fresh baked goods in Clarens but not much else. There is no Spar, Woolworths or good quality grocery store in Clarens. We only realised how limited our options were when we got there and then had to travel an hour and half to a grocery store to buy fresh produce and a few other essentials.

The beautiful views & resident Irish Wolfhound meeting Benji

Driving to Clarens from Durban

We drove this scenic route to Clarens which I thought I would share with you as it was such a gorgeous drive and there are places you can stop if you need to let your dog out for a break along the way.

  • N3 Northbound until Escourt. Stop at The Windmills for a coffee, snacks, to refuel and let you dog out. This is on the N3 Nottingham Road offramp, Exit 132
  • R74 through Wintertin, Bergvile and Sterkfontein Dam (I highly recommend stopping at one of the look out points here)
  • R712 to Clarens

One of the three rooms

What to do in Clarens

I found eating out in Clarens rather disappointing and the food was generally below average. So, I would recommend you eat at your accommodation and rather venture out to walk around the town, grab a coffee, have a drink and hit the shops. Clarens is a cute, little arty town and dogs are welcome almost anywhere. Just make sure they are well behaved and on a leash as there are a few local dogs that roam the streets too, (we had a few follow us and then looked like “those crazy people” arriving at a restaurant with six dogs but only one was ours. The rest Benji had made friends with and invited along the way!) If you are looking to pick up a piece of art, then Clarens won’t disappoint. For a small town, they had a number of art and craft stores and we picked up our first piece of art at a more affordable price than we would have paid in Cape Town for example.  Here are a few of my other favourite stores.

  • Purple Onion - they have a little bit of everything
  • Highland Coffee – pop in for your caffeine fix
  • The Courtyard Bakery - they have fresh bread, rolls, baked good, sauces, koeksisters, cookies, cheeses pies and all sorts of home-made goodies!
  • Art & Wine was my favourite place for art

Alternatively…
  • Culture – visit the local museum and other Boer War sites
  • Adventure – there are a number of outdoor adventures to be had! Horse riding, hikes, white water rafting and quad biking to name few

Benji deciding which painting to buy from Art & Wine

Top Tip

During the week Ridge Road Estate offer specials! This place also makes the perfect New Year’s Eve getaway with your dog as there are no fireworks.

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