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Life is all about experiences. Savouring beauty. Finding hidden treasures. Soaring to new heights. Doing something crazy that makes your heart pound with excitement. Creating memories with family and friends. This year’s Lush Festival showcases some of the most amazing experiences imaginable that will leave your soul spellbound.

Taking place between 14 and 17 April 2017 on Linwood Farm in the tree-filled town of Clarens (an easy three-hour drive from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Pretoria), Lush offers something for everyone.

For those who love a challenge, there are Mountain Bike Trails and Trail Runs set against a breath taking backdrop,  guided tours traversing through South Africa’s rich and rugged landscape and horseback riding among the majestic countryside. For those seeking the thrill of adventure, fly high in a hot air balloon ride, experience white-knuckle rapids while river rafting, or enjoy the breath taking scenery of cliffs and rock formations as you abseil in the Maloti Mountains.

If music ignites your senses, you’ll relish in Lush’s live band line-up including Australian rock band The Temper Trap and the likes of Jeremy Loops, Francois van Coke, Karen Zoid and many more.  There’s also delicious food on offer for those hungry to try something new, with the ultimate selection of craft beers on tap from some of the country’s finest brew masters. Don’t worry about the trip back home, an array of different accommodation in and around the Festival ensures you’ll settle comfortably for the night whether you’re an independent traveller who prefers camping or a glam packer who wants a stylish castle to recharge in.

Our adrenalin-pumping bike trail and a series of runs that have been grouped in three different distances to meet your specific requirements. Festival attendees will be able to make use of a number of MTB trails in the area and near the town and three different distance trail runs – 5KM Fun Run, 10KM River Run and 21KM Half Marathon,” says Damon Forbes, Festival organiser. “The trail runs through the breath taking Witteberg and Rooiberg mountain ranges in the Eastern Free State Highlands. Rated as ‘moderate’, stamina will be put to the test with as runners negotiate hill climbs and river beds. The route offers a wonderful way for just about anyone to enjoy the pristine natural environment on the route and magnificent scenery of the Free State Highlands. Festival goers can go on guided tours around the Farm where a tour guide will explain the landscape and its history. Tour attendees will see various cave paintings, rock art that’s been painted centuries ago as well as some of the most beautiful landscape South Africa has to offer. “

If there is one experience you’ll rush to tell your friends and family about, and will always remember yourself, it’s riding in a hot air balloon.

A hot air balloon flight in Clarens is a truly spectacular experience,” says Warwick Cook of Hot Air Ballooning SA. “The Maluti mountains and the surrounding scenery is magnificent when viewed from above. The flight duration is about 45 minutes to an hour; we launch at sunrise (around 6am) because it is the only time the air is stable. The only control the pilot has is up or down; you drift with the wind so there is little or no turbulence during the flight, it’s just you and the elements. The pilot varies the height he flies at, from treetop height to about 300m above the ground. The crew deflates the balloon whilst our passengers enjoy a celebratory glass of champagne, then we return to the place of departure by vehicle, where a certificate is awarded to each guest. The total duration is about three hours from the time we meet until return.”

There will be also be a number of spaces open for festival attendees to go white water rafting in the surrounding Clarens rapids. Although white water rafting can be quite extreme as there are 9 decent rapids, have no fear as there are “rapids and rafting for everyone”, says Ollie Esplin, owner of Clarens Xtreme The Ash River just outside Clarens  is fed by the Trans Caledon Transfer Tunnel, which pumps water from the Katze Dam high up in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho. The crystal clear water flows down the Ash River all the way to the Vaal Dam creating the perfect playground for rafting enthusiasts. In addition to rafting, there’s abseiling off of rock cliffs on Linwood Farm while the festival is taking place.

Being a three-day festival, organisers have ensured there’s ample accommodation for guests, who can make use of the self-catering hotels, B&Bs, backpackers and lodges as well as guest houses, guest farms and country inns available in and around the town. There will also be a number of ‘tented hotels’, erected by Harambe, who are famous for their camps at Oppi Koppi. Each tent will have beds, power points for charging phones and will also include creature comforts like private showers, a restaurant catering for breakfast (included) and its own bar. By having these different facilities festival goer can choose where to stay depending on their specific needs. The second Tented Hotel is Owl Town, where pre erected tents will have a mattress and be ready for you on arrival. This space also shares the Plus camping space.

While Lush itself will take place on Linwood Farm – a well-protected farm – there will also be a  frenzy of activities in and around Clarens itself. A sight-seeing hub, many of the homes, restaurants and shops in this century-old town were crafted from sandstone, contributing to the town’s appeal. Art lovers will marvel at the number of galleries, design studios and art markets, while shoppers will delight with an endless assortment of crafts and curios.

Lush promises to be a world-class festival and a fun escape for locals and international visitors alike. After all, it’s about  living for today and enjoying every moment.

For more info on activities please see www.lushfestival.com