It was like a white cloud

It was like a white cloud

It was time for the annual migration of the The Pioneer White butterfly

We have all seen the white butterflies flying through our Village. But where are they going? Where are they coming from?

Professor Marcus Byrne from the school of animal, plant and environmental sciences at Wits University’s said it is an annual migration and the white butterflies are called Belenois aurota which means beautiful gold dusting referring to the colour on their wings.

They migrate from the Kalahari area north east across the continent but where exactly they are going to is not clear or whether they do a return journey. On average, they live for about a month and these butterflies can travel quite far with the wind. With the massive decline in insect populations over the last few years we can rejoice in this natural event taking place during midsummer every year. 

They have a massive distribution spreading over most of Africa towards India and even as far as Sri Lanka. Depending on climatic conditions like rain and drought their numbers differ each year. The annual migration of the Brown-veined White Butterfly in South Africa takes place during midsummer every year.

Award-winning goat’s cheese from Baris

Award-winning goat’s cheese from Baris

Award-winning goat’s cheese from Baris

After teaching herself cheesemaking, Estee van Aswegen entered her Baris cheeses at the South African Dairy Championships and won top of class.

The artisanal Baris cheeses are sold at the farm’s deli and restaurant, Baris Monger. She also supplies the Cheese Gourmet in Linden, Johannesburg. The Baris range consists of eight cheeses, including Camembert, Brie, feta, halloumi and the award-winning Vliedermaus, judged top of its class in 2018 and 2019 at the South African Dairy Championships.Van Aswegen describes it as a rich, soft, creamy, ashed, bloomy rind cheese that is bold in flavour.

The Baris Camembert was awarded second place in 2019 and third place in 2018 in the category for goat’s milk bloomy rind cheese, with or without condiments. It has a buttery yet milky taste, and she says it makes a superb baked Camembert.

The halloumi, which gained third place in 2019, is made using the traditional style of folding, and contains mint from the Baris garden.

“Developing our range of cheeses has been a mind-blowing journey. Since we developed our own recipes, it took a lot of experimenting. It was important not to replicate other cheeses on the market, but to develop a range with its own identity and flavour.”

The most charming towns and small cities in South Africa

The most charming towns and small cities in South Africa

Recently the online Travelmag published a lovely story about places to visit in South Africa. (

South Africa is home to a diverse landscape that comprises everything from pristine beaches, rugged mountains and craggy cliffs, to dense forests, crystal-clear lagoons and lush winelands. Interspersed around this varied topography are a vast number of towns and cities, each boasting their own unique character and cultural identity...”

About Clarens…

Clarens, Free State

“Perched in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, the small town of Clarens has been dubbed the “Jewel of the Eastern Free State” – and for good reason. As an artistic haven, many creative types come here to gain inspiration from its breathtaking scenery. This is at its starkest in the nearby Golden Gate Highlands National Park, which takes its name from the shades of gold and orange cast by the sun on the sandstone cliffs at certain times of day. There’s no shortage of gift-buying opportunities too, thanks to the town’s myriad arts galleries and craft stores. Additionally, cycling, game driving, trout fishing and birding offer plenty of outdoor recreation options.”

Dreaming of safe, tranquil living?

Are you ready to own a piece of heaven?

The Clarens Mountain Estate Show House is ready and available.

Priced at R1.995 million ex-vat, she is waiting for a loving family, retirees, or young executives to share relaxing weekends away on 320h of safe and tranquil Estate living. This modern home will offer two bedrooms en-suite with open plan living and entertaining. Perfect for a little weekend getaway and investment.

Courant Best of Bloem

Clarens was awarded the Best Weekend Getaway in a 500-km radius by the Best of Bloemfontein Readers’ Choice Awards and last week it was time to pick up the award.

The Atrium of the Hotel School at the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) was the backdrop of the glitz and glam that could only be associated with the Best of Bloemfontein gala evening. The theme of the awards, “Bring the Bling”, brought a touch of elegance and class to the ceremony. The evening’s proceedings were further complimented by the fine dining cuisine of the Hotel School and the smooth jazzy sounds of local band Pure Delicate Artistry (PDA).

The big winners of the evening was the LEjit Lekker Restaurant in Preller Walk, who scooped up an amazing six awards, as well as Campus Key Student Living, who became only the second Bloemfontein business to win the Most Innovative Business Award.  Stephen Gooch, FNB Free State Regional Head, said the idea behind the Innovation Award is to recognise and celebrate those local businesses that really embrace innovation in their business. FNB is the main sponsor of the event. – Pieter Delport

Di Jones, Karen vd Merwe and Bridget Bach represented the Clarens Tourism Forum, picking up the award

Dino Park progress

The Dino Park in Golden Gate is an ambitious project initiated by Sanparks to show off the 190 million year old dinosaur nesting sight which belonged to an early pro-sauropod dinosaur of the early Jurassic called Massospondylus.

The design as proposed by Mashabane Rose architects and urban designers. The building is designed to have a minimal impact on the landscape of Golden Gate.

 It will be built on the already disturbed area next to the camping site. The area is filled with fossils of large dinosaurs in the sandstone rock.

The Free State proved to be fossil hunters’ paradise!  Just an hour’s drive from the Rosendal farm, Jonah Choiniere and his team from Johannesburg’s Witwatersrand University has already unearthed fossils belonging to a newly discovered type of dinosaur that roamed the earth 200 million years ago.

Oldest Dinosaur Nesting Site Unearthed

A clutch of dinosaur eggs were discovered in Rooidraai, named after the colour of the rock in the area, in 1976 by the former director of the BPI, Professor James Kitching.

The nests belonged to Massospondylus, a six-metre (20ft) ancestor of long-necked “sauropod” dinosaurs that lived 190m years ago. The newly discovered nesting ground is 100m years older than any found before.

Reconstruction of a Massospondylus nesting site. Courtesy J. Csotonyi

“The eggs, embryos, and nests come from the rocks of a nearly vertical road cut only 25 metres long,” said Prof. Robert Reisz of the the University of Toronto at Mississauga, who led further studies into the discovery. Scientists uncovered clutches of fossilised eggs, many containing embryos. They also found footprints of hatchlings showing that young dinosaurs stayed in the nest long enough to double in size.

“Even though the fossil record of dinosaurs is extensive, we actually have very little fossil information about their reproductive biology, particularly for early dinosaurs,” said Dr David Evans, curator of vertebrate palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada. This amazing series of 190m-year-old nests gives us the first detailed look at dinosaur reproduction early in their evolutionary history, and documents the antiquity of nesting strategies that are only known much later in the dinosaur record.”

The scientists believe many more nests at the site, now buried in rock, remain to be discovered. “Even so, we found ten nests, suggesting that there are a lot more nests in the cliff, still covered by tons of rock. We predict that many more nests will be eroded out in time, as natural weathering processes continue,” Reisz said.

The study was co-authored by Doctors Hans-Dieter Sues (Smithsonian Institute, USA), Eric Roberts (James Cook University, Australia), and Adam Yates (Bernard Price Institute (BPI) for Palaeontological Research at Wits).

It was published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the full study can be read on Wits’ website.


At least 10 nests were uncovered and each contained up to 34 round eggs in tightly clustered clutches. Their distribution indicates that dinosaurs returned repeatedly to the same spot to lay their eggs.

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