Sutherland is a world-renowned astronomical centre in South Africa. The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) is situated on a mountain top 14km out of town and is known to be one of the best star-viewing destination in the southern hemisphere. Sutherland is also a great place from which to explore the Upper Karoo.

Did you know?

Some farmers in the Sutherland area still trek with their sheep from winter grazing in the lowlands to summer grazing at more elevated altitudes on foot.

The town of Sutherland in South Africa's Northern Cape was established in 1855 when life centred around pioneer farmers and the Dutch Reformed Church.

The region continues to be a strong livestock-farming area – and an astronomer's delight. Visit here to experience the wonder of the stars, tuck into a classic Karoo dinner featuring slow-roasted lamb shanks or feel what it's like to be in one of the coldest places in South Africa on a crisp winter's day.

Sutherland's main attraction, however, is in the stars and its showpiece is the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) located on an elevated plateau 14km out of town, attracting visitors from around the world.

Another claim to fame this town has is that it was the most southerly place where diamonds were discovered in South Africa, and old diamond diggings can still be seen in the area.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are an array of activities in Sutherland, including horse-riding and hiking.

Should you visit the observatory, also look out for Salpeterkop, an extinct volcano that was last active 66-million years ago (and the last active volcano in Africa south of the equator).

Sutherland is the birthplace of two celebrated South African poets and writers, NP Van Wyk Louw and WEG Louw. The Louw Museum in Sutherland houses several items of interest such as the old lykswa (mortuary cart), which was used between 1912 to 1950.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Sutherland Tourism Information
Tel: +27 (0)23 571 1265

How to get here

The village of Sutherland is 100 kilometres off the N1 highway, about 370 kilometres north-east of Cape Town.

Best time to visit

Winter is very cold but the snow makes it all worthwhile. Summer can be uncomfortably hot. Spring and autumn are very pleasant.

Around the area

There are plenty nature and game reserves in the area including the Tankwa Karoo National Park.

Length of stay

A weekend at least, longer if you want to explore the surrounding area.

Where to stay

Sutherland has a variety of good accommodation options, from budget B&Bs and backpackers to luxury hotels and lodges.

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