Sutherland night sky
Did you know?
SALT (Southern African Large Telescope) cost R200 million to build and was inaugurated by former President Thabo Mbeki on 10 November 2005.
Stargazing should be on the 'must do' list for anyone coming to South Africa. The heavens, you must understand, are like wine: there is wine and there is great wine. If it's the best heavenly vintage that you long for then Sutherland is the place to visit.
The village of Sutherland is a 4-hours drive from Cape Town in the middle of the Karoo and it is famous for a number of reasons. It is the coldest place in South Africa and it has the least amount of light pollution - making it perfect for stargazing. It also has some of the cleanest air on the planet and is home to SALT (Southern African Large Telescope), the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere; so powerful it can see a candle flame on the moon.
SALT operates digitally, so there is no eye piece through which you look at the heavens, but you can do a tour of the facility, which is fascinating in itself. The good news is that Sutherland is populated with a host of impressive telescopes and night sky viewings that will certainly satisfy the amateur and the serious astronomer alike.
Even without a telescope the Sutherland night sky will take away the breath of all who chance to look up, and for those travellers from the northern hemisphere there is the added bonus of the Southern Cross and the magical swirl of the Milky Way.
Stargazing in South Africa is a blend of the spiritual and scientific and it appeals to both young and old. Don't pass up the opportunity to marvel at the heavens.
There are tours and stargazing events almost every week of the year. Look at the Sutherland website for more details and to book accommodation.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Karoo Hoogland Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)23 571 1265
Fax: +27 (0)23 571 1307