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SSutherland 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 destinations in the southern hemisphere. Sutherland is also a great place from which to explore the Upper Karoo.
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.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)23 571 1481
How to get here
Sutherland is 324kms from Cape Town.
Best time to visit
The cold, clear winters deliver exceptional night skies but all year round the Northern Cape's night skies are magnificent.
Tours to do
A tour of SALT and night sky telescope-viewing outings are offered in Sutherland and several other Northern Cape venues.
In your own vehicle unless you are part of a tour.
Length of stay
Several days to a week as the Northern Cape is vast.
What to pack
Binoculars and a portable telescope if you have one.
Where to stay
There is a range of accommodation throughout the Northern Cape, from B&Bs, guesthouses and hotels to luxury lodges and farm stays.