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WWhen the sun goes down and you’ve kept your eyes on the ground the whole day, it’s time to look up, beyond South Africa, beyond this planet…it’s time to give the universe a good gander. Because you see, at Sutherland in the Northern Cape, you’ll get one of the best views of the universe this world has to offer.
Sutherland is actually a world-renowned astronomical centre in South Africa. Besides the ever-so-charming and sparse Upper Karoo, here you’ll find The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) situated on a mountain top, 14km out of town. Obviously, this is the place to stargaze, being one of the best star-viewing destinations in the southern hemisphere.
After you’ve flirted with the Milky Way, you also get to explore the town of Sutherland, which was established all the way back in 1855, when life centred on pioneer farmers and the Dutch Reformed Church.
TThe region continues to be a strong livestock-farming area – and an astronomer's delight. While the town and the area are worth a look at, you are really here to experience the wonders of the stars, but don’t forget to 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, Northern Cape
AAnother claim to fame this town has is that it was the most southern place where diamonds were discovered in South Africa, and the old diamond diggings can still be seen in the area.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s 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).
LLet’s not forget that Sutherland is also 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 and 1950.
Once you’ve been to Sutherland, you’ve also been to Jupiter, Venus, and the Milky Way. More so, you’ve experienced the beautiful Karoo and the heart of one of South Africa’s most charming little towns.
South Africa offers a variety of caves for you to explore, from hominid fossil sites and ancient San cave paintings.
Dating back millions of years, Riemvasmaak is a place of haunting beauty.
The Wildflower Route in the Northern Cape is a vision of flowers that will colour your imagination for the rest of your days.
You cannot visit the Northern Cape without going on a stargazing safari!
From the flattest to the tallest to the oldest to prettiest to the most dramatic,South African mountain ranges are astounding.
Over the Tankwa Karoo National Park, clouds sketch your thoughts onto a clear blue sky.
Water scarcity does not mean you should delay or cancel your trip – South Africa is ready to welcome you on a once in a lifetime adventure while encouraging visitors to use water responsibly when travelling through our beautiful country.
Spanning nearly 400 000km2 in the geographic midriff of South Africa, the Great Karoo must be one of the quietest places on Earth.