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OOn a hilltop outside the Karoo hamlet of Sutherland, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) focusses its giant African eye on our universe. You cannot visit the Northern Cape without going on a stargazing safari!
The South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland is home to the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). This is the largest single optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. The reason SALT was erected outside the town of Sutherland, some 370km from Cape Town, is because it is one of a handful of locations in the world that is ideal for stargazing. Here the dark, unpolluted night skies are so clear they offer perfect viewing and the area is known as the “Gateway to the universe.”
If you enjoy planets, stars and all things space-related then you are in luck. Tourists who visit SALT during the day can book a guided tour of the interpretive visitor centre and a selection of the research telescopes, including SALT, located on an elevated plateau overlooking a vast expanse of the Karoo.
SSALT is an extraordinary international collaboration and has put South Africa at the forefront of 21st-century scientific exploration. Such is its magnification that it can see the light of a candle on the moon.
HHere are some other places to view the stars…
Clear Kalahari skies provide perfect conditions for stargazing in the desert. Viewed through a large telescope set up amongst the dunes you’ll want to escape to this special place on a regular basis. This reserve is privately owned and has two exceptional luxury camps - The Motse and Tarkuni.
Tel: +27 53 781 9331
Remote valleys and clear skies promise an all-night spectacle of bright star watching – don’t forget your star map because the Southern Cross is not all you’ll be seeing under this part of the African skies.
Wild Mountain Adventures
Tel: +27 87 943 5428
Mobile: +27 79 536 3996
The vast Karoo is perfect for stargazing. Go on a guided tour at night or simply just set your dinner table outside during the summer months for a star-studded night-time show.
South African National Parks reservations
Tel: +27 12 428 9111
Karoo National Park
Tel: +27 23 415 2828
Large telescopes take you on a stargazing journey across the African skies. See constellations, planets, Zodiac signs and more in this beautiful reserve. Choose one of the 20 luxury lodges in this malaria-free reserve. This reserve is such a success due to its three-way partnership – the state conserves the land, private enterprise runs the lodges and the surrounding community benefits from levies and jobs.
Tel: +27 74 755 2555
Fax: +27 21 790 7688
Tel: +27 11 805 9995
Fax: +27 11 805 0687