Sutherland Stargazing: Luxury camping under a star-studded sky
Sutherland is one of the best places in the world for star gazing. Join us at a luxury tented camp for a weekend of fun and relaxation under a starlit sky.
Can you imagine a luxury camping weekend, where everything is taken care of for you - all you have to do is look up at the stars and unwind.
You can look forward to great tasting breakfasts and dinners, informative evenings at Sterland and a tour of SALT (Southern African Large Telescope). During the day you can explore the Karoo area on foot or on your bicycle.
Camp 1: In Weds 11th July / Out: Fri 13th July
Camp 2: In Fri 13th July / Out: Sun 15th July
Camp 3: In Sun 15th July / Out Tues 17th July
CONTACT: Call 044 535 9033 / firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
R1 585 per adult per night – minimum two nights.
Single supplement an additional 30%
Kids under 12 pay half price.
There is a minimum of 16 people per night (which can increase if kids share with their parents)
WHAT DOES THE RATE INCLUDE?
· Accommodation in a luxury tent, including beds, linen and towels
· Breakfast and dinner in our safari style dining tent.
· Evening tour (8pm – 10pm) consisting of a stargazing experience at Sterland
· Tour of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT)
WHAT DO I NEED TO PACK?
· Warm Clothes, comfortable shoes for walking
· Snacks and drinks (no drinks are served at the camp)
· Mountain bike – there are single tracks in the area
· Historical walk in town
· Daily guided tour of SALT
· Hiking trail in the veld
· Stargazing at Sterland
SALT stars and serenity
Sutherland is home to the South African Large Telescope - or SALT. This in itself makes it worth a visit, as it is the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. It’s a marvelous thing to see, and if you have kids, chances are you’ll have an aspiring astronaut or astronomer on your hands after a visit to SALT.
Since the early 1970s, the major telescopes of the South African Astronomical Observatory have operated on this hilltop, 1 800 metres above sea level, near the Karoo, about 370 km inland. We advise doing a fully guided day tour one Saturday morning.
It includes a walk through the Visitor Centre as well as a guided tour of selected research telescopes including SALT.
Hourly tours, which are self-guided, are also possible, but not nearly as insightful.
When: Monday to Saturday: 10:30 and 14:30
Cost: R80,00 per person
Children 6 – 11: R40
Children under 6: Free
Night tours are also possible at the visitor centre, and this includes the viewing of interesting objects in the sky through two dedicated visitor telescopes, a 16″ Meade and 14″ Celestron.
NOTE: Visitors cannot visit any of the research telescopes at night, not even SALT. Astronomy is a light sensitive science and no lights are allowed up on the plateau in the evenings.
A personalised Sterland tour
Much less risky to the global astronomy practice, and much more personal for star-gazing visitors, it the Sterland experience.
Jurg Wagener runs the show at Sterland, a privately-owned interactive star-gazing farm just outside of town. The show lasts two hours. First an indoor presentation will give you a bit of background on the area, the people and essentially, the stars, all the constellations and planets in the universe. Then, you’ll head out to for some stargazing… and this is so much more exciting than what it sounds.
Star-gazers are first taken into the Muisbos-Amphi theatre, a sheltered area where telescopes are propped up, ready for use. Wagener uses 5 x 11 inch (280mm) Celestron Go-To telescopes, each fitted with its own GPS.
The telescopes are clear, and very easy to use, and at each station, a knowledgeable guide will help you identify and understand the different things you spot. They make use of a very powerful laser so that each stargazer can see what they are talking about.
Where: Sterland Farm
Cost: R120 per person Bookings are essential to avoid disappointment. You can contact Jurg for bookings 082 556 9589.