Starry Nights in Matjiesfontein
Open, clear Karoo skies stretch over a vast, rolling landscape. If ever there were a place to stop and stargaze, Matjiesfontein will not disappoint.
Although only a few hours’ drive away from Cape Town, Matjiesfontein provides the perfect escape from the bustle of city life. Open, clear Karoo skies stretch over a vast, rolling landscape. If ever there were a place to stop and stargaze, Matjiesfontein will not disappoint.
You’ll get to stargaze from the town’s historic cricket pitch where light pollution is minimal, allowing the sweeping night sky to take centre stage and show off its astronomical wonders – a front row seat to one of the clearest skies in the Southern hemisphere.
With both Sterland farm and Sutherland close by, the opportunities to stargaze are bountiful. The Milky Way stretches across the unpolluted southern skies, leaving all who witness it in awe. The Milky Way is a band of stars, dust and galaxies. A legend tells the story of a time when the night was pitch black. A girl of an ancient race threw glowing embers across the night sky, giving her people a path to follow home at night - creating the Milky Way (Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, n.d).
Sutherland is home to the South African Astronomical Observatory – and the South African Large Telescope. This is the single largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, and is so sensitive that it can spot a candle flame on the moon!
With truly plentiful stargazing opportunities, you’ll be left with a new-found appreciation for the stillness of Karoo night time and the peacefulness of the starry night sky.
Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, (n.d). African ethnoastronomy – The sky and the stars. [online] Available at: https://assa.saao.ac.za/astronomy-in-south-africa/ethnoastronomy/ [Accessed 12 December 2018].