Visiting SAAO in Sutherland
Booking is essential!
Please be punctual!
Day tours can be done as fully guided tours or basic tours.
Fully Guided tours (Guided walk through the Visitor Centre as well as a guided tour of selected research telescopes including SALT)
Basic tours (Self-guided tour of Visitor Centre and a basic guided tour of SALT)
Night tours include the viewing of interesting objects in the sky through two dedicated visitor telescopes, 16" Meade and 14" Celestron. Note that visitors cannot visit any of the research telescopes at night, not even SALT.
The tour can last about 90 minutes, but can be aborted due to cloud, mist or strong wind. In the case of bad weather the guide will take you to the Visitor Centre for a movie in case it clears up later. DO NOT DRIVE UP THE ROAD LEADING TO THE DOMES. This is a "NO LIGHTS" research area. International and Local Astronomers are at work! The visitors’ dome is very near the Visitor Centre and not up on the hill.
The tours are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. When booking tours, visitors will be notified of their tour starting time.
Fee: R60.00 per person
Booking is essential!
Tours must be booked well in advance.
Contact SAAO, Sutherland during office hours from Monday to Friday, between 8h00 - 13h00 and 14h00 - 16h00.
Telephone: (023) 571-2436
Tour fees go towards the SAAO’s education, public outreach and socio-economic development programmes.
The fees can be paid by cheque or by direct bank transfer into the SAAO bank account. Please fax proof of payment to Bookings at (023) 571-1413. For further payment information, download the Tour Information Sheet (PDF file). Please note, that this fee is a non-refundable donation and the staff in Sutherland will not be able to help you with your payment confirmation.
(Download Adobe Acrobat Reader free in order to view the PDF file.)
Schools may visit on Tuesdays, Thursdays or every third weekend of the month. Bookings must be made three months in advance.
How to get there
Route to Sutherland (click on thumbnail for large version)
The turnoff to the SAAO is halfway into the town on the right (Fraserburg Road). About 14kms from Sutherland you will find our main gate. Pass through the gates and follow the road to the Visitor Centre where you can park and meet the tour guide.
Visiting the town of Sutherland
Contact the Karoo Hoogland Tourism Office on (023) 571 1265 for information about Sutherland accommodation and local tours. More information can be found at www.karoohoogland.co.za and www.northerncape.org.za.
The tourism office is on the main road of the town. It has information about the area such as the Tuinplaas Church, Verlatenkloof Pass, Ouberg Pass, Old English and Jewish Cemetery, Louw Museum, Dutch Reformed Church, Salpeterkop and much much MORE. Informal tour guides are also available to take you through the area (ask at the tourism office).