The Kalahari Heritage Park, the ancestral home of the ‡Khomani San, has been declared an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, recognising its value as one of the world’s darkest places and best areas for viewing pristine night skies.

The park becomes one of only a few International Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world, with NamibRand being the only other sanctuary in Africa.

The accolade is due to the Kalahari being nearly free from pollution – including light, atmospheric and other man-made pollution and is a photographer’s paradise, especially at night.

The Northern Cape Tourism Department says the registration of the Kalahari as a Dark Sky Sanctuary will promote conservation and will act as a draw-card for astro-tourism to the remote Kalahari region.

The sky is spiritually and culturally significant to the ‡Khomani San, one of the world’s oldest ‘First People’, whose culture is full of skylore.