Since the construction of the Southern Africa Larger Telescope (SALT) at Sutherland in the Northern Cape, the town has gone star-raving mad.
A number of businesses are modelled around the galaxies and the stars, bringing in regular star gazing tours around the area.
“In this area there’s already 43 guesthouses here so it’s very good for the marketing here and it’s very good for the local economy and it’s a nice opportunity for the people to come here and enjoy the stargazing and the Karoo love we have here,” says Juanita a businesswoman.
However, you don’t really need the Southern hemisphere’s largest telescope to view stars in this Karoo town.
“Over a period of a year, we enjoy over 80% cloud-less skies and whenever you want to look, the opportunity is there and you can enjoy the most beautiful stars in the southern hemisphere,” says a star gazer Jurg Wagener.
“Suddenly the whole sky came alive and you look at stars and constellations you haven’t seen before. And I think it’s due to that we are in Sutherland and you have less light pollution,” says Derrick Pieterse, a local tourist.
The stars here are at their best during the winter, with locals promising a spectacular view of the Milky Way and other constellations that can be seen with the naked eye.