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Sutherland is a town in the Northern Cape of South Africa. It is home to SALT, the South African Large Telescope, and other South African Astronomical Observatory telescopes. Sutherland's arid climate and remote location 1,450 metres (4,760 ft) above sea level make its night skies among the world's clearest and darkest. SALT is the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. Sutherland is the coldest town in South Africa.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Sutherland Dutch Reformed Church

Sutherland is around 350 km from Cape Town. Follow the N1 north for about 230 km to Matjiesfontein and turn onto the R354. Follow the R354 for around 110 km until you reach Sutherland. All roads are tarred and in good condition.

Get around[edit]


  • The southern skies. Sutherland is located in an excellent area for astronomical viewing. Take your own telescope, or visit the SAAO facility.


Southern African Large Telescope
  • SAAO Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) (14 km outside town towards Fraserburg), +27 23 571-1413. Daytime guided tours M-F 10:30AM and 2:30PM, Sa 11:30AM and 2:30PM. Nighttime viewing M W F and Sa starting between 6PM and 8PM, time will be confirmed with booking. The SALT facility can be visited during the daytime, nighttime sky viewing with 14 and 16 inch scopes are available. The SALT scope is for research purposes only and not available for public use. Please park at the Visitor Centre. Do not drive up to the telescopes themselves as that is a light restricted area. R20 per person for daytime tours, R40 per person for nighttime viewing.






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