Day 1: In the morning we depart from Port Elizabeth , situated in the Nelson Mandela Bay, on our way to the hinterland of the Karoo on the first day of our wonderful ‘Star Gazing’ Tour. We arrive in the late morning at the historical town of Steytlerville in the Eastern Cape , established in 1875 and situated between the Grootrivier
Hoogte and Baviaanskloof Mountains. This is a typical Karoo farming community and we book into a typical Karoo farm, steeped in history, for our overnight stay. After lunch you can either just enjoy the farm or as an optional extra you can do the following: Visit local museum, a Township Tour, see the Valley of the Flags, do a nature walk or just simply relax and enjoy your surroundings. After dinner we can enjoy a Night Game Drive to view the animals and on return we do a spell of star gazing at the beautiful clear Karoo night with the telescopes housed on the farm.
Day 2: After a hearty breakfast we spend a most interesting day and evening studying, during the day, the geology of the region and in the evening about the stars. We enjoy a braai on the dry river bed and release some of the city stress with a drumming session before retiring.
Day 3: After a hearty farm breakfast we travel through the magnificent Meiringspoort Pass to the quaint town of Prince Albert in the heart of the famous Swartberg Mountains, arriving for lunch at the Abrahamskraal Farm Lodge or similar – our stop over for the night. After lunch we can visit the site of fossilized reptile footprints or any of the other various places of interest such as: The Olive Farm, The Museum, Karoo Art, The Weave Shop etc. This can be discussed beforehand. After dinner we again are able to enjoy the awe-inspiring night sky of the Karoo.
Day 4: After a leisurely breakfast we travel into Prince Albert for a shop stop if required. We then travel on to Matjiesfontein , the famous English hamlet in the heart of the Karoo. After lunch we can visit the Automobile and Train Museum and just enjoy the wonderful historical experience of this little hamlet with all it’s interesting stories. We then sleep over there for the night.
Day 5: We start our day reasonably early, to travel to the town of Sutherland , the coldest town in South Africa and the home of the
famous SALT (South African Largest Telescope). Upon arrival we enjoy a farm lunch at a Guest Farm and then in the afternoon we travel into Sutherland to visit the interesting graveyard and church, steeped in Boer War History. From there via Salpeterkop, the last active volcano south of the Equator some 66 million years ago to ‘SALT’ for a tour of this famous and magnificent astronomical instrument. After dinner we can view the stars through a smaller telescope on the farm and for the avid stargazers-you can rise very early in the morning to view Venus (weather permitting).
Day 6: Before departing for Cape Town we can take a ride to the edge of the Escarpment of the Roggeveld Mountain Range to view the Karoo Valley a thousand meters below. One is able to see Ceres in the far distance and on a clear day even the snow on the mountains in Touws. Sometimes Towerkop in Ladismith , depending on the weather. Arriving in Cape Town we book into a Guest House in Rondebosh (or similar). After dinner we visit the Observatory in Cape Town for a night star viewing to conclude our tour.
(from ZAR 11760/p/s)
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