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Northern Cape

Sutherland – Largest Telescope in the Southern Hemisphere

Known as South Africa’s "Gateway to the Universe", the little town of Sutherland in the Karoo Hoogland Municipal area of the Northern Cape province is most likely best known for having the largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. Referred to as SALT (Southern African Largest Telescope), it is situated at the Sutherland Observatory around 18 kilometers outside the town. Guided tours of the observatory take place twice a day, from Mondays to Fridays.

Sutherland is also known to have the freshest air and to be the coldest place in South Africa, with temperatures regularly dropping below zero degrees. The rugged landscape lends itself to hiking and mountain biking, and with a light dusting of snow in the winter and cool temperatures in the summer, Sutherland offers pleasant hiking and biking conditions with stunning scenery.

Sutherland was established in 1855 and was named in honor of Henry Sutherland, who was the minister at the time. The Dutch Reformed church building, which was completed in 1901, remains one of the highlights of the town. Outside the town is the tulip farm of Koornlanskloof which exports tulip bulbs far and wide. The tulips bloom in September, covering the fields in a bright array of colors and are a sight worth seeing. While Sutherland may be somewhat off the beaten track, it has a lot to offer travelers who are looking for some peace and quiet in scenic surroundings, and the Southern African Large Telescope plays an important role in the scientific community.