A visit to the SAAO’s Sutherland facility in the Karoo is something that everyone should aim to do at least once in their lives. Whether you visit in the summer, when heat mirages shimmer in the distance and blend the earth and the sky together, or in the winter when temperatures plummet and the ground crunches underfoot, you will not be disappointed by the unspoilt splendour of the Karoo.

Here, SAAO’s major telescopes operate in some of the world’s best conditions for astronomy, on a hilltop 1 800 metres above sea level, near the small town of Sutherland. The site was chosen for its year-round clear skies, semi-arid setting, and absence of light and other pollution.

If you would like to visit and see what SAAO researchers do, we invite you to select one of the tours below. Please note that we cannot accommodate visitors who have not booked online for the tours.

For any tour related queries, please email or contact +27 23 – 571 2436 during office hours on Mondays to Fridays. Please note that due to limited number of staff on duty, the office is only contactable via email on Saturdays.

Our office hours are:
Monday – Friday 08h00 – 16h00
Saturday 09h00 – 14h30
We are closed on public holidays.

Take a guided of SALT and other world-class telescopes.

Book Day Tour '23

See the stars as SAAO researchers do, from the best viewing site in Africa.

Book night stargazing ‘23

Book an exciting field trip to learn more about the stars and African astronomy.

School Tours