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’d like to visit and see what SAAO researchers do, we invite you to book a tour below. Please note that we can only accommodate you if you have booked a visit – no unscheduled tours are permitted.

Please email or phone 076 900 0308 if you have any queries regarding bookings and tours for Sutherland.

Take a guided or unguided tour 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 Tour '23

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

School Tours