Southern Africa Large Telescope, Sutherland

#2 of 12 in Childrens Museums in South Africa
Must see · Observatory · Museum
Take a peek into the greater universe at Southern Africa Large Telescope, an installation of the South Africa Astronomical Observatory near Sutherland. Perched on a hillock some 2,000 m (6,562 ft) above sea level, in a cold, semi-desert area ideal for stargazing, the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere (with 92 hexagonal mirrors) offers a unique perspective on the stars. Housed in a domed structure, the telescope is used for research purposes only, but you can arrange a 90-minute stargazing session with a 40 cm (16 inch) or a 35 cm (14 inch) visitor telescope at the visitor’s center. The SALT facility is closed to the public at night, and the area is heavily secured, so you cannot even drive by. Our Sutherland route app makes visiting Southern Africa Large Telescope and other Sutherland attractions simple, and helps you make a travel plan personal to you.
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Southern Africa Large Telescope reviews

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347 reviews
  • This is THE place in Africa and Southern Hemisphere to visit if you are interested in telescopes,stars and galaxies. We tried to call to book no reply. We tried mails we drove from...  more »
  • I phoned ahead and was told to book online which I did with ease. I booked the day tour which is the tour which takes you to the top of the hill where the SALT (SA Large Telescope) is situated. You...  more »
  • We opted for the daytime tour, as you get to see the Southern Africa Large Telescope as well as another research telescope. On the evening tour, you are not allowed near the research telescopes (you're not even allowed up to that area) but you do get a Stargazing experience, so be aware of this distinction before booking. I thought the tour of the research scopes was fascinating, and the size and design of SALT was jaw dropping. You also get to do fun photos in the visitor centre, and the views from the top (where the research scopes are) are amazing. However if telescopes and star gazing doesn't interest you, I'd probably say stay away!
  • Not far outside Sutherland. Automatic gates open when your car drives over yellow black. Interesting visitors center, ideal for exploring and educating. The paid tour starts at the visitors center. Visited the Elizabeth telescope and received an information talk before proceeding to the main SALT for another information talk and tour.
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