Here you can experience what most people come to Sutherland for - stargazing. Just 1 km outside Sutherland you will find the Sterland Caravan Park where the local amateur 'star' aficionado, Jurg, will delight you with a celestial show. Regular sessions are presented throughout the year, even on the coldest nights.
The sessions are kicked off with a short video about Sutherland itself, a presentation on basic astronomical principles, posters and interesting books on the subject. Naked-eye viewing of the sky is followed by a chance to make use of the 3 x 11 inch Celestron telescopes that will reveal Deep Sky Images and other marvels. All the relevant constellations, stars, planets and objects are explained before looking through the telescopes.
The shows at Sterland starts at 8 pm and last about two hours each. Booking is essential and it is advised that you confirm the relevant dates and costs.
Padlopers, birds, butterflies and blomme Just 17km northwest of Kamieskroon is the Skilpad section of Namaqua National Park. Twitchers and butterfly afficionados love it and it's worth spending a few days here - even in ‘bad years’ the sandy plains are plastered with vivid orange.The dirt road that circles Skilpad takes you an overwhelming five kilometres through magnificent blooms. Halfway through is the “Roof of Africa” viewpoint, an area of huge granite domes affording panoramic views of the reserve and Kamiesberg mountains.Skilpad is situated on a ridge of hills that capture most of the rain blowing from the west coast. Because of this the flowers are consistently spectacular, even when other areas are not. Outside of springtime much of this area is used as grazing land for sheep, clearing the bushes that would suppress the growth of the annual daisies and break the continuity of colour.Adventurous and energetic? Try a new 4x4 trail, the Caracal Eco Route, which opened during July 2009 at the Namaqua National Park. The 153 km trail stretches from Skilpad in the Northeast to Groen Rivier in the south. The route enables visitors to enjoy previously inaccessible spectacular areas of the Namaqua. You can also do the 50 km 4x4 eco route or get on your bike for the 6km mountain bike trail. Bikes can be hired in the park.Skilpad? Namaqua National Park is home to the world's smallest tortoise, the Namaqua Speckled Padloper!Hot tips for flower gazersGet up close and personal - explore on foot and go down on your hands and knees! Closer inspection reveals a multitude of little floral treasures that hide among the daisies. Happy flower gazers have pollen dusted noses and grubby knees. Take a magnifying glass along.Plan to drive with the sun behind you - generally from north to south and westward in the morning, eastward after noon.On a sunny day the flowers are fully open for five hours between 11h00 and 16h00.Two days is ample for a region if you have good weather but don’t rush it.Get a multi-day weather forecast at www.weathersa.co.za
The Akkerendam Nature Reserve was established in 1967 and is situated just outside of Calvinia. The reserve is 2750 hectares in size and incorporates the majestic Hantam Mountain.
There is a wide variety of flora and fauna to see, including sword lilies, Cape asters, and brown peppering plants. The reserve is also a proclaimed bird sanctuary with more than 65 bird species, such as the fairy flycatcher, the black-headed canary, and layard's tit-babbler. The best time to visit the reserve is during flower season in September.
There are two hikes across the Hantam Mountain, one being relatively easier than the other. You can expect to spot the endangered sterkboom as well as the magnificent star tree which is unique to the region. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic and relax within the stunning scenery. The reserve is open daily and there is no entrance fee.
Things to do near
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling
Four By Four Trails
Noordoewer (89.1 km from Namaqualand)
Aussenkehr Nature Park is located about 42 km from Noordoever in Namibia. Aussenkehr has two trails that run either through the mountain and sand and the other along the river front. The mountain trail is relatively easy and follows a dry riverbed through a canyon. The trail starts close to Tandjiesberg Mountain Range and heads towards the Springbokvlakte Plateau and ends at Sjambok on the bank of the Orange River. The second trail is about 100 km and travels over sand and through the Gamkab River Canyon and follows the riverbed for 10 km.
Each trail is about 100 km long and takes a full day to complete one. The trails have a difficulty grading of 1 to 2 and a 4x4 and 4x2 vehicle can be used. Low range and high clearance is required. These are self-drive trails.