Booking is essential!

A maximum of 30 people are allowed per tour.

Please be punctual!

Tour guides will meet you at the Visitor Centre at the booked times. If you arrive early please wait at the Visitor Centre for your guide. This is a secure site and all other buildings are off limits to the public. In an emergency you may call 076 900 0308.

Day tours

Day tours include a guided walk through the Visitor Centre as well as a guided tour of selected research telescopes including SALT.

Monday to Saturday: 10:30 and 14:30
Fee: 100.00 per person

NO Sunday tours

Public Holidays: Hourly basic tours @ R80 between 9AM and 3PM

Night tours

Night tours include the viewing of interesting objects in the sky through two dedicated visitor telescopes, 12" Meade and 14" Celestron. Note that visitors cannot visit any of the research telescopes at night, not even SALT.

The tour can last about 90 minutes but can be aborted due to cloud, mist or strong wind. In the case of bad weather, the guide will take you to the Visitor Centre for a movie in case it clears up later. DO NOT DRIVE UP THE ROAD LEADING TO THE DOMES. This is an "NO LIGHTS" research area. International and Local Astronomers are at work! The visitors’ dome is very near the Visitor Centre and not up on the hill.

The tours are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. When booking tours, visitors will be notified of their tour starting time. In mid-winter it could be near 18:00 and later in mid-summer 20:00.

January February March April May June
20h00 20h00 20h00 20h00 20h00 18h00
July August September October November December
18h00 20h00 20h00 20h00 20h00 20h00

Fee: R120.00 per person

Booking information

Booking is essential!

Tours must be booked through the SAAO, Sutherland during office hours from Monday to Friday, between 8h00 - 13h00 and 14h00 - 16h00.

For all tours; Children 0-5 will be free Children 6-11 pay half price Children 12 years and older will pay normal fees as per tour fees

Telephone: (023) 571-2436
Fax: (086) 764 3756
Emergency: 076 900-0308

Tour fees go towards the SAAO’s education, public outreach and socio-economic development programmes.

Day tours:R100.00 per person

Night Tours:R120.00 per person

The fees can be paid upon arrival by zapper or card.

Please note cash payment will not be accepted from the 01 March 2018

School visits

Schools may visit at any available time after consultation with Juliana September

Bookings must be made three months in advance.

For bookings and information contact: Juliana September (

How to get there

Route to Sutherland (click on thumbnail for large version) Sutherland is situated 360km from Cape Town along the N1 and R354. The Sutherland road (R354) is opposite the Matjiesfontein turnoff (about 235km from Cape Town). This road is long and winding, and takes you right into the town of Sutherland.

The turnoff to the SAAO is halfway into the town on the right (Fraserburg Road). About 14kms from Sutherland you will find our main gate. Pass through the gates and follow the road to the Visitor Centre where you can park and meet the tour guide.

Visiting the town of Sutherland

Contact the Karoo Hoogland Municipality on (023) 571 1020 for information about Sutherland accommodation and local tours. More information can be found at and

The Karoo Hoogland municipal office is on the main road of the town. It has information about the area such as the Tuinplaas Church, Verlatenkloof Pass, Ouberg Pass, Old English and Jewish Cemetery, Louw Museum, Dutch Reformed Church, Salpeterkop and much, much MORE.