My friends Nqobani and her mom Mpho invited me to a weekend excursion in Sutherland, to go ✨stargazing. 3 hours outside of Cape Town we drove.
Stopped over at Maitjiesfontein
Lots of small, family owned motels and B&Bs.
Deep in the Karoo. Sheep country. (Black heads, white bodies) . Quirky little town. Population 3000 and something. Frontier town. Strictly for stopover. Derelict. Lots of bikers stop here.
Racially segregated. Still. No economic activity in the Black/Brown side of the town. We drove through there and asked. Nothing. “Come back at the of the month when there’s pensions. Then you’ll see.”
Lots of home industries. Bought jams and chutney and lamb (a whole one) and gloves and stuff.
Everybody sells something to the tourists, who stick out like sore thumbs. If you’re Black, you stick out extra. Not in a bad way. Enough for the locals to say “chini” and “kaloku” when u walk by.
6 Very good restaurants. Reservations HIGHLY encouraged and pretty much mandatory in the really good establishments.
Beautiful weather. Hence the SALT (Southern African Largest Telescope) being locates here. Underdeveloped, sparsely populated. Lots of liquor stores. Two churches.
Home of the 3rd largest telescope in the world.
Stargazing with Jungen at night is a must. He is about 70 years old and well weathered. A former banker who now helps astronomy to be accessible to people like you or me. He has an audience of about 40 people transfixed. Then we walked to the telescopes. Some dodgy pix attached of the moon.
The tour of the actual SALT facility is disappointing. Very underfunded and therefore underdeveloped. I was not impress by the underwhelming presentations.
Stay in the BnB over the m(hotels). Being warm clothes. Make sure the beds have electric blankets. It does have the notorious distinction of being the coldest place in South Africa.
But beautiful. And worth a stop over.