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Sutherland

Namaqualand

About

Perched on the plateau to the north of the Roggeveld Mountains, Sutherland is best known for two things - for being the coldest town in South Africa, and for the South African Astronomical Observatory. It is situated on the R354, 120km from the N1 at Matjiesfontein.

The town is typically rural and laid back, but comes alive during the winter months, especially over weekends, when visitors converge on the area in the hope of experiencing biting nighttime temperatures and even snow.

The wide main thoroughfare has some lovely sandstone buildings, while the gravel side streets are home to quaint cottages and unusual characters.

For more than a decade Sutherland has attracted urban refugees looking for the quiet life, and has some of the most expensive real estate in the whole of the Namaqualand and the Karoo.

Look out for

South African Astronomical Observatory and SALT (Southern African Large Telescope) - 18km from Sutherland on the R356 to Fraserburg, visitors can do a pre-booked day or night tour. Day tourists can enjoy a guided tour of SALT, while night visitors will get to view interesting objects in the sky through two dedicated visitor telescopes.

The Louw museum - Sutherland is the birthplace of N.P. van Wyk Louw and W.E.G. Louw, Afrikaans poets who, between them, won six Hertzog prizes, as the museum testifies. It also has some interesting displays.

Circular day drive - take an early morning drive to the Ouberg Pass, 45km along the Bo-Visrivier Road. From the pass, as one descends to the plains below, there is an awesome panoramic view over the Roggeveld escarpment. Cross the Tankwa Karoo with its gravel flats and Katjiesberg Mountain, gather altitude up Gannaga Pass, stop for tea at the Middlepos Hotel, and head back to Sutherland. The Stone church is worth admiring. In 1901 the town was taken by the British during the Anglo-Boer War, and the graffiti carved into its walls during that time is still legible today.

4x4 trails - there are somegood trails in the area, one of which is Skurweberg.

Wild flower displays - the area around Sutherland, and in particular the Roggeveld Mountains, are underrated when it comes to spring flower viewing.

To Do

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Nightjar

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Erik