High in the Cederberg Mountains, 240km north of Cape Town, on the farm Dwarsrivier lies the Cederberg Astronomical Observatory (19 deg 15' E 32 deg 30' S). Privately owned and a non-profit organization it is run by seven partners. The observatory has been in existence since the early eighties.
Originally an undeveloped plot of land with little more than unpolluted dark skies and magnificent mountain views to recommend it, the observatory has developed over the years into an amateur astronomer's paradise.
Basic but comfortable accommodation has been erected, complete with ablutions and cooking facilities for the astronomers on duty.
A 16" Meade Newtonian telescope is housed in a dome and a 300mm Meade Scmidt Cassegrain is housed in a slide off roof observatory. Another dome, the ‘Sherman Tank’, has just been completed and now graces the skyline with a 12" Cassegrain inside. Piers with power provide polar-aligned mounts for portable telescopes and there are a couple of home-made Newtonian telescopes available for general use.
The partners' interests vary from astrophotography and CCD work to measurements of variable stars and occultations. A few hours are set aside each Saturday night for the general public to visit.
A slideshow is given offering a basic introduction to the wonders of the night sky and is followed by viewing through a telescope or two.
The Cederberg Observatory has given many hours of enjoyment to many people. Anyone wishing to know more can contact the observatory through the contact form or contact any of the partners.
With the number of visitors increasing every year, in October 2010 the observatory celebrated 100 000 visitors!