To drive through the Karoo is to taste freedom; there is no traffic or other source of irritation, and there are clear skies and open gravel roads. We travelled many miles of the latter, which filled our trailer and its contents with a fine grey dust.
We came from Douglas, drove through Prieska and stopped in Carnarvon, where we enjoyed a cup of coffee at The Lemon Tree coffee shop.
I had searched for Sutherland accommodation on the internet and found about 12 venues to choose from. This seems like a lot, when you consider that this little town’s population doesn’t exceed 2 000 inhabitants. Sutherland is the birthplace of poets W.E.G. and older brother N.P. van Wyk Louw; the house in which they grew up is now a museum you can visit.
Also, the town’s remote location in the arid Karoo gifts it with extremely dark and exceptionally clear skies, which makes this location perfect for all forms of stargazing. This is why the single largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, the South African Large Telescope (SALT), is located 18 kilometres outside the town.
The South African Astronomical Observatory’s telescopes are also found in the vicinity. When I was considering campsites while planning this trip, I’d had found Sterland Caravan Park on safarinow.com, and had booked a site for the night.
We arrived at Sterland, a kilometre outside town, at about five in the afternoon. The main gates were closed, but we walked through a small gate into the park and found the reception area to be deserted.