Cederberg Camping and Star-gazing at Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge

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                      Photo taken at Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge

                            Cederberg Astronomical Observatory

One of the many reasons people choose to go camping in the Cederberg is to enjoy the fantastic star-gazing at night.

The following information, as well as a spectacular gallery, is found at:

http://www.cederbergobservatory.org.za/index.html

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!

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This couple exchangd their wedding vows at Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge.

As the nights now get darker at Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge, due to the moon becoming less visible, the true attraction of Cederberg camping at Gecko Creek reveals itself in the astoundingly clear night skies. Believe it or not, astronomy organizations worldwide have rated the Cederberg the finest star gazing position in the world due to the thinness of the stratosphere above the Cederberg. Our statement that the stars become like diamonds on velvet is no exaggeration as any guest camping at Gecko Creek that has been here on dark nights will tell you. You will observe more stars and planets camping in the Cederberg than you ever imagined possible. And YES, you will see a shooting star approximately every 15 minutes at least – providing you are looking up!

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This couple are star-gazing in the boma at Gecko Creek.

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A perfect pastime of many guests is to enjoy the Cederberg astronomy from their hammock.

 

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