Stargazing is, by definition the act or practice of looking at or studying the stars but has become a hobby for some, much like hiking or bird watching. Star gazing has not always been viewed as a tourist attraction but is slowly becoming more popular and therefore something that people are willing to travel to see.
When stargazing or studying astrology of any kind, it is obviously advantageous to be in a more remote area or one with little or no access to electricity. The Northern Drakensberg is ideal because of the wide open spaces and lack of lighting available. The Drakensberg Mountains also makes for an incredible and picturesque backdrop for star gazing enthusiasts.
So, why is the Drakensberg ideal for stargazing?
According to Wilma den Hartigh of Media Club South Africa, South Africa is fast gaining a reputation as a leading stargazing destination in the world! One of the main reasons for this is because there are two thirds more stars in the Southern hemisphere than in the Northern hemisphere. Another reason, as mentioned above, is that there is very little man made lighting in the more remote Drakensberg regions and certainly less lighting than in the major cities. Not only is the lack of artificial light beneficial for star gazing but the quiet atmosphere and natural environment make the Drakensberg perfect for stargazing too!
After a long week in the office or a tiring hike through the Drakensberg Mountains…PICTURE THIS – a picnic blanket, a few snacks, a glass of wine, your loved one, surrounded by the mountains, the sounds of nature and of course the stars! Sounding like your cup of tea? Book your next stay at the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat.
Stars to spot or follow
So, you don’t know a great deal about stars? No problem! We’ll list a few tips to start you off but if all else fails, the stars are beautiful to look at even if you don’t know what they are called or where they originate from!
- Depending on the time of year or season and if the weather is clear, one will be able to spot various globular and open clusters of stars, planets, gas clouds and sometimes even a galaxy!
- Part of the excitement comes with not knowing what you will see. Stargazing is very time specific and you therefore never really know what you will see.
- Summer evenings mean the possibility of viewing the planet Jupiter as well as the four Galilean moons (these are among the most massive objects in the solar system apart from the sun).
- If you are lucky enough to use a telescope, you could be able to see the Orion Nebula (one of the brightest nebulae that is visible to the naked eye) in Summer too.
- The telescope will also help you to see the jewel box star cluster and the Alpha Centauri. Have a look at the other stars you may be able to spot.
Why not try one of the apps available to help you with your stargazing in the Drakensberg?
- Star Chart on iOS | Android
- NASA App on iOS| Android
- Night Sky Lite on iOS| Android
- Sky Guide on iOS | Android
If this sounds appealing, or like your kind of activity and holiday, consider the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat for your stay! Find our rates online
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