Guest blog: Sutherland

Posted on September 12, 2011 by eugene

I have never experienced cold as in Sutherland!  It gets so cold that just when you think you are used to it, more cold streams into the fibres of your being.

Have I mentioned that we love travelling?  Well, we do and recently we took a drive to Sutherland to experience what it’s like there.  Situated in the southern part of the Northern Cape, it is the coldest part of South Africa in Winter and is perfect for stargazing, hence the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere found here.

From the N1 you drive for about 110kms along the R354 in a northerly direction and suddenly the world becomes colder and colder, until you see magnificent views if ice and snow.  We thought we were in Switzerland!  When we got to the pass just a few kilometres outside of town, we simply had to stop and touch the snow.  Seriously, I thought, my fridge is hotter than this!

We booked into a quaint, little guesthouse called Kambro where a guy called Jurg runs almost everything, from the guesthouse, property agency and even donkey cart drives.  He would later present a star gazing session.

At the hotel where we had supper, each table is equipped with its own gas heater, just to bring things up to room temperature in order for us to feel our hands again.  The star-gazing presentation was phenomenal and Jurg took us outside to look through telescopes at the heavens.  We managed to see Saturn
with its beautiful rings and when we had enough we headed for our room.  The bathroom, by the way, has its own heater just to ensure that when you get out of the bath, the water don’t turn into icicles.

The next morning the water feature outside was iced up so thick that it could hold my weight when I stood on it.  After breakfast we took a drive to the big
telescope just outside Sutherland.  It was nice and sunny but the temperature gauge read -2 degrees!  At first we thought it was stuck but when we stepped outside, they weren’t kidding!

All in all, we had a pretty interesting experience in Sutherland but they say it gets colder yet, so we’ll have to go back and see for ourselves.


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