A visit to Cape Town will leave you with memories of some amazing experiences, but if you enjoy getting out and about after dark then you are in for a real treat. Cities are usually not the best places for stargazing, but the mother city certainly has a few spots that will leave you enchanted. Before arriving in the city make sure you come prepared as you might need to do some hiking or trek through the veld to get to the best spots.
The Lion’s Head full moon hike is one of the city’s most popular after-dark activities. A neighbour to Table Mountain, it is best to start this one-hour thirty-minute hike to the top at around sunset. It is important to come geared with decent walking shoes, a headlight and a supply of water. Once reaching the top, hikers can get a glimpse of the Cape Town night sky and marvel at the beauty in the stars.
This popular tourist spot, at the foot of Lion’s Head, is as popular during the day as it is at night. Only a few minutes from the city centre, tourists can reach this site by car and a very good alternative if you don’t feel like doing the walk to the top or perhaps forgot your hiking apparel. It is highly recommended that you give yourself enough time to view the stars as it is not unusual to find a traffic jam unfolding in the parking lot.
12 Apostles Hotel
Staying or dining at the 12 Apostles Hotel is a bucket list item for most visitors. Located in one of the best spots along the Cape coastline a visit to this establishment is sure to leave you enchanted. A short walk from the hotel you’ll find the Fynbos Gardens, a great spot to view some of the Southern Hemisphere star bodies. You can either join the hotel for one of their amazing culinary experiences coupled with a stargazing expedition or sneak off into the night for a view of the Cape Town night sky.
Taal Monument, Paarl
A short drive out of Cape Town lies the historic Boland town of Paarl, well known for its culture and heritage. Situated on Paarl Mountain, the well-known monument to the Afrikaans language is the site of a wonderful stargazing experience. Visitors can watch the stars through telescopes provided by The Orion Observation Group. A wonderful coffee shop will provide all the refreshments you need for an enjoyable night of stargazing.
Not too far from Paarl, one can find another iconic Boland town called Stellenbosch. Halfway in between is Klapmutskop. This is definitely the least crowded of all the sites and a perfect option if you have transport sorted and happy to make the short trip out of Cape Town. If you’ve never hiked before then it is best to stay in your car and view the stars from Signal Hill, but if you are even moderately active then this 10km round trip hike is a ‘must do’. Once you reach the top of Klapmutskop you ’ll be rewarded with an opportunity to survey the night sky and appreciate it’s vast expanse.
The more serious stargazers are likely to make the weekend trip to Sutherland in the Karoo or head to the Cederberg mountains for an overnight stay. Whichever spot you choose make sure to have the right equipment and go as a group for safety. The African night sky is an amazing site and sure to capture your imagination for a long time.