Sutherland landscape. Photo by Janine Aver

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Sutherland is one of South Africa’s lesser-known gems. Located in the middle of the Great Karoo in the country’s Northern Cape province and roughly a four-hour drive inland from Cape Town, it’s famed for its dramatic landscapes and secluded nature. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature.

Observatory. Photo by Janine Aver
Observatory. Photo by Janine Avery

Clear Night Skies in Sutherland, South Africa

Sutherland is also known for having some of the clearest night skies in the world, making it a popular destination for stargazers and astronomers. Because of this, it is home to the South African Astronomical Observatory where you’ll discover the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. 

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Rogge Cloof Private Nature Reserve

We recently decided to take a tour of the observatory to learn about the stars and constellations visible in the night sky, before retreating to another hidden gem in the karoo – Rogge Cloof Private Nature Reserve, part of the Cape Country Routes.

In search of a little bit of an adventure but also a peaceful escape, we ventured to the private nature reserve of Rogge Cloof located about 15km outside of Sutherland. Here the stunning views and activities on offer are second to none. 

From hiking to cheetah tracking, wine tasting, and 4×4 nature drives, there’s something for everyone at this beautiful South African reserve. With its rolling hills, panoramic views, and various wildlife, it’s hard not to be captivated by this unique and special place.

Accommodations. Photo by Janine Aver
Accommodations. Photo by Janine Avery

A Weekend at Rogge Cloof

This luxurious eco-tourism destination is surrounded by the Roggeveld Mountains on a sprawling 20,000-hectare property that boasts a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, including a ballooning population of springbok, the country’s national animal. 

With a focus on sustainable and responsible tourism, Rogge Cloof offers a variety of luxury accommodation options with choices to suit both those looking for a romantic getaway and an adventurous family vacation.

For those who enjoy the finer things in life, like me, the luxury Orion chalets at Rogge Cloof are a perfect choice. These beautifully appointed chalets provided us with a high level of comfort and luxury, with features such as a wood-burning fireplace, and a private veranda with stunning views of the surrounding landscape where Springbok visited us every day.

For larger groups there are also spacious and luxurious self-catering cottages sleeping up to 12 people. And with a large farm-style swimming pool on the property and plenty of safe walking and hiking trails to explore it really is a natural paradise for families.

Growing strawberries. Photo by Janine Aver
Growing strawberries. Photo by Janine Avery

An Adventure in the Karoo

While simply sitting on our patio watching the springbok go by was truly wonderful, we also enjoyed several other activities to explore the property during our stay. A nature drive through the property allowed us to take in the stunning surroundings and learn more about the medicinal and herbal plants found in the Renosterveld. 

We were also offered the opportunity to jump out at the reserve’s very own fossil field where you can see actual remnants of creatures dating back to a time long before the dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Stargazing in Spaceport Karoo

And what would a trip to the area be without indulging in some after-dark stargazing? Rogge Clooff is in Spaceport Karoo – South Africa’s first and largest dark sky reserve which aims to preserve the special dark, starry skies found here. 

Located at an altitude of between 1400 and 1700 metres, the sky here feels close enough to touch although the reserve does over stargazing with an 11-inch telescope for those who want to get even closer to the bright skies.

However, one of the highlights of our stay at Rogge Cloof was indulging in the magnificent farm-to-table cuisine.

From the freshest produce to locally sourced meats, and their own fruits and vegetables grown on-site in their very own hot house, the chefs use only the best ingredients to ensure a memorable dining experience every evening where a three-course dinner is served at a long communal table alongside roaring fire. 

Here we got to enjoy flavorful dishes inspired by the Karoo landscape paired with some of their award-winning wines. We also got to expand our wine knowledge, with a wine tasting of the varieties grown right there on the property.

Sutherland sign. Photo by Janine Aver
Sutherland sign. Photo by Janine Avery

Planning Your Trip to Rogge Cloof

Before you plan your trip to Rogge Cloof, there are a few things to keep in mind. The best time to visit is during the cooler months from May to September, as temperatures can soar during the South African summer.

Be sure to pack some warm clothes for the chilly evenings and comfortable footwear for exploring the great outdoors. And when it comes to booking your stay, make sure to reserve well in advance to avoid disappointment. 

With luxurious accommodations, breathtaking landscapes, and a myriad of activities to choose from, Rogge Cloof is an ideal destination for those seeking adventure, relaxation, or a chance to reconnect with nature. So, pack your bags and head to Rogge Cloof for an experience you’ll always remember.

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Author Bio: Janine is a lover of travel, adventure, wine, and good food. She is passionate about wildlife and conservation and was raised by a bundle of scientists, botanists, researchers, biologists, and creatives. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, she loves travelling with her husband and toddler, taking her audiences on adventures both locally and throughout the globe. She is also the first to confess that she’s been badly bitten by the travel bug.

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