There are many things to experience on safari, but the one that captures the biggest part of your imagination is probably the one you thought of last.

Sanbona’s exceptional safari experiences so close to Cape Town offer everything you would expect on a luxury safari.  The game drives guided by exceptional Game Rangers, luxury lodge accommodation, fine safari dining, the incredible landscapes and views and of course, amenities to ensure you want for nothing. However, when the day ends and night falls, there is magic to see that few consider until they experience it.

One of the great wonders at Sanbona is the vast African sky at night and our Stargazing Safari experience.

 

Star Gazing in the Little Karoo

Astronomy has been practised for as long as humans have been looking at the sky. A captivating blanket of perfectly set glistening stars, positioned in deliberate alignments is easily one of our oldest sciences. Sanbona offers exceptional safari stargazing opportunities due to lack of light pollution. The vast open skies invite tales through the telescope of how the land and the skies and the moon all came together to create this flawless puzzle.

Stargazing can be conducted at the lodges but can also be incorporated on night drives.  Each lodge has a high-powered telescope and dedicated ranger who utilising a laser pointer, guides you through the awe-inspiring constellations and planets.

Bushmen mythology is filled with stories about how the night skies came to be, all offering different versions and romances. No matter the origin, the Bushmen considered the New Moon to be influential over hunting and the gathering of ants’ eggs, and when the crescent was sighted, they would ask for its assistance.

The San people tell a story of a hunter named Aob, who is represented by the stars in the constellation of Taurus. He was sent by his wives [the constellation of Pleiades or the Seven sisters] to hunt. He found three zebras grazing happily [represented by the 3 kings, also known as Orions Belt]. Aob shot his arrow towards the zebra, sadly missing the target. Shortly after, a lion approached the zebra’s, prohibiting Aob from retrieving his arrow. The lion is said to be the star Betelgeuse, which is a reddish star on shoulder of the constellation of Orion. The story goes that Aob never went home, because he didn’t want to face the wrath of his wives.

The Bushmen have another account, where the Moon is a man who has made the Sun angry. The Sun’s sharp light cuts off pieces of the Moon, leaving only one small piece. The Moon then pleads for mercy and the Sun lets him go. From this small piece, the Moon gradually grows again until it is whole again.

And if you ever wondered how the Milky Way came about, another story tells of a lonely young girl who awaits the return of her hunter companions. To light their way in the dark of the night she throws up a handful of white wood-ash. This becomes the stars in the Milky Way, and even when there is no moon, its shining light guides the hunter’s home.

Night Sky over Gondwana Family Lodge

Be sure to book your next safari with Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, and make sure to indulge in the incredible stargazing safari and hear these fascinating tales as told by our Rangers.

The recent full moon as seen by our guests through the telescope. Image: Marco Fitchet

 

 

Selenophile – (n.) a person who loves the moon.

Asterophile-  (n.) a person who loves the stars