Subaru is named after the Pleiades star cluster, which also inspired the brand’s logo. Little wonder, then, that seeing eye tech is its latest feat.
If you’re also a star fanatic, here are a few places in South Africa you simply have to visit. While the Netherlands’ Hans Lippershey might have invented the telescope, and Italy’s Galileo Galilei was the first person to use one, South Africa receives its fair share of astronomy fame — and with good reason. Some Khoisan legends about the stars date back to over 25 000 years ago — long before Galileo’s observations. And, of course, it’s home to the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere — sensitive enough to pick up the light of a single candle on the moon. With clear skies and relatively little light pollution, it is, and always has been, a stargazing utopia…

Cederberg mountains

Founded in the early eighties, the Cederberg Astronomical Observatory has become a popular destination with amateur and professional astronomers alike. It’s situated high in the Cederberg mountains and offers unpolluted skies and magnificent mountain views.

The general public can visit on Saturday nights, when a few hours are set aside for astronomers to guide amateur stargazers, except on full moons when not much else is visible. You’ll also be treated to a slideshow about the southern hemisphere’s night skies.

There are two domes, respectively housing two large telescopes, and another slide-off roof observatory with a third telescope inside. There are also a few home-made Newtonian telescopes. Expect to spot planets, comets, nebulae, open clusters, globular clusters and galaxies. The Southern Cross is always a favourite, while other constellations and planets are only visible during certain times of the year.

Pafuri

Situated near the borders of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, Pafuri in the Kruger National Park is already well known as an excellent bush escape.

Few people know that it’s a great stargazing spot, too. It’s far from the city and the tented camps only use gas and solar power, meaning there’s almost no light pollution to interfere with your nightly viewing. As such, the camp has built a bush observatory. You can book stargazing sessions with experienced astronomers here, but the skies are so clear that you can spot the Tarantula Nebula (a stellar birthplace), the Large and Small Megellanic Clouds (two neighbouring galaxies) and the Mensa constellation with the naked eye.

Sutherland

It might be famous for the US$30 million Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, but Sutherland is also the amateur astronomer’s paradise because of its cloudless, pollution-free skies and elevation.

Though the public can’t use the SALT, tours of the observatory are available.

Luckily, several private establishments offer stargazing opportunities. At Sterland, for one, you can explore the night skies at their Muisbos Amphitheatre. You’ll get to see the Magellan Clouds, Southern Cross and several other heavenly bodies through a selection of telescopes, each with its own GPS.

Close encounters

To experience advanced optics of a different kind, learn about the Subaru’s EyeSight here . It’s a class-leading safety feature that helps to prevents close encounters with other road users.