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groberts

Astrophotography in Southern Africa

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I lived and worked in South Africa back in the early 1980's, before I discovered astrophotography, but I do remember the amazing night skies we saw then.  Now thinking of going back in 2020 for my birthday and anniversary and was wondering if anyone had any first hand experience / recommendations of somewhere to go that provides astrophotography gear etc. + will sort out some safari stuff too, preferably Namibia & / or South Africa?

Thanks, Graham

         

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@groberts A short flight from Jo'burg (where we fly into from UK each year) sees you in Windhoek Namibia. And a short drive from Windhoek sees you at either of these places...

http://www.tivoli-astrofarm.de/e_tivoli_astrofarm.htm or

http://www.astro-namibia.com/

Both great and with some astonishing skies and gear...

We've toured Namibia extensively from there too...

Edited by Stargazer McCabe

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Some of my most memorable astro nights have been at SAAO at Sutherland in the Karoo, South Africa, which is several thousand feet up. With good dark adaption, you could virtually read a newspaper by the starlight and Venus would throw a visible shadow on white paper. Many Messier objects normally considered binocular targets were naked-eye..there was so much om view it was quite disorientating..it was like learning the sky all over again. Having everything upside-down didn't help. 

I took a lot of wide field shots with a home-made clockwork drive and a 135mm lens on Ektachrome 100..if I can get them digitized I will put them up here. 

 

RL

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I was staying at Tivoli a few years ago, best sky you will ever see, I did a short write up, you can see more images on my Flickr page.

 

 

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You definitely need to book outside of the "rainy" season.......I went to SA in 2015 in March to attend a combined wedding and birthday anniversary and it rained during the night most of the time I was there....last time I go on holiday for an anniversary/birthday etc!

At Namibian latitudes astronomical darkness doesn't vary too much between summer and winter so best bet is to find what is best placed in the sky for beginning or the end of the "drier" season.

I did see and briefly image the LMC.....very awesome to see visually, like a mini Milky Way, about fist size at arm's length.

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Maybe try the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa.  There is a website and FaceBook page.

I arranged contacts through them for a visual observing trip to the SAAO at Sutherland about 10 years go.

Cheers

Paul

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Thanks everyone for all the ideas and thoughts, lots to think about but looks very promising.  I'm thinking about this early in order to do my homework, hopefully something will come of it, I love Africa and am keen to return with my new found hobby as well as just enjoy the bush and wildlife.

Graham    

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