The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the national centre for optical and infrared astronomy in South Africa. Its prime function is to do research in astronomy and astrophysics by providing a phenomenal facility and promoting astronomy and astrophysics in southern Africa.
The main telescopes used for research are situated at the SAAO observing station near Sutherland in the Northern Cape, about a 4-hour drive from Cape Town. This is also where you will find the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT).
Daily guided tours are offered to the observatory consist of displays in the visitor centre, followed by a chance to look through the SALT telescope. Tours are run twice daily and bookings are essential.