“See that bright star? It’s in fact a million stars.”
What looks like a luminous diamond stud turns into a sprinkling of icing sugar on a black fondant sky, as I zoom in with the telescope.
Out in the remote Cederberg, the clear night skies are adorned with a million sparkles, and are beautiful just as they are. But seeing it through one of the lenses at the Cederberg Observatory magnifies the remoteness of our planet and the remoteness that is the Cederberg.
Away from the rush of city life, only dirt roads link to it. Its beauty unfolds to those who venture further within. Being on foot allows you to have this perspective. My most recent visit was in the heat of summer, but that did not deter me from tackling an 8 hour hike through the iconic Wolfberg Cracks and onwards to the Arch.
After a steep climb up to the start of the cracks, some rock scrambling, crawling beneath and between boulders that have lodged themselves in the narrow crack, you are only halfway there. The Wolfberg plateau is rocky, but well trodden, making the going easy. And as you tread closer, the tiny hole in a rock becomes a grand natural archway. Interesting rock features are aplenty on this trail and all over the Cederberg.
But you don’t have to be an adventurer to appreciate the beauty of the Cederberg – some are within easy reach and Stadsaal is no exception. Evening light brings out the deep and rich colours of the Cederberg. And at the caves at Stadsaal, the shadows and light intensify the beauty.
And sometimes, all you need is the remoteness, beauty and silence to reawaken the soul. The billions of stars out there may be out of our reach, but for now gems like the Cederberg will do.