Northern Cape Primed for Astrotourism Boom after Meerkat Launch

Apart from generating Big Data, the SKA project is also expected to give tourism a massive boost, benefitting the economy, and many more.

Kareeberg Municipality Mayor, Norman Van Wyk, says that R3 million has been spent on catering and a further R4 million on transport in the area since construction began in 2012.

One hundred and seven locals have been employed by the South African Astronomical Observatory between 2015 and 2017.

The Northern Cape Tourism Authority’s Dianna Martin, says plans are afoot to stimulate tourism activities along the broader Karoo Highlands Route.

“We have developed five routes in the Northern Cape to develop tourism into the area. People are coming and they are exposed to all the small villages of Williston, of Nieuwoudtville, Calvinia and then of course Carnarvon and Loxton and even to Victoria West and Fraserburg…”

She says that a new visitor information centre in town will allow tourists passing through to gain some insight into the SKA project and the surrounding communities.

WATCH: MeerKAT radio telescopes unveiled