from humble beginnings to an astronomical paradise


Transport yourself back to the early 1980s, where a British astronomer by the name of Peter Mack, employed by the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), stumbled upon the promising potential of Cederberg. Inspired by his findings, Mack secured a plot of land on the captivating Dwars Rivier farm, courtesy of the gracious owner, Pollie Nieuwoudt. In 1984, he constructed the first telescope piers, setting the stage for an extraordinary endeavor. A storeroom and dome took shape in early 1986, just in time to make observations of Halley’s Comet later that year.

The year 1988 marked a significant turning point as Peter Mack then invited a group of five astronomy enthusiasts to join him in his endeavours and upon making a financial contribution, each new ‘member’ joined as an equal share holder. Together, they laid the formal groundwork by establishing the Cederberg Observatory and adopting an official constitution. This dynamic team of ‘first generation’ astronomers comprised of Peter Mack, Chris Forder, Wayne Trow, Bill Hollenbach, Martin Lyons, and Martin Fuller.

By 1989, an accommodation block equipped with cooking facilities became a welcome addition. Further expansions included the construction of an ablution block, a storeroom, a second dormitory, and a clever roll-off roof structure designed to house an impressive 12″ telescope. As a final touch of convenience, Eskom stepped in during the mid-1990s, providing power and rendering the need for batteries and a rather noisy generator obsolete.



We believe that astronomy has the power to inspire curiosity, spark imagination, and foster a deeper connection to the cosmos. We aim to share our knowledge and passion for astronomy with people of all ages and backgrounds and leave a lasting impact on individuals by fueling their curiosity and expanding their horizons. Ultimately, our mission is to become a leading astrotourism and outreach hub in Southern Africa.