Stargazing picnic and indigenous legends regarding the constellations the best way to ease into the new year

Locals can thank their lucky stars to live in region with an incredible night sky that will once again entertain visitors during a stargazing picnic at the Afrikaans language monument on Paarl Mountain in the new year. That’s why the friendly staff invite one and all to enjoy a festive evening in a beautiful setting on Saturday, 5 January 2019. In addition, a spectacular sunset and a free guided tour of the iconic sculpture are included, and the evening will be in aid of a great cause.

Guests can explore the starry sky thanks to members of the Orion Observation Group (OOG) who love to share their knowledge and telescopes. It is not only an opportunity to highlight indigenous astrological legends, but OOG also wants to encourage visitors to come up with an original indigenous name (maybe something in a Khoisan language?) for Orion. And yes, the hunter is literally standing on his head in the Southern Hemisphere!

These picnics are popular with local residents and overseas visitors, who especially enjoy the beautiful views of the valley, mountains and peninsula. The theme is ‘Orion in full glory’ and the picnic starts at 18:00. The guided tour of the monument is at 18:30 and visitors can watch the stars from 20:00 to 22:30 with the aid of the telescopes. Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic baskets or order one (R300 for two people or R400 with a basket included) at Volksmond Coffee Shop (021 863 2800). Volksmond will also be open for coffee and light refreshments as well as pizza. Safe parking is available and entry is controlled. Please remember binoculars and warm clothes. Visitors are encouraged to explore, and there are outdoor games and playgrounds for children.

The picnic series is in aid of ‘Let’s Read!’, the Taalmuseum’s reading project for children. Picnic-goers are requested to bring a new or second-hand children’s book to donate to this project.

The entrance fee is R40 per adult and R10 per child; tickets are available at Computicket or the gate, but booking (021 863 0543/4809) is essential so that enough telescopes can be catered for. Stargazing picnics will unfortunately be cancelled due to bad weather. Call 073 853 3100 or 083 544 6510 for weather inquiries.

A photography workshop where participants will learn to take time-exposure photographs to record star trails will be presented at the Afrikaanse Taalmonument in Paarl on Saturday, 2 February 2019. For more information regarding all the other exciting events, concerts and courses at the Taalmonument, call 021 863 0543/4809, visit or follow them on Facebook. The next Stargazing picnics are on 9 February and 9 March.

The Afrikaans Language Monument: culture, nature and pleasure. And playing an uplifting role in the community sphere.