Paarl Post

Sparkling stars beckon at Taalmonument in the New Year

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Spend an evening of stargazing and picnicking at the Afrikaans Taalmonument in Paarl.Foto:
Spend an evening of stargazing and picnicking at the Afrikaans Taalmonument in Paarl.Foto:

Locals and visitors will get to know the glittering night sky – specifically the sparkling Orion – better during the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument’s (ATM’s) first Stargazing picnic of the year on Paarl Mountain on Saturday, 14 January 2023. It promises to once again be a festive evening in the beautiful setting; in addition, a spectacular sunset and visit to the iconic sculpture is included, and the event is in aid of a good cause.

Visitors will explore the galaxy with the help of the Orion Observation Group (OOG) whose friendly members like to share their knowledge and telescopes for free. The focus is on the great Orion Nebula, an emission nebula (space, hydrogen, helium, and other ionised gases) whose centre looks like a butterfly. It is south of the constellation and is easily visible to the naked eye as a dull whitish spot in the centre of Orion’s belt.

The picnics are popular with locals and overseas visitors who especially enjoy the beautiful views of the valleys, mountains and peninsula. Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics and drinks (no glass) or to order picnic baskets in advance at Die Suikerkan via 082 216 2510/082 856 1871 or info@diesuikerkan.co.za - this coffee shop will also sell refreshments during the event. Guests are encouraged to explore the area and have a look at the monument that is an exceptional, symbol-rich sculpture. A free guided tour to explain all of this takes place at 18:30. There are outdoor games and playgrounds for the children. Please remember binoculars and warm clothing. Ample safe parking is available for free.

The picnic series is in aid of ‘Let’s Read!’, the Taalmonument’s literacy project for children, and therefore picnic-goers are invited to donate new or second-hand children’s books.

The event starts at 18:00 where-after visitors can stare into the skies from 20:00 to 22:30. The entrance fee is R50 per adult and R15 for under-18s; tickets are available at Computicket or the gate, but booking (021 863 0543/4809 or bemarking2@taalmuseum.co.za) is essential to ensure sufficient telescopes. Unfortunately, Stargazing picnics will be cancelled if the weather doesn’t play along – call 073 853 3100 or 083 544 6510 for weather inquiries on the day itself. Pre-bought tickets can be transferred or reimbursed. The next Stargazing picnics are on 11 February and 11 March 2023.

For more information on all the other exciting events, concerts and courses at the Taalmonument, call 021 872 3441/863 0543, visit aalmonument.co.za or follow them on Facebook. The website also offers virtual tours of the monument and museum, information in six languages on the symbolism of the Taalmonument as well as many interesting articles on Afrikaans, multilingualism and the institution’s past, present and future. There are also many resources for school and research projects. Annual permits are available at only R120 for individuals or R220 per family, which includes access to all Full Moon Picnics. The coffee shop offers delicious food and beautiful views daily, contact them via diesuikerkan.co.za or of 082 216 2510.

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