Star Gazing for the Lunar Eclipse – 15th June 2011


Imagine yourself on the summit of the rugged and historic Spionkop Mountain, as the sun goes down and looming shadows fall, hearing the unforgettable story of the great battle, then after a warming coffee, settling back to discover the mysteries of the night sky with an expert astronomer who makes the subject fun.  Now that’s a unique South African experience!


Spion Kop Lodge, situated close to the world-famous Spionkop Battlefield in KwaZulu Natal, is offering a short break with a difference – combining a guided visit to the famous battlefield with the opportunity to gaze at the lunar eclipse and the stars in the clear unpolluted skies.  A total lunar eclipse will be visible from South Africa on the 15th of June 2011.  The last total lunar eclipse visible from this region was in February 2008 and the next one will only be in September 2015.  A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves into the shadow of the Earth, where the Earth is then preventing the rays of the sun from striking the moon and thus making the moon appear dark.  Though lunar eclipses happen at least twice a year, any given eclipse will only be visible from certain parts of the world.  Furthermore total lunar eclipse are also rarer.  So do make sure you grab the opportunity to have a look this June!


Astronomer Terry Leaver of Astronomy SA, will co-ordinate the stargazing evening, he is excited by the lunar eclipse – Spion Kop Lodge is a superb location – making it an ideal spot for viewing the magnificent Southern night sky.  Terry Leaver is an astronomer of many years’ standing, who has the great gift of making this sometimes complex subject come alive for his listeners.  Whether you are a beginner or an expert, he can guide you through the astonishing wonders of the night sky over Southern Africa.


Just three and a half hours from Johannesburg and two and a half hours from Durban, and only 15 minutes from the N3, Spionkop Lodge is a very special heritage property.  Built around the original farm and farmhouse house that hosted both General Redvers Buller’s camp, and the place from which the young war correspondent Winston Churchill viewed the battle, this gracious country lodge has superb views in all directions and offers the opportunity to explore the nearby battlefields as well as the lovely, gentle countryside.  Owners Raymond and Lynette Heron are famous for their country hospitality, great food and superb knowledge of their surroundings. Raymond Heron (FRGS), is an historian, and makes the battlefield come to life with his special ability as a raconteur and knowledge of the local area based on years of research.  Ray recently presented at the Royal Geographical Society in London.


“The Battlefield of Stars & Ill Met By Moonlight” will be held from 15 and 16 June and the package will include two nights accommodation at the lodge, breakfasts or brunches, dinners, a guided visit to the Spionkop Battlefield with Raymond Heron, viewing of the Eclipse and a detailed astronomy talk by Terry Leaver and a sunset Game Drive with Alastair Heron.  Numbers are limited and it is first come first served for this unique experience.  So please do contact us soon to book.

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