Babanango Game Reserve is preparing to take you on a journey from the Earth to the stars this July with a six-day introductory course in Earth Sciences that’s designed to get you hooked on rocks and stars! The reserve has teamed up with experts from the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Geosciences to help you explore the unique geology of the reserve and take advantage of its vast night skies and superlative stargazing and learn more about the area’s fascinating rock record and our solar system.
Babanango’s 3-billion-year-old rock formations make it the perfect place to explore the history of the Earth’s formation and how the rocks on the reserve tell this story. Ancient granite and gneiss, form the main geological foundation across the reserve. Along the White Umfolozi, remarkably preserved sequences of thick lava flows and sediment record processes occurring on Earth 2,9-billion years ago. In the northeast, much younger glacial sediment and mudstones of the Karoo Supergroup cover this ancient terrain.
There are some interesting mineral deposits to be found as well, most notably copper, which was mined on the reserve between 1900 and 1910. The old copper mine with its workings and associated ruins is now one of the most interesting things to explore on a historical tour of the reserve and can be found close to Babanango Valley Lodge, along with the wagon tracks that have cut into the sandstone ridge not far from the old mine manager’s house.
From the Earth beneath to the stars above, Babanango offers incredible stargazing opportunities thanks to its relatively dark skies and low levels of light pollution. Add to this the fact that there are two thirds more stars to see in the southern hemisphere and the quiet, tranquil atmosphere of the African wilderness and stargazing is taken to a whole new level.
Great stargazing is, of course, dependant on the time of year and the weather, but by and large winter is a good time for this activity, thanks to mostly clear skies that enable you to spot various globular and open star clusters as well as planets, gas clouds and sometimes even a galaxy or two!
The Exploring the Earth and Solar System course is being held at Matatane Camp on Babanango Game Reserve and runs from 26-31 July 2021 and will offer participants short theoretical lectures every day with lots of practical learning opportunities through walks or drives to view important formations on the reserve. Stargazing will take place after dinner.
The course is accredited and covers basic and intermediate-level geology and astronomy and all participants will receive certification from the University of the Witwatersrand.
For more information on this exciting course, get in touch with Babanango’s reservations on email@example.com or call +27 31 100 0362