Stargazing Spots: 15 Best Dark Sky Places in Africa and Beyond


For all the astronomy lovers, nothing beats the opportunity to observe the stars, pick out constellations and marvel at the full moon. The world’s best stargazing spots offer incredible views of the night sky with minimal light pollution.

Most of the best stargazing destinations are remote, far-removed from bright city lights. Still others are designated areas within nature reserves and parks.

In most of these, you can make out tens of thousands of stars with the naked eye. Whether you are an amateur astronomer or a seasoned stargazer, you cannot go wrong with these.

For the most epic dark sky vacation, these are the world’s best places to go stargazing:

The Best Stargazing Spots in Africa

Africa is renowned for its vast expanses of wilderness and these provide the best setting for watching the night sky. Take a look at some of its top stargazing destinations:

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

The relatively remote location of the Maasai Mara makes it a great destination for astronomy lovers. There is remarkable clarity thanks to low light pollution levels. But the most outstanding thing about this location is its unique celestial perspective. It sits very close to the equator, offering a rare opportunity to view constellations in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Moreover, the wilderness setting offers distinct sounds from nocturnal animals and rustling bushes. It is one of the best places in Africa to view eclipses, meteor showers and the Southern Cross.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

In addition to being a tropical paradise, the scenic island of Zanzibar is also one of the best places to stargaze on the continent. There is nothing as remarkable as viewing the dark night sky over the Indian Ocean. As you take in the incredible view, the soothing sound of the ocean waves provides the perfect background music. Moreover, the island is warm almost all year round, ensuring a comfortable outdoors experience. To make the most of your dark sky vacation, start your evening early with a cruise to enjoy some of the best sunset views on the planet.

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

This is one of the best stargazing spots to view the Milky Way Galaxy. As the largest national park in Zimbabwe, Hwange sits on a pristine wilderness landscape covering over 14,000 square kilometers. This remote setting makes it ideal for a dark sky adventure. You are likely to catch glimpses of nocturnal animals, taking the experience to the next level.

Dark Sky Stargazing Spots in Africa

Africa has two certified International Dark Sky locations with some of the most stunning views of celestial wonders. These are:

NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia

This nature reserve sits on a vast desert wilderness with pristine skies, perfect for night sky watching. This biodiversity hotspot only allows a limited number of visitors every day making it ideal for when you really want to get away. Some of the accomodation facilities here are designed with stargazers in mind. For instance, some rooms have open-air beds with the best views of the sky.

!Ae! Hai Kalahari Heritage Park, South Africa

This park is situated in one of the darkest places on earth. Based on the Sky Quality Meter (SQM) scale, it scores an astounding 21.6. (The scale runs from 1 to 22, with the latter being the darkest place on earth). Though this park covers an area of over 120,000 acres, it houses a single property with 12 rooms. In addition to its obvious appeal for astro-tourism, this destination also holds cultural significance. It is home to the Khomani San people, whose culture involves preserving dark skies. The darkness here is also crucial for the survival of local flora and fauna. Because it is located in the desert, this park has seen most of its species turn nocturnal in order to survive the extreme heat.

Remote Stargazing Spots Around the World


Beyond Africa, here are some of the best destinations around the world for once-in-a-lifetime trips to watch the night sky:

Faroe Islands, North Atlantic

One of the best dark sky locations in the North Atlantic Ocean is Faroe Islands. This chain of islands is well known for its historical significance, as the ancient home of Vikings. It is also one of the best places in the world for a nature vacation thanks to its scenic setting and the Northern Lights. During winter months, the dancing Aurora Borealis could take your stargazing experience to the next level. In summer, the midnight sun offers a unique stargazing experience thanks to extended twilight. Its dramatic, rugged landscape and coastal setting offers great photography opportunities.

Atacama Plateau, Bolivia

This remote and serene landscape provides a secluded environment where you can connect to the universe on a deeper level. It is a flat landscape on one of the highest-altitude places on the planet and also one of the driest. These are the perfect blend of features for a remarkable astronomical adventure. Aside from remarkable clarity, the area offers a 180-degree view of the sky and the star seem to be very close. If you happen to experience a meteor shower, the view is almost surreal.

Denali National Park, Alaska, USA

Alaska is a popular destination for dark sky trips, and Denali National Park is one of its best gems. Situated on a six-million-acre land, it has plenty of stargazing spots. Since the location is a high northern latitude, you get to see the glory of the Northern Hemisphere. Winter months here are exceptionally dark and therefore ideal for astro-tourism. As a bonus, you might get a chance to see the elusive Northern Lights.

Stargazing Spots in Dark Sky Parks Around the World


Regardless of your location on the planet, there are more than 100 Dark Sky Parks designated for astronomy lovers. Here are some special mentions:

  • Isle of Sark, Channel Islands – a designated Dark Sky Island in the English Channel, popular for stargazing events.
  • Natural Bridges National Monument – the first International Dark Sky Park to receive certification, offering great desert stargazing opportunities.
  • Exmoor National Park, England – Europe’s first Dark Sky Reserve with a two-mile self-guided discovery trail offering 360-degree views of the night sky.
  • Galloway Forest Park, Scotland – the first Dark Sky Park in the UK and the fourth in the world. Considered a Gold-Tier park for its unique stargazing conditions.
  • Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA – Hawaii’s highest volcanic peak, home to some of the world’s most advanced observatories. Best for combining a sunset viewing and night sky watching trip.
  • Warrumbungle National Park, Australia – Australia’s only Dark Sky Park with jaw-dropping views of the night sky against the backdrop of a dramatic volcanic landscape.
  • Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand – largest Dark Sky Reserve in the Southern Hemisphere with exceptional views and photography opportunities.

Create a Bucket List for Your Favorite Stargazing Spots

Are you an amateur astronomer eager to grow your passion for celestial bodies? Or are you a seasoned stargazing enthusiast with a thirst for adventure? Are you simply a nature lover in search of the next jaw-dropping view of the natural world?

No matter what your predisposition is, a visit to these stargazing spots would make an unforgettable vacation. Choose your favorites and create your bucket list for astro-tourism.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *