MeerKAT+ Science Workshop

1-3 February 2023, Wits Rural Facility


MeerKAT will be extended by at least 13 additional SKA dishes, each fitted with L- and S-band receivers in a project known as MeerKAT Extension (MeerKAT+). The optimized MeerKAT+ antenna configuration will enable high-fidelity imaging at twice MeerKAT’s angular resolution and with enhanced sensitivity. This expansion is funded by a partnership between the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG), and the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF). This enhanced telescope sensitivity and angular resolution will be available for all subsequent observing programmes, including any ongoing Large Survey Projects as well as future Open Time and DDT proposals. Also, a reserved share of the available science observing time on MeerKAT will be allocated to the SARAO/MPG/INAF partnership, with the intent that it be used to generate a long-lasting MeerKAT+ Legacy Science Programme.


To prepare for MeerKAT+ science and data processing needs, a 3-day in-person workshop is planned that will cover the science opportunities and technical capabilities of MeerKAT+, as well as provide an opportunity for the project partners to plan for the MeerKAT+ Legacy Programme in more detail, following previous contributions to the MeerKAT+ Science White Paper.

Workshop details

Venue: Wits Rural Facility, a satellite campus of the University of the Witwatersrand bordering the Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Travel information and suggestions can be found here


Dates: 1-3 Feb 2023. 


Duration: ~2.5 day meeting starting at 14:00 (day 1) – 12:30 (day 3), with adjacent meetings likely. 

Accommodation: All participants will be accommodated on-site. All meals will be in the Wits Rural Facility Dining Room and evening braais on the viewing deck. Following your registration, you will be sent an invoice from the Wits Rural Facility. Prices will vary depending on your arrival/departure dates, but an indicative all-in cost (including accommodation, meals, tea/coffee, and workshop registration) is ~R7000 per person for 3 nights. 

SOC: Roger Deane, Hans-Rainer Klöckner, Fernando Camilo, Tiziana Venturi 


LOC: Farah-Naaz Moosa, Roger Deane, Hans-Rainer Klöckner, Graham Lawrie, Isaac Magolego, Mika Naidoo, Shilpa Ranchod

Contact: mkplus2023@gmail.com

To register, please complete this form below by 10 January 2023. Note that workshop attendance will be restricted to a maximum of 60 people, so please ensure you only complete this booking if you are certain you will attend. Unfortunately, there will be no online participation due to low bandwidth and unpredictable load-shedding (power cuts) in South Africa at this time. 


Travel Arrangements

Flights: There are several direct flight options to Hoedspruit via Airlink and CemAir from Johannesburg and Cape Town. Alternative airports that may suit those who will also visit the Kruger National Park or nearby private lodges are Phalaborwa and Skukuza (the latter is inside the Kruger National Park), both ~100 km away. 


Airport Shuttle booking: Wits Rural Facility will provide a shuttle to and from Hoedspruit Airport (~30 km). Once your flights are booked, please fill out this form to make a booking (deadline: 23 January 2023). 


Car Rental: This is possible at Hoedspruit, Phalaborwa, and Skukuza airports and the dirt road to Wits Rural is passable by a standard small vehicle (with some slow driving). 

Local sights: There are a number of day trips and activities on site and nearby if you wish to arrive early or stay on. A few examples are listed here

Game drives: Bookings are possible for a number of game drives on the Wits Rural Facility property and in neighbouring farms. Email: minah.nkuna@wits.ac.za for more detail.


Indicative weather: See this link.   

Malaria risk: Although there is a very low risk of malaria at Wits Rural, please read this important information




Additional documentation

1. MeerKAT+ Science Presentation: These are the slides presented at a webinar delivered by the SARAO Chief Scientist on 10 November 2022.