African sunsets have to be seen to be believed. Each evening the skies turn brilliant shades of pink, orange and red, painting the clouds golden and creating silhouettes of the trees and animals.
It’s like something out of the movies, but better.
Sit back with an icy G&T in your hand, and watch Africa settle into the night, listening to the birds and beetles and nocturnal animals waking up. Pure bliss.
It’s impossible to list all the incredible African sundowner spots, but we’ve picked some of our favourites here.
Maasai Mara, Kenya
The plains of the Maasai Mara stretch to what seems like the ends of the earth. Dotted with iconic umbrella thorn trees, and teeming with wildlife, you can pretty much stop anywhere in Mara and be delighted by the sunset scenes that unfold.
Tassia Lodge, Kenya
Perched on the cliffs overlooking the Northern Frontier District toward Samburu, Tassia Lodge offers unparalleled views. Be it from one of the six ‘bandas’, which are completely open on the view side or the rim pool or deck, the views are spectacular.
Enjoy sundowners on the rocks while watching host, Martin Wheeler, flying his beautiful birds of prey. He runs a bird sanctuary at the lodge, providing rehabilitation for injured birds of prey from the area, before releasing them back into the wild.
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
The Ngorongoro Crater is an old volcano which, due to its steep sides, has its own little micro-ecosystem, complete with a large number of wild animals including elephant, rhino, wildebeest and hippo.
Perched around its edges are numerous lodges, including the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge and the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. They all have wonderful decks that look over Ngorongoro, on which to enjoy a cold beer as the sun sets.
Africa House Hotel, Stone Town, Zanzibar
The open-air terrace of The Sunset Lounge atop the Africa House Hotel in Stone Town is a favourite sundowner spot for travellers.
Enjoy a cocktail while watching the lapping waves of the warm Indian Ocean after a busy day exploring Stone Town’s cobbled streets, marvelling at its beautiful architecture and wooden carved doors, and sampling its many spices.
Beyond Stone Town, there are also countless romantic beach spots for enjoying laid-back sundowners on Zanzibar Trips.
Bué Maria, Gorongosa, Mozambique
Situated in the heart of Mozambique, the Gorongosa National Park is a wonderful testament to what can be done to save our wildlife areas and animals. A 20-year public-private partnership has done much to restore this previously war-torn and ecologically-devastated area.
Encompassing tourism, conservation, science and community, the land is slowly returning to its pre-human devastation glory, and the animals that used to roam free here are, once again, able to safely call it home.
Upon the rocky hill - Bué Maria - overlooking the Pungue River is the perfect spot to watch the sunset over this magical area, cold beer in hand.
Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi
With a focus on ecologically-friendly everything, chalets and tents are made and decorated with locally-sourced materials.
Enjoy your sundowner in this spectacular secluded spot and watch the sun set over the azure waters of Lake Malawi.
Royal Livingstone Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zambia
The thundering sound of the falls just downstream in the background is often drowned out by the evocative call of a fish eagle.
Houseboat, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe
A longtime favourite of Zimbabwe locals and tourists, hiring a houseboat on Kariba is a blissful treat.
Known as a tiger fishing paradise, the lake delivers in sunsets and is the perfect spot to sit and watch the sun sink.
Chobe River Sunset Cruise, Botswana
Sit back with your sundowner in hand as you float down the magical Chobe River at sunset. A number of operators offer sundowner trips in Chobe Park, and it’s well worth doing one.
Watch animals - elephant, buck, giraffe and more - come down to the river to drink, while hippos snort and crocodiles watch. And then there’s the birdlife…
Makgadikgadi Pan, Botswana
This is one to do if the appeal of Africa is its vastness. Makgadikgadi Pans are salt pans in north-eastern Botswana.
Stretching over an area the size of Portugal, this stark landscape goes on as far as the eye can see. Most of the year they’re dry, but during the wet season they fill up with water and provide a nesting ground for a plethora of birds, including perfectly pink flamingos, and drinking water for a wide range of animals.
Scattered between the pans are fantastical-looking baobab trees, which make incredible Dr Seuss-like silhouettes against the spectacular sunsets.
Jetty 1905, Swakopmund, Namibia
Built on the end of a jetty that juts out into the cold Atlantic Ocean, Jetty 1905 is another perfect spot for sundowners.
With huge windows the whole way around and glass floors to see the waves crashing below, you can enjoy a 360-degree view as the sun sets into the ocean. While you’re there, treat yourself to a feast of delicious oysters!
Mowani Lodge, Twyfelfontein, Namibia
Up in Damaraland, beautifully designed to have minimal impact on this spectacular rocky landscape, is Mowani Mountain Lodge.
Sundowners are served on a huge flat rock and you’ll be astounded by the changing colours of the landscape as the sun sinks low in the African sky.
Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa
There’s something about the stillness at sunset. In Africa, the bush is by no means silent, but the noises change at dusk, from raucous birdsong to night insects and nocturnal beasts. Add to that, the gentle sounds of the flowing Crocodile River and you have the perfect sundowner spot.
The Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp offers numerous sunset delights: Go on a sundowner game drive, or just enjoy the sunset from the campsite itself – either way, you won’t be disappointed!
City Sunsets, Johannesburg, South Africa
While nothing beats an African sunset in the bush, there’s a certain delight to watching the sun set over a cityscape, too.
Johannesburg offers a huge number of spots to do so, and we’ve picked three of our favourites.
San Deck, Tsogo Sun, Sandton
Situated in the thriving business hub of Sandton, the San Deck, on the sixth floor of the Tsogo Sun, offers spectacular views over Johannesburg.
With comfy couches and huge fire pits, in case of cold winter nights, this is a sophisticated spot to toast Africa’s sun as it sets over the city while drinking trendy cocktails.
Living Room, Maboneng
Enjoy a sundowner at this rooftop venue, and marvel not only at its beautiful décor, including vertical gardens but also at the sunset over Joburg’s inner cityscape.
Roots, Forum Homini, Cradle of Humankind
A short drive out of Johannesburg takes you to Maropeng, the Cradle of Humankind. This is home to some of the most fascinating fossils in the world, not least the recent find – Homo Naledi.
There’s also the Forum Homini Hotel and Roots Restaurant which offers a superb site for sundowners. With a gorgeous view across the bush, it’s hard to believe that you're within an hour of the bustling metropolis of Jo’burg!
Drakensberg Sundowner Horse Ride, South Africa
The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is a 150 km stretch of mountains in KwaZulu-Natal known for its spectacular beauty. With dramatic mountains and beautiful waterfalls, it’s an ideal sundowner spot, at pretty much any point.
The ride leaves two hours before sunset and you take a gentle amble through the beautiful countryside to a beautiful spot to watch the sunset, where a table is set up with sundowners and snacks.
City Sunsets, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town has pretty much everything your heart could desire on the spectacular scenery front - mountain, sea, vineyards. This means, of course, that range of incredible sundowner spots is way too big for this little blog.
We've chosen three favourites.
The Grand & Beach, Granger Bay
Situated just outside the V&A Waterfront, this The Grand & Beach is on the sea, with its own little beach.
Sit at tables inside, or set up on the beach and sip on fabulous cocktails while you watch the sun set into the Atlantic Ocean, with Robben Island in sight.
Blue Peter, Bloubergstrand
If you prefer drinking your sundowner with a postcard-like view across Table Bay to Table Mountain, Blue Peter is the place for you.
Set on the sea, you can sit at wooden bench-tables on the verandah, or lazily lie on the lawn while watching the sun set next to one of the world's seven natural wonders.
Sunset From Table Mountain, Cape Town
Over the summer season, the cableway offers half-price tickets after 6 PM. Check their website to make sure it's still on.
Pack a picnic and head up to the top of Table Mountain to get panoramic views over the city in every direction as the sun sets. It's breath-taking.
Share the love, and let us know of your favourite sundowner spots in Africa!