From the Journal

Nightcaps: African drinks to pursue


Travel Tips

In Africa, ending off our ultra-adventurous days with something a bit stronger than our 7am coffee comes with the territory. The sun is hot and the days are wild, meaning a nightcap is an absolute necessity. There are however more benefits to a strong nightcap than just taking the edge off, and we figure you should know about them. Here are three African drinks to seek out on your next visit, and the many ways in which they’ll ease your troubles.

African-drinks-1

Nightcaps | 01 Gin + Tonic

The great thing about Africa is, you don’t need an excuse to drink a stiff G&T anywhere you can find a mosquito. We’re talking anywhere from dry savannas in Tanzania to the waterways of Botswana. Mosquitoes thrive in hot, humid environments and prefer laying their eggs in stagnant water. G&T’s became the unofficial safari drink back in 1825 in colonial India. The British threw back tonic water as a means to prevent malaria. Tonic water contains high doses of quinine, an antimalarial alkaloid (try saying that after a few), which is extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree – this alkaloid repels mosquitoes. To cut the bitter taste of the tonic, British officials started adding Gin to their liking. This “medicinal’ trend spread to Malaria prone areas such as Africa and the rest, is history.


Although a casual G&T won’t suffice as your malaria vaccination, (quinine doses in modern day tonic is much lower than before), we can confirm that this is an African drink which wards off a decent amount of mosquitoes. We recommend enjoying Gin & Tonic’s for sundowners on your evening game drive, to make sure your body is naturally mosquito repellent before the night hits.


Team Recommendation: Inverroche Gin (Classic) mixed with Fitch and Leedes Indian Tonic and a dash of citrus zest.

African Drinks Gin

Nightcaps | 02 Amarula

Yes, we live in Africa, one of the hottest continents on earth, but temperatures can still drop from 104 °F in the day to below 50°F in the evenings. Our solution? A small, but straight-to-the-point nightcap. Amarula, a South African cream liqueur is the way to go. This African liqueur, made from the fruit of the Marula Tree (only found in Southern Africa), has a fruity caramel taste and a hefty 17% alcohol content that’s bound to warm you up. We are not the only ones who love the taste of the Marula fruit. Elephants go far and wide to find the Marula fruit and often smash into Marula trees to dislodge their favourite snack – keep an eye out on that sundowners drive.

Ker Downey Africa African Drinks Marula Tree

Amarula, a South African cream liqueur is the way to go.

You are most likely to need this African drink when you are travelling to Namibia or South Africa during the ‘winter’ months. Scorching hot days can turn into surprisingly chilly evenings, so don’t get caught off guard, and always carry that hip flask.


Team Recommendation: Enjoy Amarula on the rocks or add a dash of the liqueur to your coffee.

...don’t get caught off guard, and always carry that hip flask.

African Drinks Amarula

Nightcaps | 03 Craft beer

Save this one for the cities. Craft beer is fast becoming everyone’s drink of choice in cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg. With a market looking to double by the end of 2017 to an estimated 20 million litre production, the beer can’t be that bad? And yes, we might be biased, but we are all for supporting local businesses whenever we travel. Depending on your mood, you can either visit a craft beer brewery such as Jack Black’s Brewing Co. or Devil’s Peak Brewing Co. for a cultured beer tasting or or you can simply order a beer wherever you end up for the night.

African drinks Craft Beer

Team Recommendation: Jack Black Atlantic Weiss

Think you are ready for that African nightcap? Contact us to to find out where the best spots are to have them here.

Joey Cameron
Written by
Joseph Cameron

NYC based, South African transplant, Joey Cameron, is a freelance writer, travel-nerd, natural food enthusiast, personal trainer and brand owner. Characterised by an insatiable hunger for passport stamps and a somewhat strange (non)sense of humour, he can found regularly scanning the skies for ways to up, up and getaway.


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