What is a safari sundowner?
This is simply the time during a scheduled or private game drive when the ranger will stop during an afternoon drive, at a scenic spot, usually while the sun is dipping over the African bush and you will be served a refreshing beverage and gourmet snacks. Sundowners while on safari have become synonymous with all game drives and is also commonly known as a safari inspired ‘happy hour’ but with a twist.
The ranger and tracker will unpack a cooler box from the back of the 4×4 safari vehicle and your alcoholic cocktail or non-alcoholic mocktail of choice is served while you share and discuss fabulous adventures of the past few hours while on the drive and what amazing sightings you have witnessed first hand. Snacks are also usually provided and these can range from a selection of biltong, nuts and dried fruit to a variety of gourmet eats for all dietary requirements. All with the backdrop of the breathtaking African sunset.
What is the history of safari sundowners?
The safari sundowner Africa tradition originated when quinine was consumed to ward off malaria by the British, in the 18th century. However, people began to drink it during social situations, thus giving rise to the sundowner ritual. Today, the sundowner is still a popular tradition on any African safari, though it is now solely for enjoyment rather than medicinal purposes. The drink of choice on any safari still remains gin and tonic, but it might surprise some to know that it was in fact born out of necessity.
This is one experience not to be missed. Are you ready?
Here is our hand-picked list of the 10 recommended safari sundowner stops in Africa.
Another one of the top sundowner stops is at Matetsi Victoria Falls. While on safari in the exclusive wilderness of Matetsi Private Game Reserve and along the banks of the Zambezi River, your guide will come around the corner and there is a stop at the truly unique ice cream truck and a bicycle with a champagne filled basket – this must be a one of a kind at any lodge in Africa. The team at Matetsi are all about surprising and delighting their guests, and this stop on a hot summer’s afternoon is one we know you will look forward to. The lesser spotted mobile ice cream truck and champagne bicycle, not just elephants, lions, buffalo, zebra or other wildlife in this 136,000 acre Matetsi Private Game Reserve.
Matetsi has access to the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area and has no fences with the KAZA transfrontier. Thus, morning, evening, night game drives and full day game drives offer the ultimate in game viewing as animals roam freely through the private Matetsi reserve and KAZA. The lodge is a distinctly African lodge with a contemporary design.
Londolozi is a well-known premier private reserve with 5 different camps namely Varty Camp, Private Granite Suites, Pioneer Camp, Tree Camp and Founders Camp. There is accommodation suitable for all tastes. Whether you are a first time safari goer or a seasonal safari traveler you will still be in awe of the African cuisine sundowners treats served while on the afternoon game experience at a scenic spot.
As per Londolozi, “safari cuisine is a key component to your experience” and includes fresh ingredients sourced locally. In fact, Londolozi has 30 independent gardeners in their local village gardens. Wines offered are all from the John Platter’s Wine Guide and other exclusive wines. The food served during ‘happy hour’ is worthy of being on the front of a magazine cover.
A highlight is the different themed sundowners from a sunset wine and cheese tasting to a Mad Hatter’s tea party, this makes each game drive a totally different experience.
The expert team at Ker & Downey® Africa have included Mwiba Lodge as they offer unlimited game drives with private vehicles and knowledgeable guides in the game-rich surroundings.
This means that all safari sundowners will be private as well. There is no better way to watch the sun go down than in the beautiful surroundings of Mwiba Lodge.
Classic sundowners are presented on the escarpment overlooking Lake Eyasi, on the rock formation, or overlooking the Arugusinyai River or under the Acacia trees – all with the most breathtaking views. Each safari sundowner is set up on a private spot in the reserve.
Game drives are provided on the Mwiba Wildlife Ranch and for any guest staying three nights or more, entry to Ndutu or Southern Serengeti is complimentary. Night game drives are also available.
Zannier Sonop offers a sundowner one-of-a-kind dune picnic. However the picnic is offered in a remote and romantic location which is reached by a helicopter scenic flight – a total of 2.5 hours. Starting from the lodge, you fly over the Namib Desert and the private 5,600 hectare reserve and then the pilot will stop for a gourmet Champagne picnic as the sun sets. This is a culinary discovery of Namibia. Take in the beauty of the desert and its landscape with your loved one. We highly recommend finishing off the day at the Cigar and Cocktail lounge at the main camp when you return or taking in a free classic movie at the open-air desert cinema, under a canopy of stars.
This incredible new 10-tented camp is situated in the heart of the Namib Desert and constructed on top of boulders.
When visiting Victoria Falls, you will expect to experience the most perfect sundowner as the sun goes down at the end of another magnificent African safari in Zimbabwe, and a stay at Old Drift Lodge does just that and more. Whether from a viewing deck of the lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River or from a sundowner cruise – you are guaranteed to have the most memorable sunset.
At Old Drift Lodge private safari sundowners are arranged on the banks of the Zambezi River or with other guests on the afternoon game drive. The lodge is well known for their crispy glazed chicken wings, considered to be the ultimate sundowner snack by all who’ve tried them before! You are in luck, the team will even generously share the recipe. They even go as far as sharing the recipe for this with guests.
The lodge is nestled within a wild paradise with grunting hippos in the river to the African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, lion and plenty of field game roaming in the Zambezi National Park which is explored on a 4 x 4 game drive.
We decided to include Eagle Island Lodge as they serve safari sundowners twice. First while enjoying the afternoon activities and then again at 7.30pm before dinner is served back at the lodge. The indulgent snack ingredients are locally-sourced and they invite you to sit back and enjoy while watching a variety of wildlife.
Another reason, is of course, that the in-house bar, called the Fish-Eagle Bar was chosen as one of the most romantic bars in the world by the New York Times. Sundowners, which include premium brands and imported champagne, all included in your stay, are served each evening, and you might be lucky enough to experience the ‘resident’ elephant dine on berries in the surrounding trees.
Safari sundowners will be arranged during the afternoon activity which includes either a motorized boating, barge cruise, mokoro canoe safari, guided walking safaris, bird watching, fishing or daily game drives. Water activities can be enjoyed when the delta is in full flood and you will gently float down the channels as you sip a sundowner.
This award winning lodge, which was recently voted as number 1 in the Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best Awards, offers a wide selection of pan-African dishes as the sun sets over the African bushveld. Everything is freshly baked, fresh, seasonal and locally-sourced. The gourmet snacks are lovingly created by head chef Joshua and he even has a cookbook which is available to purchase. While no two game drives are the same with regards to the abundant animal sightings on the Kenyan plains, no two sundowner menus are the same either. There can be no better end to the day than animal encounters followed by sundowners in the bush with the finest Champagne or try the Rosemary scented Gin and Tonic. In winter hot water bottles and blankets are supplied, for that extra special touch and in summer personalized reusable water bottles are provided, which is great as a souvenir. Mahali Mzuri is a magical lodge for the ultimate in safari sundowners.
Be sure to contact your LuxVenture® Designer to book a stay at one of these fine lodges so that you can also experience these recommended safari sundowners in Africa.