Africa is known for its incredibly beautiful golden sunsets. Who has not seen pictures of the open savannah plains with an acacia tree in the background and the silhouette of a lone giraffe strolling past, embraced by the warm golden glow of the setting sun.
My first trip to the southern part of Africa was in 2005 when I took a tour in Zambia. For the first time ever I had the pleasure to experience the famous African sunset with my own eyes. I spent the first night in a campsite on the banks of the Luangwa river, overlooking the amazing South Luangwa national park. While sipping on a sundowner, the atmosphere felt so peaceful and relaxed. The only sounds came from nature, cheeky vervet monkeys were playing on the river banks, hippos were welcoming the evening with a chime of grunts and birds were tweeting happily.
Slowly the warm golden glow stretched over the open landscape like an african bushfire. To this day I remember my first evening in the southern part of Africa.
I have since had the opportunity to experience this magical spectacle many times over and not once does it stop being fascinating. This is the reason why seeing a spectacular African sunset should be on everyone’s bucket list to experience at least once in a lifetime.
10 Reasons to put an African sunset on your bucket list
1. Viewing the sunset in Spitzkoppe, Namibia
Spitzkoppe is also known as the Matterhorn of Namibia. Massive granite formations make up the landscape which many centuries ago used to be inhabited by the local bushmen (early inhabitants of Southern Africa). It’s a great place to camp and to enjoy the spectacular colours of the sunset.
2. Take a sunset drive in Kruger national park, South Africa
Kruger national park is the largest game park in South Africa and makes a great destination for a safari. Sunset drives can be organised and while sipping on a sundowner you can watch the wildlife pass in front of the setting sun.
3. Take a sunset boat tour on the Chobe river in Botswana
The Chobe river is the major lung of the Chobe national park, attracting many animals to the river banks to drink. Aside from the big wildlife, much birdlife can also be seen. These vultures sitting high up on the tree seemed to be enjoying the beauty of the sunset as well.
4. Having sundowners on a Zambezi river boat cruise, Zimbabwe
Apart from visiting the spectacular Victoria Waterfalls themselves, the town of VicFalls in Zimbabwe is also known for its great adrenaline activities. After an adrenaline filled day, a good way to wind down is to enjoy the sunset on a river boat cruise. It takes two hours and bottomless drinks are included, or “on the house”.
5. Watch the sun set in the waves of the Indian ocean in Tsitsikamma national park, South Africa
Tsitsikamma is one of the few national parks on the garden route by the ocean. It is a great park for hikes (the famous Otter trail starts here). The campsite is located right by the water giving you the chance to see some the most spectacular sunsets over the sea.
6. Camp in the middle of nature in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world. This oasis is made out of canals winding their way around the little islands which make a great setting for “wild” camping. Together with some local guides you will feel one with nature and the peace and quietness is just fantastic out here. While getting ready for the night, the last light of the day gives an amazing glow over the open plains of the Okavango Delta.
7. Enjoy a sunset mokoro ride in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
The best means of transport in the Okavango Delta is the mokoro, which is a dug out wooden canoe (nowadays mainly made out of fibre glass). It’s a peaceful way to get through the narrow and shallow canals surrounded by papyrus and reed. When camping out in the Okavango Delta, the local guides will take you for a sunset mokoro ride. Seeing the setting of the sun from a lower point by the water, with some hippos in the distance is a unique experience.
8. Take a dhow safari to the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
The Bazaruto archipelago in Mozambique consists of five idyllic islands with white beaches and pristine blue water. The best way to visit the islands is by a wooden sailing boat, locally called a dhow. While sailing from one island to another, enjoy the spectacular views of the area. In the evening, these wooden dhows give a local touch to the golden ocean views.
9. Take a safari in Addo Elephant park, South Africa
Addo Elephant park is the main safari park just off the Garden route. It’s most famous for its high amount of elephants, but other animals can also be seen. This male Kudu peeped its head out of the bush, giving him a major role in this sunset photo.
10. Visit the ruins of Great Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe is a site close to the town of Masvingo in Zimbabwe. It is recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site and is one of the few ruins left in Southern Africa. It gave its name to the country when it gained independence 1980. The construction of the ruins started in the 11th century and was abandoned in the 15th century. Great Zimbabwe is located in a stunning rocky area surrounded by beautiful nature.