African sunset guide – Safari, savannah, sea & sundowners

Another magical sunset on the African plains, with silhouetted trees and zebras, Amboseli

Africa is huge and untamed. It calls to the wild at heart and daring of spirit. But more than that, its beauty moves all those who set eyes on this magnificent continent.

An African sunset is a sight to behold. The horizons stretch on endlessly and provide an awe-inspiring kaleidoscope of hues. It’s true, the African continent showcases some of the most spectacular skies.

Then, there is the added magic of Africa’s diverse wildlife, vast savannahs, stunning deserts, and gorgeous oceans. It’s something you have to see for yourself.

That said, this post will look at the best times and places to see an African sunset as well as the best ways to enjoy one.

Sunset in Africa: Best Time to See One

Bird of prey silhouette against orange sunset hues and stormy clouds in the background, Kalahari desert

You might want to know when the best time of year is to catch a sunset in Africa. Luckily, sunsets happen 365 days a year – sometimes 366 days – so no matter what time of year you go, you’ll be able to witness one.

If you’re looking for that extraordinary, African red sunset, then you may want to visit in spring or autumn. Or, between the wet and dry seasons in the equatorial regions. In these seasons, the sky has enough cloud cover to create a stunning palette of colors and wispy swirls. This can make for a breathtaking sight.

Africa is enormous and extends far into both the northern and southern hemispheres. In the southern regions, spring happens between September and November and autumn lies between March and May. Whereas in the northern parts of the continent, the opposite is true.

The countries that lie around the equator aren’t really affected by the typical four seasons. Instead, they tend to have wet and dry seasons and stay relatively hot all year around. So do some research on the seasons when you know which country you’ll be visiting.

African Sunsets: 4 Places to Experience One

You know when to go. Now, you need to know where. Below is a list of four great places to visit to experience a sunset in Africa.

The Garden Route, South Africa

Spectacular sunset over the rocky coastline of Tsitsikamma, in the Garden Route

If South Africa is your destination, you’re in luck. The Garden Route is a vibrant stretch of coastline on the south-eastern side of South Africa. It extends from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape, claiming its name from its diverse and vibrant vegetation.

The Garden Route is a popular attraction for South Africans and tourists alike. If you decide to drive along the Garden Route as part of your adventure-focused trip itinerary, you’ll experience a variety of magical sunsets in South Africa.

The Garden Route showcases sunsets over lakes, lagoons, beaches, the ocean, and forests. Each day will bring a different scene and landscape – great for any photo album.

The Masai Mara, Kenya

Eland silhouette at sunset, Masai Mara, Kenya

Seemingly-limitless African horizons and beautiful sunsets go hand in hand in Kenya. This country is a diverse land with incredible sights and landscapes. It’s home to the Great Rift Valley, lakes, mountains, and the coastline of the Indian Ocean. These areas and habitats provide amazing settings for African sunsets.

The Masai Mara National Reserve is in southwestern Kenya, along the Tanzanian border. This reserve contains a huge variety of animals and is also home to the Great Wildebeest Migration.

The migration is a truly incredible phenomenon. Over two million mammals journey around the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti. Seeing a sunset here, with thousands of animals making their way across the savannah, is an unforgettable experience.

Namib Desert, Namibia

Lone gemsbok at sunset, with orange dunes as a backdrop

Namibia presents something different from the savannah and sea settings above. This country has a unique landscape where mountains meet the desert, and the desert meets the ocean. You won’t forget the powerful shades of color creeping over the impressive dunes.

The Namib Desert is coastal in nature and situated in Southern Africa. The name means “vast place”, which hints at its size. Dune 45 is the most popular spot to watch the sun go down in the desert. It rises 170 m into the air, making it a great position to witness one of these spectacles of nature.

The sunset casts apricot-colored shades across the dunes, creating a scene that looks like a moving oil painting. The desert also has some incredible wildlife that you can see up close and personal on a Namibia safari.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Sunset over Nungwi beach, with pink orange clouds and local fishermen boats

Tanzania is in East Africa and is home to the formidable Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti National Park. This country is a true representation of what Africa has to offer in a sunset – dusty, wild, and magical.

Just offshore Tanzania lies Zanzibar, an archipelago of islands which has some of the best beaches in the world. It’s famous for its cocktail sunsets and Indian Ocean views. Picture turquoise waters, white sandy stretches, and palm-fringed beaches – the perfect tropical setting.

Besides the exotic scenery, Zanzibar also offers a wonderful opportunity to catch a sunset from the sea. In fact, you can watch it from a dhow (an authentic Arabic sailing boat) while trailing your hand in the ocean.

How to Enjoy an African Savannah Sunset

A romantic sundowner in Onguma Game Reserve, Namibia

When thinking of Africa, most people picture wildlife and open plains. And with good reason; this continent is famous for its African savannah.

Seeing sunsets over the sea and mountains is truly magical. But, for the real deal, you have to experience an African safari sunset in the proper way – with savannah around you and a sundowner in your hand.

Across Africa, there is a tradition upheld by many game rangers and individuals alike. When embarking on an afternoon or evening safari, there is a planned break about halfway-through the game drive.

Your game ranger will pull out the cooler box and set out some camper chairs. This is the cue for you to spend a magical 20-30 minutes enjoying the sounds of the bush. You can sit back and sip on a cold one while watching the sun go down.

You might even witness this beautiful African sunset with animals roaming the wonderful landscape around you.

This tradition also extends to sunrises in Africa. The difference lies in the beverages you drink and, of course, in the time of day. Think crack of dawn rather than evening, and bush coffee in place of beer.

Africa Sunset – Boundless Beauty

Spotted hyena resting by a glowing waterhole at sunset, Sabi Sand

Africa’s diverse variety of landscapes make for amazing sunset scenes. Ocean views, desert dunes, mountains, and vast plains – this continent has it all.

For the real African sunset experience, plan your dream safari. You’ll have the ultimate sundowner experience!

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