There is nothing like coming back from the dusty exhilaration of a safari to watch the sun dip majestically below the horizon with a chilled beverage in hand. From lagers to liqueurs, Africa serves up sundowners that are uniquely their own and sitting on a lodge deck or relaxing at the campsite for a sunset session of safari-inspired banter with one of these in hand is the perfect end to a day. And if you need some inspiration, here are five of the best!
The continents best brews
Perhaps its the heat, or maybe its the dust, but cracking an icy cold beer at the end of a day bumping along in a jeep, searching for big game, always hits the spot. And with most South and East African countries having their own brew, the beer drinking experience can always be a local one. Grab a Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, a Windhoek in Namibia, or a Mosi in Zambia and wash away the days sweat with this amber gold. African beer is normally cheap to buy and comes in a generous long neck bottle – perfect for a long sundowner session.
Swirl your stick with a Dawa
A generous splash of vodka, a squirt of lime juice, a little sparkling water and the all-important honey-covered dawa stick make for this iconic Kenyan drink – the Dawa. Translating from Swahili as medicine, this concoction is believed to cure a vast range of ailments, as well as making for a more than satisfying way to begin the evening. Serve over crushed ice and use the dawa stick to mix the honey as you drink, giving this refreshing sundowner a sweet kick.
Savour a South African white
It is no secret that South Africa produces the continents best wine (and some of the best in the world) and it has made its way up into East Africa, responding to the demand of wine-loving locals and tourists alike. Put a Chenin Blanc or Brut on ice before you venture off on safari and it will be ready to pop when you return. Most lodges stock South African wine, or you can purchase them in most bottle shops across Southern and Eastern Africa.
Fake it with a West African ginger mocktail’
Just because youre going alcohol-free, it doesnt mean you need to miss out on the post-safari sundowner experience. This mocktail originates in West Africa and uses fresh ginger root and lime juice, together with peppercorns and raw sugar, to create a zingy and revitalising thirst-quencher. Its not for the disorganised, however, as it requires the blending and then straining of all ingredients, before being brought to the boil and cooled. So prepare before you leave for an afternoon safari (or the night before) and serve over crushed ice with a slice of fresh lime.
Conserve wildlife with a creamy Amarula
But if you dont mind a tipple, then a trip to Africa wouldnt be complete without experiencing the creamy liqueur made from the fruit of the local marula tree, otherwise known as the elephant tree. There is a myriad of cocktails you can make with Amarula, but served straight or over ice will allow you to savour all the fruity, caramel aromas it displays. And because of the drinks link to elephants, the distiller also supports elephant conservation efforts, so your sundowner will all be for a good cause.
So settle in for a drink as the sky showcases its transformation from brilliant orange to hazy pink and deep purple as the sun sets for another day, and watch as herds of wildlife slowly meander home, silhouetted against this breathtaking continent. But be careful not to let a lazy sundowner turn into an all-night carousing, because a new day brings unexpected safari opportunities and big game sightings, and on African safari, the early bird catches the worm!
Javier Luque is a Co-Founder and Director of Your African Safari.
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