Founded during the days of the great game-hunting safaris of the 1920's, the sundowner marked the point at which, the day’s hunting over, a fire would be lit, camp-chairs laid out and elegant cocktails served by white-gloved waiters. The scene set, the highlights of the day could then be discussed as the hunting party watched the sun make its regal descent. Today, the hunting days are long gone, but the tradition of the sundowner lives on.
On the equator, the sun begins its descent at roughly the same time all the year round – between five and six pm. For the perfect sundowner experience, therefore, you’ll set out with your driver/guide in the late afternoon. This is the perfect time for a game drive: the heat has gone out of the sun, the air is fresh and the light is beginning to turn its trademark gold – it’s known as ‘magic light’ and is the ideal time for photography. This is also the optimum time to catch the wildlife as it emerges into the cool of the evening. Now is the time to see the hyenas on the prowl, the zebra in their dust baths, the hippo as they emerge from the river. Now is the moment when you might be lucky enough to encounter a family of cheetah. Or even to come across our local leopard and her beautiful cub.
At Olare, we have an excellent selection of sundowner spots, each of which has its own particular charm – all of which are panoramic. One is on Lone Tree Hill, another is down by the hippo pools, a third looks out over the rolling majesty of the plains. Arriving at your destination, stools will be laid out, a safari bar will be whisked out of the back of your vehicle, delicious ‘bitings’ will be served, and you can settle down for the sun set.
It’s quite a show.
Sinking in a huge mango-pink ball, the sun drops slowly behind the grey-blue of the escarpment. The sky turns every shade of lilac-grey until all that is left is a soft pink glow punctuated by great shafts of silver. And on the horizon, the zebra stand out in soft silhouette.
Note: nightly wilderness sundowners are included in your Kempinski safari package. We can also arrange for a private (your party only) ‘sundowner special’, which features a full safari bar, sumptuous canapés and the presence of a Masai guard of honour at a small additional cost.