kittykat23uk

Sundowners? Love them or hate them?

64 posts in this topic

So there I was chatting about the difference between african and Indian safaris at the Bird fair and one thing I metioned would be nice for an indian safari would be the practice of sundowners. Well one of our group, who I think was in a bad mood all weekend reacted with venom at the very idea of a sundowner. So what is your view? Love them or loath them and why?

 

Personally I think thee is nothing better than finishing a nice game drive with a glass of chilled savannah, but I wouldn't want to necessarily be driven away from something good that's going on specifially to have a sundowner, rather it's nice to have them as an extesnion to the game viewing itself.

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Love em, and can't live without them for too long. This is, of course, after all photographic opportunities have been exhausted.

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An absolute requirement! Unless of course there is a hunt in progress.

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Generally, on the volunteer work I do in Namibia we have to bring the cars back to camp, wash them and prepare them for the following day, we rarely stay out for a sundowner. So usually it is a special occasion when we do and we are celebrating or escaping from the camp for a while.

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I'm quite partial to a sundowner, whilst ensconced in ST HQ, but I guess that doesn't count... I do wear the pith and look at photos here though.

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The nicest sundowners were at Lewa last year. Simon brought our choice of drinks along with snacks in a backpack and wherever we were at sundown was were we shared a drink and stories of the day. One day it was on a knoll overlooking the plains and we got out of the car, another time we sat next to mating lions whilst a leopard sat in a tree watching with apprehension. Much preferred this style than the big production number as we were able to enjoy what ever sighting we had, g&t in hand.

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I’m not sure where you would enjoy your sundowner in India, in my experience park rules dictate that you have to be out of the gate by sunset so you won’t be able to have a sundowner in most of the parks and would you want to trade wildlife viewing time in a park for a nice sundowner somewhere outside? There are a few places like for example the Lake Palace Hotel in Periyar where you are actually inside the park so it's possible to go and sit out with a drink or if you have the right room sit on your verandah and while you may not see the actual sunset you can at least watch the wildlife down on the lake shore.

 

In Africa sundowners are usually great though I guess it does depend a bit where you are. In East Africa certainly in Tanzania night driving is not permitted in any of the parks, so if you’re staying somewhere like Mdonya Old River Camp in Ruaha NP at the end of your afternoon drive they take you somewhere with a nice westward view so you can enjoy a cold one while you watch the sun go down. But as soon as the sun has descended below the hill you have to jump back in the car and head straight back to camp arriving just on dark which makes it all a bit rushed and also means that all their sundowner spots are really only about 5 mins drive from camp. Of course if you’re in one of the few private concessions outside the parks then you can have a more leisurely sundowner and night drive back to camp as they do in Southern Africa.

 

Actually on one occasion in Ruaha, stopping briefly by the Mdonya River to watch some elephants digging in the sand for their own sundowner the tsetse flies proved so vicious that we decided not to stay, everywhere else in the vicinity was just as bad so we just gave up and returned to camp with the cool box unopened.

 

A good sundowner needs a nice sunset, a cold beer or maybe a glass of white wine, ideally some salted cashews though other snacks will do and absolutely no tsetses. Oh and of course a few leopards, honey badgers etc on the way home. :D

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G and t or red wine please. I love sundowners, with the understanding that they are not the priority.

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Personally I think thee is nothing better than finishing a nice game drive with a glass of chilled savannah, but I wouldn't want to necessarily be driven away from something good that's going on specifially to have a sundowner, rather it's nice to have them as an extesnion to the game viewing itself.

 

Exactly how I feel (however, I would substitue a Tusker or Windhoek).

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I too am a fan of the sundowner with the obvious caveat that the practice should be flexible enough to be skipped if there is some wildlife action worth missing it for.

I do like the sundowner stop for a practical reason though, as it is usually when I change to an f2.8 lens for the night drive, and I like to be able to do this with the vehicle parked and a little daylight left :)

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can get by without them but they do stop and I would not mind to keep on going

 

when in madikwe game reserve in july they left eles at a waterhole to go and have drinks, then returned to the eles, it was so good that I would have prefered to stay with the eles.

 

well in general you get a chance to photography trees when the lightn is going down

 

in thornybush reserve all the camps use the same open spots so yellow billed hornbills gather around to eat crumbs of rusks etc, photo opportunity

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I too am a fan of the sundowner with the obvious caveat that the practice should be flexible enough to be skipped if there is some wildlife action worth missing it for.

 

Agree 100%

 

At least for Kruger area, this is the case in all lodges I visited there. If something fantastic is to be seen, the guide will say "sorry guys but y'all understand this is not to be missed, and we still can have a drink later".

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I agree with most here. While I dont want to miss anything, I really do enjoy a cold beverage and some munchies (fresh biltong, mmmmm) while watching the sun set over the plains.

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I'm with others on my view here (though it's often a highlight for my kids because they get to climb onto the roof of the landrover and drink fizzy!). I often think the places guides chose to take people for sundowners are odd though, as many of the best sunsets aren't from the top of the nearest hill, but from much lower perspectives. And I'm still trying to get guides in TZ to think about where the animals move in the evening too (there are often very regular routes away from nocturnal danger sites - water and woods - onto plains), and if you know the daily movements you can set yourself up somewhere, get the drinks out and let the wildlife parade past.

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I'm very much in favour of sundowners, and quite partial to 'sun uppers' and 'sun in the middle or anywhere betweeners' :)

 

Of course I wouldn't want to miss out on something important (like the bar opening) to stop for one. B)

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Posted (edited)

I'm with others on my view here (though it's often a highlight for my kids because they get to climb onto the roof of the landrover and drink fizzy!). I often think the places guides chose to take people for sundowners are odd though, as many of the best sunsets aren't from the top of the nearest hill, but from much lower perspectives. And I'm still trying to get guides in TZ to think about where the animals move in the evening too (there are often very regular routes away from nocturnal danger sites - water and woods - onto plains), and if you know the daily movements you can set yourself up somewhere, get the drinks out and let the wildlife parade past.

Ahh yes, my son loves them to so that he can climb all over the landrover like a monkey.

 

Usually in Luangwa, the guides pick good spots on the riverbank, often overlooking a hippo pod or an elephant crossing point.

 

I remenber one memorable sundowner in the 1980s; we had stopped at a place where a few elephant family groups had gathered to form a large herd (+/- 50) to cross the river at sunset out of the NP and into the GMA to feed (and no doubt crop raid). Well as we all sat on the bank watching them cross something on the otherside of the river spooked them, and they all came trumpeting and charging back across, causing a massive bow wave and hippos scattering infront of them... directly at us! We had to abandon sundowners, scramble back into the landcruiser, spin the tyres and drive out of their way!

Around 50 elephants charging through the shallow Luangwa directly at you in a beautiful golden red light - an amazing sight that I will never forget! :)

Edited by ZaminOz
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Wow, sounds amazing Zaminoz!

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Or strong sundowners in the 1980s, ZaminOz?

 

What was that advert when I was a kid? "Things happen after...... something"? Involved handsome men appearing by "magic" just after women came out of their baths. (Apparently that kind of "seduction" was okay then, but that would be another story...)

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I love them too, with same proviso as many of you - that I hope for the flexibility to skip them if there's something good to see. And happy to have a drink in the vehicle at a sighting, IF it's feasible to do / get access without disturbing the animals...

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A cold G&T in the shade while watching something interesting is lovely toward the end of the day. Not an absolute requirement if on the hunt, but nice for a chat if nothing else is about. The post-sundowner drives sometimes have a bit more giggling and that can be fun.

 

:P'Red

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~ Never heard of sundowners until joining Safaritalk.



When I stayed at the Emakoko one month ago I was asked what I'd like but declined.



I feel relaxed and happy during a safari sipping juice from small boxes.



During any part of any game drive food and beverage doesn't cross my mind.



Nonetheless, after learning about sundowners, I'm glad that others enjoy them!



Tom K.


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~ During visits to Leopard Hills, Sabi Sands, South Africa in October, 2015 and in January, 2016, I came to enjoy canned lemonade.



I'd never had it before. Served on ice, very refreshing at the close of a long game drive.



Tom K.


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I've had three really memorable sundowners. 2 with @@Safaridude.

 

1st in the Mara North Conservancy where we parked up to enjoy a beer at the end of our first afternoon when a hyena took down a young antelope not more than 50 meters perhaps from the vehicle.

 

2nd In Hwange where we sat to watch elephants at a waterhole when suddenly my G&T was interupted by lions roaring close by and we had to shoot off to find them.

 

3rd. On my own sat next to the Zambezi River in Mana Pools watching a stunning sunset sink behind the hills opposite in Zambia.

 

I would be happy to have them, or not, but wouldn't choose to break away from a possible wildlife sighting in order to set something up with nibbles etc.

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Sundowners - yes please. Whether you're sipping on packet juice, a G&T, Tea, or beer, it's a fantastic way to finish the day.
You don't necessarily have to drive away from a good sighting, if you're prepared and have your drinks and snacks handy in the vehicle. I have had many great sundowners in the vehicle at a lion sighting.

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Sundowners - yes please. Whether you're sipping on packet juice, a G&T, Tea, or beer, it's a fantastic way to finish the day.

You don't necessarily have to drive away from a good sighting, if you're prepared and have your drinks and snacks handy in the vehicle. I have had many great sundowners in the vehicle at a lion sighting.

 

@@armchair bushman that was exactly what we did on one of our first sundowners in south Luangwa! How wonderful it was just sitting in the car with a glass of drinks in one hand and watching the Hollywood pride. Just like watching the red carpet.

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