Seven superb sundowners
There are few moments as instantly and completely satisfying as reaching for a cold drink after a long day under the African sun
“Africans love their beer… Almost every country has its own brewery, with some decidedly excellent consequences.”
There’s always an excuse for a sundowner on safari: perhaps you want to celebrate a particularly fantastic sighting, forget those five hours you spent stuck in the mud, or just want to be parked up facing one of nature’s most extraordinary gifts. Grab a drink, put your feet up, and fall in love with the breathtaking African wilderness all over again.
Flaming Giraffe – the name is as good a reason as any to drink this while on safari, ideally with one of the graceful creatures silhouetted dramatically against a blood-red sky. Combine two shots of Kahula with one of butterscotch schnapps; pour a shot of 151 proof rum on top and set the drink alight. Blow it out before drinking…
Springbokkie – a South African classic cocktail shooter named after the team colours of the national rugby team, green and gold. A shot of crème de menthe nestles beneath a shot of Amarula. According to local legend, fermented amarula fruit is responsible for getting elephants drunk. Bear that in mind before lining up too many of these devilish little delights!
“Grab a drink, put your feet up, and fall in love with the breathtaking African wilderness all over again.”
Grasshopper – colourful African grasshoppers take the species to a whole new level of funkiness, so it’s only right they are honoured by raising a glass to their chirpy, cheerful little selves. Add equal parts crème de menthe, white crème de cacao and cream, shake with ice and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Dangerously refreshing, this bright green drink can really get the party started – especially if you make it into a Flying Grasshopper by replacing the cream with vodka.
G&T – the classic gin and tonic is both refreshing and medicinal. We have the British Army to thank for this perfect combination: with soldiers in India constantly coming down with malaria, the army ordered them to add quinine-laden tonic water to their gin ration (yes, they had a gin ration). Although today’s tonic water contains much less quinine than it once did, you can still regard it as an essential part of your daily healthcare regime.
Beer – Africans love their beer… Almost every country has its own brewery with some decidedly excellent consequences. Malawi was the first country outside Denmark to be allowed to brew Carlsberg and has a specially strong Elephant Lager that is suitably safari-themed. Look out for Namibia’s Windhoek lager and draft, Kenya’s Tusker, and Zimbabwe’s Zambezi lager.
Cider – both Savannah and Hunters come in endless varieties and both are perfect refreshment at the end of a long day under the relentless African sun.
South African wines – world-class wines are produced throughout the stunning Western Cape. There really is nothing better than days on end idling between beautiful Cape Dutch styled tasting rooms in Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Hermanus, and although this list of recommendations really could be endless I’ve narrowed it down to a few favourites:
- Diemersfontein Pinotage
- Allesverloren Rose
- Paul Cluver Chardonnay
- De Wetshof MCC Cuvee Brut sparkling
- Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc
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