Close your eyes and imagine watching the sunset in a spectacular location while enjoying a snack and a chilled drink. Now open your eyes and read on. In today’s article I go over my handpicked top destinations in Kenya for the perfect sundowners with friends or family!
Ol Pejeta Conservancy | Laikipia
Photo by Project One Planet Earth
Ol Pejeta is a 360 km2 (140 sq mi) not-for-profit wildlife conservancy in Central Kenya’s Laikipia County. Situated on the equator west of Nanyuki, between the foothills of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya. The Conservancy boasts the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, and in 2013 reached a population milestone of 100 black rhinos. It also houses Najin and Fatu, the two remaining northern white rhino in the world.
A couple months ago, my friends and I headed off to Kicheche Camp in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Our driver Simon took us on a game drive, and afterwards, we stopped at a sundowner spot in the Conservancy. Our 4×4 vehicle had a table strapped at the front, and Simon removed it and placed our drinks and snacks. It was a chilly evening, so he came prepared with ponchos and hot water bottles in the car. We sipped on red wine and ate our freshly made chicken fingers dipped in tartar sauce. All while watching a breathtaking sunset, even in spite of the cloudy sky.
View Places to Stay in Nanyuki
Shela Town | Lamu
Photo by Zanelle Wanja
Shela, situated on a 14 km pristine beach, is only a ten-minute stroll along the coast. The town is a maze of narrow, sandy alleyways, where the only oncoming traffic is likely to be a donkey or two, Shela hosts several guesthouses and restaurants, including the famous Peponi Hotel Restaurant & Bar.
This was my first time in Lamu, and I fell in love with the Arabic architecture, white houses and the mouth-watering Swahili cuisine. We were staying at Forodhani House and Isabella, the owner, organised a dhow cruise for us. We set sail at 4:30pm and headed off to the Mangrove Forest, the massive sails on the dhows propelled by the strong winds.
Since this was a sundowner, food and drinks were provided by the Captain of the Dhow. Freshly prepared bhajias and chilled rosè were on the menu. For two hours, we enjoyed a blissful, golden sunset as it filtered through the thicket of the mangrove forest.
View Places to Stay in Lamu
Samburu National Reserve | Samburu
Photo by The Tourist Book
I had the opportunity to travel to Samburu a couple of weeks ago with my family, which was stunning. Samburu County is the northern gem globally reputed and associated with Born Free film, camel racing, spectacular tourism sites, colourful cultures, among other attractions.
Samburu National Reserve is one of the lesser-known national parks but is nevertheless teeming with life. Situated alongside the Ewaso Nyiro River, there is plenty to attract wildlife from the surrounding savannah plains.
We stayed at Sasaab, part of The Safari Collection group and Agnes, the manager organised a sundowner for us after our adventurous camel ride through the reserve. It was around 5:30pm. Our guide drove us to a massive rock known as the ‘sundowner’ rock. It was a bit of a hike to get to the top, but the views were fantastic with Mount Kenya to our right and vast plains all around. We were lucky enough to have clear skies that evening for the most breathtaking view of the mountain. Our guide then set up a small cooking station and prepared sausages. Chilled bottles of rosé, white wine and beers were displayed on the cooler box. It was an all-you-can-eat buffet and open bar on a cliff overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro, Mt Kenya and the rest of the reserve. Who wouldn’t fall in love with that view?
As the sun began to set, the sky was painted blues, purples, oranges, yellows, whites and reds. Truly magnificent! At that moment, I placed my camera down and just took it all in.
Nairobi National Park | Nairobi
Photo by Joanna Dominguez
Nairobi is considered the world’s only Wildlife capital, courtesy of the Nairobi National Park, which is only a short drive from the city’s Central Business District. The park is accessible all year round and is teeming with wildlife including lions, giraffes, antelopes, black rhinos, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, as well as numerous bird and reptile species. Close to 100 mammal species and 400 bird species can be spotted. The park has other facilities such as the Animal Orphanage, The Safari Walk, and picnic and camping sites.
When the lockdown came into effect, my family and I decided to spend a weekend at Emakoko, located on the edge of the park. On day two of our stay, the manager Riyaz organised a sundowner at around 4:30pm. Our guide took us for a game drive where we spotted zebras, impalas and hippos. When we heard there was a leopard-spotted, the mission to track it began. We actually got so caught up in finding the leopard that we forgot all about the sundowner an the sun began to set.
I honestly hadn’t thought the sunset at Nairobi National Park would be anything spectacular, but I was proved wrong that day. I stood and gazed through the open roof 4×4 vehicle as the dramatic sunset splashed several colours into the horizon. In the far distance, planes were taking off and landing. On the opposite side was the golden light from the sun setting hitting the SGR railway. We had our sundowner in a 4×4. That was indeed an experience.
Maasai Mara National Reserve | Maasai Mara
Photo by Zanelle Wanja
Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kenya and Africa. The reserve is located in the Great Rift Valley in primarily open grassland. Wildlife tends to be most concentrated on the reserve’s western escarpment. The Masai Mara is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas.
Before the end of 2020, my travel buddies and I decided to take a 3 day trip to the Mara. We were staying at Sarova Mara and Ashnil Mara. Our driver, Martin, would take us on game drives, and on this particular day, we decided to end the trip with a sundowner on a picnic spot by a huge rock overlooking the reserve. It was a chilly evening, so we were huddled in Maasai shukas. Martin served us chilled white wine and a couple beers. The sky was slightly cloudy, but we could see the sunset, and the vast 360-degree views made it worthwhile.