a) you have a calm sea to reflect the cacophony of colours
b) you can see for miles
c) you can glimpse the curvature of the horizon
d) you have clouds banding across the sky
e) you have a 360 uninterrupted view…and you are in for a treat. Just sit back, relax and enjoy. What’s more, the endless polar nights means that sunset can last for hours and hours!2. With a sundowner on safari in Africa.
A good guide will pick the spot well – one where you can frame the setting sun against the landscape and / or enjoy the local wildlife becoming more and more animated as the weather cools and the opportunity of nighttime hunting is ever more present. We’ve enjoyed memorable sunsets with parades of elephants and with the most curious, skittish lion cubs.It’s quite the experience – you’ll be memorised by what’s unfurling, and into your hot sweaty palm you’ll be passed your favourite beverage to enjoy whilst watching the onset of an African night.Our most memorable sundowner was on honeymoon in South Africa in a cheetah rehabilitation reserve. We’d arrived at a waterhole at the onset of sunset and our guide ‘broke all safari rules’ by telling us to get our of the vehicle ( a big no no on safari)! Scaredy cat that I was, I resisted, until everyone else jumped down. Stepping gingerly off the vehicle and into the undergrowth, I saw the guide drag a cool box out from under the jeep. This astonished me – I was not yet familiar with the idea of African sundownders and was not expecting this treat. We were handed a cold and refreshing beer and we all swiftly cracked open our beer cans and slumped against the wheels of the jeep to watch and wait to see what happened next.
It’s not what I saw next that worried me – it’s what I heard…a deep reoccurring rumbling, seemingly behind me, growing in intensity with each passing minute. Minutes turned into seconds, and my heartbeat started to match the pace of time passing by. My eyes darted left, right, left, right and I dropped my beer can, petrified to my very core. The sun danced pink rays off the waterhole and impala danced in herds at the wateredge. I struggled to focus on them, focusing only on this lion-like rumble from behind the vehicle. I stood slowly, so slowly it was as if I’d crumble into a million pieces with fright. I felt my way to the door handle, and with light speed leapt into the safety of the jeep.
Giggling to himself, the guide approached my trembling frame as asked what was wrong. ‘The noise, the noise’ I explained, to which he giggled an answer ‘It’s just an elephant’. I giggled a response and immediately felt so foolish. My hear rate slowed, and I asked for another beer (to help the ‘shock’). I cracked it open, sighing loudly, but remaining firmly in the apparent safety of the jeep watching the sun set through the branches of the trees, ever watchful of the elephant / lion …’just in case’.
That’s why I LOVE African sunsets, no only are they stunning to watch, you never know what else will happen.
3. Atop the Arc de Triopmhe in Paris France.
This was hard work but well worth it. We’d decided to dine nearby to enable us to amble up the Arc in time for the setting sun. However dinner had been longer than expected and we’d raced up the Champs Eleysees with minutes to spare. We had to run as fast as our legs would take us, up and round and round and round the Arc’s internal spiral staircase, shouting apologies to locals and tourists alike as we brushed past them to reach the summit.
We made it, breathless and dizzy, and emerged into a world where the whole of Paris was splayed out for us, bathed in the pink setting sun. The sunset bounced and reflected off the glass buildings near and afar. The Eiffel Tower perched elegantly above the horizon was bathed in a warm glow making her look even more stunning than usual. At dusk and beyond, each hour, on the hour, she’d be lit by the hundreds of bulbs adorning her frame, and she’d twinkle in the night sky, as if thousands of fireflies were kissing her iron frame.
4. Bellavista Cloud Forest, Ecuador
There’s nothing quite like witnessing a sunset from above the clouds and within the canopy of a cloud forest. Rising mist kisses the tree canopy and the sun bathes the top of the clouds in a warm peach colour. The base of the clouds become redder and redder as you watch, setting the landscape beneath the clouds seemingly on fire. Volcanoes glow and hummingbirds hover by the silhouette of trumpet flowers. Birds and wildlife rustle in the trees, and you’ll find yourself closing your jacket as darkness descends and with it, the colder air.
You’ll experience an odd type of silence – no discernible noise but not 100% silent. You get the feeling things are sleeping and waking in equal measure, the noise of them somehow cancelling each other out.
Clouds float across the horizon as the sun becomes more intense. Here is a moment where you struggle to identify whether it’s very dark or blindingly bright as the contrast between black trees and shaded canopy contrast starkly with the bright red of the setting sun. This brief moment of intensity ends as quickly as it started, as the sun is stolen from your glance by the blanket of cloud which has now sealed off the landscape below leaving you with nothing but a blanket of shadows in a fading grey light.
5. Any skyscraper of high vantage point with a view in a major city
Take your pick – this is the easy option;
Top of the Hub, Boston
John Hancock Tower, Chicago
Rainbow Rooms, New York
The 13th floor of the Bellagio, Las Vegas
The Peak, Hong Kong
Mövenpick, Petra, Jordan