In Cape Town, every sunset is an event. Its location on the bottom and to the West of South Africa creates the perfect opportunity to enjoy the sun disappearing over the horizon at the end of the day. This is great news for all the night owls out there, instead of having to get up at the crack of dawn to enjoy the beauty of the sun hovering close to edge of the world.
Best Sundowners Spots in The Mother City
You can’t really go wrong with the location, and if you want to schedule a beach day that ends in sundowners, you are almost definitely guaranteed an epic view. Just make sure you keep an eye on the weather reports before venturing out. And remember, Cape Town is infamous for offering you four seasons in one day. So even in the summer time, make sure you pack a warm jersey or jacket.
#1 Signal Hill Road
This is one of the most popular sunset spots in town. You have two options here, you can either hike up Lion’s Head and reward yourself with a delicious gin and tonic at the top. Or you can continue to the end of the road at Signal Hill.
The hike up Lion’s Head will take you about an hour, depending on your level of fitness. The views from the top are spectacular, enjoy a 360 view of the city. Admire the sea, Table Mountain, the City Bowl, and Robben Island in the distance on a clear day. There is also a monthly full moon hike up the mountain. Follow the Full Moon Hike Facebook page for more details.
Signal Hill is a great option for similar views, just from a little lower. If you don’t enjoy hiking or heights, it’s the perfect alternative. If you are travelling by car, make sure you arrive early to secure a parking spot, especially during summer months.
#2 Table Mountain
Table Mountain and Lion’s Head are tied in first place as spectacular sunset spots. If you don’t mind paying the cableway fee, you can cheers the sunset with your gin and tonic at the top. Alternatively, meander down Tafelberg road past the cableway station until you find a nice spot to park.
Even from down below it’s a mesmerizing view to see the sunset colours on the side of the mountain and the city lights below twinkling brighter as darkness settles upon the city. You could also time a hike up or down the mountain, making use of the cableway if you only want to hike one way. If you are traveling up the mountain, remember that it’s 1 085 meters above sea level. So, when the sun sets, the chill factor kicks in.
#3 Victoria Road
This road winds along the Atlantic Ocean towards Houtbay. There are ample sunset spotting opportunities for you to pick from, ranging from little lookout spots just off the main road, to the Clifton beaches, Camps Bay, and further along the Twelve Apostles hotel.
On a wind-still day the tidal pools at Camps Bay offer you an opportunity to take a breath-taking picture with the mountains reflected in the water. If the weather doesn’t play along for an outdoor drink, you can change the sundowner plans to one of the cocktail bars along the beachfront of Camps Bay.
Clifton First Beach is a great option as a quieter sundowner spot. It is also a dog-friendly beach. It’s not as popular as the other Clifton beaches, but still offers you amazing views and a little bit of shelter from the wind. Just remember to not drink too many gin and tonics, you still have make your way back up the steep steps.
#4 Sea Point
The promenade runs all the way from the Waterfront to the end of Sea Point. Along the way you have various lookout points to choose from, including the lighthouse at Mouille Point and the parking next to putt-putt course.
Towards the end, near the public pool, you could also grab an ice cream before you sip on your gin and tonic. Or combine the two for an interesting dessert! If the weather disappoints, pop in at the Rockpool restaurant for a sheltered cocktail.
#5 Marine Drive / West Coast road
On the other side of the Atlantic coastline, just before you leave the city towards the West Coast, lies a few pristine beaches you can choose from. The one closes to the City Bowl, is Lagoon Beach. Although further along the famous Bloubergstrand view awaits you, the view of the mountain from the first spot is almost more beautiful.
Next sundowner option is Table View. If you are feeling adventurous (and the weather plays along), you can squeeze in a kite surfing session before rewarding yourself with a delectable gin and tonic. Continue on to reach Bloubergstrand and take a picture of the mountain across the bay. A sheltered sundowner option here, is the popular Blue Peter restaurant. A little further along Eden on the Bay offers you another great sundowner spot, with restaurant options as well.
How to Make A Gin And Tonic
Now that you are excited about your gin and tonic sundowners outing, let’s get down to the business of making the perfect one for you to enjoy while watching the sun sink below the horizon. The recipe is quite simple:
Lemon or lime wedge (garnish)
It’s All in The Way You Mix It Together
The ingredients part is simple, but the execution can turn a normal gin and tonic into a masterpiece. The following little elements must be in place.
Don’t just grab any old tumbler for your cocktail. Try to pick a glass with a good opening like a copa, or you could also use a red wine glass. Your glass choice will determine how enhanced the gin’s fragrant botanicals is.
You must get the amount just right. The aim is to get your glass to the optimal coldness level. But you still want to not dilute the gin and tonic too much.
How strong or weak you want to make your gin and tonic is up to you. But you want to stick close to the ratio of a quarter gin and three-quarters tonic. The best way to get it right, is to use a 50ml measurer. Try the Beaumont jigger or pourer quick shot for the ultimate accuracy.
You need to pick a high-quality tonic. Also, rather use an unflavoured brand to not compromise the gin. Good brands recommended by gin experts are Fever Tree or Fentimans. The gin brand will also influence your choice, so you must experiment a bit to find the perfect combo.
A lime wedge is the classic go-to, but you can spice things up with other choices. Star anise or orange peel are good spicy options. For a more floral taste, try thyme elderflower. Keep the predominant botanicals of the gin in consideration. Find a garnish to complement it.
- Ginger slice
- Rosemary and pink grapefruit
- Mint, cucumber, and black peppercorns
- basil and strawberry
- Lime and chillies
You’re welcome to experiment with the order, to see how it affects your gin and tonic. But the experts recommend the following: make your glass as cold as possible; add ice and pour out the extra water; add the gin; add the tonic; stir the mixture before you add your garnish of choice.
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