Some of our most vivid travel memories happen when we are fully present in the moment. Sunsets often provide such moments. Sundowners – that ritual of enjoying drinks with your companions as the sun sets – has become a welcome tradition that allows you that time to relax and take it all in – your surroundings, the atmosphere, the adventures of the day. Here are five places we like to enjoy sundowners. What are your favorites? Join the conversation on Twitter – @bigivetours #sundowners.
1. Damaramland, Namibia The landscapes of Namibia are dramatic, stunning and certainly memorable with such geological fantasies as the massive sea of shifting red sand of the Sossusvlei Dunes, and the Organ Pipes a mass of perpendicular dolerite columns some 125 million years old, which have since been exposed in a ravine due to river erosion. A rounded hill just a short distance away is known as Burnt Mountain. This is where we want to be at the end of the day with sundowners and soul mates when the mountain seems to evolve from a dull black to a dozen shades of red, orange, pink and more. Begin here to begin your own sundowner traditions: Namibia – Desert & Beyond.
2. Bamurru Plains, Australia Bamurru Plains is an extraordinary wilderness coastal floodplains of the Mary River Delta in Australia’s Northern Territory just west of Kakadu National Park. We love the thrilling helicopter flight over this spectacular wilderness followed by sundowners on a beautiful stretch of beach at the end of the day. To explore this opportunity, start with Wild Australia
3. Peruvian Amazon There is no place quite like the storied Amazon River. Imagine spending the day on a skiff exploring this ancient river system with its distinctive wildlife, including some of the 13 species of monkeys, alligators and more than 200 species of birds. Then you return to your ship for sundowners as day turns to night and the searchlight comes to look for caimans, tree boas, tarantulas, and frogs. Visit Peru’s Amazing Amazon.
4. Highlands of Kenya Going on safari in Africa is one of the quintessential experiences for travelers and animal lovers alike. After a day of incredible encounters with families of elephants, prides of lions, giraffes, wildebeest, gazelles and more, we like to settle in around the campfire with our sundowners as the daylight fades and we share stories. Explore the possibilities in the Kenya Highlands.
5. Song Saa, Cambodia This private island offers a truly amazing experience, including its stellar sunsets. At the resort’s heart is a world-class restaurant and lounge, spectacularly positioned just off the island’s shoreline and surrounded by sea. A short stroll on the boardwalk will leave you perfectly positioned for sundowners and dramatic sunsets as well as seascapes and starry nights! You can have this experience here Thailand & Cambodia.
Today marks the 13th anniversary of the horrible attack on American soil on 9/11. Every adult in America knows exactly where they were when this life-changing event happened. I was working as a financial analyst in my office in Scottsdale Arizona that awful morning, watching the news. I called my father, who was then president of Big Five Tours & Expeditions, and the first question he asked, “What is this?” Then, I dialed a class mate who worked in the Goldman Sachs building near the towers. I got his voicemail as I watched the first tower collapsing. At that moment, our trading platform also collapsed as some of our system servers were in that tower. I closed myself to the world very quickly and became very quiet. You see, when I left college some years earlier, I almost accepted a job that would have placed me the second tower that morning.
This was the most powerful reminder we could have at just how precious life is and how much we must appreciate all the challenges and victories facing us every day. I am more grateful today than ever for the men and women in our armed forces, who have bled for us, endured for us, and died for us. They continue to wage war against the awful terrorism that has no conscience for its victims. I came to the US in 1985 as a child following a dream my parents had, leaving behind everything we knew in Kenya. If I have learned anything from 9/11, it was about this country’s resolve. In the face of political discord, I watched this country come together as the united states, and speak in one loud voice. As I watched us rise up like the phoenix, I couldn’t help but think of a passage from my favorite poem from William Ernest Henley:
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
We learned a new reality that day, one we still live with today. With new threats facing us each day, we must make a choice. Are we to be afraid? Or do we follow our strength and make sure we too are “unafraid” to live our lives, to explore the world, and to teach the next generation the most important lesson – inner strength.
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