People who have had the good fortune to visit the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania say that until you've seen the sun set over the great orange plains you haven't lived. The image created by the baking sun going down behind the horizon, while the elephants and giraffes head home for the night is like a scene straight from The Lion King or Out of Africa. The Kenyan desert is another of Africa's magical settings, perhaps more magical still if you watch the sunset from one of the 'star beds' of the exclusive Loisaba lodge and then sleep in the open air with only a mosquito net between you and the vast starry skies.
Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil's marvellous climate makes the country one of the best locations in the world from which to enjoy the setting sun. On Sundays, the boulevard on the beach side of Ipanema beach is closed to traffic, making the fine white sands and clear waters even more attractive. As anyone who has been there can tell you, there is nothing quite like watching the sun slip down behind the double peak of Morro Dois Irmaos – the two sisters hill – while sipping a caipirinha at one of the bars or restaurants set just metres from the beach.
Cable Beach, Australia
Australia is a big country, with lots of wonderful places to enjoy watching the sun set, maybe while riding a camel, sailing in a catamaran or swimming with the dolphins. But the beaches of the pearling town of Broome, on the north west coast, offer some of the best locations. The flat wide sands of Cable Beach stretch for over 20 kilometres and when the sun sinks down it creates a glorious array of golden tones over the turquoise waters of the ocean that is a true feast for the eyes.
Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
Considered one of the natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon offers some of the most spectacular sunsets on the planet, as well as boasting a range of different locations from which to view them along its length of nearly 450 kilometres. Perhaps the most stunning view is to be had by reserving a helicopter tour over the magnificent red-orange gorge which has been carved by the Colorado river over millions of years.
Taj Mahal, India
Built in the seventeenth century by the fifth Mughal emperor in memory of his favourite wife, the iconic silhouette of the Taj Mahal is world-renowned and the mausoleum is one of the most fascinating locations to watch the sun go down. Thousands of tourists come to watch as the pure white dome is tinged pink and gold by the setting sun. The atmosphere of peace and quiet when the Taj Mahal closes its doors in the evening and the monument to love stands calm under the greater dome of the sky is inspirational and awe-inspiring.
The town of Thia, on the island of Santorini, boasts any number of pretty nooks and corners from which to enjoy the wonderful views over the Aegean Sea. And when the sun goes down and the clear waters reflect all the myriad shades of rose, peach and gold, there's possibly nowhere quite so beautiful. Said by some to be the source of the legend of Atlantis, it's no wonder the volcanic island is such a popular choice for holiday-makers.
The world's northernmost city, Hammerfest is the ideal location to witness a different kind of sunset. In the land of the midnight sun, beyond the Arctic Circle, from mid-May through to the end of July, the sun shines round the clock: at midnight it skims the horizon out over the ocean, only to rise again, never actually disappearing from view.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The vast salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flats in the world, are a draw for tourists and photographers alike. During the rainy season, an area of around 12,000 square kilometres becomes a giant mirror making earth and sky appear a single continuum. The reflection of the setting sun as seen from the hills overlooking the plains is unforgettable and quite unlike the sunset anywhere else.
The Matterhorn, Switzerland
The Matterhorn is one of the most iconic images of the Swiss Alps and is located on the border between Switzerland and Italy. The distinctive pyramid-shaped mountain was the last of the Alpine peaks to be climbed and it provides a beautiful image at sunset, particularly when viewed from the Gorner glacier, site of the Monte Rosa refuge. Seen from this perspective, as the sun sets behind the Matterhorn, the peak appears to be touched with fire like a giant candle.
Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia
Located at the southern tip of the island of Bali, the Bay of Jimbaran offers a unique setting from which to watch the sun go down over the ocean. Fortunately, there are dozens of bars and restaurants that are ready each evening to welcome guests who want to sit and watch this natural spectacle while enjoying a delicious seafood platter and the typical Bintang local beer.
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