Sunrises and sunsets
Did you know?
In astronomical calculations, sunrise and sunset refer to the times when the upper edge of the disk of the sun is on the horizon.
Some of the best sunrises and sunsets in South Africa can be seen from Cape Town. Make a day of it, and watch sunrise from the top of Lion's Head (requiring an early start) and sunset from Clifton Beach (requiring a glass of Merlot). There you can just relax, or watch intently for the "green flash" - the phenomenon where green light from the setting sun is refracted across the surface of the ocean.
Lion's Head has another treat in store. At full moon, it's possible to watch the sun set and moon rise simultaneously from her craggy shoulders.
Many bays along the coastline have both sunset and sunrise aspects. The experience you have will be dictated by good company and what you have packed in your picnic basket. Sunset Rock in Cape St Francis is a fine spot, easy to access, and even during the cluttered holiday season there's a friendly welcome and a place to sit for everyone who stops by there. Alternatively, some say it's impossible to beat the sunrises from any of the chalets on the Otter Trail hike along the Garden Route.
Inland, the Karoo's magnificent sprawl allows for long shadows and glorious light effects on the scattered semi-desert hillocks.
Any safari organiser worth its salt will have a repertoire of good vantage points - and will pack the obligatory box of refreshments to pamper you through the experience.
The Drakensberg offers some of the best views to both the east and west, with the Amphitheatre in the north offering a breathtaking view of one of the best sunrises in the country.
And then there's Johannesburg, which has some of the best sunsets imaginable. Some say it's the pollution, but there's no reason to analyse the unquestionable beauty of the fuchsia swirls and ripples as the sun descends after a Highveld thunderstorm.