Seeing the first light of day peep over the horizon is one of those precious moments that we so often associate with our travels. Maybe because at home we’d normally be hitting the snooze button right about now, whereas when we’re on holidays we get to enjoy a peaceful and beautiful start to another day that’s filled with the promise of wonder and discovery. So set your alarm clock and see where Sue Elliot, our Intrepid Express editor, loves to see the sun rise…
Mt Sinai – Egypt
There is something about setting off in the dark that really adds to the drama of watching the sun rise – especially when you have to start climbing stairs and rocky outcrops by torch light. Hailing down one of the camel drivers was tempting, but my group leader assured me we were making good time and we’d be rewarded for our efforts. He was right – we found the perfect place to perch ourselves on the rocks in time to see the sun start to spread its dawn glow across the valley. It was magical – feeling the freezing desert temperatures start to abate, seeing the reds, golds and russet tones dance across the landscape below and joining in a pilgrimage that has taken place for centuries.
Taj Mahal – India
Definitely one of my favourite World Heritage-listed sites that I could return to again and again, but the best time to go is at dawn. Sunrise is when the colours of the monument are at their most alluring and the white marble shines in soft shades of pink and gold. The crowds are less in the morning and the cool of the day is uplifting, so it’s an ideal time to experience the calm and beauty of the site and sit back and watch a sun rise in the most amazing surrounds.
Uluru – Australia
Seeing the sunrise silhouette of this iconic monolith is amazing and it really is one of the best ways to appreciate Uluru. Like all sunrises that are worth the effort, you’ll need to be ready to head out into the desert by around 4am, but whether you decide to go the full hog with a champagne breakfast by the rock, or simply drink a warming tea from your thermos, it will be a most amazing start to your day in Central Australia!
Okavango Delta – Botswana
A safari walk at sunrise with a local guide is an absolute must in Africa, because not only will you be rewarded with the most glorious light for photography, but it’s a whole different world of wildlife at early dawn. It’s normal to feel a little bit anxious about what you might run into unexpectedly – but you’ll soon realise that it’s all second nature to your guide and you can relax and enjoy the moment. From waterside crocodiles and hippos to grazing gazelles and lechwe antelope, you’ll be completely overcome by the incredible experience.
Byron Bay – Australia
At the easternmost point of mainland Australia, it’s the first place to feel the sun’s warm rays. With over 30 km (18 miles) of white sandy beaches in the region, there’s no shortage of space to find your own piece of paradise and soak up the experience, or you can go up to the headland for a stunning view out over the ocean and surrounding hills. You could be inspired to salute the sun with a little early morning yoga, go for a dip with the dolphins in the Pacific Ocean or head to a beachfront cafe and enjoy your eggs sunny side up!
Are you a morning person? Do you have any favourite sunrise spots to add to this list?