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In South Africa's picturesque Eastern Cape, not too far from the lapping warm waves of the Indian Ocean, the town of Kirkwood is a treat for the nose as well as the eyes. That's because it's one of the biggest fruit-growing regions in the country, suffused with the zingy scent of oranges, grapefruit, and lemons. Nestled within the sun-drenched Sundays River Valley, Kirkwood is a perfect base for exploring the countryside of the Eastern Cape and also getting up close and personal with the giant wildlife which roams the rolling landscape.

Things to see

Ever wanted to see elephants and rhinos close up? You're in the right place, because Kirkwood is situated close to Addo Elephant Park. Here you can go on a safari adventure like no others, with guided game drives taking you thrillingly close to these immense and stately beasts. Elephants literally come within meters of cars here, so brace yourself for wildlife at its rawest. It's not just the animals that are big here. The park is also known for its mammoth hiking trails, which cross mountain peaks and craggy valleys, taking you right to the mouth of the Sundays River. Here, it opens out to a long sizzling beach with calm, crystalline waters that are perfect for paddling and splashing about in. What better way to cool off after a long trek in the African sun? You'll also find immense white sand dunes here – imagine huge heaps of sugar – which are among the highest in South Africa.

Hotels in Kirkwood

Air-conditioned guestrooms await in hotels in Kirkwood, which is just as well because the climate here can be pretty intense. There are plenty of other amenities on offer, whether you want to make use of the WiFi to keep friends back home up to date on your South African adventure, or just want to chill out in front of the flat-screen television. The best viewing can be had outside, though, with balconies often boasting spectacular views of the green-garlanded mountains alongside Kirkwood.

Where to stay

There's a very limited choice of hotels in Kirkwood itself, but there's plenty of accommodation to be had in nearby areas such as the village of Addo, next to the Elephant Park. Bear in mind that hotels will get snapped up for the annual Kirkwood Wildlife Festival, or Wildsfees, which takes place in June and features stunt shows, aerial displays, beer and wine tents, and live music. It's a joyous event the whole family will love, but book well in advance if you're staying here during that period. As you might expect, there's also a huge range of hotels available in nearby Port Elizabeth, one of the largest and liveliest cities in South Africa.

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