A Hidden Gem - Kirkwood in picking season is a sight to see. Trailers bursting with oranges. A lovely place to retreat to. Close to the Addo Elephant Park, not far from Uitenhage and only a bit further an you are in PE. Kronenhoff Guest House is an absolute delight right in the middle of the town. A lot of surrounding Private Reserves and accomodation on the farms. This is one not to miss if you are in the area.
Kirkwood and the Sundays River Valley - Kirkwood is a quaint town situated in the beautiful Sundays River Valley in the Eastern Cape. The town was named after James Somers Kirkwood. When a flooded Sundays River prevented him from reaching the farm that he was meant to auction off in 1877, he climbed a nearby hill instead. From this hill, which today is known as ‘The Lookout’, he had a view of the entire valley. It was from this point that he saw the potential of the valley being a Citrus producing region.
Today, this valley is the largest Citrus producing region in the Eastern Cape, with Kirkwood known as the ‘Citrus Capital’. During the harvesting season many tractors towing trailers loaded with oranges can be seen heading to the Co-Ops in the town.
Kirkwood is home to the popular Wildsfees. This environmentally focused festival features a premier game auction, agricultural and wildlife expos. There are also live performances by top South African artists, the Isuzu 4×4 Extreme Challenge and a wine, jazz and gourmet food lifestyle expo. The festival also offers 300 specialist stalls, a beer tent, a Kids Zone and adrenaline rides to look forward to.
The Sundays River Valley is home to several Game Reserves and the Addo Elephant Park, which is the third largest national park in South Africa. This park, which is approximately 40 minutes away from Kirkwood, is home to over 550 elephants, lions, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle.
For the bird-lovers, there is an abundance of Bird Life in the valley, including fish eagles, osprey, African spotted eagle owls, and nearer the coastal section, jackass penguins and oystercatchers to name but a few.
The Alexandria Dunes, the largest this side of the Namib Desert, cradle the Sundays River as it winds its way into the Indian Ocean. They are amongst the largest moving dune fields in the world – some of the dunes reach heights similar to those found in the Namib Desert.
Near the town itself, one can visit the Daniell Cheetah Breeding Project. Here, visitors are encouraged to interact with the Cheetahs. This wonderful opportunity is aimed at educating people about the importance of preserving these unique animals. There are also tame Kudus at the centre, which may be fed by visitors.
For wildlife of a completely different kind, one can visit the Addo Raptor & Reptile Centre. This is a Rehabilitation and Education Centre which offers an animal sanctuary and recovery centre for sick and injured birds of prey and reptiles, both wild and captive bred. While the wellbeing of the animals is their first priority, education plays a big role in the centre as well. By educating the public, hopefully the animals will be better understood and not harmed by people who fear them. Animals at the centre include Crocodiles, Snakes, Lizards, Frogs, Tortoises and Raptors.
For something more leisurely, Kirkwood offers a 9-hole Golf course and four restaurants. In the winter months, you can enjoy the action at the weekend tournaments held by the Addo Polo Club.
There are various places to stay in Kirkwood. You can choose between self-catering, Guest House and Bed & Breakfast accommodation. There are also Bush Camps available at the Addo Elephant Park and surrounding Private Game Reserves, for those that prefer living on the wild side.
Kirkwood and the surrounding Sundays River Valley offer you a wide scope of activities, so why not make this your next holiday destination?