MARK'S (NOT SO) DAILY BLOG

Mark Pilgrim Kia Sandton

TRAVEL BLOG: Bakubung Game Lodge in the Pilanesberg

One of our country's biggest attractions is nature. Tourists come from near and far, and even us South African's love spending a few days in the bush.

Being a Jo'burger the tendency is to want to go quite far to the Kruger or Phinda, but there's a reserve right on our doorstep, the Pilanesberg Reserve (right next to Sun City).

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Nicole and I decided we wanted our girls to experience the wonder of this country and we spent 2 nights at Bakubung Bush Lodge, a mere 2 hour drive from Johannesburg.


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The rooms were modern and spacious. We opted for the Standard Queen which gave us a Queen sized bed for Nicole and I and another for the girls. This is not a lodge that totally disconnects you from the outside world. The rooms have satellite television and FREE Wi-Fi.

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The stay included complimentary breakfast and dinner and it was probably one of the tastiest dinner buffets I've come across in a long time. And most surprisingly of all, their wine list price was really reasonable, in fact cheaper than most JHB restaurants.

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Bakubang do 3 hour morning and late afternoon game drives as part of the package (you can also book personalised drives or walks). We opted to go on the arvie rides and my girls saw a lot of game including hippo, white and black rhino, servile, leopard, giraffe and elephant:


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We missed out on seeing any lion. I guess that's the luck of the draw on a game drive. My 3 year old was most excited though about seeing a... rabbit.

The game rangers Jarrod and Amos were incredibly knowledgeable (without that "in your face" arrogance you encounter with some rangers).

Thanks to the team at Bakubang. My girls loved it!

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Neither this blog nor the holiday was sponsored. 
Even though Mark Pilgrim is an ambassador for Legacy Lifestyle (who own Bakubung Game Lodge), this holiday was personally paid for. 
The blog was written simply because the lodge is a great place to take the family for a bush experience. 
And let's face it, in today's world of constant grumbling, it's nice to give praise where it's due.

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REVIEW: My Smart Kid

As parents we all want our kids to have as many advantages as possible as they grow up so that one day when we're old and wrinkly we can rest in peace knowing that they're going to be okay.

Part of preparation for life includes making sure their brains are engaged now. My girls spend a lot of time on their iPads, but I also like them having the tactile experience of doing things with their hands, whether it be playing in the sand or building a puzzle.

So, I recently heard about MySmartKid and thought I would give it a bash and see if it's worthwhile. For a subscription of R325 every 2 months, they send you age appropriate material every 2 months in a delivery called the "smart box". The basic premise is your child learns as they play.

So with Alyssa as my guinea pig I signed her up and within a few days a courier dropped off the smart box.

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It came with a "free" rucksack as a gift, which will probably land up in the back of a cupboard somewhere. It was the actual educational contents I was curious to evaluate.

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My girls were certainly inquisitive...

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It consisted of 3 puzzles which have an educational theme linked to Alyssa's age of developing relationships, social skills and self esteem. To Alyssa, they were just puzzles, but they quite cleverly incorporate subtle messages that reinforce the developmental milestones.

They was also some hand art and play dough (apparently develops fine motor skills).

All in all, I might have spent the same amount of money at a toy shop buying the pieces individually, but I kind of like the idea of understanding the psychology behind each game (there's a parenting guide to help explain why each item in the box was chosen).

MySmartKid has 2 ways of purchasing items. You can buy things individually online, or sign up as a member (R325 every 2 months) and receive a smart box every 2 months. Personally, I'm not a fan of subscriptions as they are notoriously a pain in the arse to cancel. These guys just need 30 days notice... after the first year. I'm not in favour of being in the contract for 12 months. I suppose if I really don't like it, I simply don't take the membership option and rather buy things on an adhoc basis from the site. (update: The 12 month clause is a condition only when purchasing through Legacy Lifestyle).

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It's well worth checking out at www.mysmartkid.com.

MySmartKid can also earn you LegacyLifestyle points or you can spend your Legacy rands to purchase the subscription. More details here: www.legacylifestyle.co.za.

Disclosure: Mark is a brand ambassador for Legacy Lifestyle, and as such, got asked to evaluate MySmartKid who are one of their partners. Opinions expressed in this blog are Mark's own.







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Our wedding anniversary celebration!

Nicole and I got married on 7-7-7.  Eight years later on our anniversary we decided to spoil ourselves with a date night away from the kids, except our babysitter never pitched up and we landed up staying at home eating egg on toast.

Fortunately just over a week later Legacy Lifestyle came to our rescue. As an ambassador, they offered to pamper us at the Michelangelo Hotel, and boy did we get spoilt!

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We opened the door to our suite and felt relaxed straight away. Partly because the Michaelangelo Hotel is lavish and opulent, but also because it was just the two of us (gran was babysitting the girls at home)...

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A golden standard these days for a good 5 star room is decent complimentary WiFi... and a Nespresso machine.

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Just before dinner we were invited for a massage at the hotel's spa...

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I suffer from podophobia (fear of feet) so my full body massage was really just a half body massage as nobody is allowed to touch my feet or lower legs. Nicole LOVES massages, whereas I have a bit of an issue with people touching me (I guess that means I have a few issues), but I actually did feel quite relaxed after the session. 

Dinner was fine dining at the hotel's Piccolo Mondo restaurant (which has Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence as a result of consistently good ratings), and the food was exquisite. They prepared a unique 3-course menu for us with wine-pairing (so we were pickled at the end of it all)...

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Nicole's creme brûlée was smoking!

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Thanks again Legacy Lifestyle and Michelangelo Hotel for the wonderful anniversary treat!

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