MARK'S (NOT SO) DAILY BLOG
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REVIEW: Kruger Park - Turaco Lodge (& the tooth fairy)

For the past 4 years, the kind owners of Turaco Lodge have been inviting Nicole and I to experience their 4 star boutique accommodation at the Kruger National Park. Always having a toddler has made it difficult, but as our youngest, Alyssa, is now old enough to appreciate seeing the animals, we took them up on their offer this past weekend, packed the Kia Sorento and drove the 5 hours from Johannesburg to Marloth Park, which is on the border of the Kruger National Park:

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Marloth Park is a mixed residential/lodge estate, and Turaco Lodge is situated in the heart of it. It's less of a hotel or guesthouse and more like visiting close family, as the owners Tony and Danielle were extremely hospitable.

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Tony's knowledge of the Kruger landscape and Danielle's cooking made it feel like a home away from home. The estate has a lot of non-predatory animals that wander to your doorstep, including zebra and all types of buck. This is the view from the patio:

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It's a small lodge with only 3 guest rooms, which are extremely comfortable. It's ideal for a family to come and all stay together (and the prices are reasonable too at about R1000 per person sharing including breakfast and a 3 course dinner).

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It even came with it's own secluded splash pool:

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The main entrance into the Kruger National Park is a 10 minute drive away. You have the option of booking a game drive in an open vehicle, or simply taking your own car into the Kruger. So, bright and early the next morning we were up and ready to ride:

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It costs R60 per adult to get into the main park. Normally, there is a tiny queue (if any) to get into the Kruger, but we forgot that we were trying to get in at the beginning of a long weekend. It took us 2 hours to get to the gate. Nicole decided to do some people watching:

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Tayla-Jean amused herself by pretending to be a giraffe peering out the car roof:

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Alyssa opted for pretending to drive the SUV:

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Not knowing the Kruger roads, our hosts came with us as they know the layout well and within minutes we had some great sightings:

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But the biggest sighting of the day had to be Tayla-Jean's first tooth that popped out of her mouth during the ride:

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Thanks to Tony and Danielle for the wonderful bush experience. If you're taking an excursion to the Kruger National Park, it's well worth looking at www.turacolodge.com.

At the end of the day, the sign of a good bush drive... is when your 4x4 has some genuine bush dirt on it!

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All about the skid pan!

Yesterday was one of those really fun days at work. Being the online salesperson for KIA, I get to test drive all the new vehicles and make videos about them. They are then posted on KIA's website (www.kia.co.za).

It started off as a freezing day at Zwartkops Raceway where we set up the cameras on the skid pan:



After spending an hour or so throwing the cars around, doing hand brake turns and other fun stuff, it was back to being an adult again. We rigged a camera up inside the cars and I delivered lines to camera for about 3 hours:



And then the shoot wrapped up with some "driving shots", where Willie our cameraman sat in the boot of a car in front of me and filmed me driving:


The videos of the new Sorento and Cerato should be online in the next 2 months.

And from a shoot to feeling like I've been shot. I woke up this morning with a terrible cold. It's amazing all the remedies people suggest when you're a little snotty. I think I'll stick to good old vitamin C for now. Here's hoping I feel better by tomorrow as I'm on stage with Sir Richard Branson... and would hate to sneeze all over him.




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I'm bashing walls down.

Yesterday it all began again.

A year ago I got kicked out of my office and it was turned into a playroom. So, like a little gypsy boy, I moved my man cave onto the upstairs landing. The only problem is, with 2 young kids, traffic between the bedrooms is busier than the Ben Schoeman Highway during peak hour... and my office on the upper landing is the refuelling spot where everyone stops to chat/scream/poo. 

So Nicole and I have taken the brave step of enclosing the upper area into a new room. This means moving the exterior wall of the house out by a metre. It also means I've had to move out of the area and am now camping in the dining room (which was actually the lounge... until my wife moved the rooms around). You get the picture.


So yesterday I had fittings removed off walls in preparation for the construction team. Heaven help my patience over the next few months.


At least I'll be able to drown my frustrations away as my wife has just subscribed me to the Wine of the Month Club, and a box full various vintages got delivered yesterday.


Today I'm away from chipped plaster and half empty rooms because I'm at Zwartkops Raceway throwing Kia cars around the skidpan! I'm the online virtual salesman for Kia Motors SA and whenever new models come to SA, we shoot videos which you can watch on www.kia.co.za. Today we put the Sorento (which I drive) and the new Cerato through its paces. I'll post some pics tomorrow!
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Lights, Camera, Action... but no birthday candles.

One of the nicest things about my job is that no two days are ever the same. From being on radio, to a TV shoot, to being on stage, it's the variety that keeps it interesting.

Today I'm on a shoot for KIA. For many years I've been their online salesman. If you pop onto their website and want to know more about a vehicle, I'm your virtual tour guide.


Appealing to a wide audience, it was decided that my tattoos should vanish for the day, and with a bit of makeup they disappeared within 20 minutes...


I can't wait to have them "back" at the end of the day.

In-between filming today, I've been playing around with the new new iOS7 iPhone platform. I am not totally sold on it yet, but will probably get used to it over time... as long as my battery lasts.

Speaking of lasting... tomorrow is my birthday!! I don't get much time to celebrate though as it's an early morning flight to Cape Town. I'm on stage at 10am hosting an event for Good Housekeeping Magazine and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of South Africa. After that, I travel to Hermanus because we're doing the KIA Take40sa live from there on Saturday morning! If you're in the area, pop on by and say hi!

Have a good weekend! I've gotta dash back onto set...

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