Last week I shared our adventure through Chobe National Park in Botswana (if you missed our adventure – check it out here). While staying at the Chobe Marina Lodge, our family surprised us with a river boat cruise.
This was a truly breathtaking way to explore the area around us. It gave us such an appreciation of the environment, the animals and the people that work hard to protect them. While I was nervous at times, as our boat cruise brought us pretty close up to some unpredictable animals, we were definitely in great hands. We also experienced a wide range of weather while on the river – it was sunny at parts, then rain would come down but after the rain came the most beautiful rainbows, shown below, that made getting wet worth every moment.
Enjoy some of our favourite shots from the Chobe River Cruise, run through Chobe Marina Lodge in Botswana.
We were blessed to have visited Chobe National Park located in the Northern region of Botswana. The country of Botswana is an incredible place to visit with it’s laid back lifestyle, focus on the environment and the protection of animals. We spent two weeks enjoying time with family, the culture and the natural beauty of this country.
During our visit, our family took us to stay at Chobe Marina Lodge and surprised us with a safari tour of Chobe National Park. This was an incredible, hard to put into words experience for us. Chobe National Park, which takes its name from the Chobe River, is Botswana’s first national park. Our youngest was so excited – he loves animals and this was a dream come true for him (I can see him returning home to live with family in Botswana!).
Each of us wanted to spot a specific animal on our safari ride – the top ones were elephants, a giraffe and a hippo. We spotted some of these and so much more. While the park is home and famous for its elephant population, we did not see one on our safari ride (although we did see many when we were leaving the Lodge to drive home on the highway!). The giraffe surprised us when we stopped for a bathroom break during the middle of the ride, it was so close! It was completely breathtaking and majestic to see this beautiful animal, can you tell it is my favourite animal?
Enjoy my collection of photos during our safari drive through Chobe National Park. Next week I will share our Chobe river boat ride!
After wrapping up three days at Blue Mountain (staying at the gorgeous Westin Blue Mountain) we were amazed at how much the village has to offer. Blue Mountain Village has something to offer for every member of the family, from the youngest to the eldest.
We started off our stay at Westin Blue Mountain by dropping off our bags early and hitting the Hike and Tube. It was a short walk (less than five minutes) to the location and easy to locate as it was right on the main road.
I haven’t had that much fun in a long time! The staff were fantastic and hilarious as they spun us down the hill. I honestly don’t know how they don’t go home sore from twirling people all day but it looked like they were having a fantastic time! Our youngest was terrifying me as he was laughing and telling them to spin him more. The ‘hike’ up the hill was short and easy to do for most individuals. Our youngest kept getting free rides up the hill by staying in his tube and getting us to drag him up (oh the joys of being young and lightweight!).
On our second day we were ready to hit the slopes (or in our case the novice course!). Blue Mountain has an incredible novice area with excellent and patient instructors. I would highly recommend if this is your first time trying out the sport to meet with an instructor and have them go over the basics with you – honestly this is so important both for your own enjoyment and for personal safety.
My eldest son took to snowboarding like it was nothing! He was doing his second turn across the open area while I was still navigating how to push the snowboard with one leg and pull my leg across without falling. I could not believe how much work it was – these guys make it look super easy.
It was truly amazing to see the amount of young children on the course. They took to the skiing and snowboarding like it was second nature to them. They were fearless in getting up the mini hills and gliding back down the hill. My son had tried snowboarding before in the past but I was so grateful for all the time and energy our instructor spent on teaching my son the basics. It truly made a big difference.
The Kids at Blue Mountain located out of South Base Lodge is the perfect opportunity for your youngest members (ages 3-5) to learn in a quieter environment with the focus solely on children. A short walk (roughly ten minutes) or you can take the shuttle from the Westin hotel lands you at South Base Lodge and the Kids at Blue Mountain area. The children were adorable as they stepped out on the skiis and up the ‘carpet’. The instructors were fabulous as they came down the hill behind the children holding on to the jacket and guiding them through each stage.
The Plunge Aquatic Centre is located just adjacent to the Westin Blue Mountain. It took us under five minutes to walk there from the hotel. The Plunge Aquatic Centre contains both an indoor and outdoor pool (with access through the pools), indoor water playground, hot tub, rope swings, slides and basketball nets. Swimming outdoors in the cold temperatures (-26C) was an experience to remember. Your face could barely feel the cold but your eyelashes would have frost on them! The steam from the pool would become thick at times and you could sometimes only see a couple of feet in front of you which was pretty awesome! There were plenty of lifejackets and the pool space was quite spacious. Each pool is kept quite warm so you never felt cold.
The Ridge Runner Coaster is an exciting single person (or you can go with your children) that runs through the mountain. The coaster takes you on a 1,085 metres down the mountain. It was fun, scary and exhilarating all at the same time! At times you felt like you were going to fly over the side of the mountain. While I screamed the whole way down the mountain both of my children laughed the whole way!
We also spent an afternoon at Crock A Doodle painting our own ceramic creations. There was a wide variety of ceramic options to choose from and which you can settle in right away. Your creations are left over night and can be picked up the next day after four or for a small fee can be mailed to your home. We just received our creations in the mail today!
Here is a collection of some of my favourite photos around Blue Mountain village:
What are your favourite winter activities? What activity would you love to do at Blue Mountain?
Come back again tomorrow for more Blue Mountain fun!
Winter vacations are some of the most fun and thrilling experiences you can have as a family. They are a time for new adventures and venturing out of your comfort zone. Just North of Toronto you can find all this and more at Blue Mountain! And the perfect place to stay while you play? The Westin Blue Mountain.
Last week, my family and I ventured the two hours North of Toronto to Collingwood (talk about a beautiful drive up there) to test the hills and see the beauty of Blue Mountain during the winter months. We had always been hesitant of a winter family ski vacation because of our children being so young but I was pleasantly surprised to see so many young children on the hills and in the village (putting my skills to shame that is for sure!).
We checked in at Westin Blue Mountain and what a beautiful sight it was! Standing tall and prominent against the hills and village of Blue Mountain, Westin Blue Mountain made us feel like we had escaped to another country.
We stayed in a large two bedroom suite that came with a complete kitchen, two bathrooms, balcony and stunning views from each room overlooking the pond and village. It became habit for me to open the curtains wide right around the living room so that we could enjoy the panoramic view of the village, hills, pool and pond.
The interior of our room was stunning. The suite had a dining room table and the kitchen came with all the utensils and appliances you would need to cook during your stay. The large windows give a light and airy feel to the rooms while instantly connecting you with the outdoors and Blue Mountain village. It was awesome to stand at the window and watch the village wake up as well as watch the night life!
One of the best features of the room? The bathroom! I could have lived in the shower alone – the shower head was incredible and felt like you were standing outside in a light rain shower. It was calming and soothing – the perfect way to relax both in the morning and evening.
outdoor pool and hot tub (an incredible, must experience activity!)
Kids Club (with mini arcade and play room)
New Balance gear lending
Westin Well Being
In Room Spa services
Dining in the hotel at Oliver and Bonacini
pet friendly hotel
The hotel also has close access to Plunge Aquatic Centre and Le Scandinave Spa.
And the staff? Incredible! I have never been to a hotel where the staff were so helpful and happy. If we became lost or unsure there was always a staff member to help us out. Several staff members that greeted us on our first day were around for our last day and remembered us which was such a nice surprise. The amazing staff really helped make our stay perfect.
The Westin Blue Mountain hotel is the perfect place to spend your Blue Mountain family vacation. Watch out this week on the blog for more Blue Mountain fun including: Family Activities, Dining at Blue and Le Scandinave Spa.
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