An exclusive chance to undertake THE winter adventure of a lifetime inside the Arctic Circle, assisting the Saami people of Finnmark on their annual reindeer migration. This opportunity is a rare privilege granted by a Saami “siida”(a family group of herders), which only twelve people are invited to partake in each year.
The Saami have for years shunned interaction with outsiders. They have good reason for this; many attempts have been made in the past to eradicate them and their 4,000 year old culture, based around their reindeer herds and shamanic beliefs. Taking part in the reindeer migration means eating, sleeping and breathing like a Saami person. You will become part of a journey which runs deep into the bloodlines of these enigmatic people, dating back thousands of years.
The adventure begins in Kirkenes, northern Norway, a small city located in Finnmark, close to the Russian border. Here you will be fully trained in the working methods of the Saami people and learn how they guide their reindeer herds, before escorting them from their winter grounds to the summer grazing area. Your direct participation will be required at all times. You will be living close to the reindeer, assisting when necessary in herding them by skidoo, and moving and sleeping as and when they do. This means long hours and little sleep for up to five days.
This challenging Arctic holiday is certainly not for the faint-hearted, requiring determination, physical stamina, mental fortitude, resilience to Arctic winter conditions and the hardships associated with life in the open. For much of the time you will be at the mercy of the elements, living rough and eating as and when the moment allows. You will have entered the aptly-named ‘Land of Nothing’, where ice and sky meld together as one, even trees become scarce and white-outs are not uncommon. This is an entirely self-sufficient adventure, all you possess to sustain you is your skidoo and your pulk (sledge). A good sense of humour is a pre-requisite for anyone wishing to take part in this journey.
The sense of achievement you will feel upon completion is unforgettable, it is unquestionably a journey with a significant purpose, a profound Arctic experience akin to the world’s greatest winter adventure expeditions.
The leaders for this 9-day adventure is one of Norway’s top outdoorsmen.
Flexibility is the key, as only the reindeers know exactly when they will be ready to begin the migration! The Saami can judge by the behaviour of the herd to within a couple of days as to when this is likely to be. During the build-up we ‘pre-position’ ourselves so that we are on hand to move at a moment’s notice. We use the available time to familiarize the team with putting up the lavvu tents, lighting stoves, maintaining skidoos and driving in similar terrain as we might encounter on the migration route as well as eating and resting for the forthcoming rigors.
Saami Reindeer Migration Itinerary
NB: This is an outline itinerary as the reindeer are really in charge of the show and movement is dependant on them!
Arrive Kirkenes o/n in snow hotel
Skidoo, Lavvu and Kit Training
Leave for Polmakmoen Gjestegård
Meet with family Graup. Head to Dunkratt cabin on the moutain
Depart on coastal steamer in Mehamn – sleep onboard
Arrive back in Kirkenes. Onward flight home