Sami Reindeer Expedition in Lapland

Sami Reindeer Expedition in Lapland

Photos: 1,3,4,6,7: N.T.Nutti;2: C.Pingi;5:K.Fjellborg

Sami Reindeer Expedition in Lapland (Sweden)

Drive your own reindeer sled and discover the heart of Sami culture

Reindeer Sledding in Sweden: Lapland

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Northern Lights in Sweden winter 2013/2014

We are currently in a period of high activity for the Northern Lights in Sweden, making it the ideal time for a winter holiday in Lapland! Bookings are now open for the 2013/2014 winter season.

Overview

  • Required: General good health and fitness. Minimum age 18.
  • Duration: 4 days/3 nights (8-day tour is also available).
  • Accommodation: Two nights in 2-person cabins at reindeer camp, one night in 4-person cabins at wilderness camp. Optional extra nights at IceHotel or Hotel Ripan in Kiruna.
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Reindeer sledding is an exciting and unusual alternative to dog sledding steeped in the traditions of the Sámi people. Sami Reindeer Expedition in Lapland is a four-day experience led by a local Sámi guide, driving your own reindeer sled through the magical winter landscape of Swedish Lapland in the far north of Sweden, deep inside the Arctic Circle. You will care for your own reindeer and learn to handle your own sled on your journey of discovery across the mountains and through the forests of Swedish Lapland.

This is the land of the Sámi, the indigenous people of the region. Along the way you'll get to know the Sámi people, their culture and the animals of this wonderful area. In particular, you will develop a very special relationship with the reindeer, a noble animal that is the most well-known symbol of Sámi culture.

A reindeer sledding tour in Lapland offers you good chances to see the spectacular Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). If conditions are suitable, the sky is illuminated with shifting curtains of colour - a truly magical experience!

On your journey through the quiet winter world of Lapland, you will be seduced by the silence and the grandeur of the surroundings, where all you will hear is the crunching of the sled as it glides over the white powdery snow. The journey will take you through snow-clad forests of pine and fir trees. During your experience you will sleep in comfortable wilderness cabins.

Sami Reindeer Expedition in Lapland is guided by reindeer herders who are experts on Lapland, and whose families have been working with the reindeer for generations. While in the 21st century, the Sámi people may rely more on snowmobiles than reindeer for their winter transport needs, reindeer nevertheless remain absolutely central to Sámi daily life, and reindeer sleds have been used by the Sámi herders for thousands of years.

Your guides' homestead is located in the small village of Jukkasjärvi, on the edge of the wilderness. Jukkasjärvi is also the home of the renowned ICEHOTEL, and a visit is included on your departure day. Constructed afresh from ice carved from the local river every year, only to melt again when the spring comes, the ICEHOTEL is a truly unique experience!

Experience the tranquility and splendour of Swedish Lapland in winter on a unique reindeer adventure! If you wish, you can choose to extend your stay in Lapland with night(s) at the ICEHOTEL or at Hotel Ripan in Kiruna before and/or after your tour.

Read a trip report from this tour on the Nature Travels Wild Sweden blog.

Itinerary

Day 1

You will be met on arrival at Kiruna airport at 13.00 or Kiruna train station at 13.20 for transfer to Jukkasjärvi, where you will collect your specialist winter clothing for the tour and be taught how to handle your reindeer sled by your local Sámi guide before heading off into the Lapland winter landscape for your first introduction to reindeer sledding. Each participant drives their own reindeer sled. Reindeer are powerful and willful animals, and it may take a short time before you gain your confidence in handling the sled - but you will feel more and more in control with time, until by the end of the tour you may find it hard to remember a time when you were not an expert reindeer sled handler! After a while you will reach the reindeer camp, where you will have accommodation in comfortable cabins for the night. The sauna will be lit and you will have the chance to enjoy a traditional wood-fired sauna and dinner in the evening - an essential Swedish winter experience!

Day 2

After breakfast you will lasso and harness your reindeer ready for the day's sledding. You should be feeling more confident today and beginning to form a relationship with your reindeer. This day takes you through a winter forest landscape of pine, birch and willow and frozen marshes. Accommodation is in cabins at wilderness camp in the forest with sauna. You will be in the heart of the reindeer's winter grazing grounds with good opportunities to spot wildlife. Away from areas of light pollution, you also have good chances for a display of the Northern Lights.

Day 3

Your reindeer adventure continues through a winter landscape of pine and birch, stopping along the way to make lunch over open fire. The reindeer may sense they are heading for home and put on a spurt! Returning to the reindeer camp in the afternoon, you will unharness your reindeer and release them into the corral before relaxing for the evening. Sauna will be available followed by dinner and a chance to reflect on your Lapland winter journey. Accommodation at the reindeer camp in comfortable wilderness cabin.

Day 4

After breakfast it is time to say goodbye to your new-found friends (both two- and four-legged!) before you leave the reindeer camp for transfer to the airport or railway station (or hotel if staying additional nights in Kiruna). You will be in Kiruna around 11.30.

Dates & Prices

Dates

04.02-07.02.14, 18.02-21.02.14, 04.03-07.03.14, 18.03-21.03.14, 01.04-04.04.14, 08.04-11.04.14, 01.05-08.05.14 (special 8-day tour)

The Price

Prices are in British Pounds. If you wish, you are also welcome to make your payment by bank transfer in Euros or Swedish Kronor. If this would be of interest, please let us know and we will be happy to provide prices.

£1320/person (special 8-day tour £3403/person - please contact us for details and itinerary).

What The Price Includes

Two nights in shared 2-person cabin at reindeer camp, one night in comfortable cabins at wilderness camp.

Accommodation

  • Accommodation at the reindeer camp is in 2-person cabins. Dry wilderness toilet is available at the reindeer camp. Sauna facilities are also available.
  • Accommodation at the wilderness camp is in 4-person cabins. Each cabin has two sleeping areas with bunk beds. Heated lavatory in separate building, running water for hand washing. Sauna with snacks included.
  • Warm thermo-sleeping bags are provided.

Meals

All meals are included from dinner Day 1 to breakfast Day 4. The meals are typical for the region and for the Sámi culture, and will include mountain fish, reindeer meat and stews, and bread and berries from the Laplandic region. At the wilderness camp, three-course dinner is served in the main building (there may also be other guests at the camp sharing dining facilities).

Equipment and Clothing

Warm snowmobile overalls, warm shoes, hat, gloves, sleeping bag, towel and equipment for the tour.

Guide

Experienced and knowledgeable local Sámi guides.

Transfers

Transfer to/from Kiruna airport or train station on arrival and departure.

What The Price Does Not Include

Alcoholic drinks.

Optional Extras

Extend your stay with extra night(s) in Jukkasjävi at the ICEHOTEL or at Hotel Ripan in Kiruna before and/or after your tour. Please contact us for details and prices.

Practical Info

Health requirements/experience

Minimum age 18 years. You should have a general good level of health and fitness and enjoy the outdoors.

Equipment/clothes needed

A detailed recommended equipment list will be sent with your booking confirmation.

NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing.

Groups

  • Minimum total number persons required for tour to be confirmed to run: 2. You are of course also welcome to book as a solo traveller.
  • Maximum number of participants: 6

The Sámi: Indigenous People of Lapland

Who are the Sámi?

Their ancestors were hunters living in the Arctic regions of Scandinavia in Prehistoric times. The Sámi range (known as Sapmi) stretches from Dalarna in Sweden to the Kola Peninsula in Russia.They are an ethnic minority and the indigenous people of these areas.

There are estimated to be 50-75,000 Sámi, of which 15-20,000 live in Sweden.

The foundation of the Sámi livelihood today is reindeer herding. Though reindeer have always played an important role in Sámi life, it was in the 17th and 18th century that reindeer husbandry became fully developed.

Additional Notes

This tour has received a prestigious Swedish Ecotourism award for its commitment to high standards to cultural and environmental sensitivity.

Location

Detailed information on travel options will be sent with your booking documentation. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.

By Air

Fly to Stockholm then onward to Kiruna by night train or domestic flight connection. Transfer from Kiruna airport or train station is included.

Without Flying

Ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg (Denmark) for onward train connections to Kiruna.

Map of Sweden

Map of Sweden

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