YamalYamal is one of the last refuges of Siberia’s nomadic reindeer herders, a land of vast plains stretching to the Arctic Ocean, its remoteness has been key to the survival of its ancient traditions.

With much of its territory above the Arctic Circle, Yamal means ‘edge of the world’ in the language of its indigenous people. The Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District spans from the slopes of the Polar Ural Mountains, north to the Kara Sea. Its administrative centre, the historic town of Salekhard (population 43,000) straddles the Arctic Circle. The Yamal Peninsula was considered so inhospitable that Stalin built his prison camps here. And yet a rich, colourful and resilient culture and ancient shamanistic religion have managed to survive here. Yamal is the home of the Nenets, custodians of a style of reindeer herding that is considered the last of its kind. To survive Yamal’s extreme climate, the Nenets migrate with herds of up to 10,000 strong from their winter pastures in the southern taiga, north to their summer grazing lands near the Arctic Ocean.

Why travel to Yamal:

  • Famous throughout Arctic Russia as being the best reindeer herders with the biggest herds, the longest migration routes and the most well-preserved culture, this off-the-beaten-track trip to the Yamal Peninsula will give you a rare glimpse into one of the last few surviving nomadic tribes in the world
  • Travel back in time and experience a cultural immersion like no other when you live like the indigenous Nenets of Yamal, from sleeping in conical teepees known as ‘chums’ to working with reindeer and traversing through snowy forests on reindeer-pulled wooden sleds 
  • Be a part of the famous Reindeer Herder’s Festival - a major annual event that includes contests of physical skill and unique traditions 
  • Gain an understanding of Yamal’s age-old regional culture and natural history by visiting the Shemanovskiy Yamal-Nenets District Museum, with a fascinating exhibition on mammoth remains discovered in the region and the 16th-century fortress of Obdursk, the first ever Russian settlement built in the area 

Crossing the frozen Ob, the world’s fifth largest river is just part of a journey which can span over 1,000km, one way. Yet the biggest challenge facing the Nenets way of life today is industrial development, due to the discovery of Yamal’s immense oil and gas reserves. Rarely visited by outsiders, our tours to Yamal provide the opportunity to experience traditions that have remained unchanged for thousands of years, and to hear from the Nenets themselves how vital it is to keep this extraordinary culture alive.

Tours in Yamal

Reindeer herders festival

Reindeer Herders' Festival in Yamal 2019

Private tour | Set departures in the end of March
Salekhard * Polar Ural Mountains * Nenets camp

Visit Yamal to witness the Reindeer Herder's festival and immerse yourself in the rich culture of Nenets. On this tour you will enjoy the program of the festival in Salekhard, and will spend a couple of days with Nenets family, learn about their way of life, beliefs and traditions.

7days From(USD) $3,850 View Tour
Reindeer herders migration Nenets of Yamal Peninsula, Russian Festivals

Reindeer Migration with the Nenets in Yamal

Private tour | Any dates in April or December
Salekhard > Polar Ural Mountais > Nenets camp > Salekhard

Be a part of the ancient nomadic culture of the Siberian Arctic on this immersive experience, participating in massive reindeer migration and staying in the winter camps of Nenets – nomad people of Yamal. Our tour starts in Salekhard and will drive to the Polar Ural Mountains, where we meet our hosts.

11days From(USD) $3,550 View Tour

A custom tour made to order

We understand sometimes our set departure dates do not align with your ability to travel at that time, or you just want to travel bespoke. We got you covered.

Go custom — gives you the choice & flexibility of creating your own bespoke itinerary, using our tours for inspiration.

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