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Reindeer migration with the Nenets of Yamal

Travel in time with indigenous Russia

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.

As the world gets smaller, there’s a desire to go further – and there are few places as enchantingly far away as Yamal. This tour transports you deep into Siberia’s isolated Arctic region. ‘Yamal’ means ‘edge of the world’ in the language of the indigenous Nenets. The Nenets of Yamal carve out a unique way of life, seemingly at the limits of human tolerance. Yamal Peninsula was considered so inhospitable that Stalin built his prison camps here. Yet a strikingly colourful, rich and resilient culture has been preserved and relatively unchanged here for some 2,000 years.

The Nenets of Yamal are the last remaining peoples to practice large-scale nomadic reindeer herding. Living in conical teepees known as ‘chums’, the reindeer herders of Yamal practice their own animistic religion with elements of shamanism. Each spring, the Nenets migrate from winter pastures on the Russian mainland to the summer pastures in the Arctic Circle, a one-way journey of up to 1,000km. On this trip to the Nenets winter camps, you’ll experience a rare glimpse into the ancient traditions of the Yamal's extraordinary people. Immersing yourself in their daily lives, you will live with a family of nomads, sleeping and eating in the camp, working with the reindeer and travelling from the pasture to the forest via reindeer-pulled wooden sleds. Reaching to the Nenets lands involves an adventurous overland journey from the Yamal capital of Salekhard along the frozen surface of the Ob River.

Arrival

Departure

Accomodation

Moscow

Moscow

Homestay with local families

Duration

Action rating

Group size

12 days / 11 nights

     

2-8 people

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Welcome to Moscow

Arrive in Moscow and transfer to the hotel, where we’ll spend a restful night.

Day 2:Flight to Salekhard

Transfer to the airport for a flight to the town of Salekhard. Here we board an all-terrain vehicle for a drive over the frozen surface of the River Ob to Yar Sale village.

Day 3:Yar-Sale village

Travel through the vast tundra in wooden box sledges attached to the back of a snowmobile to an encampment of nomadic Nenets reindeer herders.

Day 4-8:A date with nomads

For the next 5 days, you’ll be living with the nomads, eating and sleeping in their chums. There will be no fixed itinerary for these days. Instead, this is a uniquely immersive experience, where guests observe and take part in the daily lives of the nomads.

Day 9:Back to Yar-Sale village

After saying farewell to our hosts in the Nenets campsite, we make the return journey to Yar Sale, again travelling by a snowmobile-driven sledge.

Day 10-11:Salekhard city tour and reindeer herders festival

Today, we’re back on board the all-terrain vehicle for the return drive to Salekhard. Where we have the opportunity for a full day’s visit to the Reindeer Herders Day Festival, held every year on the last Saturday of March. Based on the cultural and spiritual traditions of the northern indigenous peoples, all the activities that take place at the Reindeer Herders Festival are aimed at their support and preservation.

Day 12:Fligh to Moscow and departure back home

On our final day, we fly back to Moscow from Salekhard, ready for your departure back home or on to your next adventure.

Inclusions

Accommodation

  • hotel accommodation in Moscow, Salekhard and Yar Sale
  • homestay accommodation in chums (teepees) with local Nenets families

Meals

  • All meals during staying with nomads, prepared together with the hosts
  • Some meals during our stay in Salekhard and Yar Sale

Transportation

  • Internal flights (Moscow - Salekhard - Moscow)
  • Airport transfers
  • All transportation on tour (6wd truck, snowmobiles, sledges)

Guides

  • Experienced local English-speaking tour leader
  • Anthropologist guide, experienced drivers, local hosts

Activities and sights

Activities and experiences according to the tour program

Other

  • Rental of a full set of Nenets reindeer fur clothing (mittens, thigh high boots and knee-long jacket)
  • Arctic safety equipment
  • Tents, cooking equipment, first aid kit
  • All permits required for the region
  • Russian visa support document (invitation letter)

*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Not included

International flights, Russian tourist visa, travel Insurance, individual clothing and equipment, tips.

If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816