reindeer herders and fur tepees
Salekhard – Yar-Sale – Yamal – Obdorsk
This tour is offered on a regular monthly basis from December through April. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
The following itinerary refers to our most popular route in the Yamal Peninsula. This remote and fascinating land, a Soviet version of Canada’s Northwest Territories, greets its temerarious guests with a cornucopia of natural and cultural wonders. In case you are interested in a particularly remote area, unusual activity and/or off-the-beaten-path attraction within the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug or if you are just looking for an hit-and-run visit to Salekhard and its surroundings, we will easily meet your needs with a unique tour individually designed according to your preferences. Thanks to our deep knowledge of the territory and longstanding collaboration with independent local guides, we are able to offer you a wide range of tailored routes and bespoke itineraries across and beyond the endless tundra of the Yamal Peninsula. We also regularly cater for biologists, conservationists, ethnologists, historians and documentarists alike interested in conducting field research in the region. Get in touch for more info on our private tours to Yamal!
Day 1 - Salekhard
Our guide will meet you at Salekhard Regional Airport and drive you to our hotel of choice (exact hotel name and address will be communicated well in advance per email).
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in the Yamal region.
Salekhard Soviet Tour: Lenin Statue, 66th Parallel Monument, Mammoth Statue, Fish-and-Fur Bazaar, WWII Memorial and colourful post-Soviet apartment blocks.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Salekhard.
Day 2 - Yar-Sale
Transfer to Yar-Sale, the first trading post built on the Yamal Peninsula by the Soviets in 1927.
The 6-hour trip from Salekhard to Yar-Sale is done by Soviet trekol (all-terrain vehicle).
Once at destination we'll enjoy a walking tour of this out-of-the-world settlement mainly inhabited by ethnic Nenets.
The Nenets are a Samoyedic ethnic group native to the Soviet Arctic, most of them living in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
Before the advent of the Stalinism, the Nenets used to be nomadic hunters and reindeer herders, but they were then forcibly resettled by the Soviet government in the early 30s.
Truth to be told, the Nenets benefited a lot from the highly efficient Soviet system: education, healthcare and housing were provided for free by the state and the life expectancy increased dramatically. On the other hand, cultural traditions such as hunting and shamanism were discouraged or even prohibited: some of them were then irremediably lost.
After the tragic fall of the Soviet Union, remote Nenetsia fell once again into oblivion: a long darkness of economic crisis and social despair, only sustainable tourism can now save the fragile Nenets people from.
Environmental damage to the Nenets' ancestral land is also a major threat to their culture due to industrialisation of the land and climate change: because of the expansive gas and oil industry, reindeer pastures are shrinking, and some regions, such as the Yamal Peninsula, are overgrazed, further endangering the Nenets way of life.
Dinner and overnight in Yar-Sale.
Day 3/4/5 - Reindeer Herders
In the morning we'll reach the nomadic Nenets living and moving across the tundra surrounding Yar-Sale.
We'll spend three full days gallivanting around the endless tundra with the Nenets Reindeer Herders, sharing with them our time and our food and learning as much as possible about their culture and lifestyle.
There is no specific travel plan for these days but highlights will definitely include:
Daily gastronomic adventures into the secrets of Nenets national cuisine (reindeer blood will top your list of try-before-you-die local staples);
Participation in traditional activities such as sewing clothes, building wooden sledges, hunting and fishing;
Short hikes and longer treks across the magically surreal landscapes surrounding our camp.
Meals and overnights in a traditional fur teppes.
Day 6 - Yar-Sale
Today we'll slowly return to Yar-Sale travelling through pristine tundra landscapes.
Several photography, contemplation and toilet stops will be done en route.
Dinner and overnight in Yar-Sale.
Day 7 - Salekhard
After a lazy morning in Yar-Sale we'll transfer back to Salekhard travelling along the mighty river Ob.
Free afternoon in Salekhard for souvenir shopping and vodka tasting.
Dinner and overnight in Salekhard.
DAY 8 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Arctic-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
We will then arrange transfer to Salekhard International Airport for either your flight back home or your next connection to yet another exciting destination in the region such as the Komi Republic or Karelia.
We can also arrange a bespoke tour extension to the neighbouring Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO) in the Arkhangelsk Oblast (not to be confused with the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug of the present itinerary, which instead belong to the Tyumen Oblast), an area even more remote and less visited than the Yamal Peninsula itself.
Highlights of a trip to the NAO will include: the Pleistocene-like landscapes of the Northern Timan mountain range, the extremely isolated and polar-bear-infested Kolguyev Island, the ruggedly romantic coast of the Barents Sea, the high sand dunes slowly devouring the village of Shoyna and, of course, the local Nenets people themselves.
End of the tour.
3 to 6 participants: 3160 € per person
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 20 euro/night), private transport in the region, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants.
WHERE THE HECK AM I TRAVELLING TO?
BELOW YOU CAN SEE THE DIFFERENT TOUR STAGES MARKED ON A MAP OF THE REGION YOU ARE GOING TO EXPLORE WITH US
POSSIBLE TOUR COMBINATIONS FOR THIS ITINERARY INCLUDE