3 Reasons Arctic Safaris Are the New African Safaris

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Awesome Tips   Bucket List Worthy  

Photo credit: Eric Baccega

 

When you think of wildlife-focused travel or ecotourism, travellers often think of African safaris. Spotting the “Big Five” African animals has become a widely popular reason for travellers and photographers to visit Africa. For wildlife enthusiasts looking for something new and awe-inspiring, there’s another safari destination to add to your bucket list: the Arctic.

Here’s why we love Arctic safaris:

Unique Wildlife

Photo credit: Arctic Kingdom
Photo credit: David Briggs/Arctic Kingdom

The Arctic Big Five includes polar bears, walrus, narwhal, bowhead whales and beluga. Looking for encounters and photography opportunities with these unique animals, rarely-seen in their natural habitats? Land-based Arctic safaris are the way to go.

Many species have short viewing seasons in specific regions of the Arctic. Narwhal, for example, can be consistently seen in two areas of the Arctic, at the floe edge of Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay, Nunavut, in May and June. This is the time of year when narwhal are migrating to their summer feeding grounds and can be spotted at the floe edge – where the land-fast ice meets the open water.

While Churchill, Manitoba is a popular place to see polar bears in the fall, they can also be seen in every season throughout Nunavut. The key is to know where to find them at the right time of year.

Incredible scenery

ARCTIC_KINGDOM_Icebergs in front of Safari camp_ big sense of scale_AB 1690_2by Michelle Valberg
Photo credit: Michelle Valberg

Above the treeline is a world like no other. The Arctic’s pristine, dramatic landscapes and raw beauty are sure to take your breath away. The awe-inspiring panoramas of the Arctic, with vast tundra and sea ice, soaring mountains, majestic icebergs, and thousands of years-old glaciers.

Plus, your Arctic safari is only enhanced by exciting activities including boating, kayaking, and snorkeling amongst icebergs and possibly in the presence of whales.

Natural Phenomena

rsz_arctic_kingdom_francoise_gervaise_northern_lights_with_person_standing_watching_dsc_2148_3 (1)

The natural phenomena found in the Arctic, including the Northern Lights and the midnight sun, make Arctic Safaris even more special.

The midnight sun, occurring in the spring and summer in the Arctic, provides incredible lighting for wildlife and landscape photography. With 24-hours of daylight in May and June, and upwards of 18-hours of daylight, and seemingly-endless sunsets in July and August, the midnight sun is sure to add just the right amount of drama for spectacular photography.

Witnessing a stunning Northern Lights show at night is an amazing way to end a day of photographing polar bears. If conditions are right, the Northern Lights can be seen in the Arctic from September to April.

With opportunities to capture rare wildlife amongst incredible scenery, plus the chance to experience natural phenomena, an Arctic Safari is an adventure you’ll never forget.

Here’s how to experience one:

Photo credit: Markus Trienke
Photo credit: Markus Trienke

Several adventure companies offer tours and safaris throughout the Arctic of Canada, including Arctic Kingdom (often known as the pioneers of the Arctic Safari), Adventure Canada, Churchill Wild and the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge located in Nunavut. Travelers in search of polar bears and the best wildlife photography opportunities will love that Arctic Kingdom offers polar bear tours from March to November, providing some of the best opportunities to view and photograph wildlife during this ideal time of year.

Arctic adventures can also be had in other unique Arctic environments around the world. Greenland’s Arctic Wonderland Tours, connects travelers with Greenland’s most stunning natural settings, surrounded by towering icebergs, rare Arctic wildlife, and snow-covered terrain that is more reminiscent of a fairytale land than anything else.

Similarly, Northern Norway is an outdoor paradise for travelers in search of the Northern Lights, charming old villages, and summer nights that are so bright they never seem to end. Fjord Travel Norway is equipped with local travel guides who focus on providing an authentic Arctic experience, complete with frozen islands, snow-covered mountain peaks, and some of the world’s most remote fishing settlements.

Wherever you decide to experience an Arctic safari in 2017, you won’t be disappointed by the one-of-a-kind natural wonders and unparalleled adventures you’ll experience.

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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