This summer, visitors to Lapland can feel like intrepid explorers tracking some of Scandinavia’s most endangered species in their own habitat, with a new wildlife adventure, Animal Encounter.
With the seven-day Animal Encounter program, participants will travel from Swedish Lapland to Northern Norway in search of rare Arctic fox, European brown bears, moose, Eurasian beavers and Scandinavia’s three types of reindeer. Created by travel specialist company Off the Map Travel, the safari is led by specialist guides and highlights the area’s distinctive animals.
The Animal Encounter itinerary is priced from £8259 ($10,203.95 USD at the time of this writing) per person based on double occupancy. Included are one night’s hotel accommodation at Treehotel, one night’s accommodation in a secluded “bear cabin”, one night’s accommodation at the Arctic Retreat, one night’s accommodation at Arctic Bath, two night’s hotel accommodations in Narvik, private transfers, all activities and all meals. Flights are additional. The program is offered through August.
The First Days
After a night in the new Biosphere room in Sweden’s famous Treehotel, with its striking façade containing 340 bird’s nests, the adventure begins with a private guided tour of Storforsen waterfall and a visit to a secluded log cabin where the first wild animals can be spotted – European brown bears. Inhabitants of the mountains and forests in Sweden, the bears are a protected species in Sweden with various conservation projects helping to research and manage them.
From the comfort of a “hide” based at your “bear cabin,” your expert guide will highlight the key signs of bear activity and provide spotting and safety tips like avoiding perfume or aftershave as the bears have a very strong sense of smell. The experience also provides the perfect opportunity to view other wildlife such as Arctic foxes, martens, raccoon dogs and golden eagles.
A Multi-faceted Adventure
Then it’s off on a series of safari-type experiences to track more animals during the remainder of the program.
Over the course of the 7-day trip, guests will go on a quad bike tour past crystal clear lakes and through arctic forests, home to moose, Arctic fox and native birds; zip along forest trails on a cart pulled by a pack of huskies before meeting the dogs and their puppies; hike to beaver dens and spot some of Scandinavia’s 150,00 beavers; meet a local Sami family and their reindeer herd, learning about their indigenous lifestyle over a lunch of local and foraged ingredients; and drive along the Norwegian fjords to Narvik’s Polar Park, the world’s northernmost animal park, for a photography session of the park’s lynx, deer and wolves with a private wildlife guide.
Accommodations throughout afford guests the opportunity to relax while still immersed in nature. Some of the wilderness accommodations have secluded hot tubs, situated for optimal spotting of native birds under the Midnight Sun including the Lapland bunting and rough-legged buzzard. (Note: all are four-star with the exception of the “bear cabin.”)
Picnics and evening meals are provided each day comprised of regional cuisine, including locally caught fish and freshly baked cakes and pastries.
“Africa is known for its safaris, but not many people have a safari-style adventure anywhere else,” Jonny Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel, said. “This wildlife adventure enables people to see some of Scandinavia’s magnificent animals, many that are endangered, all in their natural habitat. The professional guides help track the animals while providing information about them. They also help guests capture amazing photos. It’s the ideal trip for any animal and adventure lover,” he added.
Day One – Arrival
Arrive into Lulea Airport and take your private transfer to Sweden’s magical Treehotel. Upon arrival you will check into their brand new room - the Biosphere. Tonight, as a wonderful way to start this amazing trip you will enjoy a private river hot tub experience with an al fresco picnic dinner.
Day Two - Storforsen & Bear Spotting
Check out this morning after breakfast and take your private guided tour to Storforsen. Here you will explore this stunning area with your guide before enjoying an outdoor lunch. In the afternoon, a meal is served at Treehotel and you will be informed about the activities ahead. We head out to the hide, a camouflaged shelter used to get a close view of the wildlife. During the night, snacks and beverages including tea and coffee will be served. Each guest has their own photo opening and window, separate photo tables and height-adjustable chairs with foot rests. The hide has an indoor bathroom and six beds. Your guide is a genuine Sami guide with lots of knowledge about the local nature and the wild animals.
Day Three - Moose and Fox Safari
This morning, after a night of bear spotting, take an amazing private ATV tour to search the surrounding area for moose and fox. A picnic lunch waits in the beautiful Swedish forests before you head to the stunning Arctic Retreat. Check into your luxurious log cabin before enjoying a 3-course dinner. Suggested activity: canoe on the lake after dinner to enjoy the Midnight Sun.
Day Four - Summer Husky Tour
After breakfast in the dining cabin, take a short private transfer to the husky homestead for a summer husky tour on wheels. Enjoy zipping along the forest trails on a cart pulled by these beautiful dogs. Afterwards, spend time at the kennels meeting the dogs and puppies and have lunch before joining an expert guide who will take you for a guided hike to spot beaver shelters. Return to your cabin and spend the evening relaxing in the outdoor hot tub overlooking the lake.
Day Five - Meet the Reindeer
After breakfast this morning you will check out and head to Jokkmokk to meet a local Sami family and their own precious reindeer. Meet these beautiful creatures up close and enjoy lunch with your hostess who will tell you all about the Sami lifestyle and traditions over a delicious lunch. Once finished, your transfer will take you to the very special Arctic Bath & Spa for an evening of gastronomic delights and relaxation. Enjoy a delicious 5-course dinner before spending the night in a stunning land suite.
Day Six - Across the Border
Check out this morning and take your private transfer to Lulea train station. Enjoy an amazing cross-border journey to Northern Norway to arrive in Narvik. There you will meet your transfer who will take you on a scenic drive along the fjords to the amazing Polar Park. Here you will meet with your private wildlife guide who will walk you around the park to see and meet the animals and help you with a photography session to capture images of the lynx, bears, deer and wolves. Once finished, return to Narvik for dinner and overnight in the town.
Day Seven - Departure
Check out this morning and take your private transfer to Narvik Evenes Airport for your departure flight; or if you're not quite ready for the adventure to end, design a bespoke extension to the trip with an Off the Map Travel Adventure Artist.
OFF THE MAP TRAVEL
The team at Off the Map Travel works with experiences and destinations that allow people to explore hidden wonders of our planet. Specializing in Soft Adventure OTMT creates tailor-made holiday itineraries offering authentic experiences not offered by many larger travel companies. For more information on Off the Map Travel itineraries visit www.offthemap.travel; call 1-646-701-0041; email email@example.com