Lapland is a world of wide skies and quiet spaces – and what better way to experience the beauty and stillness of the mountain plains and forests than in the company of one of Lapland’s most special inhabitants – the reindeer.
Discover the heart of Lapland culture on a Reindeer Sled Safari!
What kind of landscape does the tour run in?
The reindeer tours take place in Swedish Lapland in the far north of Sweden. The area is part of the World Heritage Site of Laponia. This area has a long history of reindeer herding and all our tours are led by local Sámi guides. The Sámi are the indigenous people of Lapland and the only group licensed to carry out reindeer herding in Sweden.
For the first two days the tour passes through a forest landscape of ancient pine and fir forest. After that the landscape becomes increasingly tundra-like, with wide open plains, low rolling mountains and birch-covered hills.
The area is very sparsely populated and has a real wilderness feel.
Photo: Peter Grant
What are some of the highlights of the trip?
The silence, peace and stillness out in the wilderness. The cooperation between man and animals as you glide slowly and quietly forward through the natural surroundings and feel yourself a small part of the grandeur around you. There is no need for hurry on this tour – take the chance to move slowly through the wilds, enjoying the feel of the crisp, clean air in your lungs and take time to enjoy your surroundings. You have time for your own thoughts, this is a stress-free and calm time. The only sounds you hear are the sled runners in the snow and the reindeer hooves clopping as they draw you forward.
Experience a part of the Sámi culture and learn how they have survived and thrived for thousands of years in this wilderness. Learn to handle reindeer and drive the sled.
Photo: Peter Grant
What happens on a typical day?
Here is a description for the day spent snowshoeing during the tour:
MONDAY – Snowshoeing, tracking in the ancient forest
After the breakfast you put on your snowshoes and go for short trip. During the trip you will have a good chance to see tracks of ptarmigan (a type of grouse), hares, foxes, and moose and with some luck even wolverines and lynx. After lunch you continue your reindeer ride to the tundra. You will travel higher up into the mountains where the forest trees will turn more into mountain birch and willows. Here you will find a panoramic view of the mountains and forest landscape spread out in front of you. In the afternoon you arrive at the second Lávvu camp. Dinner will also be prepared in the Lávvu, where you spend the night.
What level of experience or skill is necessary? Is the tour suitable for children?
No previous experience is necessary to take part in the tour. You need only to be in generally good physical health and active. The tour is not suitable for those with movement difficulties or back problems – guests sleep comfortably but in basic conditions in tents on reindeer skin rugs.
It is not necessary to be used to working with animals, but participants should not be afraid of animals and should be willing to work with the reindeer. The reindeer are tamed and well-trained to draw the sleds, but at the same they are wild creatures who need to be handled confidently. All participants are given training in reindeer handling before the tour begins and help and advice is also given as necessary during the tour.
At the beginning, guests often find it a challenge to handle the animals successfully, but as time goes on this initial difficulty is overcome and by the end of the tour a strong bond of friendship and trust has usually formed between the guests and their reindeer.
The tour is not an expedition, but participants should be willing to put some effort into working with the reindeer and be prepared for basic living conditions.
A minimum age of 12 is imposed as the tour is unsuitable for children younger than this. All participants must be able and willing to handle a reindeer sled themselves. The low temperatures and basic living conditions can also be a problem for younger children. If children older than 12 participate but are unable to successfully handle their own sled, it is still possible for them to sit in their own sled, but the sled is drawn by a reindeer attached by a rope to the guide’s sled.
Photo: Peter Grant
When is the best time of year for a Reindeer Sled Safari?
The tour is offered in March and April. At this time of year it is still possible to rely on good snow cover for the experience. The days are longer and the temperatures milder than in January/February. Participants spend their days outdoors and will be sleeping for some of the time in Sámi tents, so it is much more comfortable to be out at this time of year.
What kind of accommodation is used on the tour?
Accommodation is in wilderness cabin, Sámi Lavvos (tents), and Sámi village log cabin at different stages of the tour.
Where can I find out more?
Further information on the tour is available on our website under Reindeer Sled Safari.
The Nature Travels Team