This is a unique four-day adventure, although you are welcome to join us for a longer. It is an opportunity to witness the ancient nomadic culture of the Sámi – a culture that is still alive and well in Finnmark, Norway’s northernmost county. Every year, huge reindeer herds migrate from their winter pastures to summer pastures, and migrate back again to the arctic plateau in the autumn. The landscapes of these areas are very different, and the distances between them are vast. Earlier generations followed their herd on foot or on skis; today the Sámi reindeer herders mostly use snowmobiles when travelling this far.
Everyone who wants to participate must be prepared to contribute to the work. Your task might be to help shepherd the flock or individual reindeer during the day, to travel long distances also at night, to help set up the lavvo in our camp sites, to unpack and place everything where it is needed, or to prepare our traditional Sámi meals. By April it is almost daylight around the clock; this means excellent fishing opportunities at the many lakes along the migration route. It’s a delight to eat freshly-caught trout and char grilled on the campfire. Under the deep-blue sky, or around the fire in our lavvo in the evening, storytelling is always and important ingredient of the journey. You can look forward to many insights into Sámi culture.
As reindeer herders, we follow the natural pace of our reindeer. This makes every spring migration unique. We might enjoy excellent weather for the entire journey, or it might suddenly take a challenging turn for the worse. That is why we must live day by day, hour by hour, just as the Sámi people have always done. This timeless and ceaseless effort to live in harmony with nature is the very essence of our culture. For many people, especially city dwellers, this is a new and unforgettable experience.
The amazing conclusion of our journey is to see how happy the reindeer are to reach their destination. Here at the coast, they will eat seaweed, lick salt and even drink seawater, at last replenishing their reserves of vital minerals and vitamins after the long winter of eating just lichen on the arctic plateau. You yourself will witness our tradition of verdde: the deep friendship and mutual support between the Sámi reindeer herders and the coastal Sámi who live at Jáhkkovuotna (Kokelv). This too is an important part of our heritage, and through the annual reindeer migration it is passed on to our youngest generation.
The spring migration is part of our livelihood, but it is also a lifestyle, and it gives us deep satisfaction to know that we are preserving our ancient traditions. Being a part of that is truly invaluable – and joining us for these four days will be unforgettable!
Ravdol Reindeer Herding
Phone: +47 995 48 376
When: Between 1 and 20 April. The exact arrival and departure dates may have to be adjusted, as the interests of our reindeer are paramount.
Participants: Min. 2 people per group
Duration: 4 days
Price: NOK 25,000 per person
Included: We’ll lend you traditional Sámi clothes. Also included are all meals, non-alcoholic beverages, snowmobiles (for driver and passenger), accommodation in lavvo or similar.
Suitable for: You have to be in normal good shape, used to outdoor adventures, and have clothes that are suitable for hiking (if you do not, then we can rent them to you). You must also be able to endure being active at night, if the reindeer migration demands that. Also, you must be willing to participate in the tasks that need doing, and be genuinely interested in Sámi culture and traditions.
Where and how: Our first group joins us for the first four days of the spring migration, starting at Nattvann near Karasjok, and concluding their journey at Skoganvarre Camping. The second group starts at Skoganvarre Camping or from Igledas (by prior agreement), joining us for the final four days of our trek, concluding their journey in Tverrusselvdalen. This second group has the option of adding two extra nights to the adventure, journeying with us all the way to the coast. For both groups, the adventure starts with an orientation and dinner, before we depart to join our reindeer herd. If necessary, we have an overnight stay before departure if necessary.