5 things you didn’t expect on a dogsled safari in the Arctic

in Arctic Lapland, you're the driver, but who's the boss?

1 - The tranquillity

“No matter what happens, never let go of the sled” This is the cardinal rule impressed on you as the dogsled is prepared for departure.

Last minute checks are performed, the dogs are beside themselves with excitement, there are howls of impatience and your own heart is beating like a drum.

The anticipation is palpable. The instant the breaks are released you accelerate like a sprinter from the blocks, trying desperately to hold on. But then an amazing thing happens.

The initial adrenaline subsides and you realise you’re travelling at a sublime and gentle pace. The perfect speed to cover the ground, but not fast enough to lose the connection to the landscape.

And amazingly you’re in almost total silence - the loudest noise is the gentle hiss of the sled in the powder snow. This speed of travel allows the mind to wander, to fully take in the extraordinary arctic landscape.

You lapse into a meditative state where the outside world ceases to exist. Phones, emails, social media all evaporate and it’s you, the landscape and the team of magnificent animals who are making it all possible.

You lapse into a meditative state where the outside world ceases to exist”

Arctic Experiences

Dogsledding in Swedish Lapland

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2 - The characters

Of course its no surprise to hear that the dogs are characters.

But there’s a whole different level of affection and respect for a team of animals who are so eagerly transporting you through such a dramatic and wild environment with such generosity and enthusiasm.

These dogs are of fine racing stock – small and tough Greenland huskies. Short of stature (compared to some) but long on stamina. And charisma.

You’ll never forget the accusing over-the-shoulder looks thrown by the dogs when you apply the breaks. Of course you get to know the animals well over your stay, helping to harness and unharness them, feed them, drive them.

By the end you’ll feel part of the team. Even if the dogs continue to look a little askance at your driving technique.

These dogs are of fine racing stock – small and tough Greenland huskies”

3 - Amazing food and drink

After a day driving your own team of dogs, crossing vast frozen lakes and rivers and traversing frosted Scandinavian forests, few things can be as welcome as a plate of hot food

So imagine the surprise when you round a bend on a frozen lake to the flicker of flame up ahead. As you continue you see that the flame is from a brazier, set up on the lake shore to welcome you into camp.

And it gets better. Once your team is parked up, you find a camp fire under the stars with seats covered in reindeer skins at the centre of a little cluster of cabins. First up a mug of mulled wine by the fire is accompanied by delicious cured reindeer meat.

All meats used on the expeditions are sustainably harvested in the area. Zero food miles, zero waste. And then – after a sauna and a(nother) drink, it’s time for dinner.

And this is when you realise you’re in the hands of real professionals. This is traditional, simple Scandanavian / Same food, done brilliantly. Wonderful flavours and deeply nourishing after a day in the wild.

You find a camp fire under the stars with seats covered in reindeer skins at the centre of a little cluster of cabins”

view a sample trip

4 - Beautiful cabins

As with our mobile safaris in Africa, one of the great joys of a three (or more) -day expedition by dogsled is the opportunity to construct a proper journey

To cover the ground and get a sense of the geography of a place. And the principle is about using kit and accommodation wholly appropriate to the environment.

In Artic Lapland, life evolves around the trees and the reindeer and has done for centuries. Cabins are constructed from pine trees interlocked with intricate joints like elaborate puzzles, while reindeer skins have been used to provide warmth since the dawn of time.

Woodburning stoves quickly turn these beautiful cabins into warm and cosy havens. Over a few days you travel from cabin to cabin – each slightly different, but all deeply spoiling.

And these days the luxuries go beyond animal skins- comfortable leather armchairs, warm beds, saunas and hot showers all make this an experience that is very hard to beat.

Over a few days you travel from cabin to cabin – each slightly different, but all deeply spoiling”

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Northern lights – even when the moon is shining

Your first sighting of the Aurora Borealis is something you’ll never forget

At first you may think your eyes are deceiving you. Is it fog, a cloud? But then the pulsing starts and the colours appear and you are spell-bound by the display.

Standing out under an Arctic sky in the middle of a vast wilderness miles from the nearest settlement makes this experience even more special. And while the best results are in total darkness, amazingly the lights can even be seen under a bright moon.

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Our experienced travellers include:

Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan
Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme
Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

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Everything went smoothly and selection of accommodation was perect for us

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Fantastic Kenya 🇰🇪 Safari thanks Vanessa

"We stayed at three beautiful lodges; The Emakoko Nairobi National Park, Tortillis Camp Amboseli National Park and Kicheche Valley Camp Mara Conservation Area. Great food, great staff, great guides, great management, could not fault anything. Every pick up was on time and with a smile. Loved the ‘Captains Table’ at Kicheche. Highlight was the Ballon ride over the Mara - fantastic. We saw all that we hoped to see, Nairobi; lion, rhino, plains game Amboseli; elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo, plains game Mara; leopard, lion, elephant, cheetah, buffalo, plains game. In Nairobi we stayed at the Sarova Stanley which was also great, leaving a message on the mail board by the ‘Thorn Tree’. Key to our great safari was our travel consultant Vanessa Janion at Natural High who was fantastic. Yes we loved everything, thanks Vanessa 💖"

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Amazing experience

"Seamless service, Catherine was able to accommodate my changing needs, even last minute changes that were my fault, and ended up with a wonderful vacation experience......highly recommend for efficient and individualized service."

Anonymous

Very helpful and accomodating

"Very helpful and Catherine went out of her way to accommodate us. It was also short notice from our side and yet it all worked very well. Good advice was provided to us about where to stay en route and all queries promptly answered."

Anonymous

Phenomenal Safari which will certainly stay with us for years to come

"Our main contact, Rod, was extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the Safari that we ultimately decided upon. We trusted his recommendations throughout and were certainly impressed by the trip. Whilst we were on Safari Rod was always there at the end of the phone, or email should we need him (which we did with a bit of a passport blip) and he did everything he could to help us out."

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