Very near the top of my travel bucket list is to catch a glimpse of the magical Northern Lights. I think I’ve now found the perfect way to experience them; in Northern Norway with a tour run by the rather fabulous Visit Natives.
A Visit Natives tour gives you the chance to enjoy a truly authentic travel experience with the native Sami reindeer herders. As well as taking in the Northern Lights spectacle, the 4-Day Sami & Reindeer Experience lets you get up-close and personal with the untamed arctic wilderness of Kautokeino, Northern Norway and even sled ride with reindeer!
The tour kicks off when you are collected from Alta, Hasvik, Ivalo or Saariselka Airport and are whisked away to another world with a snowmobile ride into the mountains before tucking up in your cosy wooden cabin for the night. The tour allows you to live as a native Sami person, with a beautifully rustic heated cabin and meals of traditional Sami food which includes reindeer meat, salted fish, berries and bread. While we suggest that you bring your warmest clothing, it may well not quite be up to the job here! – so full thermal clothing is provided for you including warm overalls, boots, gloves, hat, and a helmet for snowmobiling.
On your first full day, you have the amazing chance to herd reindeer and go reindeer sledging, with the evening spent in a traditional tent and then on day three you visit the reindeer who are grazing freely in the Arctic wilderness. The evening of day three is a wonderful occasion with Sami joik singing, trying on traditional Sami clothes and later on, the totally enchanting Northern Lights Safari where you hunt down the lights. Day four rounds off your experience with a snowmobile ride and a return transfer to your airport.
Visit Natives pride themselves on unique and authentic sustainable indigenous tours. Your hosts and guides are Sami natives themselves and are the very best people to teach you about these magical lands. The company was founded by Anniina Sandberg, whose passion for true-to-life and authentic native travel experiences was born during her time with the Maasai people of Tanzania in Africa. This made her want to create the same sort of experience for visitors to her homeland of Finland. Visit Natives co-operate with the local Sami reindeer herders and all the activities are planned and provided by the Sami people themselves. This allows outsiders to feel truly welcomed and to experience local traditions, feasts and a taste of the real Arctic wilderness, that you simply can’t when on a package holiday or from a luxury hotel.
Visit Native tours take place across Finland, Sweden and Norway and you can choose by country if this is significant to you. The tours sort nicely into seasons with the Summer months giving visitors the chance to soak up the amazing Midnight Sun – another bucket list item for me! Or try a scenic boat trip, go gold mining or a hiking adventure with the reindeer. The Winter brings some fabulous tours, similar to the one outlined above, you can also go on a snowmobile safari adventure, try your hand at ice-fishing or visit snowy forests and frozen lakes. Whatever the location and whatever the season, you can be sure of a true Lapland adventure with Visit Natives.