The Dolgans – Nomads of the High Arctic

The nomadic, Asiatic Dolgan people, numbering just over 7000, migrate in the tundra of the Taymyr Peninsula and Anabar District of Yakutia, almost a thousand kilometres beyond the Arctic Circle in Siberia’s most northerly regions. They dress in home-sewn reindeer fur clothing, travel on home-made, wooden, reindeer-drawn sledges and live in log cabins insulated with reindeer fur and built on sledge runners that allow them to be pulled by reindeer during migrations. We organise trips that give travellers the chance to stay at an encampment of Dolgan nomads and experience their ancient way of life.

The area is so far north that it is also one of the world’s best places for seeing the Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights. They are often extremely bright green and purple here, sometimes filling almost the entire sky. If you come around the new moon in February you may well see them every night of your trip.

Nomadic Dolgan reindeer herder, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia

Nomadic Dolgan reindeer herder, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia

Number of travellers: 1 – 3

Time of year: December – April

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Itinerary:

Day 1: Take evening flight from Moscow to Yakutsk (7 hour flight, 6 hour time difference with Moscow)

The outdoor fish market in Yakutsk

The outdoor fish market in Yakutsk


Day 2: Arrive in Yakutsk early in the morning. Fly 3.5 hours north to Saskylakh in Anabarskiy District of Arctic Yakutia. Drive 100km along an ice road on the frozen surface of a river to Yuryung-Khaya, one of the most northern settlements in Russia. Overnight in a local wooden home.
Aurora Borealis above Yuryung-Khaya, Anabar District, the northernmost village in Arctic Yakutia

Aurora Borealis above Yuryung-Khaya, Anabar District, the northernmost village in Arctic Yakutia


Day 3: Travel on a wooden sledge attached to the back of a snowmobile to Dolgan nomads’ camp (50 – 100km)
Nomadic Dolgan reindeer herder, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia

Nomadic Dolgan reindeer herder, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia


Day 4 – 8: Live with the nomads. There will be no fixed itinerary. Guests will merely observe and partake in the daily life of the reindeer herders.
Nomadic Dolgan reindeer herders migrating near the border between Yakutia's Anabar District and the Taymyr Peninsula

Nomadic Dolgan reindeer herders migrating near the border between Yakutia’s Anabar District and the Taymyr Peninsula


Day 9: Return to Yuryung-Khaya. Overnight in local home.
Travelling by sledge from an encampment of nomadic Dolgan reindeer herders to Yuryung-Khaya village, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia

Travelling by sledge from an encampment of nomadic Dolgan reindeer herders to Yuryung-Khaya village, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia


Day 10: Fly to Yakutsk. Overnight in hotel.
Nomadic Dolgan reindeer herder, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia

Nomadic Dolgan reindeer herder, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia


Day 11 – 12: Spare days in case bad weather delays the flight from Saskylakh to Yakutsk. If the flight is not delayed and these two days are to be spent in Yakutsk, trips can be arranged at extra expense to the Lena Pillars UNESCO World Heritage Site, to indigenous Yakut horse herders and to rock paintings on the Lena River cliffs.
Horse herder travelling by sledge in the forest near Sinsk, Yakutia

Horse herder travelling by sledge in the forest near Sinsk, Yakutia


Day 13: Fly back to Moscow. Arrive around midday.
Reindeer of the Dolgan nomads, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia

Reindeer of the Dolgan nomads, Anabar District, Arctic Yakutia


Price

Number of people Price per person
1 730,000 rubles
2 485,000 rubles
3 395,000 rubles

Price includes:

*All flights and transport as per the above itinerary
*All accommodation as per the above itinerary
*English-speaking interpreter
*Food while with the reindeer herders and in Yuryung-Khaya
*Letter of invitation for Russian visa

Price does not include:

*International flights
*Accommodation, transport or food in Moscow
*Insurance
*Clothing, equipment or a medical kit

Payment: A 30% deposit must be paid to reserve the dates of your trip. The balance payment must be paid no later than 2 months before the trip start date.

Entry permits to a closed Arctic area:: All outsiders, whether Russian or foreign, require a special entry permit for Anabarskiy District, the area where this trip takes place. This permit is completely separate from your Russian visa and takes 2.5 months to process. We therefore kindly ask you to send us scanned copies of your passports a minimum of 2.5 months before the trip start date. Without this permit you will be stopped at Saskylakh airport and, in the best-case scenario, merely returned to Yakutsk on the next flight.