HORSE AND REINDEER HERDERS

December to April
DESCRIPTION:
This trip takes travellers to two different ethnic groups – indigenous yakut horse herders in Khangalasskiy district of Yakutia and indigenous evenki reindeer herders in Aldanskiy district. The horse herders live in log cabins in the forest and travel around on wooden sledges pulled by their animals. The reindeer herders live in a mixture of log cabins and tents, and travel on sledges pulled by reindeer. During the course on the trip, travellers will also get to see the Lena pillars UNESCO World Heritage Site, ancient yakut rock paintings and Buluus glacier.
Day 1
Take evening flight from Moscow to Yakutsk (7 hour flight, 6 hour time difference with Moscow)
Day 2
Our Russian UAZ vehicle meets us at the airport and takes us around 300km to Khangalasskiy District, partly along dirt track, partly off-road and partly along an ice road on the frozen river surface of the River Lena, Russia's biggest river. On the way we will pass the Lena Pillars, huge fingers of rock up to 300 metres tall sticking up out of the river banks over a distance of hundreds of kilometres, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are also ancient rock painting of animals on some of the cliffs. We will also pass many isolated log-cabin villages where hunters, fishermen, herders and famers live. In the evening we arrive at the log cabin village of Sinsk. The village is very basic, with no running water or central heating. Every house has a separate traditional bath house. Every house is heated by firewood and has moss tucked between the logs that make up the walls as insulation. Most houses have ice cellars below them, caverns and tunnels hacked into the permafrost where meat and fish can be stored all year round. Many houses have traditional Yakut dung-covered stables called hotton. Overnight in a local home. Traditional bath house can be used if required.
Day 3
Travel by UAZ vehicle to horse herders' log cabin around 20km from Sinsk. Spend the whole day observing and taking part in their daily lives, feeding the horses, herding them, watering them, scraping ice off their coats, collecting ice for water, cutting trees for firewood, and so on.
Day 4
Live with the horse herders, observing and taking part in their lives and work.
Day 5
Drive 550km to the village of Khatystyr in Aldanskiy District. Overnight in the village.
Day 6
Our Evenki hosts will arrive on reindeer sledges and takes us back to their encampment in the forest, about 40km from the village.
Day 7
Live with the reindeer herders. No fixed programme. Guests will merely observe and take part in the daily lives of the reindeer herders. Almost every day they will spend several hours travelling by reindeer sledge, herding up the reindeer, collecting trees for firewood, collecting ice for water, and so on.
Day 8
Live with the reindeer herders. No fixed programme. Guests will merely observe and take part in the daily lives of the reindeer herders. Almost every day they will spend several hours travelling by reindeer sledge, herding up the reindeer, collecting trees for firewood, collecting ice for water, and so on.
Day 9
Live with the reindeer herders. No fixed programme. Guests will merely observe and take part in the daily lives of the reindeer herders. Almost every day they will spend several hours travelling by reindeer sledge, herding up the reindeer, collecting trees for firewood, collecting ice for water, and so on.
Day 10
Live with the reindeer herders. No fixed programme. Guests will merely observe and take part in the daily lives of the reindeer herders. Almost every day they will spend several hours travelling by reindeer sledge, herding up the reindeer, collecting trees for firewood, collecting ice for water, and so on.
Day 11
Return to the village and drive to Yakutsk, with a stop off at the Buluus glacier if travellers so desire.
Day 12
Spare day in Yakutsk in case bad weather or any other problems have delayed our return. This day can be spent visiting Yakutsk's excellent museums, including the open-air ethnographical museum, the mammoth museum where the remains of the many mammoths found in Yakutia are displayed, the underground permafrost museum and permafrost laboratory hacked into the permafrost where scientists study its effects on different materials to help city architects plan buildings more resistant to its destructive effects.
Day 13
Fly back to Moscow
Evenk reindeer herder riding sledge in Aldanskiy District, Yakutia
Yakut horse herder riding a sledge on an island in the Lena River, Yakutia
Yakut horse herder drive horses in Megino-Khangalassky district, Yakutia
Yakut horses, Megino-Khangalassky district, Yakutia
Yakut horse herder, Megino-Khangalassky district, Yakutia
Reindeer herder in Aldanskiy District, Yakutia
INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:

  • All flights and transport as per the itinerary above
  • All accommodation as per the itinerary above
  • English-speaking interpreter
  • All food throughout the trip
  • Letter of invitation for Russian visa
NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:

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