GREENLAND

Greenland Base Camp

Fjord kayaking, Sermilik, East Greenland
from £8680 8 nights | Jul-Sep Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Jul-Sep

Overview

Stay in comfort and seclusion in a safari-style camp, surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of East Greenland’s Sermilik Fjord. Search for whales, kayak through brash ice and hike across glaciers on this small-group adventure in the heart of the wilderness.

Immerse yourself in the cultural traditions and spectacular scenery of East Greenland with a stay at this brand new luxury eco-lodge on the edge of the Greenland ice sheet.

Highlights

  • cruise or paddle amongst mighty icebergs in search of whales and other wildlife
  • hike through wildflowers, over glaciers and alongside deep fjords
  • sleep in an isolated Arctic safari-camp for a true sense of life in the wilderness

Situated on the shores of Sermilik Fjord, Base Camp Greenland offers the chance to sleep in the heart of the Arctic wilderness, exploring by kayak, zodiac or on foot each day and returning to the surprising comfort of camp for gourmet meals and informative presentations each evening. Sitting on your cabin’s private deck you will be surrounded by towering mountains, deep fjords, glittering icebergs and glaciers and swathes of vivid wildflowers – spectacular views exclusive only to you and your fellow guests at Base Camp.

This expedition is designed with a flexible set of activities to accommodate personal preferences and physical ability levels. With a maximum of just 14 guests, it is possible to adapt each activity to suit individual guests' desires and capabilities. Guests who desire more activity have a multitude of options, including longer hikes and sea kayaking excursions, whilst others can experience their spectacular surroundings with less exertion on shorter or less demanding outings. All activities from camp are optional and weather-dependent, however, a reasonable degree of fitness and mobility is a safety requirement in this remote region, and will also enhance enjoyment of your trip.

Typical daily activities will include hiking, kayaking and/or Zodiac excursions of varying durations. Hikes will take place near sea level, walking cross-country over trail-less terrain, perhaps with the opportunity to hike onto glaciers (under expert guidance). Sea kayaking excursions will be offered both for the adventurous paddler who wishes to explore further afield and for those who prefer shorter outings along the coastline near camp. All kayaking excursions are accompanied by an expert sea kayaking guide. Your excursions will take in scenic highlights, wildlife sightings and visits to isolated Inuit communities, offering a comprehensive introduction to Greenland and the Arctic.

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Reykjavik, Iceland - Tasiilaq, Greenland
Meet your Expedition Leader for the 2-hour flight from Reykjavik to Kulusuk Island, Greenland. From Kulusuk take a short but spectacular helicopter flight to Ammassalik Island, landing at its main town of Tasiilaq, the small administrative centre of East Greenland. Tasiilaq's charming collection of brightly painted wooden houses and buildings hugs King Oscar’s Bay, surrounded by pointed peaks iced with glaciers.

Virtually uninhabited except for a handful of hamlets, Greenland's east coast is often called ‘the back side’ by those on the west, where most of Greenland's population and institutions are located. East Greenland's people had no contact with the outside world until the turn of the 20th century and that isolation has created a distinct and resilient culture. Your introduction to Greenland begins here, where Arctic wilderness and traditional lifestyles meet, arriving in time for some afternoon sightseeing and a chance to shop for Inuit crafts. At the local museum listen to Inuit tales in the traditional sod house, then convene at Hotel Ammassalik for dinner and a briefing on what to expect during your Arctic adventure.
Day 2: Tasiilaq - whale watching and hiking
Although the interior of Greenland is covered by an ice cap more than a mile deep, a few habitable areas exist around the bays and islands along the coast. The region around Tasiilaq enjoys a surprisingly mild climate in summer, giving rise to the nickname ‘the Arctic Riviera’. Your exploration starts with a full-day whale-watching excursion in the open waters of the Greenland Sea. Traveling in a large motorboat, cruise in search of orcas, fin, minke and humpback whales and seals floating on drifting icebergs. The icebergs alone are worth the journey; these are ocean-going slabs of ice, some of which have been drifting for months or even years, driven down the coast by the strong southerly Greenland Current. Glaciologists believe that some have even come from northern Canada, hundreds of miles away. Once they reach the outer edge of Greenland's fjords, they collide with ice that has broken off the Greenland Ice Sheet to form gigantic composites, mingling with the brash ice to create vast, frozen mosaics.

You will also explore the area around Tasiilaq on foot, hiking above the scenic bay that fronts the town. Bring your camera: the ice-clad gneiss and granite peaks provide a backdrop for a vibrant landscape of waterfalls and small lakes fringed by a multitude of arctic wildflowers.
Day 3: Tasiilaq - Base Camp Greenland
After breakfast load up the gear for the journey to your expedition camp, located on the east side of Sermilik Fjord. The destination is close to the small hamlet of Tinit, which you will visit at some point during your stay. The village is one of the most scenic outposts in East Greenland, with a spectacular view of the Greenland Ice Sheet and Sermilik Fjord, littered with huge icebergs. Tinit is home to 127 hardy people crafting a subsistence fishing and hunting existence around challenging weather and constantly shifting ice conditions. Nearby, the 2,000-foot vertical cliffs of Soemandsfjeldet rise near the mouth of mighty Sermilik Fjord.

Keep an eye out for whales as you travel, as they are frequently seen in these waters. The area is filled with evidence of ancient habitation, including graves and ruins of old Inuit sod house foundations, and you will find it an evocative place to learn more about Inuit history and lore. Reaching your destination at Base Camp Greenland, you will find yourself in one of the most remote places on Earth. After settling in to your cabin, sit down for coffee and refreshments. Later, convene for an orientation to your environment, followed by dinner and a lecture that will further acquaint you with the remarkable natural history of the region. Through presentations and cultural visits during your stay, you learn about Greenland’s cultural heritage, natural history and aspects of modern life. Traditional Inuit identity is at the forefront in East Greenland more than most other places in Greenland, and this will be an opportunity for an authentic encounter with this vibrant, enduring culture that remains largely in harmony with nature.
Days 4-6: Base Camp Greenland, Sermilik Fjord
The landscape along Greenland’s remote and rarely visited east coast is wild and magnificent. Great fjords indent the coastline, penetrating far into sheer-sided mountains capped by the world’s second-largest ice sheet. Sermilik Fjord is the mightiest of them all, a marine playground for a multitude of wildlife. Base Camp provides a safe and comfortable outpost from which to explore this Arctic wilderness. Visits to isolated communities that lie scattered throughout the region offer the chance to learn about native culture and how the locals are retaining their traditions while adapting to contemporary life in the 21st century. On closely guided kayaking excursions observe the rugged and ever-changing shoreline, navigating among a flotilla of icebergs in an array of wild shapes and sizes. Search for whales and seals, both of which are abundant in these icy waters. You will spend plenty of time ashore, too, hiking deep into the mountains and walking atop glaciers that wind down from the Greenland Ice Sheet, which stretches more than 1,500 miles from north to south, is nearly a mile deep at its thickest, and covers 80 percent of the island. Learn about the crucial role it plays in regulating the earth’s climate and see with your own eyes how rapidly it is being affected by global warming. Amid fields of waving Arctic cotton grass, scout for wildlife such as arctic fox and hare and enjoy prolific birdlife, including eiders, loons and peregrine falcons.

In land of the midnight sun, days are long, allowing for extensive exploration. But at the end of each day’s adventures you will head home to Base Camp to enjoy an excellent dinner prepared by the camp chef. After dinner there is time for interpretive presentations by your Expedition Leaders who share their extensive knowledge of Greenland's geology, glaciology and human history.
Day 7: Base Camp Greenland - Tasiilaq
This morning bid farewell to Base Camp Greenland and make your way back to Tasiilaq, keeping an eye out for whales and marveling at the ever-shifting tableau of drifting icebergs. Once back in town, check in to the hotel and enjoy a last day to soak up the beauty of this stunning region. Celebrating an extraordinary adventure of discovery, wild beauty and camaraderie, enjoy a farewell dinner on your last night together in Greenland.
Day 8: Tasiilaq - Kulusuk - Reykjavik
Though today is devoted to journeying back to the urban world, it is filled with magnificent Arctic scenery on view from the air. From Tasiilaq return by helicopter to Kulusuk, where you meet the plane for the return flight to Reykjavik's domestic airport. On arrival, transfer to the hotel in the city center and enjoy a dinner in downtown Reykjavik.
Day 9: Reykjavik
This morning you will transfer to Keflavik Airport for your departing international flight.
Notes

Please note that the above itinerary is intended as a guideline only and all activities are dependent on weather conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential in the Arctic!

Prices & Dates

Summer 2018 prices coming soon

2017 Season

Departures

Standard Tour
22, 30 July 2017
02, 07, 12, 18, 23 August 2017
02, 07 September 2017

Photo Special
28 August 2017


Prices

Standard Tour
Twin share £8,680 per person
Single room £9,907 per person

Photo Special
Twin share £8,911 per person
Single room £10,138 per person


All dates are provisional and the prices above are a guideline only. This tour uses a dynamic pricing policy which means that the price may change according to the time of booking and popularity of the tour - early booking is therefore highly recommended to secure the best possible price. Please contact our team for up to date prices and departure dates.

Price includes return flights from Reykjavik, Iceland to Kulusuk, Greenland • 8 nights accommodation (1 night at a hotel in Reykjavik; 3 nights Hotel Ammassalik, Tasiilaq; 4 nights Base Camp Greenland) • all meals from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 9 • alcoholic beverages with meals while at Base Camp • services of Natural Habitat Adventures' professional Expedition Leader(s), boat and camp crews • all activities and excursions as detailed in the itinerary including whale watching, optional kayaking and hiking, Tasiilaq city tour and museum admission  • all transportation as per the itinerary by boat, helicopter and transfer buses • survival suit loan for boat trip excursions

Price excludes international flights to Keflavik • some gratuities (guidance will be given) • personal expenses • Travel insurance

 
Group size max 14 (12 on Photo Special)

Other Information

Where to stay

Base Camp Greenland
Base Camp Greenland offers a taste of luxury in the Arctic, surrounded by the raw wilderness of East Greenland’s Sermilik Fjord. More expedition lodge than ‘camp’, Base Camp Greenland features individual safari-style tent cabins that house two persons each. Each spacious cabin is warmed by an individual heater, though long summer days here are typically mild, sunny and dry. Cabins have twin beds outfitted with cosy duvets and comfortable pillows, writing desks with chairs, a carpet runner and an en suite dry toilet and sink. Showers are taken in separate bathhouses segregated by gender. Each cabin also has a large private veranda where guests can relax and enjoy a panorama of the Greenland wilderness as they sip drinks chilled with chips of 10,000-year-old ice straight from the Greenland Ice Cap. Socialising takes place in the lodge common room, which houses the kitchen and dining area and serves as a lecture space for presentations. Excellent meals are created by the camp chef, with fresh and varied ingredients arriving regularly.

A hallmark of Base Camp Greenland is its eco-friendly construction and operation. In such a pristine environment, every care is taken to ensure that footprints are minimal. A true eco-camp, lodge facilities are set up for two months in the summer and taken down each year, to reduce impact. In order to accomplish this, water piping and plumbing systems must be relatively simple and located in only one building, hence the shared shower block. Camp solid waste is disposed of in a biodegradable manner at the municipal dump in Tasiilaq – nothing whatsoever is left on site. Only biodegradable soap is used in the kitchen and showers. Although the Arctic summer offers nearly 24-hour daylight, cabins also have interior lights powered by small individual solar panels.

Hotel Ammassalik
Renowned for its spectacular views over the ice-filled fjords and high mountains, this 30 room hotel is the most established hotel in east Greenland. Set in the picturesque town of Tasiilaq, whose photogenic houses dash the whites and browns of this stunning countryside with colour, the hotel offers modern amenities with a friendly and informal atmosphere.

From Tasiilaq, there are a number of excellent hiking opportunities on which to enjoy the incredible landscapes. There are three different choices of room, including the comfortable, but simple Standard Room, without en suite facilities, the larger Twin/Triple, which is en suite and perfect for families, and the Panorama Room, which, as the name suggests, offers magnificent views over the town. The hotel also offers its own lounge and bar in which to relax and catch up with other travellers.

Hotel Odinsve (subject to availability this hotel may be substituted for an alternative)
Hotel Odinvse is a luxury boutique hotel with contemporary Nordic ambiance. Located in a quiet, charming old residential area just steps from the city center, the Odinsve is close to all the highlights of downtown Reykjavik.

Physical Requirements

Moderate
The Base Camp Greenland adventure is a genuine wilderness experience. The camp, accessed via long boat transfers, is located in an exceptionally remote area far from medical facilities. Guests should have adequate fitness and mobility and be in good health to participate in this adventure. At minimum, all guests must be able to walk two miles over an uneven, sometimes rocky, landscape in order to reach the Base Camp. That said, the itinerary is designed with a flexible set of activities to accommodate individual preferences and varying physical levels of ability.

Guests who desire more activity have a multitude of options, including longer hikes and sea kayaking excursions, while less-active guests can experience the spectacular surroundings with less exertion on briefer and/or less demanding outings, including short nature walks and plenty of Zodiac excursions. However, Base Camp Greenland is located in a remote wilderness area, and all guests must be prepared for typical activities that take place in such a setting, in unpredictable weather and temperatures. While all activities from camp are optional and weather-dependent, a good level of fitness and mobility will enhance your enjoyment of your trip. Please note, too, that stepping into and out of the Zodiacs can be unstable.

Typical daily activities include hiking and Zodiac excursions of varying durations. Hikes will take place near sea level, with opportunities to also hike atop relatively flat glaciers with expert guidance to safely avoid crevasses. Optional sea kayaking excursions are also offered, with varied itineraries for individual desires and capacities. The intention is to paddle in largely calm seas, though the water conditions can change with little notice. All kayaking excursions are accompanied by a guide and a safety boat.

Zodiac and motorboat excursions in the nearby fjords generally last a maximum of 4-5 hours, with opportunities for whale watching and stops ashore should wildlife appear, and to explore geological and historic sights. Again, these will hopefully operate in generally calm seas, but conditions can change quickly. The camp expedition staff has arranged each day's itinerary to ensure that options exist to suit varying preferences

In Tasiilaq, the hotel is located up a very steep hill about 15-20 minutes walk from the town. While transportation is provided to and from the hotel for group activities, should you wish to explore town on your own, you should be able to manage the uphill climb, or take a taxi.

Additional Important Information About This Trip

There are important factors to consider when traveling to Base Camp Greenland. The camp is located in a truly wild setting meaning that guests must be prepared for all the vagaries that come with travel to such an isolated destination. This is especially so in such a northern location, where inclement weather and varying ice conditions can dictate operations. Add to that the scarcity of operational materials and a journey to Base Camp Greenland embodies "adventure" in the truest sense. Guests must be prepared for this type of travel, knowing that, at times, flights may be canceled due to poor weather, routes will be closed due to changing ice conditions, and amenities may become unavailable until a new shipment arrives. There are times when the itineraries will change, perhaps substantially, potentially also involving a change to the planned accommodation. The itineraries are built with reasonable 'buffers', based upon historical knowledge of typical conditions in the region. In short, be prepared for anything, but know that you will be in expert hands!

It is recommended that you add one or two days in Iceland before and after the tour to in case of last minute itinerary changes.

Mosquitos and tiny black flies can be quite prevalent and a real nuisance at camp and during outings on shore, particularly at the height of the summer season. For your convenience, guests are provided with head nets, but if you have allergies or are particularly sensitive to mosquito bites, please come prepared with proper clothing, adequate skin protection and anti-itch cream for bites.

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