Polar Bear Photo Safari – Seal

A "must-do" polar bear photography adventure.

“Bears, bears and still more bears!!! Never expected to see so many, let alone to actually walk among them – a truly amazing experience. Everything else (and there was plenty) was just icing on the cake.” — Jolyne D’Ambrosio, Boston

Dates & Rates | Location | Itinerary

Your Polar Bear Photo Safari takes place at our Seal River Heritage Lodge during prime polar bear season in October and November. It is considered a “must-do” photography adventure for both professional and aspiring photographers.

Polar bears sparring at Seal River Lodge. Bill Lyne photo.
Polar bears sparring at Seal River Lodge. Bill Lyne photo.

Seal River Heritage Lodge is  located on the shoreline of Hudson Bay and provide discerning photographers with the opportunity to experience rare ground-level polar bear photography in a pristine, untouched wilderness environment.

Gorgeous polar bear pose at Seal River. J. Thompson photo.
Gorgeous polar bear poses with antlers near Seal River Lodge. J. Thompson photo.

Polar bears gravitate towards the Hudson Bay coast as they wait for the Bay to freeze so that they can begin their annual seal hunt, and our Lodges are ideally located on the “polar bear highway” where the bears travel.

You will explore the Arctic landscape daily on foot with professional guides, in search of polar bears, although you may not have to go far!  Our large picture windows showcase panoramic views of Hudson Bay, and polar bears do venture right up to both the windows and the Lodge fences.

Polar bear saunters by fence at Seal River Lodge. Birgit-Cathrin Duval photo.
Polar bear saunters by fence at Seal River Lodge. Birgit-Cathrin Duval photo.

Seal River Heritage Lodge is ideally situated for photographing polar bears on breathtaking backdrops of ice and snow. We get an exceptional number of clear nights for northern lights photography, and we also have the highest number of sunshine days on the Hudson Bay coast, which provides incredible morning and evening light opportunities.

Aurora borealis dancing at Seal River Lodge. Dennis Fast photo.
Northern lights dancing at Seal River Lodge. Dennis Fast photo.

Wildly rugged and remote, the Lodges allow photographers the opportunity to dedicate long days in the field getting up close and personal with Arctic wildlife in search of the perfect shot. The ground-level photo opportunities for polar bears are further enhanced by the possibility of caribou, moose, Arctic fox, ptarmigan, gyrfalcon, snowy owl and more.

Professionally led photo tours are available on select departures.

"Arctic Ambush" at Seal River. Photo by Abby Jensen of Jensen Photography.
“Arctic Ambush” at Seal River. Photo by Abby Jensen of Jensen Photography.

You can look forward to the finest food and wine in the Arctic on your Polar Bear Photo Safari, but we must warn you, mealtimes may be adjusted or delayed as required to ensure maximum photo opportunities.

Treasured memories and rare photos are created here.

Polar bear biting snow chunk at Seal River Lodge. It's the look in his eyes. Ian Johnson photo.
It’s the look in his eyes. Ian Johnson photo.

Polar Bear Photo Safari – Seal - Dates and Rates

2021 Dates

October 21 – 27
October 25 – 31  Photo Leader Robert Postma
October 29 – Nov 4
November 2 – 8
November 10 – 16
November 14 – 20

2022 Dates**

October 21 – 27
October 25 – 31  Photo Leader Robert Postma
October 29 – Nov 4
November 2 – 8
November 10 – 16
November 14 – 20

Please note that sometimes, due to circumstances beyond our control, the photo leaders assigned to specific dates may change prior to departure.

Price (per person) Single Private Room Children
2021: $13,495 CAD 2021: $24,995* CAD 2021: $12,195 CAD
2022: $13,995 CAD 2022: $25,895* CAD 2022: $12,595 CAD

Prices are subject to taxes of 8.5%. Children from ages 8 to 12 qualify for the child rate.

* Single guests can sign up to share a room with another person of the same gender at the regular rate per person based on double occupancy. If a single guest prefers to have a private room option we also have a single private room rate as listed above. This rate guarantees a private room at the Lodge as well as at the hotels required within the package.

**Winter gear rental included in 2022 pricing

Location

Seal River Heritage Lodge

Seal River Heritage Lodge
Seal River Heritage Lodge

Perched on the rugged coast of Hudson Bay lies Seal River Heritage Lodge, one of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Located near the Seal River Estuary, this Lodge is in a prime location for observing polar bears as they wander the coast during summer and fall waiting for the Bay to freeze and viewing beluga whales in July and August.

The fenced-in compound, viewing platforms and tower lend themselves to unique photography opportunities for northern lights and the wildlife that approach to check out the sights, sounds and smells of the Lodge.

Accommodations are eight, double guestrooms each with an en-suite bathroom. The guest wing is away from the lounge and dining room, allowing you to enjoy quiet time as needed.

Our cozy lounge, complete with fireplace, is the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine, sharing photos or talking with new friends.

Location Specifics

60 km north of Churchill by plane
59° 09’ 09.87” N / 94° 46’ 54.87 “ W

NationalGeographicLodgesOfTheWorld600

 

Itinerary

7 Days, 6 Nights at Seal River Heritage Lodge

The package includes two nights in Winnipeg, four nights at Seal River Heritage Lodge, as well as round-trip airfare between Winnipeg, Churchill, and our Lodge.

Day 1 - ANTICIPATION BUILDS DURING YOUR OVERNIGHT STAY IN WINNIPEG

Arrive in Winnipeg where you will enjoy a relaxing stay at our choice hotel, The Grand by Lakeview at the Winnipeg Airport. Meet the rest of your group at an orientation dinner hosted by a Churchill Wild representative. This is the day that you will pick up winter gear if you have opted to rent items from us.

Includes: dinner

Day 2 - The Adventure Begins!

Arrive in Churchill by air where our expediter will meet you at the airport. You will then be transferred by fixed wing aircraft to Seal River Heritage Lodge.  This exciting flight takes you out over the historic Churchill River, and then northwest up the rugged Hudson Bay coast.  Keep a sharp eye en-route for wildlife including the ‘Great Ice Bears’.

Upon arrival, your hosts will provide a tour of the Lodge and get you settled into your room. A thorough orientation on travelling in polar bear country will be provided prior to your first outings.

Includes: breakfast lunch dinner

Days 3 to 5 - Nature Trekking, Polar Bears and Magnificent Photography

Each morning your guides will outline a plan for the day’s excursion, and after a hearty breakfast, you’ll head out, cameras in hand, in search of wildlife. This safari caters to the wildlife photographer dedicated to documenting Arctic wildlife, up-close-and-personal, so mealtimes will often be adjusted to take advantage of the encounter taking place. Your photos will have stunning backdrops with the sea and/or snowy landscapes surrounding the Lodge.

Bear at fence. Ian Johnson photo.
Bear at fence. Ian Johnson photo.

Scroll through the day’s photos during appetizer hour before enjoying one of our signature dinners. Then, top up your wine glass and head to the lounge, cozy up in front of the fireplace and enjoy a presentation by one of our team members.

Bedtime is at your leisure and you can rest easy knowing you won’t miss out on anything. Our staff monitor the compound and skies and will rouse you if the aurora or a nocturnal polar bear make an appearance.

Includes: breakfast lunch dinner

Day 6 - Last minute wildlife viewing

After another hearty Lodge breakfast, we will begin air transfers back to Churchill.  Have your cameras ready for the return flight as it affords excellent opportunities for great aerial shots.

Back in Churchill, you’ll spend the day with one of our tour guides exploring the town and surrounding, learning about its rich history as a seaport and ex-military base. Your tour will include stops such as the Parks Canada exhibit, the Itsanitaq Museum, and the Polar Bear Jail. Along the way, your guide will point out murals that were commissioned in 2016 as part of the SeaWalls mural festival. Before a group dinner, your guide will give you free time to shop for last-minute souvenirs at the unique gift stores in Churchill.

Relax. Missy Mandel photo.
Relax. Missy Mandel photo.

Your flight south to Winnipeg will take place this evening. Upon arrival, collect your bags, head out of the arrivals doors and back to The Grand Hotel.

Includes: breakfast lunch dinner

Day 7 - Homeward Bound

After a restful sleep you will pack your bags in preparation for your flight home.

Gear Provided

The equipment we provide at the Lodge such as rain gear, rubber boots, winter gear (rental), and gear for use during marine excursions are designed to fit guests from child to adult.  Boot sizes larger than a men’s size 13 or a very small child are considered to be customized sizes that we do not provide. Additionally, guests over 6’4” may be required to bring their own gear as we may not have clothing sizes to fit.

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