Cloud Wolves of the Kaska Coast

Answer the call of the wild wolves!

“Whether you are a wolf lover dreaming of seeing and hearing wolves in the wild, a photographer chasing National Geographic-worthy images, or a naturalist craving field experience — or all three! — this nine-day expedition will take you on an unforgettable journey.”

Dates & Rates | Location | Itinerary

Cloud wolves of the Kaska coast. Jad Davenport photo.
Cloud wolves of the Kaska coast. Jad Davenport photo.

ANSWER THE CALL OF THE WILD WOLVES on our newest program and discover the thrill of tracking, watching, photographing, and studying these enigmatic creatures.

WHETHER YOU ARE A WOLF LOVER dreaming of seeing and hearing wolves in the wild, a photographer chasing National Geographic-worthy images, or a naturalist craving field experience — or all three! — our nine-day CLOUD WOLVES EXPEDITION will take you on an unforgettable journey.

Romance at Nanuk. Jad Davenport photo.
Romance at Nanuk. Jad Davenport photo.

Our base is the beautiful Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge in the heart of the Kaska Coast, an uninhabited wilderness ten times the size of Yellowstone National Park. Far from civilization and never hunted, the resident packs of cloud wolves (Canis lupus nubilus) have no fear of humans, making for encounters and photography unrivalled anywhere else in the world.

Together with our naturalist guides and National Geographic photographer Jad Davenport, we will venture on foot and by snow machine and komatiq (Inuit sled) through spruce forests and over tundra and sea ice on our quest to find and follow the wolves. White and black and every shade in between, these wolves are among the largest on Earth and the only ones known to hunt polar bears. But cloud wolves aren’t the only creatures out here. Depending on ice conditions, polar bears are sometimes seen; more regular visitors include moose, red and silver fox, ptarmigan and snowy owls.

Depending on ice conditions, polar bears could still be in the area around Nanuk. Jad Davenport photo.
Depending on ice conditions, polar bears could still be in the area. Jad Davenport photo.

Cloud Wolves of the Kaska Coast - Dates and Rates

2021 DATES

November 16-24     SOLD OUT 
November 22-30    Male share only available 

Price (per person) Single Private Room Children
$16,995 CAD $31,495* CAD N/A

Prices are subject to taxes of 8.5%.

* 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.

Location

Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Scott Zielke photo.
Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Scott Zielke photo.

One of the original National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge was built 40 km east of the ghost town and national historic site of York Factory, the epicenter of the Canadian fur trade.

Designed and crafted in parkitecture style, the one-storey wooden-beamed lodge is a north-facing chevron. At its heart is a central Great Room, dining area, bar, kitchen, boutique and office. The Great Room features a roaring river-rock fireplace, lots of deep leather couches and chairs, spotting scopes, bookshelves and maps, and a collection of Arctic artifacts. Panoramic windows face the Hudson Bay and offer fantastic (and comfortable) wildlife viewing.

Lounge at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Jad Davenport photo.
Lounge at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Jad Davenport photo.

Two spacious wooden decks (also excellent for wildlife viewing) lead off either side of the Great Room, connecting it to the two guest wings with four private rooms and en suites each. The hallways are wide and feature more panoramic windows for excellent wildlife viewing.

Because this is prime wolf and polar bear country, and both are curious about the sights, sounds and smells emanating from here, the lodge is guarded by a tall fence. Guests are welcome to roam this inverse zoo on their own — the wooden decks and a three-storey observation tower make for excellent wildlife and northern lights viewing and photography. For your safety, however, no guests are permitted to leave the compound without being accompanied by an armed guide.

Wolf on the prowl. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Jad Davenport photo.
Wolf on the prowl. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Jad Davenport photo.

Itinerary

9 Days, 8 Nights

Day 1 - GET SETTLED, GEAR UP, AND MEET YOUR TEAM

Arrive in Winnipeg, where you will enjoy a relaxing stay at our choice hotel, The Grand Winnipeg Airport Hotel by Lakeview. Before meeting the rest of your group at an orientation dinner hosted by a Churchill Wild representative, we’ll outfit you with top-of-the-line winter gear for your adventure.

Includes: dinner

Day 2 - Welcome to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

Arrive in Churchill by air, where one of our expert staff will meet you at the airport and provide you with instructions of the morning transfer. You will then be transferred by fixed wing aircraft to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. This exciting 60-minute flight takes you over Wapusk National Park as well as the historic York Factory. 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 any outings. Then it’s time to assemble your cameras, hard drives, and tripods and start shooting. Time permitting, we’ll head out for a shakedown hike.

Dusk falls around 4:00 pm. which means it’s time for sundowners and the first of many fine meals from the award-winning Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbooks.

Includes: breakfast lunch dinner

Days 3 to 7 - Find the Wolves!

Cloud wolves at Nanuk. Jad Davenport photo.
Cloud wolves at Nanuk. Jad Davenport photo.

Enjoy a hearty breakfast while our lead guide briefs us on what the scouts are reporting and our plan of attack for the day. After breakfast, it’s time to head on safari!

These daily safaris (usually one in the morning and one in the afternoon) are a chance for us to track the wolf packs and get you as close as possible to observe and photograph their behavior and social interactions.

While it’s possible to observe wolves right from the viewing decks at the lodge, wolves regularly travel to hunt and mark their territory; they can easily cover 40 km a day. We keep in close radio contact with our scouts as they monitor activity at various points along the coast. With our small group size and high-guide ratio, we are able move quickly along a network of established safari trails.

After morning safaris, we’ll head back to the lodge to enjoy a light lunch and some well-earned downtime. By early afternoon we’ll head back into the field. Some days, depending on wildlife and weather, we may opt for an all-day safari and extend our range.

For those interested in becoming involved with our citizen-science wolf study, the safaris are also a chance to conduct field work. We’ll have opportunities to collect trail cam images, cast animal tracks, study social relationships, map territories, conduct and record howl surveys, and gather traditional knowledge from First Nation oral histories. Participants will receive a yearly update on the study.

Evenings at Nanuk are a chance to unwind beside the fire and enjoy a nightly happy hour followed by a delicious dinner. Some nights there will be short presentations on wolf biology and natural history, storytelling, and wildlife photography.

The Kaska Coast boasts over 300 nights a year of Auroral activity, making it one of the best places in the world to see the magical northern lights. November can be stormy, but if the skies are clear and the solar winds are active, we’ll be sure to wake you up for a dazzling show. Jad will be on hand to help you set up your cameras and capture the haunting beauty.

This is your expedition. While we want to offer you as many experiences as possible, we also encourage you to relax. Take an afternoon or morning off (or a couple) and have the lodge to yourself. We’ll stoke the fire, pour you some coffee and leave you with some tasty brownies. Some of our best wildlife viewing happens right from the lodge. You never know who might wander up to the window and look in on you.

Wolf saying goodbye at Nanuk. Jad Davenport photo.
Wolf saying goodbye at Nanuk. Jad Davenport photo.

 

Includes: breakfast lunch dinner

Day 8 - EXPLORATION OF HISTORIC CHURCHILL

After breakfast it’s time for one last goodbye-howl to the wolves before we fly back to Churchill.

Back in town, you’ll spend the day with one of our tour guides exploring the town and surrounding area and learning about its rich history as a seaport and ex-military base. Your tour will include highlights such as the Parks Canada exhibit, the Itsanitaq Museum, the Polar Bear Jail, chatting with the Cree and Inuit ladies sewing moose-hide mitts at the Arctic Trading Post, or learning about the Lost Franklin Expedition while gazing at the stained-glass memorial in St. Paul’s Anglican Church.

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.

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 9 - HOMEWARD BOUND

After a restful sleep back at The Grand Hotel, you will pack your bags in preparation for your flight home.  

Additional Information

Northern lights from the deck at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.
Northern lights from the deck at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

Guides and Equipment: Expedition is fully guided with all related transportation and safety equipment provided.

Clothing: Temperatures will range from -10°C to -30°C, likely with high wind chills. Blowing snow and/or blizzard conditions can be experienced at any time. Only the very best winter clothing is acceptable and for this reason we will provide you with high-end insulated boots, pants, and parka for the expedition*. For your own safety and comfort, we will provide you with an additional gear list. Laundry facilities will not be available to you during your stay.

*We are unable to accommodate boots larger than a men’s size 13. We have limited gear available for guests over 6’4.”

Additional Photo Ops: While our focus is on wolves, we hope to encounter other wildlife including polar bears, wolverines, foxes, moose, snowy owls and ptarmigan. Aurora borealis sightings are some of the best in the world here, so be prepared for a few sleepless nights! Many viewing and photo ops take place near the lodge, so it is not always necessary to venture further abroad for wildlife encounters should we have what we call a very blustery day.

You never know what you might see at Nanuk! Jad Davenport photo.
You never know what you might see at Nanuk! Jad Davenport photo.

Flexibility/Wildlife Notes: Due to the customized nature of this safari and the extreme weather that may be encountered, please allow for flexibility in daily activities and flight times. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed, but we employ the best guides in the world and our lodges are located in the most optimal places we know of for viewing Artic wildlife. To ensure a high level of personal service, this expedition is limited to only 12 participants.

Includes: All air and ground transfers between Winnipeg and our lodge, winter pants, boots and parka, accommodations, guide services and excursions, and meals, as listed in the itinerary above.

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