Safari Overview

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’re a wolf lover dreaming of seeing and hearing them 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.

Our base is the beautiful Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge in the heart of the Kaska Coast of southern Hudson Bay, 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.

Highlights:

  • Daily excursions in search of wolves and wolf activity, polar bears, moose, and other boreal wildlife
  • Indulging your taste buds with our tundra-inspired cuisine, complemented by select Canadian wines.
  • Sky gazing! Our location beneath the auroral oval offers nearly 300 nights of aurora viewing each year. If conditions permit, you will be able to enjoy the greatest light show on earth from within the lodge or out in our secure compound. There is a high chance of seeing the lights on this safari.
  • Educational evening presentations by our lodge managers or naturalist guides about our Arctic ecosystems, landscape, and lifestyle.
  • Citizen science and field research! We’ll have opportunities to collect trailcam images, cast animal tracks, study social relationships, map territories, conduct and record howl surveys, and gather traditional knowledge from First Nation oral histories.
  • Joining acclaimed photographer Jad Davenport on assignment for National Geographic Creative. Gather tips and inspiration from Jad as he helps you document your experience and develop your own unique storytelling style.  Informal evening sessions will give you pointers on topics such “blue-hour” photography and capturing the Northern Lights.
Sights:
Wolves, moose, polar bears, snowy owls
Lodge:
Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge
Date:
November (detailed dates below)
Length:
8 nights
Level:
Challenging (5 - 10 km walking/day, cold to very cold temperatures)
Weather:
Average: -15C to -10C (5F to 14F)

Lodge + Location

Situated next to pristine Arctic waters on Hudson Bay with Canada’s Boreal Forest as its backyard sits Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. The diverse ecosystem surrounding Nanuk is home to Canadian icons such as polar bears, black bears, wolves, and moose.

From the safety of the fence surrounding the Lodge, view the northern lights or get up-close-and-personal with the polar bears and other wildlife that meander past, as curious about you as you are about them.

The eight guestrooms with en-suite bathrooms are housed in two guest wings connected to the main dining room/lounge area, each with cozy sitting areas overlooking the Bay. After a long day trekking the tundra, kick back in our lounge and enjoy an informative presentation by our guides or simply relax and enjoy conversations with new friends.

Note that due to EXTREME weather conditions (i.e. very low temperatures) there may be times when it’s difficult to maintain running water under the mid-winter conditions. There will be no laundry facilities.

Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

250 KM SOUTH OF CHURCHILL BY PLANE

57° 07’ 22.4” N / 91° 39’ 52.0” W

Dates & Rates

2021 Dates

Download 2021 PDF Itinerary

Dates

Lodge

Availability

Inquire

November 16 - 24, 2021
Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

SOLD OUT

November 22 - 30, 2021
Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

SOLD OUT

2021 Rates

Price (per person)

$16,995 CAD

+ taxes and gratuity

Single Private Room

$31,495 CAD

+ taxes and gratuity

Children

N/A

+ taxes and gratuity

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.

Inclusions

  • Roundtrip airfare between Winnipeg and Churchill, Manitoba
  • Roundtrip airfare between Churchill and Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge
  • Two nights’ accommodations in Winnipeg
  • 6 nights’ lodge accommodations
  • All meals, excursions, and guide services while at the Lodge
  • Winter gear*

* Temperatures will range from -20 to -40C, likely with high wind chills, blowing snow and/or blizzard conditions. Only the very best winter clothing is acceptable and for this reason we will provide you with insulated boots, pants and parka for this expedition. The items are designed to fit adult guests. Boot sizes larger than a men’s size 13 would be considered a custom size 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. For your own safety and comfort, we will provide you with an additional list of what to bring.

Not Included

  • Taxes and gratuities
  • Personal outdoor gear not included are winter hat, balaclava, scarf and mitts. If you cannot get at home, you can purchase them with us but advance notice is required.

Itinerary

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 by Lakeview at the Winnipeg Airport. 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 75-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.

Day 2 continued...

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

Day 3 to 7

FIND THE WOLVES!
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 40km 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.

Day 3 to 7 continued...

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 trailcam 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 dazzling Northern Lights. November can be stormy, but if the skies are clear and the solar winds are active, we’ll be sure and 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.

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 and on to Winnipeg.

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.Your flight south to Winnipeg will take place this evening.

Includes: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9

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

Churchill Wild reserves the right to make changes to this itinerary due to weather and logistical complications that can arise from traveling in the north and to remote locations.

Meet Your Photo Leader

Jad Davenport

Jad’s career in photojournalism began as a documentary photographer who started developing his talent for image storytelling while covering more than a dozen wars. His knack for capturing the essence of an experience have defined his career, and Jad is a full time travel photographer with an open assignment with National Geographic Creative. Jad’s abilities have garnered no less than four Lowell Thomas awards which is one of the most respected awards in the field.

His work has frequently appeared in many of the world’s elite publications including Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Men’s Journal, Audubon, Sierra, Coastal Living, and many more while also appearing in esteemed galleries including the Smithsonian.

Jad’s work has taken him to some 160 countries in some of the wildest places on earth; from photographing the mountain gorillas in the Congo war zone to the black pearl farms in Tahiti – and of course, the polar bears of Churchill Wild!

Jad specializes in the art of capturing images that take you back to the time and place and elicit the emotions which make an experience profound. Jad provided the first digital cover and inside story for National Geographic Adventure Magazine, and he is adept at using any of the variety of digital tools now available for the modern traveler who is not always able to travel with the latest and greatest photographic lenses and equipment.

With Jad’s direction, you will be able to capture your journey into the Arctic like never before, whether using an iPhone, point-and-shoot, DSLR or mirrorless camera. Jad’s focus on the subject and composition make the art of photojournalism accessible to all, regardless of your present level of photographic sophistication.

Photo leader. Jad Davenport. Christoph and Fabienne Jansen photo.
Quote.

THERE IS NO BETTER PLACE IN THE WORLD to photograph wolves than Nanuk. Nanuk’s ‘cloud wolves’ have never been hunted, they’ve never been studied, they have no fear of humans. It’s the only place I’ve ever had wolves approach me when I was on foot and get to within a few meters; I had to shoot photos with a wide-angle lens. That never happens anywhere else.

Jad DavenportNational Geographic photographer

I WAS BY THE FIRE ONE MORNING and Butch said, ‘wolves are coming.’ Suddenly, there were four wolves. They came right up beside the window. They weren’t galloping past, they were walking slowly. They gathered right on the snowdrift and looked inside at us. It was unreal. I wanted to cry, it was such an emotional moment to see them so close.

Sue C.

AFTER A LONG AND EXCITING DAY on the snowmobile/komatik we made our way back towards the cozy warmth of Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Just before arriving, we spotted a wolf not far away. She started howling. Instantly, the other members of the pack joined her beautiful and chilling song. Later, the female leader of the pack trotted towards us. She came within a few feet of our komatik, then stopped and looked directly into my eyes. She was neither aggressive nor afraid, just curious. I had tears in my eyes—and I still do, when I think back to this wonderful encounter.

Fabienne JansenArctic Wild photographer

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