We know there are always so many choices to make when booking a vacation, so we strive to make your planning a little easier by helping you choose the right Churchill Wild lodge for you. Hint: it might be all three.
We strive for consistently high customer service at each lodge, delicious and bountiful meals, and a feeling of home away from home; you need not worry about that. Our chefs delve into the history of local family cookbooks, bringing northern cuisine to an elevated experience as you watch the sunrise and set on pristine wilderness.
Seal River Heritage Lodge is where our polar bear tours first started. Finely tuned to its location, the lodge boasts panoramic views of the coastline, perfect for keeping a sharp eye out for the local wildlife. In addition, it is the only lodge that provides boat tours throughout the summer months to see beluga whales.
Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge is nestled into the boreal forest tree line, home to many little critters while looking out over the expansive tidal flats, perfect for watching bears lumber down the shore. Its location dramatically increases the chance of seeing black bears, wolves, and moose depending on the time of year. In some regard, the lodge is on an island, and our Rhinos are used to deliver guests across the river surrounding us to commence walking with polar bears. The bears and other wildlife have no issue crossing the water to visit the lodge compound for up-close viewing, but it would be a bit of a chilly swim for guests.
Dymond Lake Lodge charms with frozen lake views, one-sided trees, and cozy cabin vibes and completes the trip with a stay in Churchill to experience the Tundra Buggy excursion. A little bit of both for those who want to dip their tow into walking with bears and riding on buggies.
How to Choose
Ask yourself what seasonal aspects appeal to you when you are walking with polar bears?
Is it summer flower fields, additional beluga tours, or black bears in the willows? Is it the crisp white on white of arctic animals in the snow, hoar frost glistening in the sunlight, and northern lights dancing by 9 pm?
Knowing if you are choosing summer, autumn or winter landscape can help you narrow down your choices.
For instance, Dymond Lake Lodge operates solely in October and November. A unique feature of our Great Ice Bear safari at Dymond Lake Lodge is that you also get a taste of the town of Churchill. Your trip includes a day and a half stay in Churchill, where you experience the Tundra Buggy after walking with polar bears.
Seal River Heritage Lodge is right on the rocky shoreline of Hudson Bay, where you can often spot beluga whales from the dining room windows. It is the only lodge we operate beluga whale tours out of; however, our Arctic Discovery safari at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge includes a 2-night stay in Churchill, with kayaking or boat tours with Sea North Tours to view beluga whales.
Nanuk’s coastal location is nestled on the edge of the boreal forest, making boat tours unattainable but allowing us to see polar bears, black bears, wolves, moose, and other forest dwellers throughout the seasons, including the occasional glimpse of a wolverine.
Summer is an exciting time to see the hidden beauty in such a vast and open landscape like the tundra; flowers blooming, bird migrations, and foxes darting amongst the willows. In the summer, polar bears appear as a juxtaposition of beauty amidst the fields of flowers and seagrasses.
September is when the autumn colours are out in a full display. The fiery willows and tundra mosses are stunning backgrounds for polar bears, wolves, and moose. It is also when our Arctic Safari operates, a glamping combo trip where you spend two nights in the far northern tundra at our tundra camp and four nights in the comfort of Seal River Heritage Lodge. Our Arctic Oven tents keep you cozy as you entice your adventurous side, scouting for caribou throughout the Barren Lands and learning about its deep history.
Fall time – it will feel like winter. The crisp air fogs their breath as they huff their way through the snow towards you. Temperatures range from -5 to -20 degrees Celsius throughout October and November, and the wind can make it feel much colder. However, anyone can stay warm with our provided gear, good layers, and adherence to the packing list. The other wildlife, such as Arctic foxes, Arctic hare, and ptarmigan, all turn white around this time to blend into their surroundings. It is the perfect time to get those dramatic tundra photos.
The northern lights are around throughout the summer but come fall and winter; you have a greater chance to view the dancing skies as we get more hours of darkness.
What kind of photographer are you?
We have a few departures structured for the “big guns,” so to speak. If you are carrying a lens that you need to rest on your shoulder when hiking, you want to be looking at our Polar Bear Photo Safari.
If you are more of an amateur photographer, you can take great photos on any safari. And our guides are always available for photography tips. For some departures such as Arctic Safari and specific dates of Great Ice Bear, we host professional photographer leaders Jad Davenport and Robert Postma to help guide you towards your dream photos.
You can join any safari regardless of where you fall on the photography spectrum; it just means that it is a little more beginner-friendly in the photography world.
Transportation and Travel Time
Each lodge requires a flight out of Churchill, Manitoba on a small aircraft. Often a caravan seats nine passengers.
- Seal River Heritage Lodge: 25-minute flight
- Dymond Lake Ecolodge: 8-minute flight
- Nanuk Polar Bear: 1-hour flight
Some of our departures have long daily walks on the tundra; like our Arctic Safari, some require more mobility as the terrain is rugged at the tundra camp. There is, of course, the option of enjoying the lodge atmosphere if the walks and fresh northern air tucker you out.
Each lodge has its unique aspects, and if you genuinely feel you cannot narrow it down, there are combo lodge trips available in summer and fall. For the Summer Dual Lodge Safari, alongside polar bears, and other wildlife, you will have a chance to see belugas at Seal River Heritage Lodge and black bears at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. For the Fall Dual Lodge Safari, the belugas will be leaving the bay due to ice and the black bears snuggled in for the winter, but you will have opportunities to see polar bears, foxes, wolves and more in two locations!
Do you have more questions? Our sales team would be happy to hear from you.