Safari Base Camp, East Greenland
008849 - W16
A deluxe expedition camping experience for those looking to explore East Greenland in depth in a unique way. There are local guides on hand to provide in-depth information and guidance, but leaving you lots of time to do your own thing!
- Half-day whale-watching excursion in the open waters of the Greenland Sea
- Ammassalik Museum, in Tasiilaq
- Walk through arctic thyme, arctic bluebell, arctic dandelion, and the national flower broad-leafed willow herb in Flower Valley
- See graves and ruins of old Inuit sod house foundations in the hamlet of Tinit
- Keep an eye out for whales, seals, and icebergs on way back to Tasiilaq
008849 - W16
You are met on arrival at Keflavik International Airport and transferred to our hotel in Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, about a 45-minute drive. If you arrive very early, you may store your bags at the hotel while you enjoy exploring the compact city. This evening, learn about all that lies ahead in Greenland during a welcome presentation and dinner with our Expedition Leader.
For adventure travellers looking for the ultimate Arctic experience, this is it. You can now experience the staggering natural wonders of Greenland in complete comfort, without giving up an immersion in some of the most remote wilderness on Earth. Previously this region was accessible only via hiking while camping in tents, or on a very limited basis by ship via short day excursions. Now, with the debut of Base Camp Greenland, our clients have a whole new (and better!) option.
The group will transfer from the Reykjavik hotel to the nearby airport to board the flight to Kulusuk, Greenland, two hours away by air. From Kulusuk, we make a short, scenic transfer by helicopter to Ammassalik Island, landing in Tasiilaq, the small administrative center of East Greenland. Though it’s just a 10-minute flight, it offers a preview of the magnificent scenery to come, with icebergs drifting below and the chance to spot a whale from the air. Tasilaq’s charming collection of brightly painted, wooden houses hugs King Oscar’s Bay, surrounded by pointed peaks iced with glaciers. The town of 2,000 is a hub for outdoor adventure, from hiking and kayaking in summer to dog sledding and glacier skiing in winter. Virtually uninhabited except for a handful of small subsistence-hunting communities, Greenland’s east coast is often called “the back side” by those on the west, where most of Greenland’s population lives and where its capital and main 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 fostered a distinct and resilient culture. Our introduction to Greenland begins here where Arctic wilderness and traditional lifestyles meet. On arrival we convene at our hotel for a briefing before exploring the area around Tasilaq on foot, hiking into the Valley of Flowers above the scenic bay that fronts the town. Bring your camera! The ice-clad gneiss and granite peeks provide a backdrop for waterfalls and small lakes fringed by arctic wildflowers in season.
Though the interior of Greenland is covered by a massive ice cap, a few habitable areas exist around the bays and coastal islands. The region we visit enjoys a surprisingly mild and dry summer climate, earning it the nickname “Arctic Riviera.” Our exploration starts with a half-day excursion by enclosed private motorboat in the open waters of the Greenland Sea, for our first close-up views of icebergs. In addition to large chunks of ice calved from glaciers that feed the fjords in this region, we’ll also see tabular icebergs—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 East 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, sometimes mingling with brash ice to create frozen mosaics. Whales are also found seasonally in these waters, when ice conditions permit, and we’ll look for fin, minke and humpback whales, as well as seals. Back on shore, we explore the coastline on a scenic walk and visit Tasiilaq’s small history museum to learn about the culture and traditions of the Inuit, at home in this region for centuries.
Depart via boat or helicopter for our exclusive wilderness Base Camp, located on the east side of Sermilik Fjord. Our destination is near the tiny hamlet of Tinit, which we’ll visit at some point during our stay. The village is one of the most picturesque outposts in East Greenland, surveying a panorama of Sermilik Fjord, littered with huge icebergs, and the ice sheet beyond. Behind the town, glaciated peaks rise over a mile high, jutting up like sharp black teeth through the ice. Tinit is home to fewer than a hundred hardy people who craft a subsistence fishing and hunting existence around challenging weather and constantly shifting ice conditions. Keep an eye out for whales as we travel, as they are frequently seen in these waters when ice conditions permit. The area is filled with evidence of ancient habitation, including graves and ruins of old Inuit sod house foundations, and it is an evocative place to learn more about Inuit history and lore. Reaching Base Camp Greenland, we find ourselves in one the most remote places on Earth. After settling in to our deluxe private cabins, sit down for coffee, tea and lunch. Later we’ll convene for an orientation to our environs, followed by dinner and a lecture to acquaint us with the remarkable natural history of the region. Through presentations and cultural visits during our stay, we also learn about Greenland’s cultural heritage and aspects of modern life. Traditional Inuit identity remains at the forefront in East Greenland, and during our time out at camp, we have an authentic encounter with this enduring culture that remains largely in harmony with nature.
The landscape along Greenland’s isolated and rarely visited east coast is dramatic. Great fjords indent the coastline, penetrating far into sheer-sided mountains capped by the world’s second-largest ice sheet—and Sermilik Fjord is the mightiest of them all. Our base camp provides a safe and comfortable outpost from which to explore this vast expanse of wild terrain just below the Arctic Circle. Though we are profoundly secluded, the wider region is dotted with a few isolated villages where Greenlandic Inuit people practice subsistence lifestyles in this uncompromising Arctic environment. In varied encounters, we learn about their culture and how they are retaining their traditions while adapting to contemporary life in the 21st century. On Zodiac excursions, we navigate among a flotilla of icebergs in an array of wild shapes, some as big as buildings. Look for whales and seals, both of which are present depending on the ice. Guided sea kayaking is also an option for an eye-level view on the frigid waters around us. We spend plenty of time ashore, too, with hikes for varying ability levels. Traverse the mountainsides and wander near glaciers that wind down from the Greenland ice sheet. This huge ice mass—second in size only to Antarctica—stretches more than 1,500 miles from north to south, is nearly 2 miles deep at its thickest point and covers 80 percent of the island. We learn about the crucial role it plays in regulating Earth’s climate and see with our own eyes how rapidly it is being affected by climate change. Amid fields of Arctic cotton grass, look for Arctic fox and birdlife, including eiders, loons and possibly peregrine falcons. The long hours of summer daylight allow for extensive exploration. Each evening, we retreat to our base camp for creative meals prepared by our accomplished chef. After dinner, gather for interpretive presentations by our naturalist Expedition Leaders, who share their extensive knowledge of Greenland’s geology, glaciology and human history. And, though the sun gleams in the sky much of the night here near the Arctic Circle, a good night’s sleep is in order to refuel for the next day’s adventures. Given that our wilderness cabins have real beds with full bedding, you’re sure to get it, wrapped in the profound silence of our surroundings. Guests on later-season departures may even have a chance to glimpse the northern lights, if the aurora is active in the darkening night sky.
This morning we bid farewell to Base Camp Greenland and make our way back to Tasiilaq, keeping an eye out for whales and seals and marvelling at the ever-shifting tableau of drifting icebergs. Once back in town, we check in to our hotel and enjoy a last chance to soak up the beauty of this stunning region. Celebrating an extraordinary adventure of discovery, wild beauty and camaraderie, we enjoy a farewell dinner on our last night together in Greenland.
This morning, we make our way back to Kulusuk. Weather and ice conditions dictate which transportation mode we will take, but both offer spectacular views. By helicopter, survey jagged peaks and huge U-shaped valleys gouged by glaciers. By boat, we navigate the imposing fjord system, keeping an eye out for whales and seals among the ever-shifting tableau of drifting ice. On arrival in Kulusuk, we check in to our hotel, drinking in the surrounding views. Celebrate an extraordinary adventure of discovery, wild beauty and camaraderie over a farewell dinner on our last night together in Greenland.
Though today is devoted to journeying back to the urban world, it is filled with magnificent Arctic scenery on view from the air. We meet our plane in Kulusuk for the return flight to Reykjavik’s domestic airport where our adventure together ends. A transfer is included to Keflavik Airport for those departing Iceland today or to the group hotels in the city centre.
You may choose to extend your stay in Iceland and spend a few days exploring the colourful, capital city Reykjavik or get out into the countryside to see massive waterfalls, geysirs, glaciers and volcanoes.
- Airport transfers between Keflavik and Reykjavik, return
- Helicopter flight between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq
- Accommodations, including exclusive occupancy of Base Camp Greenland
- Meals from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on the final day
- Purified drinking water throughout the trip
- Soft drinks at meals
- Some alcoholic beverages
- Services of professional Expedition Leader(s)
- Boat and camp crews
- All boat transportation and excursions
- Gear including expedition suits for Zodiac excursions
- Kayaking equipment
- Mosquito head nets and dry bags
- All activities and entrance fees
- Most gratuities
- All taxes, permits and service fees
- International airfare to Iceland from your home city and return
- Round-trip airfare between Reykjavik and Kulusuk (priced separately)
- Airline baggage fees
- Airport and departure taxes
- Some alcoholic beverages
- Optional activities added such as sea kayaking and hiking excursions
- Items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, Internet, etc.)
- Some gratuities
- Required medical evacuation insurance
- Passport and visa fees, if any
- Optional travel insurance (trip cancellation and interruption, medical and baggage)
Please Note: This itinerary is meant as a guideline and is subject to change without notice due to weather and ice conditions. On some occasions, it may be necessary to deviate from the intended itinerary for reasons beyond our control. In such instances, we will provide the best available alternative.
Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.