Wildlife Watching Tour

Autumn Caribou Migration & Northern Lights | CA-AW701

7-day Caribou Migration & Northern Lights Tour in Nunavut, Northern Canada

Overview

Witness one of the greatest animal migrations on Earth and see the Northern Lights!

Tour Highlights

  • Experience and photograph the autumn caribou migration
  • Soak up the autumnal landscape of the Arctic tundra
  • Explore the Ennadai Lake and Kazan River by boat
  • Spot other wildlife such as wolves, wolverines, moose, and bears
  • See the magical and elusive Northern Lights
  • Go fishing for grayling to an unspoiled wild backdrop
  • Enjoy hiking, kayaking, flat biking, and blueberry-picking
  • Attend informal presentations by special guests

This exceptional 7-day wildlife watching tour will take you to one of the most far-flung parts of Canada to witness the grand caribou migration. Spotting these majestic long-distance walkers up close is a bucket-list must for every nature lover. At this time of year, the enormous Canadian wilderness covers itself in the shimmering colors of autumn giving us a sigh-inducing backdrop for our adventure. Explore rippling lakes and gushing rivers by boat in search of swimming caribous and other spectacular wildlife.

To top it all off, there will be ample opportunities to see the rare and elusive Northern Lights throughout your trip!

  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Expert guides
  • Small group
  • Personal Experience
Available Aug - Sept
Duration 14 days
Departs From Yellowknife, NT
Difficulty Level Easy / Moderate
Group maximum 24
Minimum age No limit
Pick Up No
Meet on Location Yes

From

8 795 CAD

Per Adult

  • Best Price Guarantee
  • Toll Free number in N. America: +1 888 285 1676
  • International number: +1 780 414 1676

Availability (2019): late August - late September

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What's Included

Find out what is included and what to bring.

Included

  • Charter flights to and from Yellowknife
  • Aluminum boats to travel the lake
  • ATV’s (all-terrain vehicles)
  • Fishing gear
  • Use of the lodge facilities

What to bring

  • Good rubber boots
  • Hiking boots and lodge shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Fishing license (if planning to fish)
  • Camera

Not Included

  • Flight to and from Yellowknife
  • Personal gear

Contact us for more Information about this tour

Itinerary

Find out more details about the tour and its highlights

Information

Our wildlife adventure starts at the Arctic Haven lodge, located on the shores of Ennadai Lake, in southern Nunavut. The lodge is equivalent to a five-star hotel in Nunavut and sits along the path of migrating animals. At this time of year, the Qamanirjuaq caribou herd of over 300,000—Nunavut's largest herd—starts its long journey south.

During this 7-day tour, we’ll be following the Caribou migration routes in Canada by boat and on a series of hikes. Most of your time you’ll spend cruising around the tiny and idyllic islands of Ennadai Lake, offering the best places to spot these elegant creatures on the move. Become enchanted by the serene wilderness, punctuated by gentle ripples caused by swimming caribou.

Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for other wildlife such as wolves, moose, and wolverines. We might even see the majestic bear, who also dwells in the region. Enjoy a thrilling kayaking experience on Kazan River, go fishing for grayling or flat biking along narrow-crested eskers.

Every evening enjoy gourmet dinners, listen to inspiring Arctic stories from special guests, and step into the night to see the ethereal Northern Lights.

Arrive in Yellowknife where we have a 2:00 p.m. private charter to the Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge. As the weather can be unpredictable, it’s highly recommended to add additional buffer time if you’re traveling a long way.

Once everyone is aboard, we depart Yellowknife from the Air Tindi hangar for a two-hour flight to the lodge. As we fly high above Barren Lands of the Northwest Territories, feast your eyes on the caribou migration paths rutted into the tundra. Every autumn these awe-inspiring creatures leave their summer calving grounds and travels southward to their winter home.

Upon arrival, you’ll be given a brief introduction to what can be expected during your stay at Arctic Haven. After settling in your room, a family-style dinner awaits. In the evening, take some time to explore the surrounding area, unwind in the wood-fired sauna on the lake or search for the elusive Northern Lights in the velvety night sky.

After breakfast, we’ll travel to Ennadai Lake, one of the best places to spot the Qamanirjuaq Caribou Herd on the move. There will be some unparalleled photography opportunities, so don’t forget to bring your camera!

Your guide will provide you with a safety briefing before going out on the waters. Then, we’ll head to the northern reaches of the lake and discover numerous islands, used by migratory wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for the amazing arctic caribou, wolves, and wolverines.

After a picnic lunch on the beach, cruise around the islands and go on a series of short hikes for closer encounters with some majestic wild creatures. We’ll also visit archeological sites where the Ihalmiut or ‘People from Beyond’ lived along the banks of the lake for hundreds of years.

In the evening, return to the lodge for a gourmet dinner. Later, an informal lecture by Richard Weber, a renowned polar explorer, awaits. Listen to the remarkable story of his historic unassisted expedition, on foot, to the North Pole in 1995. You’ll also have the opportunity to relax in a sauna or go stargazing with a chance to catch the Northern Lights.

Today prepare for a fascinating helicopter flight to the top of the Blind Hill, one of the highest eskers in the area. Once there, embark on a hike that will take you from the wet, soft blueberry flats and dry, ancient caribou trail to on an open tundra ridge overlooking glistening lakes and the land below.

After lunch in a forested gully, we’ll continue with our hike on rolling terrain. Along the way,  discover an ancient stone Inuit hunting blind. A variety of berries, including lingonberries, crows, and blueberries cover the ground and you’re welcome to harvest these delectable natural treasures. Our culinary team will incorporate your harvest into one of the meals.

We end today’s adventure with a boat ride to the lodge. Be immersed in the breathtaking landscapes, shrouded in the evening mist. After dinner, there will be a presentation on the Ahiarmiut or ‘people of the deer.’ Feed your curiosity and learn more about the inland Inuit people who lived in the area until the 1950s.

After breakfast, we’ll venture into the far reaches of Ennadai Lake to the North Arm, where caribou are most frequently seen on land or swimming between islands. Caribous are excellent swimmers due to their large hollowed out hooves.

Enjoy an appetizing lunch on the sandy beaches of the idyllic Paradise Island in the company of your fellow Arctic adventurers. Arctic Haven has a remote camp in this area, so you can stay here for the night but please book this service in advance.

Then, embark on a short hike up to Big Bear, the highest point on the lake where an extraordinary panoramic view awaits. Take your time to admire the larger than life scenery before coming back to the lodge.

After dinner, Nansen Weber, an experienced photographer, will give an informal lecture on his inspiring photography experiences from the Barren Lands. Later, relax in the sauna or enjoy the Northern Lights away from light pollution. These Arctic night lights will take your breath away!

Pack your backpack for today’s fishing adventure. We’ll fish for grayling, also known as the ‘lady of the stream’ in Epic Creek, only accessible by helicopter. With both pick-up and drop-off by helicopter, you’ll have a full day of casting in the tranquil current of the small Arctic stream.

The grayling is an extraordinary fish, highly sought after by avid anglers. Its most striking physical features are an impressive sail-like dorsal fin and colorful body markings. The grayling might be small but it’s truly an energetic fish, known to put up a hard fight.

After a terrific freshly caught meal, kick back and relax under open skies. In the evening, an informal presentation on the Mythology and Folklore of the Northern Lights awaits. Be inspired by stories from around the world about the elusive Aurora Borealis.

Today prepare for an action-packed day. A quick helicopter ride will drop us off on top of a long, winding esker from where we’ll start our fat biking adventure. Eskers are narrow, sinuous, and elongated hills of sand or other sediments left by retreating glaciers of the last ice age. These stunning land formations offer numerous vantage points of the surrounding scenery and wildlife.

After awe-inspiring encounters with caribous and other spectacular wildlife, we’ll return to the lodge by boat. Our chefs will prepare a special dish for the tour’s last dinner. You’ll also have an opportunity to go sea kayaking amongst the islands of Ennasai Lake. This area is simply perfect to spot caribous as they island-hop their way south.

In the evening, your host Josée Auclair will give an informal workshop on the edible plants of the Arctic.

On our final day, we’ll head out onto the waters of the Kazan River. Once everyone is on our boat, prepare for a change of scenery, it’s here the tundra gradually turns to the forest and birch, black spruce, and tamarack trees dot the landscape. En route, keep your eyes peeled for moose that have been spotted in this marshy area of land grazing along the tundra swans.

Choose to go on a hike and stretch your legs, enjoy a serene stroll along the Kazan River or fish for grayling before catching the afternoon flight back home. We thank you for joining this tour and hope you had the a-once-in-a-lifetime adventure! Until next time!

  • At this time of year, temperatures run around 10-15°C (50-59°F) on average. The weather in the North can change quickly, so make sure you’re prepared for all weather conditions.
  • A recommended packing list will be provided upon booking.
  • This tour is family-friendly and there is no age restriction for participating in this program.
  • All guests must have average mobility and be able to get in and out of the boats and walk on uneven or rocky terrain from time to time. The guides are available to assist people with more limited mobility.

Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes

  • Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.
  • A $2500.00 deposit is required to hold your reservation.
  • Balance of payment is due 180 days before trip commencement.

 

CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS

Any cancellations before 180 days prior to the departure date will receive a full refund.

Any cancellations after that are not eligible for a refund.