Want to experience what its like to live a nomadic life without having to give up your record collection, coffee addiction, money, phone and favourite pair of sneakers? This trip to Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug will give you an insight into how the nomadic Nenet people of northern Russia live and for eight days you’ll eat, sleep, live and herd reindeer like a local. And you’ll be able to keep all your possessions.
This otherworldly journey begins in Salekhard, where you’ll travel to the Ural Federal District to meet with the reindeer herders of the Langot-Yugan River. On your first night as a nomad you’ll lay down your weary head in a chum, a temporary reindeer-hide tent.
The following day you’ll enjoy sightseeing around the camp, become acquainted with the herders and their children and learn about their dwellings, transportation (sledges), pet deer (avks) and huskies. During your downtime you’ll learn how to make equipment, such as the tynzyan, which is used for catching deer. Witness the arrival of a herd of up to a thousand deer, sample local cuisine and learn how to cook traditional dishes. If you’re pining for your iPhone you need to take a good hard look at yourself!
Back in Salekhard, you’ll go on a sightseeing tour and visit Obdorskiy Ostrog, a historical and cultural complex built to mirror an ancient fortress. Enjoy free time at lunch breathing in the freshest air you’ve ever inhaled before transferring to Gornoknyazevsk by bus. There you’ll explore the natural and ethnographic complex. For many years, the dynasty of Taishin princes ruled Gornoknyazevsk and the museum presents an extensive collection of materials used in nomadic and settled life, including clothing, ornaments and tools for fishing. You can try on traditional clothes and even ride on sleigh pulled by reindeer.
Finish off your expedition by spending the night in Salekhard reflecting on your experience and how you plan to go at least semi-nomadic when you return home – instead of travelling with three suitcases from now on you’ll just pack an overnight bag.
Group tours from AU$6665 a person.
Private tours from AU$6954 a person (flexible dates, minimum two people).