Witness the spectacular aurora borealis, swim with pods of Beluga whales, from the air look over herds of caribou as they cross the tundra, and of course have the privilege of seeing one of natures most iconic species, the polar bear.
Arrive in Winnipeg where you will enjoy a relaxing stay at our choice hotel, THE GRAND Winnipeg Airport Hotel by Lakeview. At 7:00 pm a dinner will be held at the hotel, where you will meet your group and your adventure specialist. You will need your rest for your early morning departure to Churchill.
You’ll arrive in Churchill by air and an expert staff member will meet you at the airport to provide you with instructions regarding your morning transfers. Your adventure begins with a breathtaking aerial view of the winding Hudson Bay coast en route to your home for the next six days – Seal River Heritage Lodge. Be prepared to see huge pods of whales, countless birds, as well as caribou and of course, the magnificent polar bears. The Seal River Estuary is a summer favorite for these goliaths and they are regularly seen swimming or basking near the water’s edge. Upon your arrival at Seal River Lodge, your hosts will provide a tour of the Lodge and get you settled into your room. A thorough orientation on travel in polar bear country will be provided prior to any outings.
After a full-course lunch Churchill Wild-style, you will experience the Hudson Bay coast for the first time. The combination of diversity and sheer natural elegance will amaze you. Make sure your camera battery is charged. If you’re like previous Churchill Wild guests, you’ll be eager to document each and every moment in this extraordinary and rare ecosystem.
Your first day at the Lodge will be rounded out by the first of many full-course meals followed by a cozy fireplace for the evening wind down. Relax, recharge and get a good rest because you have five amazing days to go!
Enjoy a panacea of activites
In the coming days, your breakfasts will be served at 8 a.m. and the tour of the day will typically depart the Lodge at 9:30 a.m. Depending on both weather and group interest, you will enjoy the following activities:
Marine Tours – Tides and weather permitting, we will do at least two expeditions by boat to view beluga whales, seals, seabirds, and polar bears. Marine tours are conducted in large, nine-man inflatable boats, fully equipped with two way radios, safety gear, flotation jackets for each passenger, and a hydrophone so that that you can listen to the whale songs. Each expedition is a half day in order to coordinate with the high tides. Both refreshments and lunch will be served aboard. Expect to see hundreds of whales per outing! Beluga whales are very curious and social and will investigate our presence with a bold courage expressed by few other creatures. Getting up-close and personal with these awesome creatures has been life-changing for many Churchill Wild guests.
Trekking/Walking Tours – These are a daily part of the program and they range from short jaunts to photograph a passing caribou perhaps, to day trips with a packed lunch. There is no better way to experience the sheer vastness of the Arctic’s flora and fauna. Nesting bird life, fox dens, wild flowers, and caribou are just a few of the sights you may take in. When polar bears are sighted, your guide will advise you about the best way to maintain a safe viewing distance.
Coast by Tundra Tracker – See the Hudson Bay coast on our custom made Tundra Tracker. A day trip in one of these vehicles allows us to cover a lot of shoreline while searching out wildlife. Lunch is a picnic en route. We provide ample time for exploration and photography of the trail.
Whale Swim and Exploration by Zodiac – Take to the bay for the ultimate plunge and join the beluga whales in their watery world. Dry suits will be provided to offset the chill of the Hudson Bay.
Wildlife Photography – Your guides have many years of experience in the field both as photographers themselves and through working with professional photographers. They can assist you in many aspects of wildlife photography, including both the composition and the execution of that memorable shot of a lifetime.
Ocean Paddles – We have several sea kayaks and canoes on site for your use at any time. Perfect tranquillity with only the sound of your dipping paddle and the “sea canaries” is truly awe-inspiring!
Aurora Watching – Yes, you can enjoy the greatest light show on earth during the summer, especially in the latter part of our season. The northern skies are a perfect ballroom for the aurora borealis, but remember, the northern lights are best photographed with a tripod. If you have one, bring it along.
Bird Watching – 150 species of birds visit this area and our expert guides can help you locate and identify a wide variety of these – chances are you will add several “lifers” to your book.
Photo Presentations and Lectures – From lectures on “Travelling in Bear Country” to “Wildlife of the Arctic,” our own northern adventurers will regale you with photos and stories. These conversations provide you with the opportunity to learn about the Arctic wildlife, the landscape, and its people.
Rest and Relaxation – Should you decide that curling up by the fireplace with a good book or enjoying a hot drink and sharing stories with your fellow adventurers is what you need, feel free to do that too!
After another hearty Lodge breakfast, we will begin air transfers back to Churchill. Have your cameras ready for the return flight, as it affords excellent opportunities for great aerial shots. Today is your last day in the Churchill region.
Upon your return to Churchill, our representative will store your luggage. The balance of the day is then free for browsing the shops and exhibits of Churchill. Local places such as Cape Merry, the Port of Churchill, the Eskimo Museum, the Polar Bear Holding Compound (otherwise known as the Polar Bear Jail), as well as the Parks Canada exhibit, are all of great interest. Please refer to your “Top Things to Do and See” list we provided.
Lunch and dinner are on your own this day. Please refer to the Safari Journal for suggestions.
Your flight south to Winnipeg will take place this evening. Upon arrival, collect your bags, head out of the arrivals doors and look to your right. THE GRAND Winnipeg Airport Hotel by Lakeview is only a two-minute walk away.
Arrive in Bella Coola
This morning, after breakfast, fly from Winnipeg to Vancouver where you will connect on to your short flight to Bella Coola. From there you’ll be transferred to the Tweedsmuir Park Lodge in British Columbia for a three-night stay.
If observing grizzly bears in their natural habitat is on your bucket list, you’ve come to the right place! When the salmon arrive to spawn, Bella Coola is host to one of the highest concentrations of grizzly bears on the planet. Be amazed as you observe grizzly bears hunt and feast along the riverbed, scavenge Bella Coola’s pristine terrain, and roam free-range across lodge grounds. Drift by river, gain a bird's-eye view, or trek on foot through the Great Bear Rainforest with a knowledgeable guide
Day 9 - 10
Some of the activities you will enjoy over the next few days will include:
Learning about Nuxalk First Nations culture.
Visiting the petroglyph gardens.
Taking a helicopter ride over the beautiful scenery of the Bella Coola Valley!
Wildlife & Grizzly Bear Viewing Platform - Spectacularly located on the banks of the pristine Atnarko River and only 200m from the lodge, the platform affords fantastic views up and down the river where grizzly bears are often seen feeding on salmon.
Spa - Large 12-person hot tub and first nations tepee sweat lodge
Walks & Hikes - old growth, scenic trails, both around the lodge property and at other points in the Valley
Go mountain biking – property has a range of mountain bikes that guests may use for free.
Fishing - To increase your chances of catching a fish, we recommend hiring one of our knowledgeable, local guides.
Frisbee Golf Course - 18 holes, past the corral and into a beautiful old growth fir forest.
Slack Line - test your balance on the slackline!
Lawn Sports: croquet / bocce / soccer / football / Frisbee / volleyball.
Swimming - there are some classic swimming holes in the Atnarko River including a rope swing!
Inner Tube Floating on the Atnarko River.
BC Parks Belarko Wildlife Viewing Platform.
Pond Fishing & casting practice.
Archery - guests will receive a short intro from our guides at our archery range. We have equipment suitable for ages 5 and up!
Tweedsmuir to Klemtu
After breakfast, depart Tweedsmuir for your flight back to Vancouver where you will connect for your flight to Klemtu and the Spirit Bear Lodge your home for the next 3 nights. Located deep in the rainforest, Spirit Bear Lodge is ideally located for you to view the elusive “Spirit Bear.” You’ve seen polar bears and grizzly bears and now you will see “Spirit Bears” but what is a “Spirit Bear” anyway?
The “Spirit Bear” is thought by scientists to be a genetic variation of the black bear that roams throughout British Columbia and that the presence of a single recessive gene in these creatures is responsible for its white coat. They live in the greatest numbers on the islands, off the north-central coast of British Columbia and scientists believe there is such a high concentration of the Spirit Bears on these islands because they are geographically isolated from other black bear populations. It is estimated there are less than 400 Spirit Bears in the coast area that stretches from around the northern tip of Vancouver Island northwards to the Alaska panhandle, and this is your opportunity to view these magnificent creatures up close! The bears are active from early June to mid-October as they move from early foraging for roots in the spring to savoring wild berries in the summer before moving on to the great fall feast during salmon spawning.
Activities while at Spirit Bear Lodge include:
After a 90-minute boat ride by water taxi, explore different lush river valleys on foot in search of spirit bears.
Board small skiffs and propel silently under oar or by small outboard motor up a river or into the braided channels of an estuary to view bears.
Visit the spectacular Big House and learn about First Nations Culture.
After a day of Spirit bear viewing, share stories with fellow guests in “The Great Room”, an intimate central room with comfy couches, 20-foot high, ocean view windows, local Tsimshian Art and two 12-foot, solid cedar dining tables.
After breakfast this morning, it’s time to say to say goodbye to Canada and the polar, grizzly and spirit bears. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Vancouver and onwards.