Friday, April 12, 2013

Reindeer Safari @ Saariselkä

In my trip to Finland, Wilderness Hotel Nellim assisted us in arranging the Reindeer Safari at Saariselkä. Saariselkä is a village located in Inari, by the Urho Kekkonen National Park and surrounded by fell highlands. The best-known of Saariselkä’s fells is Kaunispää at a height of 438 metres, which may be easily conquered on foot, by car or ski lift. We were to go to a place called Joikun Kota for our reindeer safari.

There is one catch though. Joikun Kota is about one hour and fifteen minutes car ride away from Nellim so we were told to leave at 830am. As breakfast starts at 8am, we only had about half an hour to eat our breakfast. At around 8.30am, we started looking like tourists and look as if we're waiting for someone because the receptionist is not yet in and the waitress's English isn't really that good. Luckily the driver identified himself and after asking some simple questions (in case the driver mistaken us for someone else and fetch us to the airport). :)

Upon reaching Joikun Kota, we see this "reindeer" below guarding Joikun Kota. :)

Below is the picture of the cabin that we were waiting within. The cabin is actually quite cozy and is built by the owner single-handedly. That is feat by itself because the cabin is really quite big.

We had some time until the safari starts at 10.30am so we wandered around the area. Below is the entrance of the cabin. Doesn't it look cozy?

The highlight is the centre of the cabin which you can below. The fire I guess is used to warm the cabin and at the same time maybe do some cooking or heating from time to time. :) D

The cabin also have interesting things like the traditional costumes that you see in the picture below.

I found the owl in the picture below very unique when I saw it and later on, the guide actually told us that this owl was carved using a chainsaw using a single block of wood. Isn't it amazing?

Below is the reindeer and the sled that we'll be sitting in later. Yes, the reindeer is quite curious but it will back away if we go too near.

The reindeer safari is one of the least strenuous activities we have in Finland. Basically, you just sit inside the sled and that's it. The reindeer is trained to follow the lead sled, who is led by the guide pulling the lead reindeer. The ride is quite slow and you can use the time to enjoy the calm surroundings.

Below is the picture of the reindeer behind us. This reindeer seems to be quite strong because it always like to overtake us.

Look, it's overtaking us again. It also likes to snort or breathe very heavily near your head. :)

We stopped at a place to build a mini campfire for a coffee/tea, and some biscuits. While we were snacking, the guide shared with us some history of the reindeer and the Finland in general.

The guide also took the chance to feed the reindeer with moss. Look at the reindeer that's pulling our sled. It sure looks hungry.

There are also more signs of wildlife here. I "caught" 2 birds around the campsite but I've no idea what kind of birds are they. Do you know? Is it the Siberian Jay Bird?

After the break, we took a shortcut back to the cabin. Why I said shortcut is because I felt that we arrived back at the cabin faster than we reach the campfire site. :)

Back at the cabin, we realised that we had a mini lunch waiting for us, consisting of bread, reindeer soup, pancakes and mousse. :)

Our ride back to Nellim came at around 2pm and we spent the rest of the day relaxing and taking the chance to rest our muscles in case there is some unexpected upcoming strenuous event. :)

Stay tuned for more posts of my activities in Finland!

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