Summer expedition with ethnologist to Chukotka: Lorino whalers, reindeer herders of polar tundra and Cape Dezhnev


August 8 to 18, 2023
Tour Chukotka, Russia

summer tour to Chukotka with ethnologist expedition to whalers sea hunters reindeer herders tour Chukchi Inuits Eskimos whales walruses

Tours and Expeditions to Russia Far North of Russia Chukotka peninsula Anadyr
To find yourself in the place, where day turns into night, where from the eastern hemisphere to the western one is only one step, where myriad colonies of walruses are fond of rookeries on the Earth's edge, and whales splash the waters of Pacific Ocean with their tails.
Here survive Inuit and Chukchi cultures, who have adapted to live in harmony with nature, hunting whales and pinnipeds and migrating with their reindeer herds across the endless tundra of the Chukotka Peninsula.

Our expedition will reach Cape Dezhnev - the easternmost point of Eurasia, from where America is visible.

Throughout the expedition we are accompanied by ethnologist, big professional in indigenous peoples of Chukotka.

Tour to Chukotka. To find yourself in the place, where day turns into night, where from the eastern hemisphere to the western one is only one step, where myriad colonies of walruses are fond of rookeries on the Earth's edge, and whales splash the waters of Pacific Ocean with their tails.
Here survive Inuit and Chukchi cultures, who have adapted to live in harmony with nature, hunting for whales and pinnipeds and migrating with their reindeer herds across the endless tundra of the Chukotka Peninsula.
Throughout the expedition we are accompanied by ethnologist, big professional in indigenous peoples of Chukotka.

©️ MZUNGU EXPEDITIONS / Alexey Kolbov, 2020 - 2021
Drone pilot and director: Alex Kolbov aka Mzungu
Dates: August 8 - 18, 2023

Duration: 11 days / 10 nights

Number of participants: 7 - 9

Cost per person:
- 289 000 Russian rubles subject to 9 participants
- 309 000 Russian rubles subject to 7 - 8 participants

* 10% early booking discount (in case you book before March 1, 2023)

Everything is included except for:
- international flight to Anadyr (roundtrip),
- international medical insurance,
-Russian visa(if needed).
Estimated cost of the flight Moscow – Anadyr – Moscow: 45000 – 650000 rubles (to be purchased by your own).

Single supplement: upon request.

Day 1. August 8, 2023. Arrival to Chukotka. Abandoned military base Gudym

Arrival in Anadyr at 12:40 pm in the middle of the day.
Meeting with a guide at the airport, paper work, passport control crossing the estuary by ferry and entering the city of Anadyr.
Check-in in the hotel near the airport or in the apartment in the village.

Visiting the abandoned military base Gudym. Gudym, built in late 1950th, served as a nuclear weapon base during the Cold War period and was completely hidden underground. Exploration of secret tunnels. Picnic at the military base with packed army ration.
Local delicacies: red fish, caviar and other.

Meals: lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Nord hotel/ appartment

Day 2. August 9, 2023. Anadyr – Laurentius – Lorino

After breakfast transfer to the airport.
Flight from Anadyr to Laurentius, to the very east of the Chukotka Peninsula.
At the airport meeting with our guide and team leader, professional ethnologist. Registration at the border guard office.
Transfer to Lorino (42 km, 1 hour), photographing tundra along the way, stopping in picturesque places.
Accommodation in an apartment in Lorino.
Dinner. Meals, as a rule, will be organized on the basis of the national park, indoors.

Walking tour of the village of Lorino, accompanied by an ethnographer or local residents, Inuit and Chukchi.
The Chukchi are indigenous people inhabiting the Chukotka Peninsula and the shores of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean within Russia. They speak the Chukchi language. Chukchi originated from the people living around the Okhotsk Sea. According to most recent genomic research, Chukchi people are the closest cousins of the First Americans in Asia. Chukchi is traditionally divided into the Maritime Chukchi, who had settled homes on the coast and lived primarily from sea mammal hunting, and the Reindeer Chukchi, who lived as nomads in the inland tundra region, migrating seasonally with their herds of reindeer. The Russian name "Chukchi" is derived from the Chukchi word Chauchu ("rich in reindeer"), which was used by the Reindeer Chukchi to distinguish themselves from the Maritime Chukchi, called Anqallyt ("the sea people").
The Inuit (Eskimo, Yupik) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, Chukotka and Alaska. The Inuit languages are part of the Eskimo-Aleut family. Inuit are the descendants of what anthropologists call the Thule culture, who emerged from western Alaska around 1000 CE. They had split from the related Aleut group about 4,000 years ago and from northeastern Siberian migrants, possibly related to the Chukchi language group, still earlier, descended from the third major migration from Siberia. They spread eastwards across the Arctic.

Stories about local rituals and traditions. Ritual of Feeding the Spirits
An ethnographer's lecture on the history of whaling.
Dinner (home cooking).

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: apartment

Day 3. August 10, 2023. Acquaintance with the culture of the Chukchi in Lorino

Visit to territorial-neighboring community of sea mammal hunters Lorino. Meeting with hunters. Welcome speech of the Chairman - Ottoy A.A. safety briefing and photography procedures. Q&A session.
Boat trips and grey whale watching, whaling (search, chase and harpooning stages) and the cutting of prey by the local population according to the ancient traditions - to each citizen according to his needs.
Photo and video filming of butchering animals is limited by the decision of the congress of the indigenous communities of Chukotka and is strictly regulated, it is made only in the presence of a representative of the community of marine hunters.
Whale hunting is a long tradition in Chukotka, and therefore it is officially allowed for the Chukchi population (Chukchi and Inuit), but within the quotas allocated by the International Whaling Commission, which is about 120 - 140 gray whales and 2 - 5 bowhead whales per year.
Lunch from the meat of marine animals.
Master class on tailoring traditional clothes and making jewelry.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: apartment

Day 4. August 11, 2023. Lorino – Reindeer herders camp in tundra

After early breakfast, leaving by motor boat or by caterpillar all-terrain vehicles for the reindeer herders brigade (brigade of Neshkan, Yanrakynnot or Lorino, depending on the location of the nomads). The way by boat takes at least 4 hours, by all-terrain vehicle – at least 6 hours and may take even much more, depending on location and road and weather conditions. Taking pictures of tundra on the way.

If we travel by sea towards Yanrakynnot, we will stop at the Masik (Mechigmen) "whale alley", where ancient settlements of whalers of the 13th century are located. Here you can still find the remains of so-called "jaw dwellings", built in the form of semi-dugouts from the bones of the jaws and ribs of bowhead whales. Picnic en route.
Meeting reindeer herders and sharing gifts.
Arrival at the camp, meeting with reindeer herders and exchanging gifts.
Dinner made from reindeer meat and other products that reindeer herders. Master class on cooking reindeer meat.
Communication with reindeer herders, sitting by the fire, their stories about life in the tundra. Lecture on the traditional exchange between reindeer herders and seal hunters.
Overnight in sleeping bags in very simple conditions of traditional yaranga or return to Lorino.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: yaranga (traditional Chukchi dwelling).

Day 5. August 12, 2023. Reindeer herders camp in tundra – Lorino

Breakfast with reindeed herders. We spend the first half of the day in the camp of reindeer herders, participating in the life of the reindeer herders' brigade.
Trip to the herd. Master class on lassoing.
Return to Lorino, lunch.
visit Lorino hot springs in the tundra halfway to Lorino. Bathing in the springs and returning to the village for spending the night at an apartment.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: apartment

Day 6. August 13, 2023. Chukchi walrus hunting in Akkani

Early in the morning, we go to the abandoned Chukchi settlement of Akkani, which is now the base for the Chukchi marine hunters. Akkani is located in a picturesque bay with numerous whale skulls and other bones on the coast. Akkani is one of the favourite places for brown bears. However, a meeting with a bear is not guaranteed here.

Observation of the traditional hunting for pinnipeds (walrus). Demonstration of the traditional butchering of walrus, making meatloaf "Kymgyt". Tasting of dishes prepared from walrus meat. Lunch from the meat of marine animals, mushrooms and berries, walking in the surroundings. After a walk in the vicinity of Akkani, we will return to Lorino or stay overnight at the base (very basic conditions!).
Watching brown bears.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: base in Akkani/apartment in Lorino

Day 7. August 14, 2023. Dezhnev Cape - the easternmost point of Eurasia and the ancient Eskimo settlement of Naukan

After breakfast we will travel to the End of the Earth. We will make a sea trip to the northernmost part of the Bering Sea, pass through the raging waters of the Bering Strait, and if weather permits, we will go out to the Chukotka Sea relating to the waters of the Arctic Ocean. Here is our main goal - Cape Dezhnev, the extreme eastern point of Russia and the entire continent of Eurasia. Estimated time from Lorino - 4 hours, from Akkani - 2.5 hours.
In good weather and visibility, you can see not only the outlines of the islands of Ratmanov (Russia) and Kruzenshtern (USA), but also the mainland coast of America - Alaska. If weather permits, we go until Uelen – another settlement located on the northern part of Chukotka Peninsula.
We will go ashore in the immediate vicinity of Cape Dezhnev, where there is a monument to Semyon Dezhnev, the discoverer of the strait between Eurasia and America. His notes were published only after his death, a hundred years after he discovered the strait, so all the laurels went to Bering, who saw the strait seventy years later, and Dezhnev just got the name of the cape.
There is also the ancient Eskimo settlement of Naukan of the 11-12th century and the Ekven burial ground dating back to the 2nd century BC. This place, with the remains of half-dugouts of dwellings and utility rooms of the Eskimos: built with stone and whale bones, is located in a stunningly beautiful place and makes an extremely strong impression, atmospherically surpassing the famous Cape Roca in Portugal, located on the opposite end of Eurasia.
Lunch at the easternmost point of Eurasia, next to the Dezhnev monument and the border service point.
Return to Lorino.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: apartment
* As an option, at extra fee, concert of folklore group.

Day 8. August 15, 2023. Immersion in the culture of the Chukchi in Lorino

After breakfast, visit to a bone carving workshop, a story about the traditional craft. Here you can also order souvenirs made of walrus tusk, bone or whalebone.
Participation in the competition of whalers: throwing a harpoon, rowing a canoe made of walrus skin, knitting knots.
Dinner. Visiting a bathhouse, informal communication with hunters.
Lecture on the history of exploration and development of Chukotka
Dinner. Meeting with representatives of the Eskimo and Chukchi cultures, discussion on issues of intercultural interaction. Communication with members of the folklore group.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: apartment

Day 9. August 16, 2023. Lorino - Lavrentia - Anadyr

Early in the morning, after breakfast, a visit to the territorial-neighboring community of sea mammal hunters during the morning meeting.
Farewell to the hunters.
Buying souvenirs. Transfer to Lavrentiya airport.
The ethnologist says goodbye to the team.
Flight to Anadyr. Ferry across Liman to the city. Meeting with a local guide.
Check-in at the Anadyr hotel.
Observation of salmon fishing on the shore of the traditional Chukchi village Tavayvaam. Dinner.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Anadyr Hotel, double rooms

Day 10. August 17, 2023. Anadyr

After breakfast, we will go on a city tour (we will visit the monuments to Grinevetsky, Rytkheu, Mandrikov, and St. Nicholas) and an observation deck overlooking Anadyr.
We will visit the museum "Heritage of Chukotka".
After lunch, we will take a walk to the passenger pier, where at low tide beluga whales and seals (a species of seals) catch salmon, standing against the current.
Photographing belugas and seals. Buying souvenirs.
In the evening we will arrange a farewell dinner and exchange impressions.
Folk group performance - throat singing or dancing

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Anadyr Hotel, double rooms

Day 11. August 18, 2023. Anadyr - Return flight

After breakfast we will buy souvenirs and cross the estuary, transfer to the airport. Flight Anadyr - Moscow by Aeroflot, departure in the afternoon.

Meals: breakfast
Accommodation: no

* The order of the program can be changed, provided that all the main activities are saved.
** The program is depends on flight schedules (subject to change) and flight weather. Access to the sea and/or tundra also depends on the weather and may be restricted at any time for safety reasons.
*** A member of an expedition to Chukotka must be motivated: respect the culture of the Chukchi and Inuit, be aware of the purpose of the trip and possible adjustments to plans depending on weather conditions, as well as on the decision of indigenous communities. The expedition member must be in good physical condition and able to adapt to an unfamiliar community and culture.
**** If certain visits and/or tours cannot be completed due to external conditions, they will be replaced where possible.

While preparing for a trip to such a unique region as Chukotka, many questions arise, since such a trip is not easy to plan and conduct, firstly, due to the lack of tourist infrastructure there, and, secondly, due to difficult climatic conditions.

If you have already safely flown to the Anadyr airport, this does not mean that your trip is guaranteed to pass along the entire route. First of all, a ticket for a domestic flight must be purchased in advance, since in Chukotka there is a constant shortage of seats for flights, and all tickets are sold out in six months, as soon as they appear on sale. In addition, there are frequent delays in departure to the regions, so we strongly recommend buying a return ticket from Anadyr with at least a small margin - one or two days after your return from the region, and with the possibility of changing the departure date.
Once at the airport, getting into the city is not easy. Even if the weather is good, you need to take a taxi to the pier, wait in line for the ferry to cross the estuary, and on the other side get into a taxi again and go to the hotel. For tourists, we organize a barge crossing - after leaving the airport, you get into a minibus that goes to the barge, crosses and takes you to the hotel. But if the weather is not very good - it is stormy, then the crossing may be difficult or canceled, so there is a danger of not crossing. To avoid the risk of not flying the next day (and according to the program we have a flight to the region - in the morning of the next day), then upon arrival in Chukotka we spend the night on the side of the airport, in the village of Coal Mines, so that in the morning we can safely get to the airport. Inspection of the city of Anadyr leave on the way back.

Upon arrival in Anadyr, we are accommodated for one night in private apartments or in the Nord Hotel. Why or? The fact is that at the moment the Nord Hotel is the only one on this coast, and is often used in emergency cases to accommodate people stuck due to the weather. For example, children returning from summer camps. Therefore, this hotel does not accept bookings. So that our tourists are not left without housing, we prefer to deal with private apartments. However, if there are available rooms at the hotel today upon request, we can accommodate you there as well.
When we get to our main place of stay - the village of Lorino, then we will be accommodated in apartments with local residents. Apartments come in different levels of comfort, accommodation options are very limited.
On the route, we can expect to spend the night in a reindeer herding brigade - in tents or yaranga, at the Akkani hunting base - in a house or a beam, here it is supposed to use a sleeping bag.
Upon returning to Anadyr, we plan to check into the Anadyr Hotel, basic standard double occupancy.

In the village of Coal Mines, in the city of Anadyr and in the village of Lorino, we provide you with three meals a day. During long trips on the water or on the tundra, we organize a picnic - hot tea and snacks. Upon returning to the base, we will already organize a full hot meal. Since tourists come to Chukotka to learn about how the local people live, and the cuisine is one of the most interesting manifestations of culture, we try to give you the opportunity to try the "Chukotka exotic" as much as possible - dishes from the meat of marine animals, venison, fish and caviar. Of course, it is difficult for vegetarians and vegans to organize a full-fledged diet, since everything is brought to stores here during a short navigation period. Sometimes there are interruptions in vegetables and fruits, which are affectionately called the word "freshness" here. In any case, we must know in advance about your food restrictions. In any case, cereals and pasta are in abundance in summer.

Before the trip, many ask to send a list of recommended equipment, and when they receive it, they begin to argue: "Why do we need sleeping bags if we don't spend the night on the street? Why do you need boots? The list contains RECOMMENDATIONS! Your right to do as you please. But most visitors underestimate the severity of the local climate. It is worth going out to sea - and you understand that you should have dressed warmer. Boots, for example, are necessary for boarding a boat and disembarking in waves. Of course, we can get lucky and not need boots - sometimes there is complete calm. What if it's the other way around? Are you in sneakers, the wave has risen, and you have to jump into the water? Of course, we will come up with something and get out of the situation. One advice - do not neglect the recommendations, take warm clothes - such as a windproof ski suit, boots (preferably swamps, higher), a sleeping bag, a thermos. We hope that soon a rental point will open in Lorino, and you will be able to rent everything you need there.

In order to avoid embarrassing situations and in order to prevent infections that roam the planet in our time, we recommend (this is exactly a recommendation!) Everyone to bring with them a traditional tourist KLMN - a mug / spoon / bowl / knife - a set

Cost includes:

  • Domestic flights from Anadyr to Laurentius (roundtrip)
  • transportation costs in Chukotka (transfers, taxi, ferries, boats, all-terrain vehicles)
  • twin/double accommodation in hotels and apartments,
  • accommodation in yaranga
  • full board meals
  • permit to the border zone
  • entry to the national park zones (payments and permits),
  • tickets to the museums
  • all activities and visits according to the program
  • English and Russian speaking guide, local guides
  • English and Russian speaking guide - ethnologist and team leader in Lorino
  • ethnologist's lectures about Chukotka in Lorino.

Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

  • Tickets to Anadyr roundtrip,
  • medical insurance,
  • Russian visa (if required),
  • additional extra food, alcohol and souvenirs,
  • additional optional activities which are not listed in the program.

To take with:

• Wear sets fitting weather conditions, including summer wear (trousers, T-shirts, long sleeve shirts) and warm wear (fleece, jamper),
• warm windstopper jacket
• thermal underwear
• hats for all types of weather: baseball cap/hat/suncap and windstop warm hat for sea journeys
• windstopper gloves
• buff
• swimsuits
• raincoat
• comfortable closed trekking footwear (with membrane) and comfortable light shoes (snickers) for walking
• rubber boots (up to you)
• sleeping bag for 0 degree
• anti mosquito net for sleeping (up to you)
• personal hygiene items: towel, wet tissues
• personal medical kit (analgesics, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, your personal medications)
• sunblock set (cream, sunglasses, cap) and wind protection means
• facial anti mosquito net (up to you)
• repellents: sprays, creams
• big backpack for stuff
• small backpack for radial walks (25-30 liters)
• forehead torch
• thermos (up to you)
• photo and video camera, spare batteries
• dry bag for camera and documents (up to you)
• insurance confirmation copy
Tour to Chukotka
Chukotka peninsula, Russia

Best season: July - September

Lorino, the capital of whalers, where Chukchi and Inuit people are engaged in whale and walrus hunting, that we can witnesses.

Life in yaranga traditional dwelling of the Chukchi reindeer herders, deep dive into their life and culture, nomading with the camp to a new place in tundra.

Gray whales and walrus rookeries – the unique wildlife of Chukotka.

Cape Dezhnev - the easternmost point of Eurasia.

Underground "lednik" - a giant natural fridges for storage of meat of sea animals.

Bering Strait dividing Eurasia and America. The unique place – the border of the Eastern and Western hemispheres, place where 180th meridian and the Arctic Circle cross.

Ethnologist's lectures about Chukotka, its indigenous peoples, traditions and cultures.

Old settlements of Naukan, Akkani and Masik "Whale valley"

Salmon, red caviar, walrus meat, mantak and other Chukchi delicacies.
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