Ethnic expedition to Dolgan reindeer herders of Taymyr peninsula, nomading across the Far North in the sledge houses


April 18 to 25, 2023
Tour Taymyr Peninsula, Russia

tour to Taymyr to Dolgan reindeer herders expedition to Taimyr winter travel to raindeer herders festival to Khatanga travels to Russia
Our expedition on all-terrain vehicles goes deep into Tundra of an endless cold Taymyr Peninsula, where touristic companies don't know the ways, where unique of their kind reindeer herders Dolgans live their still traditional life, migrating with their baloks – square dwellings on sledges, covered with reindeer skins.

We will immerse into everyday life and culture of Dolgans, participate in Reindeer Herders Festival, hunt Aurora Borealis and feel like real researchers of the Russian Far North!


Dates of trip: April 18 – 25, 2023

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights

Number of participants: 4 – 10



Day 0. April 17, 2023. Monday. Flight to Krasnoyarsk

Evening flight from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk.

Meals: not included
Accommodation: no
* Recommendation for flight Moscow (another city) to Krasnoyarsk:
- with Aeroflot at 20:25 with arrival in Krasnoyarsk at 05:05 am on April 18,
- or with S7 at 20:45 with arrival in Krasnoyarsk at 05:20 in the morning on April 18,
- or with any other flight from any city with arrival in Krasnoyarsk no later than at 5:30 am on April 18.

Day 1. April 18, 2023. Tuesday. Arrival in Khatanga, Taymyr
Yearly in the morning (no later than at 5:30 a.m.) arrival in Krasnoyarsk. At 8:00 am flight by KRASAVIA airlines to Khatanga, Taymyr Peninsula (3 hours in the air). Flight may be delayed.
In the afternoon arrival in Taymyr Peninsula, Khatanga, a village, located in the Far North in Krasnoyarsk Region, some 600 km in the Northeast direction from Norilsk. Khatanga is one of the northern most villages in Russia.
After lunch, we drive (1 hour by car) to Novaya village, one of the very few places where the one still can meet Nganasan people.
Nganasan, according to some sources, are the most ancient of the northern peoples, and certainly the most northern. Once the Nganasans hunting wild deer inhabited the northern part of the Taymyr Peninsula.
The Nganasans were the last to engage in reindeer husbandry among the others.
Perhaps, their poor experience did not allow them to survive the difficult time, and in the 90s, having lost their reindeer, they were forced to move to modern settlements, such as village Novaya.
Today there are less than 800 of them, and those who remember the language and traditions are no more than two hundred.
We will visit the Nganasan people. Despite the fact that the Nganasan people live in modern houses, they are very distinctive. Until the last moment they remained true to their pagan beliefs and did not accept Christianity. Other peoples of Taimyr did not previously consider the Nganasans as potential partners in marriage, since they believed that they had "sewn faces" - the Nganasans put tattoos on their faces.
Even more interesting is their traditional clothing. Unlike other northern peoples, the Nganasans sew clothes in which there are only three contrasting colors: white, black and red. It is believed that in this way they resemble the loon - their totem animal, the most revered among all others. Nadezhda says that red symbolizes the sun, white - our world, and black - the world beyond the grave.
Nganasan footwear is unique in its kind. Like no other people, they sew shoes without socks that resembles the foot of a mammoth. This once again points at the age of this people.
Transfer back to Khatanga and accommodation in the hotel or apartments, with heating and hot water. Dinner and overnight in Khatanga.

Meals: not included
Accommodation: hotel or apartments

Day 2. April 19, 2023. Wednesday. Transfer to Dolgans' nomad camp
Very early departure by TREKOL all-terrain vehicles to the North-East, along the Khatanga river, and further along the Popigay river towards the Popigay village (about 300 km, travel time can reach 18 hours, depending on weather conditions). Evening arrival in Popigay village. Meeting with the guide and moving further to the Dolgan camp in the tundra near the village of Popigay (30 - 50 km, depending on the place the Dolgans have the nomads camp).
Arriving to the Dolgan nomads camp in tundra. It is located on the 72nd parallel, more than 600 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle.
Dolgans are a Turkic people, who mostly inhabit Taymyr peninsula in the Far North of Russia. The Dolgans are the youngest people in Russia. They were recognized as a separate ethnic group only at the end of the 50s of the last century. The Tunguses (Evenks), who once inhabited the southern part of Taymyr and were engaged in reindeer herding, in the 18th century were influenced by the Yakut culture and language. On the other hand, from the west, the now dying out Samodeic people of the Enets brought their characteristics to the culture of the Tungus, who belonged to the Dolgan (Dulgan) clan. Thus, in the middle of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the cultural identity of the Dolgans began to form, until the 1950s, however, who called themselves "Sakha". Today it is generally accepted that the Dolgans are, in fact, "Tungus culturalized by Yakuts".
Originally, the Dolgans were nomadic hunters and reindeer herders, but during Soviet times things changed significantly. Dolgan people are famous for their baloks – square dwellings covered with reindeer skins. As opposed to other northern tribes of Russia, such as Neneth, Khanty or Chukchi who need to set up their teepees after each migrating across tundra, Dolgan do not need to spend time for that, as their houses are constructed right on the sledges! Dolgan reindeer herders invent balok in the middle of the 20th century, and started changing chum for baloks for the winter season. This innovation, which has now become a tradition, helps Dolgans to migrate in the extreme temperatures of the Far North, where in winter it often drops below -60 degrees Celsius.
Dinner (local food) and overnight in balok.

Meals: breakfast (lunch box), lunch (lunch box) and dinner are included.
Accommodation: balok (Dolgan traditional dwelling)

Days 3 – 4. April 20 – 21, 2023. Thursday – Friday. Nomad camp of Dolgan reindeer herders
We spend two full days in the camp of Dolgan reindeer herders, participating in the life of the nomads' camp. Trip to the herd, catching a reindeer. Master class on throwing a lasso. Ritual slaughter of a deer as an option. Workshops on cooking venison. Arctic cuisine.
Communication with reindeer herders, stories about tundra, culture and religion around the fireplace. Most Dolgans practice old shamanistic beliefs, however, some are influenced with Orthodox Christianity.
For lunch and dinner – traditional food of nomads (raw meat "stroganina", different types of nordic white fish, "shurpa" soup etc.).
We go to tundra for seasonal hunting (quail, hare). If there are fish nets still in April, traditional ice fishing with Dolgans is possible.
If during the days of our stay the Dolgans decide to migrate, then we participate in the transferring of the entire camp, together with reindeer and all belongings, to a new place in tundra.
In the evenings we will hunt Aurora Borealis.
Overnights in balok.

Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner are included
Accommodation: balok (Dolgan traditional dwelling)

Day 5. April 12, 2023. Saturday. Reindeer Herders Festival in Popigay
Early in the morning, departure by TREKOL all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles or reindeer sleds (depending on the distance) to the village of Popigay to participate in the Reindeer Herders Festival, if the festival is scheduled for that date.
If the Dolgans participate in the Reindeer Herders Festival on the dates of our stay, then we will witness the preparation of the entire herd and the move to Popigai for Reindeer Herders Festival.
During the day: photographing the Dolgans who came to the festival, competitions in national sports, the central of which is reindeer sledding races.
Overnight in sleeping bags in Popigay at the local house in the family or at the Rural Cultural House, or driving back to the Dolgans' nomads camp and overnight in baloks.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner included
Accommodation: local house or house of culture, or balok (Dolgan tradition dwelling)
* Reindeer Herders Festival in Popigai is usually annually held on these dates in April, on Saturday. The exact dates of the festival are determined by the local administration (usually in February-March) and in practice can be changed. In case Reindeer Herders Festival is not scheduled for this date, we can participate Reindeer Herders Festival in Novorybnaya or stay 1 day longer in the nomad camp of Dolgans.

Day 6. April 23, 2023. Sunday. Driving to Khatanga
After breakfast on TREKOL vehicles, we return across the tundra to Khatanga (about 300 km). Full day drive. Lunch at Novorybnaya.
Late arrival in Khatanga. Rest after a long journey.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel or an apartment in Khatanga (with heating and hot water).

Meals: breakfast and lunch (lunch box) included.
Accommodation: hotel or apartments

Day 7. April 24, 2023. Monday. Excursions in Khatanga

After breakfast, visit to the northernmost Orthodox church in Russia, the Khatanga Museum of Local Lore (Museum of Taimyr Nature Reserves) and, IF IT IS OPEN AND AVAILABLE FOR VISIT, the Mammoth museum, built in an old abandoned lednik near the river port, where you can find thousands of tusks and bones of mammoths and other animals that used to inhabit Taymyr. Permafrost from year to year squeezes the skeletons and tusks of mammoths to the surface. Local adventurers regularly go on expeditions in search of tusks. There is even such a common phrase "go into the tundra for tusks."
Dinner at the Khatanga restaurant, where you can taste a wild goose or deer steak with lingonberry jam.

This day can be used as a buffer day in case of bad weather.
Meals: breakfast
Accommodation: hotel or apartments

Day 8. April 25, 2023. Tuesday. Return flight
Late breakfast and transfer to the airport. At 1 pm (schedule may change) flight to Krasnoyarsk by KRASAVIA airlines. Arrival in Krasnoyarsk at about 5 pm.
Evening flight to Moscow or overnight in Krasnoyarsk and direct morning flight to Moscow.

* Recommended flight from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow (or another city):
- at any time not earlier than at 9 pmon April 25,
- you can also fly from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow (or another city) by direct flight on the morning of April 26 (the hotel in Krasnoyarsk is paid separately in this case).Meals: breakfast
Accommodation: not included

* The operator reserves the right to change the order of execution of the program subject to keeping of all activities. The program can also be changed subject to weather/road conditions

** Please note that flights from Khatanga to Krasnoyarsk may be delayed or canceled due to weather conditions. In this regard, it is recommended to buy a ticket Krasnoyarsk - Moscow at a refundable rate. It should be borne in mind that flights to / from Khatanga are not run every day. This may affect the length of stay in Khatanga.

*** Air tickets for KRASAVIA flights Krasnoyarsk - Khatanga - Krasnoyarsk can be purchased through our representative.

Cost includes:

- transfer to and from airport in Khatanga as per program and to Novaya village (minibus or normal car)
- transport services as per program in tundra (TREKOL all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles)
- accommodation in hotel or apartments in Khatanga (2 or 3 people in 1 room)
- accommodation in nomad camp in balok
- three meals daily and drinking water in Dolgan nomad camp (national cuisine)
- meals during transfer in tundra (lunchboxes)
- breakfasts in Khatanga
- activities (participation in Dolgan life) in nomad camp
- visiting museums in Khatanga
- experienced Russian speaking driver-guides in tundra
- obtaining permits for entering border area (if needed)
- satellite phone for safety
- Russian speaking local guide in Khatanga
- Russian and English speaking team-leader services along the whole route

Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

- flight to Khatanga (Krasnoyarsk region) roundtrip
- medical insurance
- Russian visa (if needed)
- lunches and dinners in Khatanga (not specified in the program)
- reindeer slaughter ceremony

To take with:

- very warm winter feather coat with windstopper
- warm hat with windstopper (two) and trousers, gloves with windstopper (two pairs is a must)
- warm boots, warm and waterproof high boots (two pairs of warm footwear is a must)
- wear sets up to the weather (warm wool socks, cotton socks, woolen sweater)
- thermal underwear
- sleeping bag for -5 Celsius degrees comfort temperature (can be about 0 temperature in the morning in dwelling)
- inflating tourist mattress
- sunglasses is a must
- mountain skiing glasses (advisable)
- balaclava or buff
- head torch
- personal hygiene products (including wet towel wipes, towel, soap)
- minimum set of favorite snacks and drinks (nowhere to buy)
- personal medical kit
- sun and wind protection
- cameras, spare batteries, tripod

  • Stefano Ci
    see reco on Facebook
    We went to Siberia (Nenets people) with Aleksey. It has been one of the best trips I have done so far. Amazing landscapes, snowy and desolated, that give you the feeling of infinite and you understand what it really means when nature takes over. Aleksey really supported us in everything including nespresso coffee in the morning since we are italians :) organization was very good, really suggested!
  • Дима Пупин
    отзыв опубликован на Facebook
    Главное в поездках с Алексеем - не только возможность увидеть далекие места и экзотические ландшафты - но и уникальная возможность пообщаться с людьми у которых в голове зашиты программы очень сильно отличающиеся от наших, собираюсь уже в третий раз в этом году с ним поехать - был в Нигере и на Ямале теперь мечтаю об Амазонии
  • Giacomo Carlini
    see reco on Facebook
    I really really recommend Mzungu Expeditions!! I've been in Siberia with him to take pictures to Nenets People. It is a hard trip, because of the weather and the cold, but Alexey organized everything very well, and we could travel and move as we wanted with no problem at all. Alexey works with local professionals, so the experience is rich, full and safe. I loved my trip with him!!
  • Sara Bianci
    see reco on Facebook
    I had an absolutely amazing trip to Yamal. Alex is a great tour leader and an exceptional person as well. The expedition bringhed me into the authentic nenets's life. Thank you mzungu expeditions! :-)
  • Marco Marcone
    отзыв опубликован на Facebook
    Traveling in an authentic way, respecting people. Alex is reliable, experienced, a gentleman.
  • Dmitriy Shin
    отзыв опубликован на Facebook
    Trip that touched! Right people, in the right place and in the right time and of cause with the right trip provider! This is a trip I want to go more! Thank you Alexey Kolbov and Mzungu Expeditions, thank you all guy's from trip who became a real friends for me!
  • Сергей Мартьянов
    отзыв опубликован на Facebook
    Отлично съездили на Ямал. Приключений было выше крыши. Подобрала отличная команда.
  • Наталья Ципилева
    отзыв опубликован на Facebook
    #ЭтоТундраДетка �
    или как я оказалась на Крайнем Севере и узнала, что он бескрайний!
    Накануне Нового 2018 года, в 6 утра, ожидая вылета на свободную Кубу, было принято решение ехать на Ямал.
    Впереди было 3 месяца, чтобы собраться, но как это часто бывает, сборы откладывались до последнего. За 2 недели до поездки началась подготовка: покупка тёплых вещей, поиск туристических сумок, подбор спальника, термобелья, посуды, специальной обуви и так далее. Именно в этот момент я поняла, что это будет путешествие, которое будет отличным от всех других.
    С момента прибытия в аэропорт Шереметьево и начались наши приключения. Внезапный досмотр вещей, веселые посиделки в зале ожидания, потерявшийся багаж нашего путешественника, первая встреча с Салехардом. Переезжая Обь по зимнику, в шутку прощаясь с цивилизацией, мы смеялись над замёрзшей водой в бутылках.
    А потом...началась пурга. Не метель с мягкими снежинками, а пурга со снежной кбрупой, которая больно бьёт в лицо и руки. Когда не видно неба и земли. Через 5 часов ломается один из 3 трэколов. И водители в течение 3 часов под обжигающим ледяным ветром её ремонтируют.
    Дорога в арктическую тундру. Долгая, сложная и местами опасная. Но она и стала важной частью нашего приключения. Наверное за эти 15 часов в пути, по полному бездорожью понимаешь, что такое настоящий дикий Север.
    Уставшие, мы встретили рассвет 🌅 на месте нашего дальнейшего пребывания - в стойбище оленеводов. И расстелив по-быстрому спальники, заснули все как убитые. А утром началась адаптация к местной жизни, погоде, еде, иногда очень сильному ветру 💨 , метелям и яркому солнцу ☀️.
    Оленина и рыба 🐟 были основными нашими продуктами. И конечно чай ☕️ и что покрепче 😉🥃 Наши повара Лёня и Оля кормили нас очень вкусно! Через день мы были готовы пить из одной кружки и есть одной ложкой. Лишь бы успеть 😂 к обеду или ужину.
    Каждый день был расписан. Зимняя рыбалка, забой оленя и проба тёплой крови; разбор и сборка чума, катание на оленях, даже приготовление еды- это отдельная история. Ведь вода в тундре-это снег, который нужно натопить для начала.
    Не смотря на позднюю ямальскую весну, было много-много солнца и синего неба! И конечно, белоснежная сказка, которая окружила нас, погрузила всех нас в другой мир!
    Это была полная перезагрузка. Без телефонов, без соцсетей, без дресс кода, без каких-либо масок. Только ты и тундра. Только снег и олени . Только наша экспедиция в составе 13 человек и наши гостеприимные ненцы. И никого больше на 260 км. НИ-КО-ГО!
    Поэтому каждый из нас стал частью дружной веселой команды.
    И поверьте, самый грустный момент был тогда, когда пришла пора уезжать из тундры...
    Сейчас принято говорить «выйти из зоны комфорта». Так вот для меня, покидая бесконечную сНежную тундру, я выходила из настоящего душевного комфорта.
    Это авантюрное решение поехать на Крайний Север, жить жизнью оленеводов стало самым ярким приключением в моей жизни!
    Я счастлива знакомству и дружбе с Алексеем Кольбовым, а для нас просто Мзунгу, организатором нашей экспедиции, который пригласил меня и мою сестру! Спасибо Mzungu Expeditions за всё!
    И хочется сказать, до свидания 👋🏻 тундра, спасибо гостеприимный Ямал и надеюсь 🤞🏻 до встречи!
    Мечтаю о новых путешествиях и верю, что однажды я обязательно соберу рюкзак 🎒 и снова отправлюсь в путь!
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