Polar Bears & Belugas Watching Holiday
July 10 - July 18£1242 – £5091
Polar Bears & Belugas Watching Tour
This summer tour to the far north of Canada will introduce you to the stunning flora, fauna and history of one of Manitoba’s most unique towns; Churchill. Famous for playing host to lots of polar bears in the winter, there is also ample reason to come here in the summer. Highlights include the migrating beluga whales at the mouth of the Churchill River, unique bird-watching in the sub-Arctic, a Tundra Buggy excursion, snorkelling with the belugas and sea kayaking in their midst as well.
Snorkel with hundreds of belugas
Kayak alongside huge pods of belugas
Three boat cruises in Hudson Bay
A full day Tundra Buggy trip
Expert guide to find Arctic rarities
Track down elusive polar bears
Top Animals on Tour
Tour Dates: 10/7/2024 – 18/7/2024
Duration: 8 nights
Type / Focus: Beluga & Polar Bears
On arrival at Winnipeg you will be met by your zoologist escort and local guide who will drive you to your first nights accommodation, level – boutique hotel (Hotel Fort Garry). This hotel has been a Winnipeg landmark since 1913 and is superbly positioned for you to spend the rest of the day exploring the nearby Forks or the vibrant Exchange District. Our evening meal will be at our accommodation or a nearby restaurant.
Today after breakfast we will leave Winnipeg and fly even further north to Churchill with Calm Air. When we arrive our new local guide will meet us and transfer us to our accommodation, level – Arctic lodge / Eco-lodge (Bear Country Inn). This afternoon you will explore the cultural and historical side of Churchill and visit attractions like Cape Merry and the Polar Bear Compound. Lunch will be taken in one of the many cafes in Churchill and our evening meal will be a real welcome to the far north with local delicacies like Arctic Char available in the accommodation.
Today after our breakfast we will have our first glimpse of the beluga whales as they gather in the mouth of the Churchill River. The freshwater water helps them moult their skin and rid themselves of parasites. The boat tour will last around three hours and in this time we will be treated to the sights and sounds of the belugas. There can be thousands of them here along the banks of the Hudson Bay at this time of year and the noise they make is enchanting. They are called the sea canaries of the north and the hydrophone on the boat will enable you to listen in. The boat will make a stop at the historic Fort Prince of Wales which makes for outstanding photographs. The afternoon will allow you time to visit some more sites in Churchill like the world famous Gypsy Bakery and the Eskimo museum. Our evening meal will be either our accommodation, level – Arctic lodge / Eco-lodge (Bear Country Inn) or a local restaurant.
Arctic Wildlife Management Area
After breakfast today we will use a Tundra Buggy to enter the rarely visited Wildlife Management Area. Here we have a great chance to spot some very interesting Arctic animals such as ptarmigan, Arctic foxes, snowy owls and sometimes caribou and even polar bears. Although polar bears are rare here in the summer they can be seen if you keep a keen eye for them. Once again our evening meal will be either our accommodation, level – Arctic lodge / Eco-lodge (Bear Country Inn) or a local restaurant.
After breakfast we will head on to the water once again. This is a brilliant and very special chance to get up close and personal with the most curious of all whales. We will have two hours to snorkel with the beluga whales. We will head out into the bay on a small boat and once we locate a pod of the beluga whales we will slip into the water and hold onto the rope which is towed behind the boat as we move along with the whales. There is no snorkelling experience needed and we wear Arctic wet suits which keep you very warm. Being underwater you will hear and see the whales as they come very close to you check you out. Our well deserved evening meal will be back at our accommodation, level – Arctic lodge / Eco-lodge (Bear Country Inn) or a local restaurant where we will share experiences of this once in a lifetime experience!
Early this morning we will be joined by an expert birder who will take us out on a half day birding trip to find some of the very rare Arctic birds such as short-eared owls, Ross gull, Arctic terns and 200 more. Lunch and our evening meal will be either at our accommodation, level – Arctic lodge / Eco-lodge (Bear Country Inn) or a local restaurant.
Today is our last chance to get up close to the beluga whales as we get into our kayaks and join a pod on their terms. There is no previous kayaking experience needed as we do not go very fast and there is a boat with us in case of any accidents. Paddling alongside the beluga is an amazing experience and they genuinely seem more interested in you than you do in them as they scan you with one eye and then flip to scan you with the other. We will once again enjoy our evening meal in either at our accommodation, level – Arctic lodge / Eco-lodge (Bear Country Inn) or a local restaurant.
After breakfasts we have our last chance to get on the water as we aim to find the Floe Ice (subject to the ice conditions) most of the ice has melted by now but we may have the chance to go through the huge pieces of ice as they break away from each other and begin to melt. This can make on of the most spectacular pictures you will ever take, especially if we spot a polar bear or one of the many Arctic seals on a piece of ice. After this trip we will be transferred to the airport to catch our return flight to Winnipeg where we will stay overnight in the same accommodation as day one, level – boutique hotel (Hotel Fort Garry). Our evening meal will be here or a local restaurant as we look back over the last week.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The weather in Churchill is usually very cold and very snowy but July and August are about the only months where your sure to avoid the snow and temperatures range from 8-20 degrees C. The skies are usually clear with little rain as well.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle to be driven by a local guide for transfers and taxis when needed. You get the services of the zoologist escort included in the fee as well as local guides where needed.
All our excursions including treks, guided walks, whale watching, Tundra Buggy, snorkelling and kayak trips and park entrance fees are also included.
The hire of the Arctic wet suit is also included in the price.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be a mix of warm and light clothes, including at least one warm Parker, fleece, woolly hat, pair of gloves, scarf and long trousers, thermal socks and other cold weather gear. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Insect repellent is not essential but handy. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day especially when we spend time on the water.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far. The Arctic wet suit and all over snorkelling equipment is provided on the day of the trip.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend Continental Airlines and United as good airlines for flights to Winnipeg. One of the best websites to search for the best fares for these flights is www.odopo.co.uk; who are IATA accredited this is a link direct to their site. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Visas and Health Information
All UK passport holders are not required to have a visa for Canada. However things change so the easiest way to find information is by visiting http://www.canadavisa.com/ (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Canada. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting Canada as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Reviews of this Holiday
Mary McBride, Chester
Gaz, Hollie, James and Clare, London