Seeing a reindeer in the wild has always been a dream of ours. Growing up in the warm climate of South Africa, there couldn’t be anything more unfamiliar than standing knee-deep in snow at -35 degrees Celsius at the top of Norway.
Even though the conditions were so extreme, there are many Sami people that live and thrive within the Arctic Circle. Reindeer are a way of life for the locals – they are a form of food and wealth.
The first thing we noticed once meeting our Sami guide was the traditional reindeer clothing he wore – it kept him alive in extreme temperatures. The day then started by jumping on the back of a snowmobile, as it’s really the only way to get around. We then made our way over frozen lakes and weaved through Arctic forests for more than 3 hours ’till we found traces of the illusive reindeer herd. This particular herd was massive, but we don’t know how many animals were in it as it is considered rude to ask how many reindeer a Sami owns (think of it as someone asking you how much you have in your bank account).
The herders then rounded up the reindeer, along with their dog (who rode on the back of the snowmobile) and then we spent an hour with the deer, before making our way to a traditional Lavvu, which is like a Tipi tent with a warm fire in the centre. We indulged in a traditional meal, and had some coffee which rounded off the experience perfectly.
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