11 Day Rafting Expedition to Vorkuta

People rafting on a catamaran raft on the River Sob

As the ice and snow of winter finally melt away, the Russian Arctic turns into a paradise for a rafting expedition! With rapids that vary from gentle to moderate, and waters teeming with fish, this is a Siberian experience not to be missed.

This expedition combines a week of rafting and a homestay with the indigenous Komi people of Siberia. You’ll also have the opportunity to go hiking in the beautiful Polar Urals and see what it’s like to fish in Yamal’s crystal clear waters.

We end the trip in Vorkuta, an eerie half-abandoned mining town that very few tourists ever get to visit. Join us for a summer trip like no other!

This trip runs in July only.
Contact us via email or phone if your preferred dates are unavailable.

People splash each other using the rafting paddles

11 Day Rafting Expedition Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Salekhard

Arrive at Salekhard airport and transfer to the hotel where you’ll check-in before having an arrival briefing about what to expect in the days ahead. Our local guides will check that your gear is suitable for the expedition. 

In the afternoon we can organise a tour of Salekhard (the only city in the world directly located on the Arctic Circle) or you can explore by yourself. We suggest visiting the Shimanovsky museum, with its exhibitions of Nenets ethnology, archaeology and natural history, or the reconstructed wooden Obdorsky jail. 

This evening we can arrange for you to enjoy a trip to the banya in Salekhard or you can simply relax in your room before enjoying a group dinner.

Accommodation: Salekhard hotel (twin-share)

Meals: D included

Day 2 – Salekhard to Lake Estato

After breakfast we will load up our off-road vehicles and start our adventure!

First, there is a ferry crossing from Salekhard to Labytnangi, and then 40 km of asphalt before the off-roading begins. We ford rivers and streams whilst moving along the mountain valleys through amazing scenery. We’ll have lunch on the way, before reaching the abandoned geological settlement of Polyarny.

A very muddy 4x4 vehicle on the backs of Estato Lake

We’ll stop here so that you can explore and have tea, before reaching the camp of the Komi people at Lake Estato in the late afternoon.

Accommodation: Komi chum

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 3-4 – Life with the Komi

We spend the next couple of days with the Komi people, participating in daily life around the camp. There are some beautiful areas for hiking, and we can also spend time fishing in the lake.

On the afternoon of day 4, we will have a safety briefing for the start of our rafting trip tomorrow and make sure that everything is ready to go in the morning.

Accommodation: Komi chum

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 5 – Rafting on Estovis River

In the morning we will say goodbye to the Komi and load up for the rafting expedition you’ve been waiting for! Today we’ll take things slowly so that you have a chance to enjoy the scenery on the beautiful Estovis River.

We have a break for lunch before reaching our campsite in the afternoon. We’ll set up our tents for the night and enjoy dinner on the banks of the river.

Accommodation: 2-4 person tent

Meals: B/L/D included

A couple playing in the shallow water of the Sob River

Day 6 – Rafting on Estovis and Niya-Yu Rivers

Today we leave the Estovis and reach our second river, the Niya-Yu. Our destination for the evening is near a beautiful canyon. We’ll set up our campsite near the canyon in preparation for a hike tomorrow. 

Accommodation: 2-4 person tent

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 7 – Hiking the Canyon or Fishing

After breakfast we’ll put on our hiking shoes and head up into the canyon for a day of exploring. We’ll take lunch with us and enjoy it on the way. The hike is about 11km and we have the whole day free for this. In the afternoon we return to our campsite and have dinner.

If you’d prefer a less active day then there’s also an option to simply spend today fishing on the river!

Accommodation: 2-4 person tent

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 8 – Rafting Niya-Yu and Usa Rivers

Today is another day of rafting, but we’ll have plenty of time for fishing too. You can even brave the water with a snorkel if you want to get a different view of the river!

A man prepares to go spearfishing on the Sob river

In the evening we’ll make camp and enjoy dinner around the fire.

Accommodation: 2-4 person tent

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 9 – Usa River to Vorktua

This is our last day on the river, and we’ll reach the end-point of our rafting adventure. We then transfer a short distance by road to the town of Vorkuta, which is an incredibly interesting place. Tonight we’ll stay in one of the local hotels.

Accommodation: Vorkuta hotel (twin-share)

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 10 – Vorkuta

Today we’ll take things slowly after the activities of the last week. We’ll have a sightseeing tour of this half-abandoned mining town in the afternoon. This is a great opportunity to take some very cool photos. The rest of the day is free time for relaxing.

Accommodation: Vorkuta hotel (twin-share)

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 11 – Vorkuta to Moscow

You’ll have breakfast at the hotel and we’ll transfer you to the airport at lunchtime for your flights back to Moscow.

Meals: B included

A catamaran raft in the forest campsite with tents in the background

Costs & Services

Included

  • Accommodation: 1 night in Salekhard hotel (twin-share), 2 nights in Vorkuta hotel (twin-share), 4 nights camping, 3 nights homestay with Komi
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Russian Arctic Travel English-speaking guide
  • Tour of Salekhard if desired
  • All transfers in Salekhard
  • Vehicles and fuel on expedition
  • Arctic safety/security equipment
  • Rafting equipment including wetsuits and life vests
  • Fishing equipment
  • Tents, sleeping bags and cooking equipment for camping
  • Permits and visa invitation letter
  • Return flights from Moscow – Salekhard/Vorkuta

Not included

  • Personal expenses such as drinks, tickets, phone calls, etc.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Individual clothing, backpack, cold-weather clothing, (contact us for advice)
  • Use of banya/sauna in Salekhard if desired

Note: The final route and activities may vary slightly, as the weather can be unpredictable here in Yamal. Your guide may need to adapt the program depending on the group, prevailing conditions and available options at the time. There is no cook on this trip, but you’re welcome to help the guides prepare meals and learn how to become a fantastic camp chef! During the expedition the cooperation of all participants will be crucial – you‘re always welcome to lend a hand.

Other important information

  • Alcohol is strictly prohibited during the whole stay with the Nenets family

Fitness and dietary requirements

  • A moderate level of fitness will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip. No prior rafting experience is needed.
  • Dietary requirements should be discussed prior but can usually be catered for

Recommendations for Clothing and Equipment

  • Will be sent at the time of booking

Visa Information

  • Russian Arctic Travel will provide visa invitation documents for you to apply for your Russian visa overseas

Price is based on double occupancy: a single supplement of €200 will apply if you are a single traveller and are not happy to share a twin room.