8 Day Nenets Summer Homestay

summer homestay with the nenets

In the far north of Russia, above the arctic circle, you’ll find a place where a different way of life reigns. Although most people think of winter when they picture the arctic, our Nenets summer homestay will show you another side of Siberia. With a flight time of under 3 hours from Moscow, this is a perfect opportunity for you to come to Yamal and experience the adventure of life with the Nenets. 

These indigenous Siberian people continue the traditions of their ancestors – herding their reindeer through the tundra of the arctic along ancient migratory routes. On this trip you’ll have the opportunity to stay with them in their homes, getting a true taste of nomadic life.

Start your trip in Salekhard before being taken by our expert guides to a nearby Nenets camp. There, you’ll spend 5 nights living with the nomads, getting to know what it takes to live in this extreme environment, sharing meals and sleeping in their chums (large tents). This is a true trip of a lifetime, far off the beaten track.

A view of the mountains from the nenets summer homestay

Nenets Summer Homestay Itinerary

Day 1 – Moscow to Salekhard 

Arrive at Salekhard airport and transfer to the hotel (approximately 30 minutes). Check-in and have an arrival briefing about what to expect in the days ahead. Our local guides will ensure that your equipment 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, if you prefer, you can explore by yourself.

You can visit Shimanovsky museum, with its exhibitions of Nenets ethnology, archaeology and natural history, or the reconstructed wooden Obdorsky jail. 

Accommodation: hotel in Salekhard

Meals: at own expense (we can make restaurant suggestions and reservations)

Day 2 – Salekhard to Nenets Camp 

Following an early breakfast in Salekhard, we’ll load up our vehicles and then take the ferry across the River Ob. From here we’ll head off on our adventure into the wilderness. Upon arrival at the Nenets camp, we’ll be welcomed by our host family for the next few days and then join them for dinner.

reindeer near Russian Arctic Travel's  nenets homestay

All meals are included during our stay here and are traditional Nenets cuisine – simple food usually including fish or reindeer meat. Accommodation will be in the chums (traditional tent made of reindeer skins and felt) of the Nenets and is basic, with pit toilets. Before turning in for the night in the chum we’ll keep our fingers crossed to see a display of the Northern Lights.

Accommodation: Nenets Homestay

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 3-6 – Nenets Camp 

Life with the Nenets. We will have plenty of time to observe the traditional way of life of the Nenets and the amazing ways that they cope with this harsh environment. You’ll have plenty of chances to take photos and can also participate in the daily running of the camp. 

You can help to chop firewood and learn about Nenets cooking. There will also be an opportunity to see how to make reindeer-skin clothing, wooden sledges, and other essentials for polar life. Many of the families have children, and they’re always keen to get us to join in with their games. 

We’ll have the opportunity to take a trip out to the reindeer herds, to meet and photograph these shy and gentle creatures up close. We’ll get to see how the Nenets’ Herding Laikas manage and guard the reindeer, and may also have the chance to watch reindeer being lassoed.

Accommodation: Nenets homestay

Meals: B/L/D included 

A Nenets herding laika sits outside the nenets camp

Day 7 – Nenets Camp to Salekhard

After a shared breakfast with our host family, we’ll say our goodbyes. Today we’ll load up the vehicles again before heading back to Salekhard. In the evening we’ll have a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: hotel in Salekhard

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 8 – Salekhard to Moscow  

Transfer to Salekhard airport after breakfast to catch your flight back to Moscow.

Meals: B included

nenets lassoing reindeer near the summer homestay

Costs & Services

Included

  • Accommodation: 2 nights in Salekhard hotel (twin-share), 5 nights homestay with the Nenets
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Russian Arctic Travel English-speaking guide
  • Tour in Salekhard if desired
  • All transfers in Salekhard
  • Vehicles and fuel
  • Arctic safety/security equipment
  • Permits and visa invitation documents
  • Return flights from Moscow to Salekhard

Not included

  • Personal expenses such as drinks, tickets, phone calls, etc.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Individual clothing, backpack, cold-weather clothing (contact us for advice – rental is available)
  • Use of banya/sauna in Salekhard
young boy at the nenets summer camp

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

  • Please be aware that you are visiting this nomadic family in their home and this is a very personal space for them. The guides will inform you of any specific considerations or taboos that you need to be aware of.
  • Alcohol is strictly prohibited during the whole stay with the Nenets family
  • The Nenets might move their camp at any time, so we will only know the exact location of our homestay just before departure
  • Accommodation in the chums is on a sharing base. Depending on the group’s size there might be a chum available for the group only
  • Using drones above the reindeer herds is prohibited

Fitness and dietary requirements

  • A basic level of fitness will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip, but no special training is required
  • 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 and a single supplement of 200 Euros will apply