8 Day Winter Nenets Homestay

The winter Nenets homestay

In Russia’s far north you’ll find a snow-covered wonderland, perfect for winter adventures.  Join Russian Arctic Travel for our most popular trip – the 8 day Nenets Winter Homestay. 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. 

The Nenets are the indigenous people of Siberia, and they continue to follow the traditions of their ancestors. Each year they herd their reindeer across the frozen tundra of the arctic, along ancient migratory routes. On this trip, you’ll have the opportunity to stay with them in their homes and get a true taste of nomadic life.

Start your trip in Salekhard before being taken by our expert local guides to a nearby Nenets camp, where you’ll spend 5 nights living with the nomads. You’ll find out what it takes to live in this extreme environment, sharing meals with the Nenets and sleeping in their chums (large tents). No matter the season, we know you’ll leave this magical place desperate to return.

This trip runs from December to May.
Contact us via email or phone if your preferred dates are unavailable.

a nenets man and his dog stand beside a tree in winter in Siberia

Winter Nenets Homestay 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. 

Accommodation: Salekhard hotel (twin-share)

Meals: D included

Day 2 – Salekhard to Nenets Camp 

Following an early breakfast in Salekhard, we’ll go via ice road across the frozen River Ob to the village of Kharp, 90 minutes away. In Kharp we load up the snowmobiles and sledges and then head off on our adventure into the wilderness. When we arrive at the Nenets camp we’ll be welcomed by our host family for the next few days and then join them for dinner.

a nenets man sits inside his chum on Russian Arctic Travel's Winter Nenets Homestay

All meals are included during our stay here and represent traditional Nenets cuisine. The food is simple and usually includes fish or reindeer meat. Stoves are used for heating and in winter we melt blocks of ice for our morning cup of tea! 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 chum

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 lots of chances to take photos and can also participate in the daily running of the camp. 

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

Nenets reindeer in siberia

We’ll have the opportunity to take a snowmobile 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, specially bred for arctic conditions, manage and guard the reindeer. We’ll also be able to watch the Nenets lassoing their reindeer and driving their sledges.

Accommodation: Nenets chum

Meals: B/L/D included 

Day 7 – Nenets Camp to Salekhard

After a shared breakfast with our host family, we’ll say our goodbyes. Today we’ll go on snowmobiles back to our base at the village where a car will pick us up and take us back to Salekhard. 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 dinner together as a group.

Accommodation: Salekhard hotel (twin-share)

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 8 – Depart Salekhard

After breakfast we’ll transfer you to the airport for your flight.

Meals: B included

A nenets boy plays in the snow

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
  • Snowmobiles and fuel
  • Arctic safety/security equipment
  • Permits and visa invitation documents
  • Return flights from Moscow or St Petersburg 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
a nenets man in traditional clothing walks through the snow with his dog

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: a single supplement of €200 will apply if you are a single traveller and are not happy to share a twin room.