Yamal Peninsula

Living with the Nenet Reindeer Herders in the Siberian Arctic During the Winter With Temperatures of  Negative 50 degrees C. 

Yamal Peninsula Travel Itinerary February 2013


Day 1
Arrive Moscow, Sheremet @ 1605
Name: Nomad Moscow Hostel  

Day 2
Meet guide
Take the Moscow – Labytnangi train
Travel north by train on the Moscow Arkhangelsk line via Sergiev Posad, Yaroslavl and Vologda.

Day 3
Travel by train
At Kotlas branch off the main railway and onto a line leading to Vorkuta, site of one of the USSR’s most feared Gulag concentration camps. The railway we travel on was itself built by Gulag concentration camp victims.

Day 4
Arrive in Kharp
At Seyda branch off the Vorkuta line and onto the Labytnangi line, also built by Gulag concentration camp victims. Passing through roadless area where nomads on reindeer sledges can be spotted through train windows or at villages where the train stops. Cross the   Polar Ural Mountains, the border between Europe and Asia / Siberia. Get off the train at Kharp, site of a prison for Russia’s most serious criminals. Transfer by taxi to Salekhard. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 5
Travel to nomad encampment
Travel by Trekol all-terrain vehicle from Salekhard to Yar-Sale, a Nenets village with population 4,000 and capital of the Yamal Peninsula. Yar Sale was founded in 1927, when all Nenets on the Yamal were still nomadic. Now almost 50% of Nenets live settled lives in villages like Yar Sale, but nomads all have relatives in villages.
Travel by sledge attached to the back of a snowmobile from Yar Sale to nomads’ encampment. This encampment will be close to Yar Sale (3 hours)

Days 6-15
Live with the nomads
Stay in conical reindeer-hide tent called chums with families of nomadic Nenets reindeer herders.  

Day 16
Return to Salekhard
Return to Yar Sale by snowmobile – sledge combo and to Salekhard by Trekol

Day 17
Explore Salekhard
Visit 16th-century Russian fortress of Obdursk, the first Russian settlement on the site. Visit the Arctic Circle monument, Mammoth monument and the restaurant in the top of a bridge with a good view of the town. Sleep in hotel.

Day 18
Fly to Moscow

Day 19
Fly from Moscow to Home