Yamal Peninsula: summer migration

9 days
From $2192
July - September

Tour Overview

This trip takes guests to the real Yamal Peninsula Nenets from the Panaevsk area at the northern extent of their migration route. Panaevsk is a village in the southern Yamal Peninsula about 30km from Yar-Sale. Their migration route is very similar to that of the Yar-Sale Nenets. However, the Yar-Sale Nenets migrate north across the Yuribey River, making them almost inaccessible in summer. The Panaevsk herders remain just to the south of the Yuribey, making them accessible in two solid days of overland travel from Salekhard by Trekol all-terrain vehicle. Like the Yar-Sale Nenets they migrate regularly (2 - 3 times a week). And like the Yar-Sale Nenets almost everyone wears traditional clothing and travels by reindeer sledge even in summer, unlike reindeer herders nearer to Salekhard or the Polar Ural Mountains. Joining them on their summer migration is a truly magical experience. See this website's Seasons pages for an idea of what to expect from daily life in summer. Guests will havee a Trekol all-terrain vehicle with them throughout the trip. On migrations they will have the option to walk alongside the sledges with the Nenets or to drive in the Trekol, often a better option for photographers who need to get shots from different angles.


  • Living in a traditional chum with a family of Nenets reindeer herders for four nights
  • Getting involved in the daily life of the encampment, including nomadic migrations and corralling reindeer
  • Observing a thousands of reindeer being driven up to the chums every day so the men can lasso new reindeer for their sledges
  • Marvelling as the tundra becomes multi-coloured towards the end of August
  • Enjoying spectacular sunsets that last for hours as the sun never dips below the horizon
  • Trying traditional Nenets cuisine of reindeer meat and Arctic fish such as chir and muksun.
  • Learning about Nenets culture and religion
  • Picking berries and mushrooms
  • Accompanying the Nenets to go fishing in tundra lakes
  • Travelling in a 6-wheeler Trekol vehicle 250km north up the Yamal Peninsula’s west coast
  • Spending a night at a trading post where nomads come to exchange meat and antlers for goods


Day 1: Fly into Salekhard and travel to Yorkuta trading post

Flight to Salekhard, capital of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region at 3am. Arrive at 8am and take a car ferry across the River Ob and transfer to Obskaya village, from where the Gazprom railway and road lead north up the Yamal Peninsula to the gas fields at Bovanenkovo. Meet our Trekol all-terrain vehicles and drive 250km north up the Gazprom road (an extremely rough dirt track) onto the Yamal Peninsula, driving parallel to the Gazprom Railway all day and parallel to the Polar Ural mountains for the first few hours. Overnight at a trading post called Yorkuta, where nomads come to exchange meat and antlers for goods. Warm beds and cooked meals provided.

Day 2: Travel by all-terrain vehicle to Nenets encampment

Leave the Gazprom road and travel off-road through the tundra to an encampment of nomadic Nenets reindeer herders. This could be anything from 30 minutes to six hours. Overnight with Nenets family in their chum.

Days 3 - 5: Immersion in the daily life of the Nenets

Live with the nomads, eating and sleeping in their chums (reindeer-fur teepees). They migrate up to 1200km every year, transporting their chums and all their possessions on home-made, wooden, reindeer-drawn sledges. They speak a language completely unrelated to Russian and sacrifice reindeer to the gods of an ancient shamanistic religion. There will be no fixed program on these days. Guests will merely observe and take part in the daily lives of the nomads and immerse themselves in this ancient culture.

Once a day the Nenets will drive their herd of several thousand reindeer right up to the chums, get them galloping around in circles and lasso fresh animals for their sledges. This is a truly spectacular sight. About 2 – 3 times a week they will take down their chums, pack everything onto reindeer sledges and migrate around 10km to a new site. About once a week each family strangles a reindeer before eating the raw meat and organs and drinking the warm blood (their favourite meal). When they have no work with the reindeer they spend their spare time making new sledges, sewing fur clothing or chum covers, fishing, collecting water for the chum and so on.

Day 6: Return to Yorkuta trading post

Return to Salekhard. Overnight in hotel.

Day 7: Return to Salekhard

Return to Salekhard. Overnight in hotel.

Day 8: Spare day in Salekhard.

Today is a contingency day in Salekhard in case anything delays our return from the North. On this day we can visit the excellent museum and the 16th-century wooden fortress of Obdursk. We can even do a half-day trip to an abandoned village in the Polar Ural Mountains and do a short hike in a picturesque area.

Overnight in Salekhard hotel.

Day 9: Fly home

Day 11: Transfer to Salekhard airport. Fly out to Moscow Domodedovo, arriving at 10 a.m.


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Price includes:


  • Accommodation in ensuite twin or double rooms in Salekhard hotel. Single supplement is $180.
  • All transfers on Yamal
  • Rental of one 6-wheeler Trekol all-terrain vehicle in groups of 1 – 5 for the duration of the trip with driver, petrol and all driver’s expenses, two Trekols in groups of 6 – 11 and three Trekols in groups of 12 – 15.
  • English- and Russian-speaking guide with knowledge of Nenets culture and religion on the level of an anthropologist and long personal relationship with the Nenets to be visited
  • Fees to nomads for hosting us and feeding us
  • Accommodation and food at Yorkuta trading post. Basic conditions, several beds in one room.
  • Satellite phone for emergency use only


Price does not include:


  • Transfers, accommodation or guiding in Moscow. This can be added at extra cost if so desired. 
  • Flights to and from Salekhard. These can be added at extra cost if so desired. 
  • Food in Salekhard
  • Personal travel insurance or medical insurance 
  • International flights 
  • Personal expenses 
  • Clothing or equipment
  • Satellite phone for personal or work-related calls. You can purchase minutes for $2 per minute. 
  • A generator for charging your kit. Nenets camps usually have these and they are usually enough for tourists and photographers. However, for film crews they are not powerful enough to charge large amounts of kit at once. If you want to purchase your own 2-kilowatt generator in Salekhard together with 50 meters of cable, 10 sockets for charging, 100 liters of petrol and 2 liters of oil this will cost $1050.

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