Imagine this: you’re on a polar bear safari, taking in the wide expanse of Arctic tundra and suddenly you see movement. You grab your camera, look through your lens and notice that this white spot is getting bigger and closer. You realize you’re looking at the King of the Arctic.
The thrill of seeing the world’s largest land carnivore in its natural habitat is unmatched by any other experience. That excitement is amplified by being at ground level, eye-to-eye with the magnificent polar bear. And even further when you get a chance to witness intimate moments between mother and cub.
It’s an experience that’s hard to put into words. Luckily, you have your camera ready, and they say a photo is worth a thousand words.
When most people think of safaris, they think Africa. Polar bear safaris aren’t always first in mind for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and adventure seekers. Here’s why a polar bear safari is the coolest adventure you can have:
The Modern Safari
Coming from the Swahili word for ‘journey,’ safaris have long been one of the most dynamic tourism activities for the adventurous. While most people picture the heat and animals of Africa, for those looking for something unique, polar bear safaris are the next frontier of adventure travel.
Modern safaris offer the chance to admire remarkable animals in their natural habitats. Often, they take you to remote places that most people won’t get a chance to visit.
At Arctic Kingdom, we know sustainable practices are key when travelling to an environment as fragile and remote as the Arctic. The best way to responsibly view wildlife here is to work with local Inuit guides who have lived on this land for thousands of years. We are fortunate to have strong partnerships with the communities we visit on our polar bear safaris.
These guides know the environment well and understand the behaviours and habits of these animals. We rely on their traditional knowledge to provide incredible opportunities for people to observe iconic Arctic animals, while limiting impact on their habitat.
Viewing Iconic Wildlife on Polar Bear Safaris
There’s nothing like seeing animals in their natural habitat. The word “safari” tends to invoke images of the Serengeti and the King of Jungle, a lion lazily lounging in the steamy heat. But what about the King of the Arctic?
The Arctic is one of the last vast wildernesses on Earth. With 60% of the world’s polar bear population, Canada’s Arctic offers your best chance to see these incredible animals. There is no better way to photograph a polar bear from ground level, making land-based safaris your best bet for up-close encounters and stunning photography. This is especially true when you’re in locations that put you in the path of polar bear migration, carefully researched and scouted with help from local Inuit.
Polar Bear Safaris in Western Hudson Bay
Flat and vast, Arctic tundra offers few obstructions that get in the way of your photos. Here, any movement on the horizon is exciting. That’s why we love heading north of the tree line in Nunavut.
In October and November, polar bears roam the west coast of Hudson Bay as they wait for freeze up. We even call the location of Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Safari “polar bear alley”, as it offers some of the most reliable polar bear encounters year after year.
Polar Bear Safaris on Baffin Island
Heading above the Arctic Circle on Baffin Island is another incredible option for polar bear viewing from March to August. The dramatic landscapes of mountains and icebergs can really showcase the magnificence of the King of the Arctic. While in western Hudson Bay you’ll have great chances for up-close shots, the beauty of photographing polar bears on Baffin Island is the opportunity to capture them against stunning backdrops in their natural habitat.
You can really express the scale and essence of the Arctic when a polar bear looks miniature next to an enormous iceberg. Guests on Spring Polar Bear & Icebergs of Baffin Safari are always thrilled to capture polar bears and cubs climbing icebergs and lounging on vast sea ice.
In spring, you can get the chance to view polar bears at the floe edge, one of the most dynamic marine ecosystems that brings all Arctic wildlife together. Seeing polar bears, seals, narwhal and more, on one trip? That’s the goal for travellers on Narwhal & Polar Bear Safari.
Polar bear photography most often showcases scenes of snow and ice. Did you know you can also see polar bears in summer, when the temperatures warm up and the ice disappears?
Want to Experience a Polar Bear Safari?
Whether you have already travelled on an African safari or are simply seeking a unique wildlife experience, a polar bear safari is an incredible adventure. Learn more about viewing polar bears in the Canadian Arctic here.
By: Mat Whitelaw