Where the Wild Things Really Are: The Top Wildlife Tours

Churchill, Canada: Worship and Witness at the Polar Bear Capital
  |  Gorp.com
What are you looking at? One of Manitoba's ursine inhabitants (Corel)

Churchill, Manitoba, is the undisputed polar bear capital of the world. Each summer, as the pack ice of Hudson Bay retreats, the bears congregate by the hundreds along the Bay's southern shore to hunt seals and fish. Just south of Churchill the bears make their maternity dens, giving visitors a chance to view mothers and cubs.
After flying into Churchill, participants board giant 4WD tundra buggies that allow bear-watchers to view the animals at close range in warmth and safety. Most tours also offer advice from professional wildlife photographers, who will assist you in snapping that perfect Arctic image. For avid photographers who want to capture the bears in the most favorable early morning and late afternoon light, some outfitters also offers a tundra bunkhouse option.

Practically Speaking
The best time for bear-watching is in October, just before the winter freeze, when seals congregate in large numbers around the few remaining open waterways.
Cost for one-week trips runs around $2,000, while the nine-day bunkhouse trip runs close to $3,000, all-inclusive from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Departures are commonly scheduled for October and November.
Five- and six-day polar bear expeditions to the western shores of Hudson Bay near Churchill are also available. Trips run late-October through mid-November and cost around $1,350 for the five-day trip; $1,500 for six days. Both prices are all-inclusive except airfare.

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 12 Dec 2000 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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