Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Arctic

About the Region

Home to snowy wide-open vistas and Polar Bears, this land of the midnight sun offers unique opportunities for Arctic photography and wildlife watching in one of the last frontiers left on earth. For over twenty years we perfected in-depth itineraries to the north slope of Alaska and the pristine Svalbard Archipelago of northern Norway using the most knowledgeable leaders you will find. We are dedicated to delivering the best possible wildlife encounters to you. Join us for an amazing experience!

Svalbard Archipelago

The famed Svalbard archipelago, including popular Spitsbergen Island, lies in the Arctic between the North Pole and Norway and is home to one of the greatest concentrations of polar bears on the planet. Svalbard contains seven national parks, fifteen bird sanctuaries, one geotopic protected area, and six nature reserves. This area of the planet remains wild, pristine, and utterly unforgettable. Vast, unspoiled mountainscapes, dramatic fjords, massive glaciers, and picturesque icebergs coupled with a myriad of unique arctic mammals like polar bears, walrus, reindeer, arctic fox, various whale species, seals are found throughout the archipelago. The surrounding Barents Sea is also home to one of the highest concentrations of summer-breeding seabirds with about 20 million birds, many of them found on the island’s cliffs.

Franz Josef Land

Deep in the Russian Arctic lies Franz Josef Land, a seldom-visited archipelago containing nearly 200 islands that was first explored only 100 years ago. Eighty-five percent of the archipelago is glaciated, with large unglaciated areas located on the largest islands and many of the smallest islands. The islands were declared a nature sanctuary in 1994 and became part of the Russian Arctic National Park in 2012. Three species of seals are found, with the walrus population on the rise. Minke, humpback, and beluga whales are commonly seen and bowhead, orcas, and narwhales rarely. Forty-one species of birds are documented and are dominated by seabirds concentrated on numberous breeding cliffs. The archipelago ‘s polar bear population is included in the Barents Sea subpopulation, which was estimated at 2,650 in 2004. The high arctic is a polar desert, beautiful and stark, sometimes profoundly inhospitable, sometimes bountiful by turns.

Alaska

Spend autumn nights observing and photographing the magical, yet ephemeral phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis and days immersed in the magnificent wilderness and wildlife of the Brooks Range and the Arctic Coastal Plain. Travel along the amazing Dalton Highway, often called the most scenic road in North America! Search for Moose, Gray Wolf, Grizzly Bear and other Alaskan wildlife surrounded by vibrant autumn colors and spectacular landscapes. Visit an Inupiat village along the beautiful Beaufort Sea coastline for the chance to view and photograph Polar Bears feeding on whale carcasses while they wait for the winter sea ice to form. The Northern Lights peak in activity around the time of the autumnal equinox when days are split between light and dark. We plan this trip when temperatures are still moderate, allowing for comfortable photography and wildlife viewing. See nature's beauty at its finest under the guidance of one of Alaska's best naturalists and professional photographers!

Upcoming Trips to the Arctic