• Landscapes, Svalbard

Itinerary Summary

9 Days
May 2020
Small Group Safari
Duration Price When Destination Type
9 Days £6295 May 2020 Svalbard Small Group Safari
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Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer with Martin Hartley

Join experienced polar explorer and photographer Martin Hartley on this exclusive expedition to the Svalbard Archipelago, learning about the fragile Arctic ecosystem while searching for wildlife like walrus, reindeer, humpback whales and the mighty polar bear.

Following in the footsteps of his heroes Frank Hurley and Herbert Ponting, Martin Hartley literally walks to the ends of the earth in search of the perfect photograph. The veteran polar explorer is one of a select few who have crossed the frozen Arctic Ocean on foot and with dogs, working in some of the most hostile environments on earth alongside such legendary adventurers as Pen Hadow and Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

On this 9-day expedition you'll join Martin and a team of expedition leaders and naturalists as you explore the Svalbard Archipelago, home to vast snowfields, ice-choked fjords, frozen seas, towering mountains and rolling tundra. Inhabiting this Arctic wilderness are a plethora of animals, from seals and seabirds to humpback whales and polar bears.

Martin has a particular scientific interest in climate change and its impact on the Arctic environment. In February and March 2020 he will be participating in The Last Ice Sentinel Project, skiing 300 miles towards Canada's far northern reaches to collate research data and photograph the impact of climate change on multi-year ice. Martin will be on hand throughout your journey to share insights from his most recent experience at the top of the world, as well as travellers' tales from many years spent traversing the world's Polar Regions.


What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Traverse the frozen wilderness of Svalbard alongside veteran polar explorer Martin Hartley.
  • Experience the dramatic scenery and incredible wildlife of Svalbard from the deck of your expedition ship, in small zodiac boats and while exploring on land.
  • Search the pack ice for polar bears hunting seals.
  • Sail past precipitous cliffs where thousands-strong seabird colonies come to roost.
  • Watch for whales from the bow of the M/V Kinfish.
  • Enjoy zodiac cruises on icy glacier-fed seas.
  • Learn more about Svalbard's flora and fauna from lectures taught by on-board expert naturalists.

Embedded Video Overview

An exclusive 9-day safari with polar explorer Martin Hartley 
from $8,026 per person, excluding international flights

Day by day

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Longyearbyen

Today you will arrive in Longyearbyen and board your expedition ship in the afternoon. Expert explorer Martin, along with your expedition leaders, will be waiting to meet you at the ship. After being shown to your cabin, you'll have time to settle in ready to set sail through Svalbard's spectacular ice fjords in the evening. Please note that we recommend arriving one day prior to the start of the trip where possible in case of flight delays. We are happy to help you arrange an extra night's stay in Longyearbyen.

Overnight: M/V Kinfish (D)

Days 2-8

Exploring Svalbard

Spend the next seven days aboard the M/V Kinfish exploring the Svalbard Archipelago in search of Arctic wildlife. While your expert team plan the perfect route to maximise wildlife sightings, Martin will be on hand to help you make the most of the experience, sharing his knowledge of the stunning landscapes and wildlife you encounter. The exact itinerary will depend upon the weather conditions, the density of the pack ice in the north, and wildlife opportunities. 

During your safari you can expect to visit ice-filled fjords framed by breathtaking snow-capped peaks, towering cliffs home to colonies of seabirds numbering in their thousands, and gigantic glaciers crashing into the icy seas. Spend time cruising through the ice in search of polar bears as they hunt for seals, which often hitch rides on the passing ice floes. Look out for colonies of walrus basking on the beaches in the Arctic sun and watch for whales surfacing after feeding.

While on shore landings, you may come across the Arctic fox or the Svalbard reindeer with its impressive antlers, and witness the beauty of Svalbard’s summer flora. Some of the places that you might visit are Prins Karls Fjordland, Krossfjord, Monaco Glacier, Raudfjorden, Hinlopen Strait, Hornsund, Edgeoya and Alkefjellet. By not having a fixed itinerary we can ensure that we put you in the right place at the right time to maximise wildlife encounters and the overall Svalbard experience.

Overnight: M/V Kinfish (B, L, D)

Day 9

Depart Longyearbyen

After arriving back into Longyearbyen the evening before, today you'll disembark in the early morning and say goodbye to Martin, the crew, your expedition leaders and your fellow passengers. It is now time for you to begin your journey back home. You will be transferred from the ship to the airport or into Longyearbyean, depending on the time of your departing flight.

Trip Details

This is a small group wildlife expedition. The M/V Kinfish is a small intimate ship perfect for exploring the icy shores of the Svalbard Archipelago, ensuring your proximity to wildlife-rich areas of interest. Carrying a maximum of just 12 passengers, the size and maneuverability of your expedition ship allows for enchanting, up-close encounters with Arctic wildlife, including the mighty polar bear.

Polar bear close up, Svalbard

Your Next Steps

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on our Svalbard safaris.

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