What to Wear
Bring wind and waterproof outer layers. Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air, which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibres, like polar fleece, retain heat better than cotton. When packing, we suggest that you do not weigh yourself down with too many clothes or too much gear. Select informal, practical attire that can be worn in layers. The most important item that you will need to bring on your voyage is a parka. It may be possible to rent gear before the expedition depending on your itinerary, but the quantity and quality of gear varies greatly depending on the demand.
Upon arrival in Winnipeg (or other departure point - refer to your itinerary), you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel. We have provided local contact details in the accompanying information but if you have any problems please call our 24-hour UK telephone number on +44 (0)7887 637 628.
Most of the lodges are family-run and hire young, local members to support their teams. We ask that you enjoy the amenities of the lodges while helping to support their commitment to the environment.
Laundry facilities are not available during your Arctic safari, therefore we recommend taking enough clothes to last your whole trip. If you do wish to take hand-washing laundry products please ensure these are eco-friendly and biodegradable.
One of the main focusses of your expedition is the wildlife. The north is harsh and the summer’s brief. These brief summers happen to be the only time the animals can reproduce and prepare for the long winters, and coincides with peak visiting season. Make sure you always watch your step and keep to established paths whenever possible, don’t startle the wildlife and avoid trampling on plants. Always listen to your guide and stay with the group. This is for your safety. We also ask that you do not collect natural souvenirs or litter, you must also ensure that you don’t reintroduce any new species by ensuring your boots are washed and there are no seeds in packaging or clothing etc.
Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behaviour. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or molting. Keep a minimum distance of 5 meters (15 feet) from all wildlife.
Food & Water
Food varies from destination to destination. Please bear in mind that we try to use lodges/camps that use local and fresh, produce which supports the local communities. Reasonable special dietary needs, such as vegetarianism, can be accommodated, although lots of notice is needed prior to your departure. Some specific dining recommendations will be found in your Arctic Safari Journal. Water in Canada is generally safe to drink. If in doubt, please ask your guide.
There are no internet cafes around, however there is the option of using one of the computers in the public library in Churchill. For mobile connections, please contact your provider before departure for details on your specific plan/network and be aware that international calls are expensive. Do not use mobile/satellite phones in the presence of others or in areas where you may disturb the wildlife.
All drivers/guides will have mobile phones for emergency use. Wireless Internet is available in many of the larger hotels and resorts.
We recommend that you do not plan to use mobile phones during your expedition. You will be in some of the most beautiful and remote areas in the world and we feel that part of the joy of nature is leaving modern technology behind.
Churchill is six hours (-6) behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Hours of daylight in Churchill vary considerably depending on the time of year, from just 7 hours in the winter to over 18 hours in the summer.
The electricity supply in Churchill is 120 volts, 60 Hz. This is the same as the US. We advise that visitors from outside the US and Canada, take multi-adaptors.
All the major hotels and lodges have good power supplies and most have in room electrical sockets. Some smaller establishments may not have a socket in the bedroom but will have charging facilities available at reception.
The local currency in Canada is the ‘Canadian Dollar’. One Dollar is divided into 100 cents (¢). Notes are in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins are in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, $1 and $2.
We recommend that you change your money upon arrival or at home before departing, it is more difficult to change money whilst on safari. You can easily do this at Winnipeg Airport.
Most nationalities and tourists entering Canada have a hassle free border experience. A valid passport with at least 6 months validity and at least one blank page is required by ALL nationals entering Canada. US Citizens do not need a visa to enter Canada as tourists, they do, however, need to prove their status in the US by showing a valid passport.
Most citizens will need to get an eTA before travel or will receive a 6 month entry visa on arrival, but please check with the Canadian Embassy in your country of residence. Whilst we are happy to advise you on your visa requirements, please ensure they are organised well in advance as they are your responsibility.
Embassy Contact Details
In the UK the Canadian consulate is located at Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London, SW1Y 5BJ
Tel: 020 7004 6000
In the USA the Canadian consulate is located at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: (202) 682 1740
All of our local operators conform to local safety regulations. If you at any time feel that this is not the case please do not hesitate to contact us.
Know Before You Go is an ongoing campaign from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to help Brits stay safe abroad, however in our opinion it has useful information for all nationalities. The campaign was launched in 2001 to promote these key messages:
- Get adequate travel insurance
- Check the FCO’s country travel advise
- Visit your GP as soon as possible before travelling
- Check your passport is in good condition and valid, and you have all necessary visas
- Make copies of important documents and/or store them online using a secure data storage site
- Tell someone where you are going and leave emergency contact details with them
- Take enough money and have access to emergency funds
- We suggest that you go to www.gov.uk/browse/abroad to get up to date information on your specific destination and important travel tips before you travel.
Go to: https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/ for relevant and important travel tips to plan your trip abroad.
Canada is generally a very safe country for tourists to travel in and incidents are extremely rare, but common sense precautions need to be taken as with any destination abroad. We would recommend taking taxis when travelling at night and not flashing expensive photographic equipment and jewellery around. Do not flaunt money and always use safes when provided at hotels/lodges. If in doubt please ask your guide.
For latest travel advice please contact us, at our UK office, or alternatively use the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Health & Medical
Always seek medical advice before travelling; please consult your GP or Doctor who will be able to advise you on required vaccinations and anti-malarial prophylaxis.
In the UK we recommended visiting the ‘Fit for Travel’ website.
In the USA we suggest consulting CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) - http://www.cdc.gov/
The Churchill Regional Health Authority welcomes queries from potential Churchill visitors with any medical or health queries on (204) 675 8319.
Please bring any personal medication required. There is just one medical clinic in Churchill, the Churchill Regional Health Authority Patient Services, with a pharmacy and onsite dental clinic; however it is difficult to get hold of any medications whilst on tour, so make sure you bring supplies of any prescription/over the counter drugs you take on a regular basis. Make sure any medications are in the original, labelled packaging.
Medical services are not readily available on this safari, so it is essential you have appropriate travel insurance with adequate medical cover, air repatriation with a 24-hour contact telephone number for emergencies. Securing the necessary travel insurance for your safari is your own responsibility.
It is a condition of booking that all clients must have, and must demonstrate to the company prior to their departure, adequate insurance for the duration of the tour.
Proof of the following items of insurance is required on booking; cancellation or curtailment of your trip, medical expenses, repatriation, loss of luggage, personal injury, adventure activities such as white-water rafting, tracking wild animals, theft of personal belongings.
Please report any theft, trip disruption immediately to your guide during your trip and also in writing to Natural World Safaris immediately on return to your home country.
If you are a smoker, please be aware that there will be times when you cannot smoke. Smoking is prohibited in places where others may be affected so please be considerate to others and smoke only when there is no one around. Never smoke around wildlife – it is very important that we keep human odours down to a minimum. Most rooms do not allow smoking.
Canada is a developed western world destination however some of the regions that you visit in order to gain access to some of the best bear viewing will be fairly remote. This means that on occasions, transport, as well as accommodation can be fairly limited and not always up to 5 star standards.
Churchill is located well into the Northern Hemisphere, meaning that the climate stays relatively cool all year round. The range in temperatures is extreme, with the average temperature ranging from -33°C to -24°C in the peak of winter and 6°C to 18°C at the height of summer.
As Churchill is so close to Hudson Bay, and the fact that water heats and cools quicker than land, summers can be moderate with the snow melting leaving a fresh wash of colour. However the snow settles again from October through to April providing a small slot of time from mid October to mid November, before the lake freezes over, with peak Polar Bear viewing!
Always ask for permission when taking photos of local people or alternatively ask your guide for advice. It is worth ensuring you have sufficient films, including fast films (400-1600 ASA) for wildlife in forest areas. Please bring extra batteries as it may not always be possible to re-charge them at the lodges. In addition it might be useful to bring a car charger (cigarette lighter variety). Always make sure you keep at least 50 yards (almost 46 metres) away form bears. Do not move closer for good photos – use a good telephoto lens.
It is wise to refrain from using flash photography when with the bear and other wild animals. Please note flash photography of any wildlife usually causes disturbance and should be avoided.
Prices include airport transfers; accommodation; meals and drinks as stated; an English speaking driver / guide and a safari vehicle; porterage of two items of baggage per person on the trip (subject to weight restrictions); boat trips; park fees; and permits where appropriate.
Prices exclude all items of a personal nature: entry visas, international flights, tips, telephone calls, drinks (unless otherwise stated), laundry and airport taxes.
Churchill Wild suggest a recommended amount of $CAD500 per person which will be shared out among the staff and guides. You can pay tips in cash at your discretion at the end of your stay. Please speak to your lodge manager about organising this on your departure.
Charitable Giving & Community Projects
We recommend as part of our responsible travel policy that you do not give money or gifts directly to local people. We have links with local projects/schools that would appreciate your support. Please ask your guide for further details. If you would like to contribute to these donations of clothing, pens and pencils are greatly appreciated.
When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists the flight, accommodation, car hire and/or other services that are financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong. Company Name: Natural World Safaris Ltd. ATOL Number 9826. For more information please visit their website: http://www.caa.co.uk/atol-protection/
As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), Natural World Safaris Ltd has provided a bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
In the event of insolvency, protection is provided for non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK and other non-flight packages excluding pre arranged travel to and from your destination. Please note that packages booked outside the UK are only protected when purchased directly with Natural World Safaris Ltd.
In the above circumstances, if you have not yet travelled you may claim a refund, or if you have already travelled, you may claim repatriation to the starting point of your non-flight package.
The ABTOT number is 5127.