Walk with polar bears. Swim with belugas.
“This was a trip of a lifetime. The polar bears were incredible, belugas awesome and great guides.” — Paula Curtin, Big Timber, Montana, USA
Birds, Bears and Belugas takes place at Seal River Heritage Lodge, and combines the thrill of swimming with beluga whales in July and August with the adventure of Churchill Wild’s signature “on the ground” polar bear walking safaris.
We actually walk with polar bears during the summer, and you will too! Seal River Heritage Lodge is situated in the vast coastal “polar bear waiting room” on the Hudson Bay coast, and the bears provide fantastic viewing opportunities for us as they wile away the summer waiting for the sea ice to return.
Thousands of beluga whales congregate in Hudson Bay each summer and you can actually swim with them! We have dry suits for your use and we’ll suit you up with a full snorkel set so that you can see them up close and personal (weather permitting). Belugas are among the friendliest of whales and are just as curious about people as people are about them.
Aside from the polar bears and beluga whales, you’ll have the opportunity to see a whole host of other wildlife on this trip – you may see caribou, red and Arctic fox, wolves, moose and birds galore such as ptarmigan, Smith’s Longspur, Ross’ and Bonaparte gulls, jaegers etc. In fact, it isn’t unusual for birders to see 100 species over the course of their adventure. Also keep your ears open for the sounds of other sub-arctic wildlife, including wolves howling in the distance.
This is a soft adventure highly conducive to family participation and at a convenient time, as children are out of school for the summer. This means that you and your family can experience polar bears in their natural habitat, together!
Birds, Bears and Belugas - Dates and Rates
July 16 – 23 – Male share only
July 26 – August 2 – Male share only
July 11 – 18
July 16 – 23
July 21 – 28
July 26 – August 2
July 31 – August 7
August 5 – 12
August 10 – 17
|Price (per person)||Single Private Room||Children|
|2017: $10,695 CAD||2017: $20,295* CAD||2017: $9,595 CAD|
|2018: $11,295 CAD||2018: $20,895* CAD||2018: $10,195 CAD|
Prices are subject to applicable taxes which are 6.5% for non-residents and 9% for Canadians. Children from ages 8 to 12 qualify for the child rate.
* Single guests can sign up to share a room with another person of the same gender at the regular rate per person based on double occupancy. If a single guest prefers to have a private room option we also have a single private room rate as listed above. This rate guarantees a private room at the Lodge as well as at the hotels required within the package.
A recent inclusion in the prestigious National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, Seal River Heritage Lodge is located 60 km and 30 minutes north of Churchill by plane, deep in the heart of polar bear country.
An authentic wilderness lodge with all the comforts of home, Seal River Heritage Lodge is ideally situated on the shores of Hudson Bay near the Seal River estuary, where thousands of beluga whales gather every summer as polar bears walk the coastline.
Seal River Heritage Lodge maximizes ground-level polar bear and wildlife viewing and offers spectacular coastal views of Hudson Bay via nature trails, a lodge viewing tower, and expansive picture windows.
Whether you’re hiking, dining, or relaxing at Seal River, you will be able to observe polar bears and other wildlife at eye level.
Intimate, thrilling, up close and personal.
8 Days, 7 Nights
The package includes two nights in Winnipeg, five nights at Seal River Lodge, as well as round-trip airfare between Winnipeg, Churchill, and our Lodge.
Day 1 - Arrive in Winnipeg
Arrive in Winnipeg where you will enjoy a relaxing stay at our choice hotel, THE GRAND Winnipeg Airport Hotel by Lakeview. At 7:00 pm a dinner will be held at the hotel, where you will meet your group and your adventure specialist. You will need your rest for your early morning departure to Churchill.
Day 2 - Destination Churchill
You’ll arrive in Churchill by air and one of our expert staff will meet you at the airport to provide you with instructions regarding your morning transfers. Your adventure begins with a breathtaking aerial view of the winding Hudson Bay coast en route to your home for the next six days – Seal River Heritage Lodge. Be prepared to see huge pods of whales, countless birds, as well as caribou and of course, the magnificent polar bears. The Seal River Estuary is a summer favorite for these goliaths and they are regularly seen swimming or basking near the water’s edge. Upon your arrival at Seal River Lodge, your hosts will provide a tour of the Lodge and get you settled into your room. A thorough orientation on travel in polar bear country will be provided prior to any outings.
After a full-course lunch Churchill Wild-style, you will experience the Hudson Bay coast for the first time. The combination of diversity and sheer natural elegance will amaze you. Make sure your camera battery is charged. If you’re like previous Churchill Wild guests, you’ll be eager to document each and every moment in this extraordinary and rare ecosystem.
Your first day at the Lodge will be rounded out by the first of many full-course meals followed by a cozy fireplace for the evening wind down. Relax, recharge and get a good rest because you have five amazing days to go!
Includes: lunch, dinner
Days 3-6 - Enjoy a Panacea of Activities
In the coming days, your breakfasts will be served at 8 a.m. and the tour of the day will typically depart the Lodge at 9:30 a.m. Depending on both weather and group interest, you will enjoy the following activities:
Marine Tours – Tides and weather permitting, we will do at least two expeditions by boat to view beluga whales, seals, seabirds, and polar bears. Marine tours are conducted in large, nine-man inflatable boats, fully equipped with two way radios, safety gear, flotation jackets for each passenger, and a hydrophone so that that you can listen to the whale songs. Each expedition is a half day in order to coordinate with the high tides. Both refreshments and lunch will be served aboard. Expect to see hundreds of whales per outing! Beluga whales are very curious and social and will investigate our presence with a bold courage expressed by few other creatures. Getting up-close and personal with these awesome creatures has been life-changing for many Churchill Wild guests.
Trekking/Walking Tours – These are a daily part of the program and they range from short jaunts to photograph a passing caribou perhaps, to day trips with a packed lunch. There is no better way to experience the sheer vastness of the Arctic’s flora and fauna. Nesting bird life, fox dens, wild flowers, and caribou are just a few of the sights you may take in. When polar bears are sighted, your guide will advise you about the best way to maintain a safe viewing distance.
Coast by Tundra Tracker – See the Hudson Bay coast on our custom made Tundra Tracker. A day trip in one of these vehicles allows us to cover a lot of shoreline while searching out wildlife. Lunch is a picnic en route. We provide ample time for exploration and photography of the trail.
Whale Swim and Exploration by Zodiac – Take to the bay for the ultimate plunge and join the beluga whales in their watery world. Dry suits will be provided to offset the chill of the Hudson Bay.
Wildlife Photography – Your guides have many years of experience in the field both as photographers themselves and through working with professional photographers. They can assist you in many aspects of wildlife photography, including both the composition and the execution of that memorable shot of a lifetime.
Ocean Paddles – We have several sea kayaks and canoes on site for your use at any time. Perfect tranquility with only the sound of your dipping paddle and the “sea canaries” is truly awe-inspiring!
Aurora Watching – Yes, you can enjoy the greatest light show on earth during the summer, especially in the latter part of our season. The northern skies are a perfect ballroom for the aurora borealis, but remember, the northern lights are best photographed with a tripod. If you have one, bring it along.
Bird Watching – 150 species of birds visit this area and our expert guides can help you locate and identify a wide variety of these – chances are you will add several “lifers” to your book.
Photo Presentations and Lectures – From lectures on “Travelling in Bear Country” to “Wildlife of the Arctic,” our own northern adventurers will regale you with photos and stories. These conversations provide you with the opportunity to learn about the Arctic wildlife, the landscape, and its people.
Rest and Relaxation – Should you decide that curling up by the fireplace with a good book or enjoying a hot drink and sharing stories with your fellow adventurers is what you need, feel free to do that too!
Includes: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 7 - Farewell Churchill
After another hearty Lodge breakfast, we will begin air transfers back to Churchill. Have your cameras ready for the return flight, as it affords excellent opportunities for great aerial shots. Today is your last day in the Churchill region.
Upon your return to Churchill, our representative will store your luggage. The balance of the day is then free for browsing the shops and exhibits of Churchill. Local places such as Cape Merry, the Port of Churchill, the Eskimo Museum, the Polar Bear Holding Compound (otherwise known as the Polar Bear Jail), as well as the Parks Canada exhibit, are all of great interest. Please refer to your “Top Things to Do and See” list we provided.
Lunch and dinner are on your own this day. Please refer to the Safari Journal for suggestions.
Your flight south to Winnipeg will take place this evening and we hope to see you back at one of our Eco-Lodges for some more polar bear viewing very soon! Upon arrival, collect your bags, head out of the arrivals doors and look to your right. THE GRAND Winnipeg Airport Hotel by Lakeview is only a two minute walk away.
Day 8 - Homeward Bound!
After a restful sleep you will pack your bags in preparation for your flight home. You will also enjoy a complimentary breakfast at your hotel before your trip back to reality.