Reindeer Safari in Lapland – An Experience to Cherish for Lifetime
When we were kids, we always dreamt of Santa visiting us with elves on a magical sledge pulled by reindeers. That day, we woke up with happiness to experience this dreamy sledge ride 🦌.
Reindeer Sledding is one among the magical experiences which we get by visiting Finland. Rovaniemi is said to be the hometown of Santa and is shaped liked a reindeer. So Rovaniemi visit is not complete unless you try reindeer safari.
Imagine a safari through snow covered arctic jungle, enjoying the mesmerising beauty of snowy world, by sitting on a sledge pulled by reindeer 🦌. Have you ever experienced this fairy tale happiness in life? If not then plan a trip to Finland in winter and experience the magical reindeer sledding through the snow globe ❄️!
In Rovaniemi, we stayed at Santa Claus Holiday Village located on the Arctic Circle. We booked 1 hour reindeer sledge riding and farm visit (€125 per person) from the Santa Claus Hotel reception. The tour company picked up us from the hotel reception to the Raitola Reindeer Farm. They welcomed us with cups of hot juice and snacks. We had to stay up for the arrival of other tourists at the farm. At that time, we engaged in feeding the reindeers and run through some other farm activities.
Reindeers and the farm ambience tempted me to think of the traditional festive legend, Santa Claus’s red nosed reindeer pulling a sleigh through the starry night sky and helping Santa to deliver gifts to children on Christmas eve. We could not see the red nosed reindeer there, instead white and brown colored reindeers were grazing in the farm area.
The presence of antlers is very special for the reindeer. It is heard that female reindeer is more interested in the male reindeer having beautiful big antlers. Reindeers come shed their antlers every year probably in January and April or just after mating, which also depends on various factors, and then grow completely as a new set. Some reindeers will keep it as a crown until Christmas. This shedding procedure takes two to three weeks to complete while; the regeneration takes an entire summer to complete. Antlers are made up of a honeycombed bone like tissue. The mounting points on the head of the deer from which antlers grow is called “pedicles”. The antlers brake off from these pedicles. The living membraneous tissue covering the antlers is called velvet which supplies nourishment for the growth of the inner structure. When nourishment supply stops due to the death and molting of the velvet tissue, the set of antlers will shed away.
The major food for the reindeers is a type of lichen. In summer season they feed on other plants also. They have a better smelling efficiency and using this they are able to find out the plants even hidden by the snow.
We ourselves had to select a deer for the safari from the farm. We selected a female deer “Jingle” for the safari. The reindeers were well trained not only for the safari but to entertain the tourists.
The sledge seat was furnished with reindeer skin and fur. To initiate the ride, the guides linked Jingle to the wooden sledge at the front to pull comfortably. And then they gave a blanket to protect us from cold. The sled can include a maximum of 2 adults or 2 children and 2 adults. The safari trail seen extended to the vast area of the pine forest and snow-laden landscapes 🌲❄️.
Reindeers are connected each other for the first 30 minutes of the journey. It’s a good time to take photos because we don’t have to control them. “Rolle” was the reindeer who controlled the sledge behind us. The guide told us that she is very friendly and always likes to get pampered. During the intervals we did not forget to take wefie with her. Her innocent face and smile were the key to our heart ❤️.
After 30 minutes of departure, the safari stopped 10 minutes for taking pictures and enjoying the beauty of the snow forest. We experienced snowing throughout the journey. When the snow fell on the velvet body of reindeers, the star-like ❄️shape of the snowflakes were clearly visible.
During the return journey, the tourists themselves were allowed to drive their sledge, where no possibility of any embarrassment because the reindeers were amenable and having thorough knowledge of the way back to farm. The guide gave instructions on how to stop and reduce speed of reindeers. We can comfortably and effortlessly sit on the sledge, watching and enjoying the scenic beauty of the landscapes. For this reason, reindeer safari is considered to be comfortable and trouble free ride for the children also. Sometimes reindeer take a stop in between to wet their mouth with snow.
Through the snow packed routes, Jingle increased her speed and we just loved it! 😍 She started splashing snow on to our face and we were living a fairy tale. We felt like we are moving through a true wonderland, enjoyed every bit of the journey.
We highly recommend you to try this when you visit Finnish Lapland, as it’s one best way to explore Lapland’s beauty at its fullest. The reindeers took us through the routes which offers many picture perfect views. We could admire the beauty of frozen lakes, rivers, and snow covered pine trees by sitting and relaxing on the sledge. ❄️🌲🦌❄️
After the ride, we went to the wooden hut in the farm area. The guide explained how to make campfire to stave off the chilling cold, and how to select and cut the fire wood for making fire etc. He was so friendly and helpful.
Later we spent time outside the farm, by visiting the nearby beautiful spots to blot up the ravishing and seductive beauty of the landscapes with our camera. Then, the day light seen disappearing signaling the onset of night indicating the end of that joyful and blissful day. By thanking Jingle and Rolle for the unforgettable moments, we moved back to out hotel.