My trip to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada with the Houston Zoo was wonderful. We had two days in Winnipeg, then three days on the tundra, with only twelve of us in each of two tundra buggies. On our excursions we saw five polar bears, arctic fox, snowy owls, ptarmigan, arctic hares and sundry other wildlife which was a wonderful count for one of these tours.
Success always depends on the weather, the time of year, as well as the animals and it all seemed to work in our favour. With no snow, the animals whose coats had already turned white were far easier to spot and a group of bears had taken up an area easily accessible by the vehicles while they waited for the ice to form. The scenery was phenomenal and I hadn’t realized how colourful it would be with the lichen in its fall colours on the rocks and therocks themselves in different muted colours showing above the ground.
The buggies travel over all terrain and through shallow, very broad ponds to get to the vantage points so we had some really interesting rides and the Natural Habitat driver and guide were both excellent. There was a large viewing platform with a telescope outside the vehicle to watch and photograph the bears “boxing” with each other or wandering around the buggy and sometimes under the open viewing floor mesh.
Our accommodation was very comfortable with pleasant people always ready to assist us and excellent food especially brought in with good chefs to prepare it. One of the experiences that stands out in my mind was the talk given by Myrtle de Meulles about her life as the daughter of a native Metis trapper living off the land. Sharing the area with these large predators which we’d come to see had certainly been a major factor in her life. Then, the dogsled ride on the last day truly gave us a great finish to a very enjoyable experience.
For more details and information on how to book the next trip to see Polar bears in Chruchill, November 4-9, 2013 click here.