WATCH: The beautiful world of a Sami Reindeer herder

2018-12-02 12:56 - Gabi Zietsman
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When you think Christmas, you think Santa Clause, and you think reindeer. Ever since the Big Man in Red has been pulled by his trusty hooved companions, reindeer dominate this holiday's decorations, even in South Africa where reindeer aren't exactly indigenous.

But if you've ever wanted to see the real deal up close, and learn more about the 5 000-year-old traditions that surround them, your best destination is the snowy expanse of Norway - specifically a visit to the Sami people.

SEE: Would you stay in this extremely remote Airbnb deep in the woods?

They are considered the 'soul of the Arctic' and have a very close relationship with reindeer, and open up their homes to visitors who want a truly chilly cultural experience.

In Tromsø, you can organise tours that take you on reindeer sledding trips, traditional dinners with the Sami and feed wild reindeer herds.

Another option for some reindeer fun is Røros - from January to March you can join in on a reindeer taming session, learn how to lasso them and then relax in a lavvo - the tipi-like dwelling of the Sami.

How easy is it to get there?

Getting to Tromsø from South Africa isn't too expensive - if you're willing to make 2 stops as most flights have to go through Oslo. No trains run from the capital to here, and bus journeys can be extremely long.

ALSO SEE: Living and working under the Northern Lights – reindeer and husky guides and carers needed in Lapland

Similar to Tromsø, you also have to go through Oslo if you're flying (no flights on Saturdays), but there are rail options with direct trains from Trondheim (which has connecting trains to Oslo) and Hamar.

As Norway forms part of the European Union, you will need a Schengen visa to go.

Happy sledding!

SEE: Chasing the Midnight Sun in Norway 

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