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Trip Report Natural Habitat Churchill Polar Bear Trips--Tundra Lodge & Hotel

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These were outstanding visits booked with an outstanding company. My recent Nat Hab trip to Churchill for polar bears was the Great White Bear Tundra Lodge stay. The first Nat Hab trip was based in Churchill with daily Great White Bear Polar Rover trips to the tundra for bear watching. Natural Habitat, which is in Boulder, Colorado, partners with Great White Bear on the ground in Churchill.

The timing of both trips was similar: Last couple of days of Oct and first couple days of Nov. Both trips were outstanding. The excessive use of outstanding is entirely appropriate.

I've linked a report at the bottom that includes both the tundra lodge trip and the Churchill-based trip. The photos in the report indicate whether bears were seen
--from the Polar Rover on the Churchill-based trip
--from the Tundra Lodge, looking out the windows
--on the half day excursions away from the Tundra Lodge on the Polar Rover.

The conclusion was:

FROM A BEAR ASPECT
About 40 polar bear sightings of about 20 bears from the Churchill-based trip during about 12 hours of Polar Rover outings. Current trips do about 16 hours of Polar Rover outings.

About 50 polar bear sightings of about 25 bears on the Tundra Lodge Trip. I'm not sure which % of bears were seen on the 12 hours of Polar Rover excursions from the lodge and which % were seen while at the Tundra Lodge. But I do have stats on my keeper pictures. They were virtually even as to # of photos of bears taken from the Tundra Lodge and # of photos of bears taken during the half day Polar Rover excursions from the lodge.

I did see the most sparring activity from the lodge rather than on the excursions.


FROM AN ACCOMMODATIONS & ITINERARY ASPECT
Some guests on the Churchill hotel based trip told me they could not stand to be cooped up for 4 nights in the Tundra Lodge. It's true you cannot leave, but the overall space is more than I have had on small ship trips I have taken. I saw people jogging in Churchill, just along the main streets, which is not possible at the Tundra Lodge.

The # of hours of bear viewing is higher at the Tundra Lodge because you never leave their environment. Bears are attracted to the smells of the lodge (the smell of humans and of cooking), so there is often at least one bear in sight.

An advantage of the town-based trip is that the group is smaller (16 vs. 29) so you get to know people better and all experiences are shared; there is no splitting the group where it is possible some have better sightings than the others.

But the vehicles from the tundra lodges are out about an hour before the vehicles arrive from town and the those from town leave about an hour before the Tundra Lodge dwellers must head back.

But you don't have to choose between the tundra lodge and staying in Churchill. Nat Hab has a trip toward the front end of the season that includes both.

All aspects of both trips were....

Outstanding!

Here is the whole big report of both trips with dates, links to Nat Hab itineraries, lots of details, when to go, photos labeled as to which type of outing on which trip it was, some polar bear facts, and a sort of ghost story:

http://safaritalk.net/topic/15602-natural-habitat-polar-bear-trip-report-tundra-lodge-churchill-based-hotels/

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