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Frequently asked questions

  • Is it Svalbard or Spitsbergen?
    Both, depending on where you are: Svalbard is a common name for the Arctic Ocean islands located between approximately 74° and 81° north latitude and 10° and 35° east longitude, while Spitsbergen is Svalbard's largest island with an area of ​​37,673 square kilometers.
  • Why is it called Hiorthhamn and not Hjorthavn?
    "In 1918, the place was called Hiorthavn after Norwegian engineer and industrialist Fredrik Wilhelm Louis Hiorth. In 1933, the name Hiorthavn became Hiorthhamn in accordance with a rule that Nynorsk (New Norwegian) orthography should be used as far as possible when it comes to place names on Svalbard." Did you know that Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions has trips to Hiorthhamn, both on foot and by kayak? And did you know that it was also called Moskushamn? "From 1938 to 2002, it was called Moskushamn. The name Moskushamn came from the fact that seventeen musk deer were transferred here from East Greenland in 1929. The musk deer are now extinct on Svalbard." (Sources: Kari Holm, snl.no)
  • When is the cruise season on Svalbard?
    Here you can find the cruise arrivals for 2023, as published on Visit Svalbard: https://www.visitsvalbard.com/dbimgs/ForventettilLongyearbyenHavnper010623tilVisitSvalbard.pdf
  • On the way up to Trollsteinen, there were a good number of pointed mounds a few metres high. Were they moraines or some kind of glacial formations?
    The pointed mounds you see are so-called "dirt cones" - these are formed when dirt isolates the ice from ablation* so that the surface around it melts more than the ice below. *removal or destruction of something from an object, in this case by melting and evaporation.
  • When is it dark season and midnight sun?
    Courtesy of Visit Svalbard.
  • I am going on a hike to Blomsterdalshøgda in March 2024; is it enough with softshell pants and merino wool underneath, or is it better with ski pants?
    As described on our page about Clothing, where you will also find videos on How to dress, the type of recommended clothing varies according to the wind, weather, temperature and type of trip you are going on. In the overlap from February to March it can be a stiff kind of cold, and if you are to be standing still for a longer period of time – i.e. spotting some wildlife, listening to some historical content from the guide or simply because someone in the group is on the slower side, you might get too cold in a soft shell pants despite the merino base layer. Also note that there might be some heavy snow fall during this time frame. If you are looking at buying one of these options, consider soft shell pants that are water proof and a thicker layer of merino wool beneath – or ski pants that you can ventilate somehow (i.e. with zipper along the leg). You can also reach out to our sister company sport shop for specifics and more detailed descriptions of recommended products:https://www.arctica.no/
  • Where can I find the packing list for the trips, and what should I wear?
    We have many different types of trips in Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions, all of which require suitable clothing, equipment, etc. You will find recommended clothing on all our day trips. On longer overnight trips we send you a tailored packing list when booking so that you get a full overview of your specific trip and are best prepared for your unforgettable Svalbard adventure. For some general tips on clothing, see Safety on tour. Did you not get an answer to the question? Send email to info@wildlife.no
  • Should I bring a backpack for the kayak trip?
    No, you should not bring a backpack on our kayak trips - the exception is the Arctic Challenge, where the trip also includes hiking. All participants will be given 35l dry bags during the briefing for whatever you wish to bring, and the rest can be safely stored at the boat house. You can borrow as many dry bags as you need (relative to the space available in the kayak).
  • Is it okay to wear jeans and sneakers?
    It's not okay to wear jeans and sneakers. In winter it is important to have proper hiking clothing for the weather, wind and temperature for arctic winter conditions, while in summer lighter clothing is required. Note that good hiking boots are always recommended for a good grip on rough terrain and less risk of chafing. For more information on this, see Safety on tour. Did you not get an answer to the question? Send email to info@wildlife.no
  • What is a buff or a polar buff?
    The Cambridge Dictionary states the following: A buff is a brand name for a type of scarf (= a garment you wear around your head or neck) which is made from a continuous ring or tubular piece of cloth. In Svalbard, it is also common to see the use of polar buff, a warmer type of buff made of wool and the like, made to insulate the neck and nose/mouth as well as to provide extra warmth during the arctic winter against wind and weather. (On the right you can see an example of using buff/polar buff during a hike to Sarkofagen mountain) Did you know that the "buff" was invented by Spanish Joan Rojas as a solution to protect the neck from the sun, wind and cold during his motorcycle rides?
  • What are snowshoes?
    The encyclopedia will tell you that... "Snowshoes are frames with wickerwork that are fastened to the feet to prevent sinking in loose and deep snow." In Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions we use snowshoes of the modern variety when the conditions require it, and these are included for loan on all our hikes.
  • What do the different levels of difficulty on the tours mean?
    Tours suitable for most people. Easy and not physically demanding, hiking in flat terrain. Tours that are suitable for those in normal good shape. Somewhat more demanding, hiking in rough terrain. Tours suitable for those with above-average fitness. Above medium demanding mountain hiking, physical strain. Tours suitable for those with very good physique and above average physical fitness, experienced in the equipment to be used.
  • What do the different icons mean?
    Hiking Kayak Skiing
  • What is the temperature when you are out in camp?
    The average temperature of our trips are from +5 to -5 celsius.
  • What is the age limit on the tours?
  • Can I wait outside the ice cave?
    For safety reasons, we cannot let guests wait outside the ice cave. All our trips take place out in the wilderness where polar bear protection is required regardless of the situation. If you are unsure about booking a trip to the ice cave due to claustrophobia or other reasons, please contact us.
  • Is it safe to join a hike when we are far from the city and can meet polar bears?
    Our experienced guides have safety as their top priority and bring the necessary safety equipment on all trips. He/she takes constant risk assessments with regard to weather and wind, terrain and wildlife in the area. For more information, see Safety on tour. Did you not get an answer to the question? Send email to info@wildlife.no.
  • We would like to see polar bears. Can you book a tailor-made tour for this?
    No, you cannot book tailor-made trips to see polar bears. On Svalbard, the polar bear is totally protected and regulations prohibit the polar bear from being approached in any way. However, there are many wonderful trips to experience here, in the polar bear's kingdom, where you get the chance to see it, but it should not be the focus of the trip as there is a high probability that you will not see it during the trip.< /p> For more on this, see Safety on tour. Did you not get an answer to the question? Send email to info@wildlife.no.
  • Is it safe to go hiking when we are far from the city and can meet polar bears?
    Our experienced guides have safety as their top priority and bring the necessary safety equipment on all trips. He/she takes constant risk assessments with regard to weather and wind, terrain and wildlife in the area. For more information, see Safety on tour. Did you not get an answer to the question? Send email to info@wildlife.no.
  • How do polar bears sleep?
    The bears curl up and dig themselves into a pit just below the surface in the snow, lying with their backs to the wind. Using one of their stretched out paws as a pillow, the polar bear allows more snow to gather around it for extra warmth and insulation. Kilde: wwf.org
  • How do we get from the airport?
    The airport bus runs regularly in accordance with all fixed flight routes to and from Svalbard Airport, and stops at all hotels/guest houses in the city. Passengers pay on board using cards (Visa, Mastercard etc.) Here you can find more information about the airport bus. Did you not get an answer to the question? Send email to info@wildlife.no.
  • What is best to book first; activities or flights?
    The absolute best is to secure both at the same time. If the choice must be made: make sure you secure your plane tickets first as this is crucial to being able to make the journey and also involves the more unpredictable costs as the season changes.
  • When are most people visiting Svalbard?
    We refer to our seasons as 'high season, low season and shoulder season' with variations in the number of visitors from year to year - and Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions offer tours all year round adapted to weather, wind and the season we are in. High season (winter) is from February to May and is a popular season for several large events - therefore it is advisable to book both flights and accommodation well ahead of your planned visit. Low season (summer) is from June to September and includes smaller events as well as cruise visitors, expedition guests and other adventurous summer guests. The shoulder season (autumn & dark season) is from October to January also with its events and the magical northern lights of the polar night, more and more people are fascinated by this time of year.
  • Do you use cash in Longyearbyen, and where can you withdraw cash?
    We have no bank or ATM in Longyearbyen, and more and more people only use card or wireless mobile payment as a payment method. Several businesses do not accept cash. Here you can find more information about this. Did you not get an answer to the question? Send email to info@wildlife.no.
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