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Stories / Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions

Natural magic in magical nature

New owners of Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions.


After 30 years, the torch is handed to new owners

We at Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions are pleased to announce that Thomas Hukkelås and Ken Pettersen are the new owners of the company. They receive the torch from Arne Kristoffersen, who has been the main shareholder since the company was started 30 years ago. 

❝ We are humbled to have the opportunity to actively take part in developing a well-renowned company with a significant history in Svalbard. ❞


Thomas is a previous resident of Svalbard, as well as the primary owner and engine behind Toppturfestivalen Svalbard, while Ken Pettersen is a certified IFMGA/IVBV guide and ambulance worker.


❝ We believe the company has highly competent employees who care about the products they deliver and who aim to make the guests satisfied, not to mention it is a group who take good care of each other.


This will also be a decisive success factor in the future.​ We haven't met everyone yet, but have been well received by those we have met and look forward to meeting the rest of the Wildlife team in a few weeks! ❞


Manager Inga Bettina Waldmann is also very pleased with its new owners who are taking over the company in Svalbard:


❝ Thomas and Ken want to continue the foundation on which Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions is built, namely to offer sustainable trips to smaller groups. The expertise and background that the new owners bring to Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions will also be an important piece in the puzzle to developing the company further. ❞

We really look forward to a close and good cooperation in the years to come.


The story about a walrus - with Arne Kristoffersen

Friday 24 November 2023 we celebrate World Walrus Day. This celebration is extra significant for Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions for several reasons, although it is probably most obvious in relation to our logo - a red walrus with white tusks placed in a yellow circle with a black outline and black writing on a bright-yellow background.


We met up with founder behind the company Arne Kristoffersen, and here you get a little insight into the very special story behind this walrus you see on the yellow and red cars driving around Longyearbyen today:


❝ My name is Arne Kristoffersen and I have been in Svalbard for a few years (*ed.rem. more than 30 years). I started Svalbard Wildlife Service, as the company was originally named, all the way back in 1989. Then with a different logo than the one we see today. ❞


Where did the walrus come from?


❝ The logo we have today, this walrus, was drawn by an artist called Emanuel Bernstone, a Swedish artist.


He had no knowledge of walruses, so I sent him to the Svalbard Museum where they had a stuffed head of a walrus.


Then he drew a copy of it, and later we got one of the researchers at the Norwegian Polar Institute to verify the drawing so that it was correct. ❞


Why did you choose the colours yellow and red?

 I hired a company in Harstad to create a new logo based on my wishes and colours. I think both the yellow-red colours in the logo, which is also used in the uniforms and uniforming of the cars, is very easily recognisable.


The uniform in yellow and red also has a safety aspect to it; the guides are very visible [when out in the field]. ❞


Here you can see the video from World Walrus Day 2023.


Kayaking across Adventfjord and hiking up Hiorthfjellet

❝ We signed up for Svalbard Wildlife Expedition's excursion, «Arctic Challenge». On this excursion, you paddle in a kayak from Longyearbyen across the Adventfjord, go to the top of Hiorthfjellet, and then return to Longyearbyen the same way.


It's a fantastic day adventure and perfect if you want to be active, and if you're lucky with the weather, get a unique view of Longyearbyen.

Once out on the water, the real fun started. It was a cloudy day with the temperature around 6°C (43°F). Clouds hid the top of Hiorthfjellet, but at regular intervals the sun shone on Longyearbyen. We stopped a lot to take pictures and video and enjoy this experience. We kayak in Svalbard!!


It took us about 30 minutes to kayak across Adventfjorden. I actually felt hot and sweaty and couldn't wait to get out of my dry suit! We pulled our kayaks ashore, unloaded the dry bags and started on our way.

Above us lay Hiorthfjellet. If the snowy, white conditions continued at the summit, we would have to end the trip early. Nanna also gave us a turnaround time at 2:30 p.m. It felt a bit like we were going to the top of Everest, only without the extremely high altitude and the oxygen-poor air.



What a perfect way to start our trip in Svalbard. Now, every time we looked across the fjord to Hiorthfjellet, we could proudly reminisce about the few moments we stood up there.


This whole day was fantastic. If you enjoy hiking or are looking for a unique day adventure in Svalbard, this is one to add to your list. Not only do you get to summit a mountain in the Arctic, but you get to see the wildlife, learn about the miners who lived and worked here, and get the feeling that you're hiking in a relatively remote place.


It was quiet, it was peaceful and it was beautiful. This is why we wander to explore new places and experience nature. ❞


Read the whole adventure at!

Written by: Julie Rivenbark

Arctic Challenge


Guide Nanna tells her stories from the Arctic

The guides in Svalbard have a burning desire to take guests out in the Arctic wilderness. This is where they enjoy being best of all, which rubs off on the guests, who are certain to have a meaningful experience.


Nanna visited Svalbard for the first time in 2014. She is employed as a guide at Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions, one of the oldest tour operator in Svalbard. She takes tourists on kayaking trips, hiking trips and ski trips. She has a bachelor degree in outdoor recreation from Telemark University College, and chose to write her bachelor thesis in the Arctic. 


What’s your favourite trip to guide?

❝ My favourite trip must be Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions’ wilderness camp in Ymerbukta, as well as Blomsterdalshøgda because that’s a hiking trip that’s simple and which everyone can manage. 


Ymerbukta is a multi-day trip where the guests try kayaking a safe distance from the Esmarkbreen glacier, walking on the actual glacier and a hiking trip. This trip involves several elements and you really get to feel Svalbard’s nature casting a spell on you – and you will be bitten by the Svalbard bug. There’s always a chance a seal will come into the bay, there’s a rich bird life and you can often see foxes and reindeer.

The most important thing is to read the tour description carefully and ask if there’s something you wonder about. Don’t register for a trip that’s too challenging for you, especially in terms of physical form and equipment. ❞

What’s your favourite season and why?

❝ I love winter and the cold. It’s great to go on longer ski trips pulling a pulk. I have become very fond of the peace and tranquillity that winter brings. It’s obviously fun to drive a snowmobile a few times, but I prefer skiing and dog sledding.


It’s nice in March when there’s ‘normal’ day and night and the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights (in night time). Sitting under the Northern Lights is a magical experience every time!




My most important task as a guide is to give the guests a good experience and show them the nature in a nice and, not least, safe manner. Svalbard nature is beautiful, but also fickle, so safety always comes first. ❞


Read the complete interview on!

Written by: Visit Svalbard


The Troll Rock. Svalbard and his Troll Rock

❝ Norway, and in general all the Nordic countries, have legends about trolls, and this excursion to the "Trollsteinen" tells that one of these beings had no better idea than to leave his cave to explore without realizing the dawn. He was caught in the middle of the excursion when the sun turned him to stone.

Once again, after a good breakfast and application of all necessary layers, our guide Mirko picked up all the members of the excursion, and took us to the Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions office to collect all the necessary materials for our route and begin the journey.


We took the car back and parked almost in front of my accommodation, in Nybyen. There the excursion began, in the shadow of Sarkofagen, which was perhaps the toughest part of the whole hike as the hill was considerable, but again the adrenaline did me very well, so well in fact, that after a few minutes a few layers of clothes were left over.


The path was quite flat when we were going over Larsbreen, a large white glacier which I must say excited me as much as the view from the trip the day before.


The last part, although quite steep, was easy and fast, although at one point we sank in the snow up to our knees, but seeing the troll just a few meters away gave us strength.


When we arrived at Trollet I once again had that feeling of awe and humility from the day before. We helped Mirko dig in the snow and prepare to eat with a fantastic view and no background noise.


No wind, no animals, just our breathing, which we even try to muffle as much as possible to enjoy the deafening sound of silence. ❞



Read the whole adventure at!

Written by: Diego Andrés Chiessa Ripamonti

Golden sun on the summit of Trollsteinen
Welcome on tour
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