Musk-oxen in winter conditions
This is an intense wildlife photography tour which has been described by many as an experience of a lifetime. An official National Park guide will take you into the mountains of Dovrefjell to photograph wild roaming musk-oxen. You will photograph these impressive animals in the harsh Norwegian winter conditions, with temperatures dropping well below -20 degrees and a good chance for a winter storm to pass through. This tour is for the more adventurous nature photographer. This particular tour is different from the other musk-oxen winter tours we offer, since we won't be camping. We will stay in comfortable cabins just outside the National Park, eat nice meals in the restaurant and will hike every day to the musk-oxen.
Day 1. You will fly on Oslo Gardermoen airport. Here you will be picked up and be driven to the accommodation just outside the National Park of Dovrefjell. The drive takes about 5 hours. The first night we will stay in comfortable cabins, just outside the National Park. A nice warm meal will be waiting for us in the restaurant.
Day 2, 3, 4 and 5. After a good breakfast we head out into the mountains to the musk-oxen. Depending on where in the area the musk-oxen will be, we will have to hike between 30 and 120 minutes to get to the musk-oxen. If we are lucky, there can be some musk-oxen in the lower plateaus. In that case the hike will be in rather flat terrain. If there are no musk-oxen in the lower parts of the terrain, we have to get higher up in the mountains. Expect an altitude difference of around 600 meters spread over 3.5km and an additional 3km for the longest hikes. You need to be in a good condition for this tour.
Time of sunrise and sunset during this tour is at about 08:30 in the morning and at 16:45 in the evening. Depending on how far into the mountains the animals are standing, we try to be with the animals before sunrise and will stay with the animals until sunset.
Every evening we eat a nice warm meal in the restaurant.
Day 6. In the morning you will be driven back to Oslo Gardermoen airport and fly home again.
We are staying at the comfortable cabins of Furuhaugli Fjellhytter. Each cabin has 2 two-person bedrooms, a bathroom, small kitchen and living room. The restaurant is on the same location, just a minute walk from our cabins.
The temperature will probably be around -15 on day time and around -20 at night time. These mountains are known for the strong wind which suddenly can pick up and disappear again. This means that the weather can change rather fast from hour to hour. During the tours there is a good chance that we will get into blizzards. Proper clothing is an absolute must!
These tours are guided by Floris Smeets and Maija Abele. Floris is one of the official Dovrefjell Nation Park guides. He is experienced and knows the area and animals well. Over the years, he has guided groups in some of the toughest winter weather conditions and will always put the group's safety upfront. Even though the conditions can be challenging, you will be safe in his hands. Additionally, he is a professional photographer and Sony Ambassador. He plans the tours to maximize your photographic results. You will be on the right spot at the right time and can always ask for tips and feedback. Maija is an experienced guide and has been working closely with Floris since 2022. She has a close eye on the guests and makes sure that everything runs smoothly.
Physical condition of the participants
You need to be fit for this tour! You have to be able to walk several (3-5) hours per day, also in rather steep terrain. We will walk mostly with snowshoes. Only on the tops of the mountains, where the musk-oxen mainly are, we will not always need snowshoes. Snowshoes are provided for you. Participants have to carry their own photo equipment plus 1 Liter of tea or coffee and food for the day.
Food and drinks
To be able to get out early into the mountains, we have early breakfasts in one of the cabins. During breakfast we also make our lunch packages for in the mountains. The dinners are served in the restaurant of the accommodation.
Dovrefjell is known for the harsh weather conditions. If the wind picks up and will stay for a longer period above 20 meter per second, there is a chance that the roads will be closed. Luckily the accommodation is within the barriers. If there is not too much snow on the roads, we will still head out for the musk-oxen. But in some extreme cases there will be too much snow on the roads and we will be stuck at the accommodation until the roads are opened again. It can happen that we won't be able to head out into the mountains every single day of the trip if the weather conditions are too extreme.
Please contact us for any questions.
Or to book the tour, please fill out the online booking form.
2024: 7 - 12 February (6 spots available)
Max 6 participants
Shared double bedroom
NOK 32.500,- (4000,- deposit)
Oslo Gardermoen Airport
Accommodation: Double bedrooms and expedition tents.
Transport: You will be picked up and dropped off at Oslo Gardermoen airport.
Food: Food and drinks for during the day will be provided for you.
Expedition equipment: Snow shoes, walking sticks, pulks
Guiding by an official certified Dovrefjell National Park guide.
Photography tips from Floris Smeets, Sony ambassador.
Single rooms: 4000,- NOK.
Price does not include
Flights to and from Oslo Gardermoen airport
Alcoholic beverages and snacks
Travel insurance: All participants are responsible for their own travel insurance.
For photographing the musk-oxen you will need a minimum of 400mm on a full-frame camera or a 300mm on a crop camera. A telephoto lens of 70-200mm or 100-400mm is always handy to have as extra lens. This allows you to frame the animal small in the landscape and these lenses are also ideal for photographing the stunning landscape we will be in. At night there is a chance for northern light. A wide angle lens with an aperture of f2.8 or lower would be perfect to photograph our campsite under the northern lights. A tripod is necessary for this. It is up to you to decide if you will need a tripod for photographing the musk-oxen. Most guests photograph while laying down or resting the lens on a rock or backpack.
Other things you should bring, are:
Plenty of memory cards
Plenty of batteries.
Filters (if you want to do some landscape photography)
Camera bag big enough for all the camera equipment plus some extra clothing and food.
Drones are not allowed in the National Park!
We will be outside for 4 day in freezing temperatures. Good clothing is the most important thing of the tour! Find here a short list of the most important pieces of clothing you will need. Find here the complete packing list.
Jacket. We will be sitting still a lot, waiting for the musk-ox to move or waiting for good light. Your upper body has to stay warm at all time. A proper expedition down jacket for temperatures down to -40 degrees Celsius is an absolute must. The best expedition down jackets are the Non-stop dogwear Arctic Jakka Pro(+).
Shoes. Well isolated snow boots. Make sure that the boots are at least one size too large so that it is possible to put on several layers of woolen socks. Sorel Caribou boots or Baffin Control Max boots are perfect for this trip.
Gloves. For your hands it is the best to have a set of thermo-gloves (with which you can control the camera) plus a set of thick mittens (for when you are waiting). The best ones are from Vallerret Gloves
Trousers. Because your legs warm up a lot during walking, you cannot wear the warmest types of trousers. The combination of a warm pair of skiing trousers plus a insolated shell / insolated rain trousers should do the trick. You will wear the skiing trousers as main trousers and can add the extra layer when we are sitting still for long periods.
Base layers. It all starts with a proper set base layers. Don't go cheap on them!
Winter expedition jacket (comfort +/- -30 degrees Celsius)
A pair of winter / skiing trousers
A shell trouser / rain trousers / down filled over-trousers which fit over the skiing trousers
Thermo base layer (2 pair)
Thick woolen sweater
Extra warm (bivi) bonnet / hat
Winter boots (Sorel Caribou boots or Baffin Control Max boots are perfect for this trip.)
Gaiters (if the skiing trousers are not tight around the snow boots, you will need gaiters to keep the snow out of your boots.)
At least 2 pair of thick high woolen socks (smart wool)
Thermo base layer gloves
Warm thick down mittens
Skiing / snow goggles (these are needed to be able to see something during a snow storm)
Head light (please bring them with full batteries)
Hand- and feed warmers / heat packs (optional)
If you have any questions regarding the clothing, please feel free to contact us.
Please note: Because of safety reasons, before going into the mountains, the guide will check if everyone has got the right clothing for these conditions. If someone does not have the right equipment to be outside in these temperatures, that person will not be allowed to join the tour into the mountains and has to stay at the accommodation. If you are not sure about your clothing, please contact us so we can help you with finding the right clothing.
For the first time I took part to a photo travel. It was a wonderful experience to start in this passionate photographers environment. Musk’Ox in winter conditions is not only a photo trip but also an outdoor experience. Thanks to the wide knowledge in nature, wildlife and outdoor activities from Floris our guide, I could reach my goals. The small size of the group made possible to quickly build a nice team spirit. Not only guiding the group and sharing his knowledge, our guide was always ready to share advice in photography in order for me to improve my knowledge. Thank you also to the other guests and Ada to have create a nice atmosphere. I definitely enjoyed my trip and looking forward to the next one I’m going to book.
Highlight: Photographing wild animals in their environment without disturbing them.