Greenland has been pretty near the top of my ‘bucket list’ for a while now, and I was lucky enough to accompany our very first group of Macs’ Adventurers at end of August 2015. We started with a 3 hour Air Iceland flight from the world’s most northerly capital, Reykjavik, over to Narsarsuaq, the gateway to South Greenland Adventure.
The sight of the nunataks (mountain peaks) poking out of a blanket of white, was quite something. There was a real buzz of excitement on board, and we all knew we were in for a special week of exploring…. Descending into the tiny airport of Narsarsuaq we pinched ourselves – we were finally here in Greenland. A few hours later we saw a mesmerizing display of the northern lights dancing across the sky; what a welcome!
When putting this trip together, I was keen to pack as much as possible into a week – lots of hiking, the opportunity for kayaking, iceberg cruises, visits to Inuit and Norse ruins, and even a helicopter flight. There’s a saying in Greenland, that ‘the weather is Boss’, and we were delighted to achieve everything on our list, with the exception of a (hoped-for) glacier walk which morphed into a (still beautiful!) cruise along three glacier fronts.
We experienced all kinds of weather; beginning with glorious blue sky days and perfect mild temperatures for hiking (around 14°C) the Path of the Kings across to Igaliku and by Einarsfjord. A cooler weather front brought some rain, which meant for a cold and wet zodiac (RIB boat) ride to Qaleraliq Camp, so make sure you pack waterproofs and some good fleece/base layers, as well as warm hat, gloves and socks. Macs provides a comprehensive kit list to ensure you’re well prepared!
As the icebergs roll and melt, they adopt the most mesmerizing patterns and shapes, so that sometimes you can spot remnants of crevasses, or the tidal lines scoring through them, or ‘dimples’ which make the ice look like it has been beaten with a hammer. I can honestly say it was one of the best afternoons in my life. The sheltered fjord and patient guides meant that any novice kayakers in the group were quite happy!
The South Greenland Adventure itinerary involved many forms of travel; on good footpaths, riding in 4×4 jeeps with the locals, taking to the water on zodiacs, taking covered boats for the longer trips between towns… We were all very much anticipating the Air Greenland helicopter ride between Narsarsuaq and Qaqortoq. The smooth 30 mins flight took us over the fjords, peaks and mountain lakes, with glimpses of the ice cap. There were plenty of huge grins as we landed at pretty Qaqortoq is the capital of South Greenland, filled with colourful houses, including that of one of our guides, Zulu. Travelling with Zulu was a real privilege – a big-hearted and polite young man with a dazzling cheeky smile and a huge amount of enthusiasm to share the best of his homeland with us. We were fascinated by his own story of growing up in such a remote, often harsh environment, combined with the creeping influences of the western world. Zulu also shared with us his knowledge of Inuit and Norse history.
Our guides Zulu and Bea were on hand to ensure we always experienced the best of South Greenland, however it’s worth noting that Greenland is still very much developing in terms of tourism; a good dose of patience and understanding is needed when travelling here, but the rewards are ultimately worth it. Don’t expect people to rush up and take your dinner order, or for you to be able to know each day’s itinerary hour-by-hour. Greenland is an adventure. Our group fully embraced its unspoilt and unrushed attitude, and really felt it was such a privilege to visit such remote communities. We had many giggles and smiles over the week, and returned with new-found friends and a life-long memories. A word of warning from us all; the lure of the Arctic is infectious. We’re already planning the next trip back…
If you’re interested in exploring Greenland with Macs, take a look at our South Greenland Adventure, and Contact Macs Adventure. We’d be delighted to have an excuse to chat about one of our newest favourite destinations! All the best, Nikki