Sapmi Nature Camp
Sápmi Nature Camp is a newly opened, high-end, sustainable and small-scale camp that offers high quality, close to nature accommodation on the border of Laponia World Heritage Area.
My name is Lennart Pittja, and I am the owner and founder of Sápmi Nature Camp, and I am looking forward to introducing you to Sápmi.
I grew up in a reindeer herding family here in Unna Tjerusj Sami community. This is grazing land that has been used by Unna Tjerusj for thousands of years. Sápmi Nature is committed to responsible tourism that does not threaten the reindeer and the herding here, instead we want to share our knowledge about Sami life, both past and present.
A stay at Sápmi Nature is an immersion into Sami culture. Here you will you get to experience nature and life in Sápmi through stories and experiences and by living in a way close to traditional life. Albeit with enough modern facilities to make the stay very comfortable.
Sapmi & Laponia
Sápmi is the Sámi name for the region where the Sámi people have their traditional land and waters. Sápmi spans across four countries – Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula, on the Russian side. In Sweden, Sápmi covers the northern half of the country.
Sápmi is a nation without national borders, but within the area there is a common language, history, and culture. The reindeer is intertwined with people and nature, and the roots of Sámi culture go back very far in time.
The word Sápmi is taken from the Sámi language, with the same origin as the word Sámi itself. You could say that Sápmi means Sámi land as well as Sámi people.
Sápmi is the land and the people, the nature and the reindeer, the animals, and the light. The midnight sun and the northern lights. The heat from the fire on a sparkling winter’s day and the coolness of a mountain stream after a long day’s hike. Sápmi is the food and the produce. But also, human rights and Sámi names. Duodji (handicraft), fishing, and Sámi tourism. The flag and the Sámi colours. The wanderlust and respect for all we see around us. Young and old. And everything in between.
Laponia World Heritage
Sápmi Nature Camp is in Sjávnja nature reserve. Sjávnja is an enormous nature reserve that stretches from the high mountains in the west and to Sweden’s largest wetlands in the east. The camp is situated in unspoiled taiga forest.
Together with several other nature reserves and national parks, this forms a 9400 km2 area that is proclaimed a world heritage by UNESCO. Laponia is mixed site – put on the world heritage area due to its unique combination of natural values and the unique Sámi culture.
“The area is an outstanding example of how the Earth has developed, above all geologically, and how ecological and biological change is taking place today. There are also outstanding natural phenomena of exceptional beauty, as well as significant natural locations for biodiversity. The area, which since prehistoric times has been inhabited by the Sámi, is one of the best preserved examples of nomadic areas in Northern Scandinavia. It contains settlements and forage areas for large reindeer herds, a tradition which goes back to an early stage in the economic and social development of mankind.” UNESCO 1996
Sápmi Nature Camp has achieved Sweden’s premier sustainability accreditation. Natures Best.
We have everything we need to live life close to nature, a life the Sámi way.
We work sustainably, on a small scale and personally, and focus on maintaining good quality in the services and products we offer. Sápmi Nature stands for a hospitality industry with good hospitality and our operations must not create problems for the reindeer herding in the area or damage the nature of the lands and water we use.
We take the guests out into nature in the way that we ourselves wish to experience it - in small groups that provide a chance to learn about Sapmi and about nature.
We try to create as local a touch as we can on the services we deliver - everything from the food to the hospitality.
A stay at Sápmi Nature Camp is to be in nature, together with the Sami people who have grown up here. Here you are involved and active in life north of the Arctic Circle with everything from exploring nature to keep the heat in the stove in the room. Or you can just relax and enjoy the tranquility and comfort of this unique place. There is always a Sámi host on site during your stay.
We are a small-scale, sustainable business and have only between 2-10 guests at the same time. It is therefore personal, comfortable and a genuine Sámi experience where chance to really learn about the Sami culture.
We have a log cabin in the camp that is served as the main lounge and dining room. You can sit here by the fireplace and read a book, enjoy tea/or coffee or talk to you Sami host. Inside this cabin is where we will also eat most of our meals.
The traditional accommodation of the Sami people. These tents are versatile all year round including in our arctic winters. While traditional in outlook we have in our standard Lavvu’s a timber floor, lovely queen size double bed, modern fireplace as well as a fuel heater and finally lounge chairs.
Included in your Lavvu standard stay:
· 2 course dinner
· Lunch on 2-night stays
Note: There is no electricity in the Lavvu Standard but phones etc can be charged in the log cabin in the evenings. Lighting is by way of attractive battery powered lanterns. The toilet is in a separate service building.
The traditional Lavvu taken to a whole new level. The Lavvu sits atop a significantly upgraded base with timber walls up 2 meters providing extra warmth and a lovely feeling from both the outside and inside.
There is a separate bathroom with toilet inside your Lavvu Deluxe and the heating is from a combined wood fire and pellet burner, and there is also a fuel heater option.
The interior design and fittings are also of a much higher standard and there are electric lights as well as the attractive battery powered lanterns. Phones etc can be charged from bedside USB outlets.
Included in your Lavvu standard stay:
· 2 course dinner
· Lunch on 2-night stays
· Private use of Sauna one night
Living at Sapmi Nature Camp
The camp consists of 'double' rooms in the form of Lavvu tents furnished with comfortable beds, fireplaces and cosy furnishings inspired by nature and the Sami culture.
Part of the experience in the Lavvu’s is to keep the fire burning with birch wood – we will provide all that you need to be able to light the fire including the know-how and safety instructions.
In the evening the wood fire will keep your Lavvu warm. At night, an automatic fuel stove heats your room so you can sleep all night. In the Lavvu standard the automatic stove runs on diesel fuel. During the night you hear a low, relaxing sound from the flame in the stove and a little automatic fan will help spread the warm air in the room.
Our beds are comfortable double beds – 160 cm wide (unless you sleep in the one room with two 90 cm single beds). On the bed is included linen, pillows, and a sleeping bag with liner as well as a warm, cosy duvet for each person.
The fireplace runs on wood during the day and evening. At night the fireplace will automatically switch over to pellet burning and keep a fire going throughout the night. There is also a fuel stove to provide additional heating in your Lavvu deluxe. During the night you hear a low, relaxing sound from the flame in the fireplace and a little automatic fan will help spread the warm air in the room.
Our beds are comfortable queen size double beds. On the bed is included linen, pillows, and a thick double duvet as well as an additional duvet for each person.
In either accommodation type your host will help with starting fires and managing the heating. They will also help with recommending the best attire to help keep you warm and cosy at all times of the day.
Headlamp, water bottle to your room, napkins and a personal cup will be provided during your stay. Our Sami inspired cups made from an eco-friendly, natural fibre composite from recycled energy sources.
A modern and comfortable incineration toilet is available in the service house for guests in the Lavvu standard. There is an incineration toilet in the bathroom in each of the Lavvu Deluxe.
There is no running water at the camp but each Lavvu Deluxe bathroom and the service house for the Lavvu standard rooms have a water container and basin for handwash with cold water and soap.
The traditional way to shower in the Nordics has been to take a sauna. Today this is still an extremely popular way for locals to relax even when we have a regular shower available. At Sapmi Nature we like to do things the traditional way and we have lovely Sauna in a secluded spot down by the river. Private use of our sauna one night is included for guests in the Lavvu Deluxe and is an optional activity for guests in the Lavvu standard. We will provide towels, soaps, and shampoo. And we will give you all the information you need to enjoy this relaxing part of the Arctic lifestyle
We take pride in sharing the Sámi culture. This includes the food that we serve. The foundation for the food is locally produced ingredients (often caught and prepared by our own family) that reflects our Sámi heritage. A traditional flatbread called Gáhkku, Reindeer meat of course, but also moose may also be served. Wild caught fish from our lakes in the mountains, including Arctic Char and Brown Trout.
We add taste and flavour by using berries and herbs from the region. Our guests are more than welcome to the kitchen to help with the preparation of our meals. This is a great way to spend time together and it’s also a lot of fun to learn from each other.
We have a set menu and dietary needs or allergies much be advised in detail in advance. We will of course have a vegetarian alternative to each meal.
Our lunches will often be served outdoors, cooked over open fire.
A typical dinner will contain of a main course and a dessert. Fish and meat alternate. There will be a side salad, crisp bread and butter to the meal.
This a small-scale sustainable Sámi camp and our idea and goal is to share some of the knowledge of the indigenous people of this part of world. We want to do this with creating a minimal impact on nature, reindeer herding and environment.
Just to be in this place is an experience in itself. We are located in Sápmi/Swedish Lapland, Laponia World Heritage Area and we are also on the grazing land of the reindeer from Unna Tjerusj Sámi community.
Self Guided Experiences
We have self-guided experiences that are included in the price of your stay.
· Skiing on traditional, long wooden skis in the Laponia World Heritage Area. We have prepared a route that will take you out in unspoiled winter wonderland. You will receive a short introduction to the art of skiing before you go – this is the original Sámi way of travelling this area and you will understand why the skiis are so important to the Sámi people. No ski experience required to do this – this is more like walking on top of the snow with skiis.
· Snowshoe trek in Laponia – this route will take you through some untouched forest around the camp. The area around Sápmi Nature Camp is rich on archaeological findings from ancient Sámi life in this area and we have prepared some stops along the route where you can see some of this.
· The Aurora - Welcome to the enjoy the changing and fascinating Arctic lights. Seeing the Northern Lights is probably on most people’s bucket list. Northern Lights occur in what is often called the Aurora Zone – between 650 and 720 North, the Arctic Circle is 660 North. Sápmi Nature Camp is located on 670North. Sometimes, during geomagnetic storms it can be viewed in much wider area. Sápmi/Swedish Lapland is an excellent area for experiencing Northern Light. Sápmi Nature Camp is located far above the Arctic Circle and is also far from any artificial light pollution. The chance to see Aurora is pretty good here. Naturally, the last part of having a good chance to see it is clear weather – and that’s hard to predict nowadays, without clear skies it will not be visible.
Optional Guided Activities
We can add additional activities to your stay which will give you a chance to experience even more of Sápmi with us.
· Visit the reindeer herder and his reindeer. Our family’s reindeer usually spend the winter in an area about 15-20 minutes’ drive from the camp. We will spend about 2-3 hours visiting the reindeer and learning about the industry and working with the reindeer. Max 8 guests.
· Visit the reindeer herder and his reindeer by snowmobile – this is similar to the above, but we travel to the reindeer by snowmobile. This is a full day activity of 5-6 hours, and we will have lunch in the outdoors. Max 4 guests.
· Guided nature experience on Sami skis. We use traditional forest skis on which everyone can ski. We like to call this “walking with skis” and it is a great way to get out and explore the surrounding nature. We will go over the frozen late and though the snowy forest. Max 10 guests. Duration 2-3 hours.
· Ice fishing. Our lake is full of fish such as pike and perch and trout. We will go out onto the lake and drill small holes to fish through. We will teach you how to fish while enjoying a tea or coffee we have taken with us. Duration 2-3 hours.
· Moose and wildlife safari to StoraSjöfallet – a guided tour by vehicle in the Laponia World Heritage with good chances to see Moose and wild birds. Duration 4 hours.
· A platter of local snacks as well as soft drink to enjoy at the Sauna.
Sapmi Nature Camp is located in nature outside the small Arctic towns Jokkmokk and Gällivare. With car/minivan it takes less than 1 hour to drive to the camp from Gällivare. We are so much in nature that Google don’t even know where we are – but fortunately we do! The place is named Nábrreluokta (which means birch bark bay in Sámi language), located in Sjávnja Nature Reserve, part of Laponia World Heritage Area