Sápmi and the Sami
The land of the Sami, called Sápmi in their own language (parts of it also known as ‘Lapland’), spans Arctic Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. The Sami are one of the world’s indigenous people with their own language, culture and customs that differ from the societies around them. And a tip from us; put a smile on the face of a Sami by calling them just that and referring to their land as Sápmi.
Sápmi is a land of snow-capped mountains, wild rivers, pristine lakes and streams, tundra and forest. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty, peace and quiet and is a perfect get-away-from-it-all destination.
The Sami have lived here since time immemorial and their forefathers were hunters and fishermen and gathered wild plants and berries. Basically they lived off the land and did not exploit it, and this thought is very much at the heart of the Sami-owned and run activity operators in the region. You’ll recognize them from their ’Sápmi Experience’ quality label.
Reindeer are a central element of how the Sami live their lives, a legacy from the hunter/gatherer period with the herders following the reindeer on their ancient migration routes and seasonal foraging grounds, from winter to spring, summer to autumn.
At Njarka Sami Camp by Lake Häggsjön, just west of Åre, Sweden’s biggest ski resort, you can get up close and personal with reindeer at this reindeer farm. Here you can learn about reindeer, feed them and their calves, try lassoing and learn about Sami culture and customs. Open from July 1 to August 15 and can open longer by agreement.
If you want to go for the full-on reindeer experience then visit Nutti Sámi Siida for a reindeer sledding trip, or try hiking with a Sami guide and make your base the wonderful Reindeer Lodge. The centre is close to Jukkasjärvi, the site of the ICEHOTEL (in wintertime that is). Open year-round.
There are many things to do in Sápmi, including horse riding, world-class fishing and hunting, nature tours and many, many others.