Churchill Wild—Seal River Heritage Lodge is a celebration of a wilderness very few know: the Arctic tundra. What seems like an endless frozen expanse is actually a thriving and complex ecosystem, the site of two great wildlife migrations (belugas and caribou), and the theater of the magnificent aurora borealis. This is a place where you can watch polar bears roaming against an unexpected backdrop of dazzling magenta, as fireweed carpets the tundra in summer. You can get close enough to beluga whales to see their smiles—and then they’ll get closer, responding to your sounds and studying you with little inhibition. You can fly over a vast landscape to the heart of the caribou migration for a rare view of this annual exodus.
Guests choose one of three distinct adventure packages that draw on the best of the summer and fall in the Arctic, from outings on the Hudson Bay in the warmer months to a photo safari timed with the return of the polar bears—and the ice—to the bay’s shores. Amid all the boreal majesty, Seal River Heritage Lodge is your cozy retreat, where fantastic meals are served with an expansive view, the guides regale you with their thoughtful insights and their wilderness tales, and the service is so warm and friendly you’ll feel absolutely at home on the remote Arctic tundra.
When the owners of Churchill Wild, Mike and Jeanne Reimer, drew up plans for Seal River Heritage Lodge, they sought a location that capitalized on all the magic of the Arctic. They were well suited for the task: Jeanne’s family owned a hunting and fishing lodge in Manitoba, and she and Mike had both lived many decades in the Canadian Arctic. The lodge they built, a comfortable, cozy outpost on the shores of the Hudson Bay, invites you into one of the greatest wildernesses on the planet, where polar bears forage, belugas teem by the thousands to calve, and caribous tramp across the tundra on their annual migration.
Churchill Wild is one of the only adventure companies in the world that prefers to approach the Arctic tundra on foot. The experience is intimate and thrilling, and it inspires a deep appreciation for the complexity and the richness of this northern wilderness. You would never be bussed around to park by a polar bear here. Instead, you’re one of the lucky few to observe these powerful creatures from ground level, learning from your guide how to watch safely and pick up cues from the bears' body language.
Guests who reserve their space through National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World are treated to an exclusive excursion tailored to the adventure package they choose. With the Birds, Bears, and Belugas, climb into kayaks for a paddle on the Hudson Bay. On the Arctic Safari, go foraging for berries with the lodge chefs and then join them in the kitchen to cook up a delectable dessert. Guests on the Polar Bear Photo Safari are invited on a behind-the-scenes tour of the lodge and its operations with owner Mike Reimer.
Sustainability is a both a driving principle and a necessity at Seal River Heritage Lodge. Any notion of a “grid” is miles away from here, and Churchill Wild has eagerly embraced this autonomy. The lodge was built using mostly local lumber and recycled materials, and solar power supplies most energy. Gray water is recycled, food waste is composted, soaps and detergents are biodegradable, and all non-recyclable trash is flown to Churchill to be disposed of properly. Seal River emphasizes leaving a light footprint in the most literal way: guests walk with the wildlife on most outings, instead of using vehicles.
In addition, the lodge works closely with Oceans North Canada, an Arctic conservation nonprofit led by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The lodge frequently serves as a base for researchers working on projects as diverse as tagging and monitoring belugas and excavating nearby ancient Inuit sites.
Travel Manitoba Tourism Awards: Winner, Sustainable Tourism; Finalist, Award of Distinction, 2015
Tourism Industry Association of Canada: Finalist, Traveller Experience and Small/Medium-Sized Business of the Year, 2015
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