I just returned from a wonderful stay in Greenland with Nomad Greenland. They operate sustainable "glamping" camps that give you a true feel for being in Greenland. My experience began when my host Inuuteq picked me up at the airport from my late evening flight from Reykjavik. At the moment, flights to Greenland leave from Denmark and Iceland--I chose Iceland because of the non-stop flight to Nuuk.
Inuuteq is a native Greenlander and he served as my guide for the entire stay. I felt like I'd make a friend right away and we chatted about everything from the logistics of the trip to life in Greenland to world politics. After a short drive, I arrived at the hotel in Nuuk and spent a quick overnight before heading to the boat around 10am the next morning. The weather wasn't the best and due to fairly strong winds, I was transferred using what is called a closed boat. The differences in the boats are simple---one is closed to the elements and the other is a RIB boat and you are completely exposed to the elements (for better or worse).
In a closed boat, it takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to get to Kiattua camp. We didn't see one other boat after leaving the Nuuk harbor and the closer we got to camp, the more ice we saw. If you weren't paying attention, you would drive right by the camp. There really isn't a reason to be hidden as so few people come to this area, but I do appreciate the thought that went into making the camp blend into the surroundings. The welcoming committee, including Gin the dog, met me on the dock and I walked up to the camp to see where I would be spending the next 4 days.
The camp is very comfortable. Currently the camp can accommodate about 12 guests at a time, but they limit the number of separate guests at 3---meaning if 3 single people are traveling alone, the camp would be full with 3. Or 3 couples would make the camp full at 6. I shared the camp with 2 other families for my first 2 nights---the kids were older (16+ years old)---and enjoyed how the meals are served family style to encourage conversation. Kids of all ages are welcomed at the camp. The last night, I was the only guest.
The tents are private and have a real bed and a chair. You also have a private bathroom tent, but that is a few steps away from your sleeping tent. New this year are flushable toilets which is a little crazy considering how remote the camp is---but it is a nice perk. The staff turned on the bed and room heaters while I was at dinner, so I was never cold in the tent. During the day, I only came into the tent to change clothes or perhaps take a quick nap after a long day of hiking. With views like these, I always wanted to be outside.
The plan for your stay a camp is basically no plan :) I say this in the best possible way. This is not a trip where you can say at 10am you will hike and at 2pm you will kayak. The weather is the number one driving factor and do have to work within that constraint, but otherwise, you and your host can decide to do what you want pretty much whenever you like. My expectations were pretty simple---I wanted to hike and see icebergs. I accomplished that within an hour of arriving at camp. You can hike up to the waterfall right from camp. Hike perhaps isn't the right word though as there are no hiking paths---there are paths between the tents to help maintain the vegetation at camp as people are always walking back and forth, but outside the perimeter, you simply walk. I followed Inuuteq pretty closely as he knew where the holes were and which areas were swampier than others. To my eye, it was a beautiful blanket of green with a few sparks of color....very small flowers. I loved how when you brushed the vegetation, it brought up a wonderful smell. Staying at Kiattua stimulates all of your senses and makes the journey really memorable.
I had all kinds of weather (except snow) during my stay and the scenery takes on a different feel with the weather. The clouds make it feel mysterious and the sun highlights all of the little details like the subtle color changes of the ice. I also visited during a time when it never truly gets dark---the sun sets around 11:45pm and rises again at 3am and in between is twilight. Sort of just like a really cloudy day. It is sort of eery, but gave me the impression of having more time. The first 2 photos below show the difference between a sunny morning and an after midnight twilight.
I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves---this is random selection from my activities while at Kiattua, including some amazing food using mostly local Greenlandic ingredients.
I would love to help you plan your journey to Greenland. Now is the time to visit to have this peaceful experience---starting 2025 the airport will be getting larger and more people will visit. Greenland is trying to be strategic to allow for travelers to visit while still keeping the environment, culture and beauty intact.
Tracey is the owner of Unraveled Travel and has traveled to every continent (thanks to the recent visit to Antarctica!