Kangerlussuaq – Experience the great Ice Sheet
The Greenland Ice Sheet
The main entrance to Greenland is the airport Kangerlussuaq which in the summertime has daily arrivals from Copenhagen with an Airbus 320, and in winter up to 4 flights a week from Copenhagen.
We always recommend our clients to spend at least one night in Kangerlussuaq before moving on, allowing them to set foot on the Ice Sheet and – with a little luck – see the wild muskoxen and reindeer which roam the area around the airport community.
The village of Kangerlussuaq, which means “big fjord” in Greenlandic, is situated on a plain overlooking the 170-kilometer long fjord. At the fjord’s midpoint lies The Arctic Circle. The area’s geological origins combined with its geography present a real gift for all explorers – a distinctive nature with abundant plant and animal life, grassy tundra and access to the Greenland Ice Sheet, which is only 25 km (16 miles) from Kangerlussuaq by dirt road.
To walk on the Greenland Ice Cap is a unique experience! We offer easy excursions as well as full-day hikes on the Ice Sheet and even overnight stays on the ice at Camp Ice Cap.
The Ice Sheet in Greenland
The trip to the Ice Sheet is mainly made by large cross-country vehicles. The scenery that you will pass on the way there is very varied. You are likely to encounter green patches of grass on the one side of the car and small whirling tornadoes of sand in the Arctic desert on the other side of the car. Do not get alarmed at the word ‘tornado’, as the whirlwinds are rarely more than a couple of meters tall. But you might come across them, and they do make for a great photo opportunity.
Once you are at the ice sheet, you may want to make a stop to inspect the enormous wall of ice raising up in front of you or go one step further and walk up on the ice itself. It is an incredible feeling standing there, knowing that you are surrounded by kilometres and kilometres of ice. Even below you there is nothing but ice.
Those explorers with a stronger sense of adventure, should consider staying overnight in Camp Ice Cap – a small tent camp where you can get a feeling for what polar explorers must feel when they set off into the icy wilderness! Camp Ice Cap is a unique experience – historically the Inland Ice Cap has always been the domain of polar researchers and expedition crews. With this small tent camp, those of us who are not scientists or have time to spend months in the wilderness can still get a fantastic adventure and some magnificent photos too!
Kangerlussuaq – home of the Northern Lights
Not everyone knows this, but you cannot see northern lights everywhere in Greenland. If you go too far north, for instance, there will not be any. In Kangerlussuaq, however, it is very powerful.
Kangerlussuaq has more than 300 days of clear sky a year, making it one of the best places in the world to see northern lights which are visible between October and April.
Another bonus for Northern Light enthusiasts is the very low light pollution in Kangerlussuaq, which is important to get the best possible view of the night sky.
Animal life in Kangerlussuaq
Kangerlussuaq has rich wildlife. The best-known species are probably the musk oxen, the reindeer and the white fox. 27 musk oxen were moved here from northeast Greenland in the 1960s and the move must be said to have been successful – the population has reached 3-4,000 animal because of the better living conditions with more grazing land. Whilst these massive, hairy animals are often seen, we can never guarantee it as the area they move in is vast and they are a naturally shy species.
Dog sledding in Kangerlussuaq
Kangerlussuaq lies north of the Arctic Circle and, therefore, keeping sled dogs is permitted and as a visitor you have the unique opportunity to experience a truly authentic Greenlandic mode of transport; dog sledding. You should absolutely find time to go on a dogsled ride. It is an incredible experience which is firmly anchored in the ancient traditions of the Inuit who settled in Greenland thousands of years ago, and the skilled local mushers always make sure that you are safe and comfortable.