Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella national park, Norway © Lars Ulriksen
Dovrefjell is one of very few places in the world you can find muskox in the wild. I got to photograph a herd of them…
If there is one hike or experience while hiking I never will forget, it’s the one where I got the chance to photograph muskoxen in the wild, at Dovrefjell in Norway. Dovrefjell is one of very few places in the world you can find muskox in the wild. Roughly 260 of these ancient arctic mammals graze here year-round.
In the 1920s, musk oxen bones were discovered during the railroad construction in nearby town Oppdal, suggesting conditions would be favourable for their reintroduction. Ten animals were shipped from Greenland in the 1930s, although most were shot and eaten during the Second World War. A second group successfully settled between 1947 and 1953.
A friend of mine and I drove to Dovrefjell a few years ago, for a little adventure in the Norwegian mountains. It is one of the the best hikes, EVER!
Our main goal was to find and photograph the muskoxen in the wild. The chance to see living remnants of prehistory against a backdrop as Dovrefjell is too good a photographic opportunity to miss. We did not have the money to join one of those guided tours, so we decided to just try to find them on our own.
We started at Kongsvold mountain lodge and hiked towards Reinheim. This is an area where the muskoxen were seen a few days before we arrived. A little “inside info” from one of the locals was our best bet at this point. Nothing to loose… (and we did not really expect to find them either…)
After about 4 hours of trekking we found them!
What an amazing experience! We thought it was a couple of animals, but it turned out to be a large herd of 25-30 animals. We found a perfect spot and started to shoot pictures and enjoy the moment. The Muskox is considered to be a peaceful animal, but you will be advised to keep a 200 meter distance. Before we could get away from them, they were all around us and as close as 10-15 meters. Adrenaline!
Since the amazing experience at Dovrefjell, I’ve upgraded camera, lenses etc. to a whole new level. I hope to get the chance to meet these wonderful ancient arctic mammals again!
If I can find the time and afford it, I would love to go back there this year in September/October. Dovrefjell is not far away at all and it is actually a shame that I have not spent more time in that area. Dovrefjell–Sunndalsfjella national park is called “Norways roof”. Beside muskoxen, you can experience a varied landscape with geological, botanical, zoological and cultural historical gems.
The park contains an almost intact ecosystem that also includes wild reindeer, wolverines, arctic foxes, ravens and golden eagles. The Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park and surrounding protected areas cover approximately 4.367 km², making this one of the largest continuous protected areas in mainland Norway.
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