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From all around the world top businessmen, Russian oil oligarchs and Hollywood celebrities travels to the tiny village of Lassbyn in Norrbotten, northern Sweden. Here our long time customer Fredrik Broman runs Aurora Safari Camp, the world’s first glampsite in an arctic winter climate. The popular destination has been long in the making and started over 20 years ago on the African savannah.

Broman in africaFredrik Broman is born and raised along the Råne river valley in Norrbotten. The forest, the flowing waters and photography are passions that have been important all through his life. Fredrik is a trained teacher and as part of his teaching degree he travelled to Kenya in the late 90’s to work at the Swedish school in Nairobi and to write and take photos for a textbook. As time went by he got to spend more time with his camera and developed his great interest in photography. His hobby became a job as a photo-safari guide, and the start of his career in the tourism industry.

In Kenya he met the fellow Swede Jonas Geijke, who ran several Safari-camps, ranches, and tourist agencies in eastern Africa that served some of the wealthiest people in the world. The customers expected an exceptional experience close to nature and wildlife, but they also had high expectations about the service and accommodation, even if the campsite was far out on the savannah in the middle of nowhere.

“In Kenya Jonas taught me what “glamping” was, even though that phrase did not really exist back then”, Fredrik says.

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As a photographer Fredrik got the job to bring prominent Brits, Americans and Australians out in the African wilderness to try to see and photograph wild lions, rhinoceros and elephants.


Fredrik Broman Photo P r KassbergBack to his roots

After a couple of years in Africa, Fredrik felt like he wanted to get back to his roots in Norrbotten. He had an urge to make use of everything that he learned as a photo-guide on the African campsites, but to do it in Sweden. This time with moose and reindeers instead of lions and elephants, where Fredrik could show his guests around the places where he grew up and that he holds close to his heart.

“I felt like the photo-tours were not enough. I wanted my own campsite, a place where I would be able to bring guests and offer them a high-end experience. Something similar to what we would offer at a campsite in an African safari”, says Fredrik.

Fredrik first got the idea of his own campsite when he returned from Africa in 2001, but it would take 12 years until his vision came to life when Aurora Safari Camp welcomed their first guests in 2013. The glamping site is situated about 40 kilometres north of Boden, outside of the tiny village of Lassbyn in Råne River valley, just below the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden. The camp was originally made up of our four Cirrus 20 Nordic tipis that can be set as double, twin or family rooms, and our larger Cirrus 40 event tent that serves as a lounge and where the guests are served food. Fredrik Broman says that a tipi shaped structure was the obvious choice for the campsite.

your room in the wild at aurora safari camp medium

“I wanted to have more time off in the summers so that I could spend more time with my family when my kids were young. That is why I wanted to have a winter camp. A winter camp would also be more unique in the world, for that I needed a semi-permanent structure that could carry a snow load and be heated with a stove”, says Fredrik.

exterior at the camp

Even more glamping

This year, after eight seasons on its current location Aurora Safari Camp will reopen in a new place. The new campsite will be in the forest on Fredrik Broman’s family estate, where five generations of the Broman family have used the land.

“My own land will be some kind of private sanctuary. It feels amazing, and a natural continuation of the story”.

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The new camp site sits just along the water in the Råne River valley and faces north, which is a good thing if you are trying to get a glimpse of the Northern lights. Guests will be able to stay in a brand new Nordic tipi that we have developed.

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Aurum 33 is the first model in our new range of glamping-tents from Tentipi. It is a luxurious Nordic tipi made to withstand the harsh Nordic winter climate, yet with an elegant design with several porches and windows which provides lots of natural light creates pleasant lighting in the Nordic tipi.

“It is so amazing that it is still a traditional Nordic Tipi, yet at the same time it has a totally different space with the bay windows and the light inlets. It’s a whole new experience, but the roots are still there”, Fredrik says.

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A lot ot foreign guests

Over the years the vast majority of the guests have come from other places than Sweden. Their stay has been tailored to fit urban people that have a great interest in nature and the environment, and that have a lot of money to spend their vacations. A similar customer base that travelled to the safari lodges in Africa.

A few years ago, Fredrik’s long-time friend Jonas Geike returned from his 25-year stay in Africa and moved to Sweden with his Kenyan family. He is now the co-owner of the camp with Fredrik, and is responsible for many of the activities the guests can experience at the camp. During the winter season Aurora Safari Camp offers a lot of activities for the guests, such as snow mobile tours, dog sleigh rides or visit the sauna on a frozen river. But along the years, the customer’s expectations have changed and they are no longer just asking for exciting activities.

huskie adventure from the camp

“When we started I had a feeling that many of the guests was there just to check off their bucket list. You know dog sledding, seeing the Northern lights and so on. However, nowadays I see that many people are more interested in learning about the subarctic lifestyle”, says Fredrik.

It’s the human stories that interest the foreign guests, stories about Fredrik and his family, life around the Arctic Circle and how he ended up there.

“I did not believe that I could bring so much of our arctic civilization to our guests, but now I realize that it is exactly what we need to do. It is so nice to be able to give that to our guests and tell them about this little valley, the Råne River valley, which is the longest remote river valley in Sweden”, he says.

They get to hear stories about how they go on in their everyday life, how the houses are built, how to keep warm and how to make a fire.

“It is so remote up here, yet at the same time very modern, it is like two worlds are colliding. Everyone who lives here knows how to make a fire, or how to survive in cold weather. At the same time the villages up here are connected so that you can play the PlayStation 4 online with a fibre-optic connection”, says Fredrik.

Covid strikes – but brings new possibilities

The last year has been nothing like Fredrik Broman ever experienced before. When the pandemic hit, borders closed and countries locked down it made it more or less impossible for international travel. This was a hard hit for most businesses in the tourism industry, and was also the case for Aurora Safari Camp. Fredrik Broman says that they experienced a dramatic loss in revenue, but he also sees the pandemic as a small blessing in disguise as they have had time to focus to find a way to reach more domestic guests, something that they had struggled with for a long time.

“The pandemic made Swedes look within Sweden to find experiences here, when the world around them was closed. This winter we found the recipe to reach the Swedes”, says Fredrik.

The recipe that Fredrik Broman is referring to consists of showing Swedes the scenery and experiences through the eyes of foreign guests.

the summer landscape around the camp

“They understand that they have had somewhat of a blind spot about the beauty of their own country. It’s been a great help to be able to share our foreign guests sense of awe of what they have been seeing here, to tell them what a Hollywood actor thought about their visit to a forest in northern Sweden”, says Fredrik Broman.


The future is bright

In May 2021 there are still some restrictions on how we are allowed to travel, but it seems like we have brighter times ahead. Fredrik already has some bookings for the future and he thinks that people are more eager than ever to travel, when all the restrictions at last are lifted.

“I think that the motivation of the travellers will change after the pandemic. A lot of urban people from the big cities like London, Berlin or New York just wants to get out of there for a while. To get out in the wild, to the quietness and feel natural biomass under their feet”, says Fredrik Broman.

 

Photos from ©Fredrik Broman, Aurora Safari Camp

Visit Aurora Safari Camp: https://www.aurorasafaricamp.com/

husky adventure from aurora safari camp

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