Fredrik Broman runs Aurora Safari Camp in Swedish Lapland, where a rewilding project is letting nature restore itself. Broman works to give visitors a taste of the unique nature and lifestyle of the far north. He told 5 why this place means so much to him.
I’m from a small village here in the Råne river valley. When I was a kid we lived in an Arctic farmhouse with a field leading down to a river. I searched for that subconsciously as an adult and I live in a similar house now, next to a river.
In my 20s I travelled to Kenya and ended up running safaris there. When I came back, it took away a lot of my hemmablindhet – homeblindness – and I realised that this area really has potential. I started doing photo tours up here and I had this idea to build a proper African bush camp but in the Arctic. That’s how Aurora Safari Camp started.
To see these huge forests, some of them untouched or rewilded, it’s really something. For Swedish people, the forest land in Northern Sweden has low status – or it used to. It was all about the mountains. That has changed completely. There’s curiosity now.
“Getting into the community lifestyle is part of the journey”
Our Arctic countryside lifestyle is so special too. Many guests come wanting to see the Northern Lights or to experience the winter climate and do the ‘tick-box’ things like dog sledding and riding a snowmobile. But the thing that transforms people a little bit is to meet the locals and be a part of the community. Just to take a village walk, visit the local grocery store, go out into the wilder areas, learn about the forest, about how to be comfortable in the cold. Swedish clients are very interested in the Arctic lifestyle in their own country, because it’s not found in any towns in Sweden. They want to go ‘forest bathing’, as they call it. Here, it’s just what we do in our normal lives!
That is a part of your journey when you visit here, that you get into our community lifestyle: how to live life in a small Arctic village where it’s completely dark and super cold in winter, completely light in summer. How you heat your house, what you eat, our hobbies, everything. It’s not something you can really buy, it just comes with the package. A journey here challenges people’s view on things. It creates new ideas about how to live your life. That’s fantastic.
In the past this area was more industrial. But as forestry got more mechanised, the area declined. My father’s generation moved away. Now people have moved in with new ideas, from all over the world, locals have moved back, taking on the work of transforming this community from what it was, and these are the people who the guests meet, and they hear their stories.
I hope we can impact future possible projects with Rewilding Lapland through our tourism here. If we can create more corridors for moose and reindeer, together with the Sámi, we can benefit the biosphere. We have that snowball rolling now.