Musk ox safari

I hold my breath, terrified of scaring these majestic animals. The guide taps me on the shoulder and points. A little further away, there are ten more animals. I'm filled with awe, aware of just how small I really am. I'm on a musk ox safari on Dovrefjell

Our day begins with a meeting with our guide, who accompanies us for the rest of the day. He tells us that Dovrefjell is the only place in Europe where we'll find a healthy herd of musk ox, and today we'll be carefully entering the kingdom of the musk ox to view this majestic beast at close quarters.

 

Good detection rate
We drive towards Kongsvold, and on our way there we chat about what we should do if any of the animals approach us. Because we are quite sure we will findd the beasts today. Our guide tells us that they have a detecton rate of almost 100%, and they visit the musk oxen almost every day – all year round! Our guide reassures us that we'll be safe as long as we stay a decent distance away, at least 200 metres, and don't actively do anything to provoke the animals. He tells us about a tourist a few years ago who tried to feed a musk ox some bread, and about the subsequent trip to St. Olav's Hospital in Trondheim by helicopter. The tourist survived, luckily, but this tale underlines the importance of treating the animals with respect.

Out and about
When we arrive in Kongsvold, we pick up our rucksacks, hang our binoculars round our necks and head off along Stroplsjødalen towards Kolla. Our guide tells us he often finds musk oxen in this area. He also tells us enthusiastically about the animal and plant life we see on our tour. It's exciting to hear about the unique ecology of Dovrefjell, which is characterised by special rocks and botanical gems. We head towards a small hill, and in the distance we see something that looks like some big rocks. Tere are six of them, and our guide lets us know that we've found what we were looking for. These six brown rocks are actually six musk oxen – four cows, a bull and a calf. We approach with caution, but always remain a safe distance away. We raise our binoculars, and the sight that greets us is indescribably. There's something very special about seeing these magnicent beasts in their own surroundings, grazing lazily in the green hills.

Encounter with animals
I hold my breath, terrified of scaring these majestic animals, as I study them carefully through my binoculars, the guide taps me on the shoulder and points. A little further away, there are ten more animals. I'm filled with awe, aware of just how small I really am. People are snapping away on their cameras all around me – there are plenty of unique subjects round here. Our guide explains that the calf we can see in the distance is very young, as it hasn't grown horns yet. He also tells us that the animals we can see here are part of a larger herd of almost 50 animals who often graze in this area.

Lunch in the open
We sit down and enjoy a picnic while we continue to study the majestic creatures. While we sit there, one of the calves gets up and suckles from its mother. The others lie peacefully on the ground and let the day flow by. Time ceases to exist. All is peace, quiet, harmony. It's just as the guide said; these animals are peaceful, proud vegetarians. They have more important things to do than go hunting inedible humans! The musk ox is a peaceful creature, but it goes without saying that you should never annoy any animal that weighs over 400 kilos. We all chat animatedly as we head back to our transport. All of us present feel that we've been part of a wonderful experience here in the wilds. The tour has lasted just five hours, but the memories will stay with us for life.

musk ox dovrefjell