Sparsely-populated North Eastern Finland is an untamed expanse of pristine natural beauty. The dense taiga forest with its many rivers and lakes offers a haven to the elusive European brown bear. Travelling deep into the forest to specially prepared observation hides, we aim to observe this amazing animal in its natural habitat during this exciting short break.
Our trip begins at Kajaani airport (KAJ) at 6.15pm. To join the transfer today the latest your flight can arrive is 5.50pm. We will travel together as a group by bus east towards the Russian border. We'll drive through a magnificent landscape of densely packed forest of both deciduous and coniferous trees broken up by lakes, bubbling streams and rivers, as we make our way to the home of the brown bear. The journey will take around 1 hour 30 minutes. On arrival at the Wild Brown Bear Centre we'll have dinner and then settle in to the surroundings. If time allows, we recommend ending your day by partaking in the pastime that is almost a national obsession in Finland - the sauna. This tour will not be accompanied by a local leader, instead you will be accompanied by a local guide. The guide will not be with you for every section of the tour and will not stay at the accommodation at night or eat out with the group in the evenings. However they will be available for you and your group during the included activities and will help if any problems occur.
This morning we include a guided walk through the forest with a local wildlife guide, to gain a greater insight into the natural history of this pristine region. During the 4 to 5km walk we learn more about the habitat of the brown bear, whilst looking for the other animals and rare plants found in this truly unique area. Lunch today will either be a picnic in the forest or, if the weather isn't on our side then we'll head back to the lodge and enjoy some food around the fire. This afternoon we will walk to our specially prepared hides to spend a night observing bears. Located in a small open wetland area, with a fabulous backdrop of spruce and pine forests the hides have been designed to offer the best opportunity for the observation and study of bears. Each hide accommodates up to 8 people and is equipped with comfortable viewing chairs, a sleeping area and a toilet. Although predominantly a solitary animal, bears do congregate in numbers within popular areas where food is plentiful. Although as with all wildlife viewing we cannot guarantee that bears will be seen, it is common for a number of individual bears to be observed from the hides during any one night. In the viewing season we can expect 12 to 16 hours per day of direct sunlight and 2 to 4 hours of twilight, so maximising the opportunity to see these amazing animals. As well as bears, owls, wolverine, foxes and elk are visitors to this area, so make sure you load a large memory card into your camera!
This morning we return on foot to our lodge located a short walk from the hides. After freshening up, the day is free for personal exploration, although you may wish to join an optional canoeing trip or nature trek (12 km) with our local guide. For those people not wishing to partake in these options, the location of our hotel makes it an ideal place to just sit and relax. There is the opportunity this evening to return to the hides for a second night of bear watching (optional - space permitting) or relax in a traditional smoke sauna. In the unlikely event that bears were not seen on the first night, a second night of bear watching will be included without additional charge.
After breakfast this morning we leave the Wild Brown Bear Centre and begin our journey home. We depart at around 9am and if time allows we drive via Kuhmo, a town located on the banks of Lake Lammasjarvi in the Kainuu region, there is a small museum here detailing the wildlife of the region and offering the chance to pick up a couple of momentos to take home. We'll then continue the transfer to Kajaani airport (KAJ) where the trip ends. If you have a late flight out of Kajaani then you can explore this small town, set on the Kajaani River. There are small craft shops, great coffee shops and a walkway along the riverside to stretch your legs before the flight home.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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