Duration 5 days (4 nights) – 26th to 30th April 2018
Departure/Return Location Kajanni, Finland
Arrival Time To be advised according to flights
Departure Time To be advised according to flights
Group Size 6
Highlights
  • Wonderful picture opportunities of Europe’s most impressive mammal, very early in the season
  • Exclusive individual use of professional grade hides
Included
  • Accommodation and use of hides
  • Single supplement
  • All meals at the venue
  • Transport for excursions
  • PDF Handout
Not Included
  • Flights
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Guide tips
  • Spending Money
  • Travel insurance

The Eastern border of Finland with Russia is home to the magnificent European Brown Bear. This normally shy and reclusive mammal, comparable in size to the Grizzly, roams through these beautiful forests in the search for food. It is to this quiet corner of Finland that our tour will take you in search of these magnificent mammals. 2018 will be Wild Arena’s 14th year at this amazing site and we regard it as one of Europe’s true wildlife highlights.

Our ‘Brown Bear Spring Awakening’ trip is special not only because we are exclusively using the smaller professional grade hides but also because we are visiting very early in the season to maximize our chance of seeing the Bears in snow! This is an awesome and exciting time to visit just as the first Bears are emerging hungry from hibernation. The already wild landscape can be enhanced by the early season weather making for some dramatic opportunities.

We will spend 3 nights at a regular feeding site, which the bears have been visiting for nearly 30 years. Our unique ‘professional grade’ trip is traveling out early in the season to maximize our chances of capturing the Bears in unusual conditions with bare trees and a high probability of snow on the ground. The lodge we are visiting has a number of small ‘pro’ grade’ hides in both open and forested locations and we intend to place each photographer in a different hide on the 3 nights of photography (2 nights in the small hides and 1 night in the main hide). The pro’ hides are designed for 2 photographers but for space, comfort and privacy we will only have 1 photographer at a time in each hide, on each night. The 1 night in the larger hide is useful as you will be accompanied by your guides, giving lots of opportunity to talk about the Bears and photography techniques.

Each purpose built hide is complete with comfortable seats, bunk bed, a simple toilet facility, heater and draw-string camera viewing holes which will allow us to photograph the bears when they are close but in safety. The small hides are checked and moved each winter to ensure that the landscape they overlook is at its most beautiful and pristine and April should be perfect for invoking a true sensation of harsh wilderness in our images.

The bears are likely to visit each of the hides during the evening, overnight and early in the morning for the food that will be carefully placed by our local guides. There is even the rare but tantalizing possibility of spotting Wolverine or Wolves that might also be drawn close by the food at this lean time of year, truly an amazing sight!

To maximize our chances of getting the best pictures we will stay overnight in the hides so drinks and snacks will be provided by our hosts for everyone. After leaving the hide in the morning we’ll have a hearty breakfast back at the Forest Lodge and then spend the days at leisure before we re-entering the hides again for a further 2 nights of fantastic photographic possibilities.

During the days there will be plenty of chance to get some rest and also to photograph in the ancient northern forest surrounding the lodge. Possible subjects include the wildlife that visits the Lodge feeders such as Bullfinch, Siberian Jay and Northern Red Squirrel. The Lodge has extremely comfortable rooms with hot showers and superb home cooking so everyone should be well looked after during their stay.

The trip will be escorted by our highly experienced UK photographic guide, who will work in conjunction with the local rangers to get the best opportunities from the trip. The guide will also be able to spend time, during the trip, to help guests improve their photographic skills by a careful briefing, camera advice and reviewing ongoing results.

Please contact us immediately if you would like more details or wish to make a booking!

1

Day 1: Departure

(D)

Depart UK for Kajaani via Helsinki. Met by your guides at Kajaani airport. 2 hour mini bus drive to The Remote Forest Lodge for late afternoon and a chance to settle in to this wonderful wilderness setting. Dinner and a welcome briefing.

2

Day 2

(B,L,D)

Breakfast. Optional guided walk in surrounding forest. Late lunch/dinner followed by a Bear photography presentation and briefing session by your Wild Arena guide. We will also decide on which of the professional hides everyone will be positioned in. We will then move to the hides either in vehicles, on foot or possible using snow mobile trailers if conditions permit. The evening will then be spent photographing any attending bears. The group will then be walked out of the hides the following morning.

3

Day 3

(B,L,D)

Leave hides at 7am and back for hearty breakfast. The day can then be spent at leisure with a chance to catch up on some sleep. There is also opportunity to photograph the varied visitors to the garden feeders (Red Squirrel, Siberian Jay etc) Late lunch/dinner and then a repeat of the evening/over night hides session as per day 2. We will rotate the group over the 3 nights of photography so everyone spends each night in a different hide

4

Day 4

(B,L,D)

Leave hides at 7am and back for hearty breakfast. The day can then be spent at leisure with a chance to catch up on some sleep. There is also opportunity to photograph the varied visitors to the garden feeders (Red Squirrel, Siberian Jay etc.) Late lunch/dinner and then a repeat of the evening/over night hides session as per day 3.

5

Day 5: Return

(B)

Leave hides at 7am and back for hearty breakfast. Late morning transfer by minibus back to Kajaani for return flight to London Heathrow. 

Please note: – The itinerary is provisional and subject to change depending on local conditions. Not all wildlife mentioned can be seen well at all times of the year & some activities mentioned may not always be available.
Meals included are as shown – B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Our trip is based in Eastern Finland at the Martin Selkonsen Remote Forest Lodge. This small, family run wildlife lodge has well appointed rooms (priced for single occupancy in this tour), wonderful dining room with open fire, sauna facilities and options for walks in the magnificent forest surroundings

26th to 30th April 2018

How to Book

To book one of these dates please select it from the calendar on the right hand side ‘Book Now’ tab to add to your cart. The value shown on the basket will be the deposit for the trip of 20%, with the balance becoming payable 8 weeks before departure.

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