Expert advice and support from your Wild Arena guide
Wonderful picture opportunities of Europe's most impressive mammal very early in the season
Exclusive use of professional photography hides
Comfortable accommodation at a specialist centre on single occupancy basis
Departure Dates21 - 25 April 2017
1. Depart Heathrow (or Manchester) and arrive Kajaani. Transfer to Martinselkonen to overnight.
2. Morning at leisure. Afternoon to overnight in bear hides (both tourist and photography hides)
3. Morning at leisure. Afternoon to overnight in bear hides
4. Morning at leisure. Afternoon to overnight in bear hides
5. Morning breakfast, transfer to airport for international flight. Arrive London Heathrow (or Manchester).
£1695 per person
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. 2017 will be Wild Arena's 13th 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 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 this 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 will 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.