Along the Finnish and Russian Border lies an area of land as empty and wild as it gets in Europe. Amongst this taiga forest roams one of Europe’s most impressive and threatened predators, the Brown Bear. Waiting in our specially designed hides that offer swamp, forest and meadow habitats on a summer evening when darkness hardly falls, a snap of a twig can be heard and there in front of our hide is this magnificent animal only a few feet away. Large dominant males are an awesome sight but the females with young cubs are a joy to behold, especially the playful antics of the cubs. We have now ran trips to Finland in search of Browns Bears for ten years and so we have decided to add a longer trip by utilizing two different locations which will give you a varied portfolio of this iconic predator. Both locations offer completely different perspectives for your images and to spend a whole week working with the forest bears of Finland is going to be a real treat.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: We are all due to travel to Kajaani airport in Finland via Helsinki where we will be met by our Finnish host for the 2-3 hour transfer to Martinselkosen which will be our base for the first four nights of the trip. We’ll arrive too late for any hide based photography for the bears this evening.
Day 2: Our body clocks will take some adjusting as it will be light for 24 hours and after the long day travelling the day before I suggest you use this spare day to relax, ready for our first nights encounter with the bears. Breakfast and lunch will be served at certain times. Dinner is around 3.30 pm and then we get ready for the short journey to the bear hides. We have exclusive use of 4, 2 man hides for the bears and each hide offers completely different images so a good mix is what we are looking for. The walk to the hides is about 15 minutes or so and there can be a few mosquitoes/midges around if it is warm so make sure you have some repellent for this and also in the hides themselves. The forest hide is set in the pine trees and the activity lasts all night long here as this is the first port of call for many of the bears; it is a beautiful setting and with a bit of luck young cubs will be around and they make great shots when they climb the trees to escape the large males. The swamp hide can also attract females with young cubs and the setting again is beautiful especially if the bears stand in the cotton grass. At one point last year we had 17 bears feeding in this large expanse of swamp. The pond hide is a fantastic location and on still evenings you can get reflections as the bears are fed around the edges of the pond.
Days 3-4: Each evening follows the same routine and after dinner we transfer to our chosen hide for the night’s photography. We have to be in the hides by 5.00pm so by now we will be well into our routine. You will spend 1 night in each of the 3 different hide locations. At the end of each night we will be escorted from the hides at 7.30am and back to our base for a deserved breakfast. It can be very tiring as the first thing you want to do is download your images and make sure they are safe and of course have a quick look. If you have one you could take a portable downloader into the hide as when you get a quiet period this vital work can be done then. You can have a couple of hours with the bird feeding station if you want it is your choice.
Day 5: After our third night in the hide we’ll have time to shower and breakfast before transferring to our next base near Viksimo. The location near Viksimo is owned by the same family and is run to the same high standard. It will take between 2-3 hours to transfer to our base. We will have plenty of time to settle in to our rooms and after dinner we will then transfer to the hides for our first night.
Days 6-7: We have three different locations to choose from at Viksimo and so each night we will head to each one. Again we have a forest, Swamp and Pond location so in total throughout the trip you will have six different settings which really give you a great chance to build a portfolio of these beautiful predators. At Viksimo it is mainly large Males that visit the feeding sites. You might even get a chance of photographing Wolverine here too.
Day 8: After our last night in the hides we will go back to our base for breakfast and then be ready for our transfer back to Kajaani Airport for our return flights back home.
What our customers say
“It exceeded all our expectations of seeing and photographing the Bears”
“The maximum amount of time was spent photographing and for me that was one of the reasons I went on the holiday.”
“I enjoyed last year’s trip here so much but this trip exceeded my expectations: it helped make my birthday very special”
“The holiday was great and I particularly enjoyed photographing the dancing cubs”