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 patiently in our specially designed hides, 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 and this new location has some of the largest males visiting each evening. The Bears in Finland during the autumn are mainly nocturnal but at this location they still visit during the afternoon. We have timed this trip to be at the peak of the Autumnal colours and these old growth forests look spectacular at this time of the year, add the beautiful Brown Bear to scene and it really is a stunning mix for some great photography. Red Squirrel and forest birds offer plenty of rewarding daytime options as well.
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 Viksimo which will be our base for the duration of the trip. We’ll arrive too late for any hide based photography for the bears this evening.
Day 2: After the long day travelling the day before I suggest you use this spare day to relax, ready for our first afternoon encounter with the bears. Breakfast and lunch will be served at certain times and I will advise once there. We can spend the morning setting up a small feeding station for the local small birds and Red Squirrels. The small birds visiting the feeding station can be Crested Tit, Bullfinch and Siskin.
Dinner is around 1.00pm and then we get ready for the short journey to the bear hides. We have exclusive use of 6, 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 short only 5 minutes or so. The forest hide is set in the pine trees and the activity can last all afternoon here as this is the first port of call for many of the bears; it is a beautiful setting in old growth pine trees. The pond hide is a fantastic location too and on still evenings you can get reflections as the bears are fed around the edges of the pond. We leave the hides at around 7.30pm as it is dark by then and so you don’t spend the evening in the hides. We head back to base camp for dinner.
Days 3-5: Each afternoon follows the same routine and after lunch we transfer to our chosen hide for the Bear photography session. We have to be in the hides by 2.00pm so by now we will be well into our routine. You will spend 1 afternoon in each of the hides so giving you a varied portfolio. You can have a couple of hours with the bird feeding station if you want it is your choice in the mornings after breakfast. We can also have image review each day.
Day 6: After breakfast we will be returning to Kajaani airport for our flights home.