The Taiga forest area has a great expanse of untouched wilderness and offers exceptional wildlife watching and photographic opportunities. Under the supervision of an experienced wilderness guide, it is one of the best areas in Europe for seeing and photographing rare large carnivores in their natural habitat. Meeting the ‘Wild Brown Bear' in its natural environment is an unforgettable experience and of course the opportunity to take the photo shot of a lifetime from the comfort and safety of a specially designed Bear hide. Other rare animals such as the wolverine or the wild deer can also be viewed from the hides.
"Excellent stay with friendly staff. Many hides from which to observe the Bears and if you are lucky wolverines and wolves. Food was plentiful and of good simple standard. For those that want to there is a sauna and it's possible to swim in the nearby lake. Accommodation was basic but clean. Would readily return." - Alan B, Jersey U.K. 2016
Arrival at Kajaani airport and transfer to Kuhmo (approximately one hour). Check in to the lakeside Hotel Kalevala then dinner in the hotel restaurant. Evening saunas with indoor and outdoor jacuzzis.
After breakfast enjoy an introduction to the programme. Take a short walk to visit Petola Nature Centre, a large Carnivore museum where the exhibition 'Predators on the Prowl' is permanently on display, together with comprehensive information on predators such as bear, wolf, wolverine and lynx. The information section also provides a wide range of information related to many interesting aspects of these and other large carnivores. Afternoon transfer to a secret location close to the Russian border for bear watching. On arrival at the main lodge where the hides are located, your guide will brief you on the hides and the bears and other animals that you hopefully will observe. After an early dinner, set out on a guided walk from the main building to the hides. Each shared hide is equipped with comfortable viewing chairs, sleeping bags, bunk beds and a dry toilet. The hides offer a panoramic view of the site and are situated in a small open wetland area with a backdrop of spruce pine and birch forest. For photographers the site offers excellent photography opportunities - there is between twelve to sixteen hours of direct sunlight and two to four hours of twilight each day in the viewing season. A picnic supper of refreshments and sandwiches is provided. Please note that smoking, alcohol and noise are not permitted during the bear watching night. Optional upgrade to a private Bear Cabin.
In the morning after the observation night, transfer back to the Hotel Kalevala for breakfast. The afternoon is free for relaxing or for some great optional activities such as hiking, Nordic walking, biking, fishing, kayaking, SUP paddling, Husky Farm Visit or just for walking in the forests. Then enjoy an evening sauna and jacuzzi before dinner. In the evening perhaps enjoy the optional Elk Safari, searching for these massive creatures in the forest and woodland.
After breakfast, transfer to Kajaani airport.
The operator reserves the right to change the order of activities due to weather or other conditions.