Brown Bear Encounter

4 days
from
815 €
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 1 review >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
WBW
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Short Breaks
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–12

Amazing wildlife in a stunning setting with highly experienced guides

As if impatient from the tortuously cold winter months, far Eastern Finland emerges from hibernation in full bloom, its fauna keen to redress the balance. Delve into the wilderness to unravel and illuminate some of its remarkable wildlife: bears, beavers, wolves and wolverines. For budding photographers, we also have the benefit of a wealth of experience from highly commended local photographer Lassi Rautiainen. This is the perfect quick getaway for wildlife and photography enthusiasts or for those who simply wish to experience the tranquility of nature.

Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature
  • Spend a night in a hide observing Brown bears
  • Cosy camp in stunning wilderness setting

Key information

  • 2 nights Kuikka Basecamp, 1 night bear hide
  • 4 days land only / flight inclusive 
  • Travel by private minibus

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
+91 531 40 28
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Kajaani
to
Kajaani
  • Day 1

    Start Kajaani; to Kuikka Basecamp.

    Those on the group flights will be met at Kajaani airport and taken to Basecamp Kuikka. Land only clients should meet the rest of the group at Basecamp. When everyone is together, there will be a late dinner and a slideshow about the local flora and fauna.
    Basecamp Kuikka

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Guided wilderness hike; early evening transfer to bear hide for the night.

    After breakfast we head out into the Finnish wilderness for a 3 hour guided hike to discover the habitat surrounding Basecamp Kuikka. This hike is taken at a slow pace to allow time to soak in the surroundings and take photos along the way. In the afternoon we transfer to one of the many hides in the area. As the hides can only take a limited number of people the group may be split up into smaller groups. The rules are quite strict when in the hides; no perfumes, smoking, noisy wrapping paper and cameras that flash or go 'beep'. This may seem excessive, however the number one priority when in this area is to not disturb the wildlife. After all, you are a guest in their habitat. During your time at the hide you will be provided with sandwiches, fruit and refreshments to keep you going through the night. At this time of year there is between twelve and sixteen hours of direct sunlight and two or four hours of twilight, so remember to bring a good camera as this site offers excellent photographic opportunities. With everything set up to view the large predators that live in the area, all that is left is a little bit of luck.
    Overnight in a bear hide

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Optional canoe on the lake near Basecamp Kuikka; optional overnight bear hide.

    In the morning we transfer back to Basecamp Kuikka where those who stayed glued to their cameras all night will be able to get their head down onto a pillow and catch up on some sleep. In the afternoon there is the option to use the camp boat or canoe to explore the lake next to basecamp. For those who wish to have another night observing the wildlife from the hides, there will be the option of returning again in the late afternoon. If you didn't see a bear on your first night in the hide, this visit will be included free of charge - please see the accommodation section for more details about the bear hide.
    Basecamp Kuikka

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    To Kajaani airport; end.

    Our trip comes to an end after breakfast today. Anyone on the group flight will be transferred back to Kajaani airport in time for their flight home. Land Only clients are free to make their own arrangements today.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Finland

No visa required for UK passport holders visiting Finland.

Vaccinations

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

In the itinerary we state which meals are included on which day. All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners are included. For the night in the bear hide you will be provided with tea and sandwiches. If you are a vegetarian please inform our sales team at the time of booking.

Weather

Summer in Finland sees the mean daily temperature constantly above 10ºC. Summer usually begins in late May in southern Finland and lasts until mid-September.The highest summer temperatures in the Finnish interior are from 32ºC to 35ºC.

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded as Leisurely with a safari rating of 4. Leisurely grade trips are designed for people who are in good health, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip packed with interest.

As the location of this trip is not far from the Arctic circle, daylight hours are longer than that of the UK and can range from between twelve to sixteen hours of direct sunlight and two to four hours of twilight. When out in the sun care should be taken to drink plenty of water and protect yourelf, especially when out in the canoe as the suns intensity can be amplified by reflections off the lake.
Please note that the facilities in the bear hide are fairly basic with dry toilets and no showers (please see accomodation section for further details) - they are designed in such a way as to fit in with the natural surroundings and not interfere with any wildlife.

Call us on
+91 531 40 28
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Basecamp Kuikka & Bear Hide

We indicate in the itinerary what type of accommodation is provided on each day. The descriptions below are guidelines only and are used to give an idea of the accommodation offered, rather than an exact description.

Basecamp Kuikka

Basecamp Kuikka is a run by wildlife photographer Lassi Rautiainen and his family, who are extremely knowledgeable about the residents who live in the surrounding wilderness. Located on the shores of Lake Kuikka, this former forest worker's residence close to the Russian border is a traditional Finnish rural log house. Although basic, the inside is cosy with clean running water, internet connection and satellite television. The Rautiainen family make it an extremely welcoming atmosphere and often hold evening lectures in the dining room about the wildlife of the area. Basecamp Kuikka has 8 dormitory style rooms with bunk beds fitting up to 2-8 people in each room. Toilet facilities are communal, as are the shower facilities. As this is Finland, of course the accommodation wouldn't be complete without the traditional sauna and optional smoke sauna (which takes 6 hours to heat).

Bear Hide

One of the nights is spent in a bear hide located near the Russian/Finnish border. In total there are 14 hides, all in different settings: forest, lakeside and open marsh land. The type of hide that you will be in during the weekend will depend entirely on availability, however if you wish to try a different backdrop to the one that you experienced in the included itinerary then there is the option to return to a different bear hide in the evening of day three (please see optional extras section) which will be provided for free if no bears are seen (please note, this will only be provided if you absolutely do not see a bear. This is not dependant on how long the bear is seen for). Hides fit up to a maximum of 5 people so larger groups will be split up into different hides. Facilities in the hides are basic, although all have comfortable viewing chairs and docking stations for your camera meaning no tripod is necessary. As you will have the option of sleeping on the soft hide floor you will be asked to take off your shoes when entering. All hides are equipped with dry toilets.

Single accommodation is available for a supplement, please enquire for details.

Call us on
+91 531 40 28
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

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  • Reviewed September 2014
    Adam Roberts

    If you go down to the woods today...

    A thoroughly enjoyable short getaway to a beautiful and peaceful destination. There were four different hide locations in and around the no-mans land area on the Russian border - a truley unique and magical setting. Seeing such majestic bears and wolves up close at sunset left all of us mesmerised and certainly made the long nights worthwhile. It was only a matter of a few hours before the first sighting and there was space for a nap in your sleeping bag during the hours when there wasn't any sunlight. The food at the base camp was hearty (lots of meatballs!) and really delicious.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a bear for the first time. I had gone with the hope of experiencing just one sighting, yet after the first night in the hide the trip had already surpassed my expectations as i saw 12 sightings of 4 different bears plus a fleeting glimpse of 2 wolves. No wolverines unfortunately! Swimming in the lake after enjoying a few beers in the smoke sauna - a wonderfully refreshing feeling that is hard to re-create any other way. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sami and his family were very friendly hosts at their comfortable and homely base camp in the woods, they worked all hours and went out of the way to take me fishing and make sure that the saunas were ready when you wanted them. Antii took us walking out in the woods and was also great company - all the staff spoke English really well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some warm clothes for the nights in the hide - they are insulated but quite basic as you would expect for small hides. You make yourself a packed lunch before setting off in the evening and the base camp provides you with thermos flasks to fill up so no need to pack one of these. They can also rent out equipment such as camera clamps should you need them. People should be aware that the best opportunity for washing whilst at the base camp is the Finnish way i.e. a suana (they have both regular and smoke saunas) followed by a dip in the fresh water lake (so clean that you can drink it). There are showers on site but you don't get total privacy. If you want to rent a canoe or go fishing then it is best to arrange this in advance through Exodus.  

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on +91 531 40 28