Finland is one of the last wild places in Europe and this week tour of its forests will showcase you the wildlife that used to share our British woodlands not too long ago. Staying in overnight hides in perfect locations for bears, wolves, wolverines and more you will be in heaven for wildlife lovers. The brown bears here are exceptional and usually spend hours only yards away from the hides and coupled with the long hours of sunlight (well into the night) you can be sure of the best photographic opportunities around. For anyone who loves bears or true wilderness this tour is a must!
4 Nights in Special Bear Hides
All Night Bear Observations
Expert local guides throughout
Guided walks through forests
Wilderness Forest Lodges
Siberian Jay & Parrot Crossbill
Tour Dates: 22/6/2021 – 28/6/2021
Duration: 6 nights
Type / Focus: Bears & Wolverines
On arrival in Kajaani you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your accommodation, level – Forest cabins (Boreal Wildlife Centre Lodge) where you will have your lunch and evening meal. Today there will be an excursion into the forest to try and locate the long-legged Elk here browsing on the trees on the edge of the meadow.
After breakfast you will depart in search for wild forest reindeer in Elimyssalo Nature park. The Elimyssalo Nature Reserve represents the best of forest nature that Kainuu region has to offer. It is a tapestry of different types of mires, old spruce forests draped with beard lichens, lush stream banks, and small lakes and ponds. Here are superb photographic opportunities in the Park itself and in the surrounding forests where forest reindeer move around. You will then drive back to Viiksimo for an early dinner before going to the hide cabin for brown bear and with luck wolf viewing which begins around 16:00. The entire evening and the following night and part of the next morning will be spent in hide cabin, before we return to the lodge for a proper breakfast and well-earned rest. Just as it gets dusk – still with good light here this far north – the brown bears appear out of the forest. We may even catch a glimpse of the scarce and elusive wolves that forage from across the Russian border. There will be wandering immature bears, large territorial males, and possibly mothers protecting their young cubs. The bears can be within yards of the hides for several hours, offering superb photographic opportunities. The hide cabins are equipped with bunks and a toilet although the wildlife watching is usually enough to keep you occupied and awake all night.
After a long rest at our accommodation, level – Forest Cabins (Boreal Wildlife Centre Lodge), there will be local bird watching; as the vicinity of Viiksimo can produce a range of breeding species, including the chance of Rustic Bunting, Parrot Crossbill, Three-toed Woodpecker and Siberian Jay which are all very rare to see elsewhere. After an early dinner at our lodge you will depart for a second night in the hide cabins. Here brown bears, wolves and wolverines will be on the menu until the next morning.
After breakfast and rest at our lodge, we will depart to Lieksa. You will arrive in time for an early dinner at your accommodation, level – 3* Hotel (Hotel Puustelli), before a departure to the log hide cabins for wolverine and with luck brown bear viewing. The drive will take about three hours and on the way we may encounter other mammals of the north including elk, reindeer and Arctic hare, as well as some of the breeding bird specialities. The entire evening, the following night and part of the next morning will be spent in hides, before we return to our hotel for a proper breakfast and well-earned rest. This is one of the best places in the world to see the elusive and legendary wolverine and this is the main animal to see here.
After breakfast and rest at our hotel, you will be taken to search for beavers, the population here was introduced from Northern America, and they now inhabit some of the wetland areas. As well as the animals themselves, we will see dammed streams, felled trees and saplings, and lodges that are a collection of birch and vegetation piled high. You will return to our accommodation, level – 3* Hotel (Hotel Puustelli) around 14:00 for a late lunch buffet before our second departure to log hide cabins for wolverine viewing. Brown bears are also possible here, but not that numerous as at Viisksimo. The entire evening, the following night and part of the next morning will be spent in hides, before we return to the lodge for a proper breakfast and well-earned rest.
After breakfast and rest at our hotel, there is the option to visit Ruunaa Nature Reserve with lake view and rapids close to Russian border. This area is true wilderness with possible encounters of wild forest reindeer and other local species. After lunch you will visit Patvinsuo National Park with its nice mires and wilderness-like nature. The National Park is an internationally important as a mire conservation and research area, with old-growth forests and waterways with sandy shores. The emblem animal of Patvinsuo National Park, is the bear, however they tend to avoid people and are rarely seen, where as beavers and their dams can be seen along almost all the parks streams. Swans, cranes, geese and many waterfowl, tetraonids and birds of prey inhabit the park and make for great bird watching. Birds can be observed from the bird-watching tower at Teretinniemi and bird watching platforms at Lahnasuo and Surkansuo. You will return to our accommodation, level – 3* (Hotel Puustelli) for your farewell dinner.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the Kajaani airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The weather in northern Finland during May and June is usually very nice during the day. The temperature being over 10 degrees C and usually between 15-25 degrees C in the day. Although the nights can be very chilly. Due to being so far north the nights are also very light most of the night.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle with an excellent driver. We have a zoologist to escort you on all your excursions.
All our excursions including guided walks, morning, afternoon and night wildlife watching and park entrance fees are also included. All cabin and hide fees are also included.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be light and airy clothes as well as comfortable walking shoes. As the nights can be chilly we recommend you bring a fleece, long trousers, scarf and a woolly hat. A water proof coat is also a good idea. Insect repellent is handy as there can be mosquitoes about during the evenings and nights. Andy medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far.Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend British Airways or Finnair as good airlines for flights to Kajaani Airport. One of the best websites to search for the best fares is www.odopo.co.uk. They are accredited by IATA which means you can book through them securly.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the any links you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
If you are a British citizen you do not need a visa to enter Finland and citizens from members of the European Union do not require visas to visit Finland either. But please check with your embassy and the British High Commission to see if you are affected by any visa restrictions
There are no health restrictions or recommendations to visit Finland but please refer to your local GP for more information if you suffer from a pre-existing condition.
Caroline Burns, Stone
Mrs van der Merwe, Amsterdam
Chris Suffren - USA