Amur Leopard & Siberian Tiger Photography Tour
February 11, 2023 - February 28, 2023£1553 – £7240
Amur Leopard & Siberian Tiger Photography Tour
Visit some of the most pristine ecosystems in the world; the Russian states of Ussuri, Primorye and Amur may not evoke the same thoughts and emotions as Siberia. But it is these states that harbour the remaining population of (wrongly named) Siberian tigers and the more correctly named Amur leopards and here there are many protected areas where they can still be found; they are quietly and slowly increasing in number and expanding their range whilst other tigers in the tropical countries of the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia struggle against poaching, deforestation and increasing human population.
We have specialist photography hides set up in good locations for both the Siberian tiger and Amur leopard and have a good track record in seeing these species. However we have set realistic expectations that this trip is very much for tracking of tigers and sightings of a tiger are very rare.
Because of the nature of Siberian tigers we cannot guarantee any sightings; however we can assure you all of an adventure of a life time and one that could result in you becoming one of the only non-Russian people to see wild Siberian tigers and Amur leopards!
Traditional Russian saunas
Expert Russian rangers
Top Animals on Tour
Amur Leopard Cat
Vladivostok – Forest Reserve (Tigers)
Today you will be met at the airport by your guide / interpreter and taken to the national park (~3 hours). On arrival here we will settle into the log cabin / hotel (it has large apartments which we will share) and have some food, we will meet the park rangers and have a briefing about the park, the hide and the way the photography hide operates here. If time allows (the days are short and the nights long here during winter) we will have a guided walk around some of the forest to look for wildlife and evidence of the elusive leopard. Tomorrow will be your first day in the hide.
Forest Reserve (Tigers)
For the next 6 days you will have access to the various hides in the reserve. The hides are built at ground level and also raised off the ground. They can accommodate up to 3 people in each one, so in groups of more than 3 you will be split up. You can change which hides you wish to stay in, rotating etc each day if you wish. You will be able to discuss this with the local guide and rangers whilst there. However you will not be permitted to leave the hides without the local guide or ranger; and we recommend spending as much time in the same hide as possible. This decreases the amount of movement around the hide and disturbance and therefore increases the chances of seeing a tiger.
The hides come equipped with beds, bedding, a toilet, gas heater and we will provide lots of food (we will bring food regularly and you will be in radio contact with the main accommodation).
The locations of the hide were chosen to take advantage of natural features (water sources and the popular food trees utilised by the wild boar and deer species here) so that the ungulate animals naturally like to spend time here during the winter. The high density of prey animals around here increased the chances of tigers using the area too.
To further increase our chances the area has been baited with salt and other minerals as well as grain for up to 2 months prior to our arrival. This is done just for us and is done in the hope that it will increase the presence of the prey animals and therefore the tigers ahead of our arrival. We also bait the area with a deer carcass (the tiger’s natural prey – they scavenge heavily during the winter when hunting is hard) and so we have a good chance that tigers will be around and visiting the hides during our trips.
It is this technique which has led to incredible success with the Amur leopards and you can combine our photography tour for tigers with our photography tour for leopards if you wish.
This morning you will leave the hide and come back to the main building for a shower, to pack up and get ready to leave for the city.
We need this day as there may be people booking just the Amur leopard or Siberian tiger sections of the trip and so people will be departing and arriving tomorrow and so airport transfers are needed. This is also a welcome break from being in the forest.
Forest Reserve (Leopards)
On the morning of day 9 you will leave the city (when any people who are arriving just for the tiger section arrive into Vladivostok). The forests here are vast and home to the last populations of big cats in Russia, you will travel through little villages and glimpse the vastness of the taiga forest and the Sikhote Alin mountains in the distance. These are the habitats of the leopards and other wildlife that we hope to see from our photography hides over the next few days.
For the next 6 days (days 10-15) you will have access to the hide. The hide accommodates 3 people, there are two bunks and one folding camp bed for sleeping and we recommend people spend the entire time (all 5 nights inside the hide). There is a toilet, gas heater and we will provide lots of food (we will bring food regularly and you will be in radio contact with the main accommodation). We recommend staying inside the hide the entire time and maybe receiving food deliveries every 2 days as this will dramatically decrease the disturbance around the hide and thus increase the chances of the leopard (there are 3-5 leopards that are currently using the area around the hide according to camera traps) coming around. The location of the hide was chosen to take advantage of natural features (water sources and the popular food trees utilised by the wild boar and deer species here) so that the ungulate animals naturally like to spend time here during the winter. The high density of prey animals around here increased the chances of leopards using the area too. To further increase our chances the area has been baited with salt and other minerals as well as grain for up to 2 months prior to our arrival. This is done just for us and is done in the hope that it will increase the presence of the prey animals and therefore the leopards ahead of our arrival.
We have had great success in getting leopards around the hide in fact around 90% of our trips have resulted in leopards appearing around the hides whilst we have had clients in the hides. Which is incredible and far better than we ever imagined.
This morning you will be collected from the hide and taken to the forestry hotel for breakfast and to freshen up. From here you will depart back towards the city and to your hotel for your last night in the Russian Far East.
Your guide will inform you of when dinner is booked for and come to collect you from the hotel and take you to a nearby restaurant for your farewell meal.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the 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 the Russian Far East during late winter is very cold, record temperatures are as low as -40 to -50 degrees C; but average around -10 to -20 degrees C. There is also some snow on the ground (particularly in December – January) and when there is a snow storm it is heavy.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) – when in the hide meals are provided in advance and there is a small gas cooker for warming through food. There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle to be driven by a local guide for transfers when needed.
All our excursions including guided walks, hide use and park entrance fees are included; we also include all fees for our team including cooks, assistants and translator.
We include one deer carcass as standard – if a cat comes along and eats the entire carcass early into the trip, then a second deer carcass can be provided but is chargeable as an extra – 2019 prices are USD $800.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars in addition to your camera (no tripod is needed in the hide – there is no room) as well as appropriate clothing; which should be both light and durable walking clothes as well as very warm winter clothes, such as down jackets & trousers, walking socks, gloves, hats, scarfs, fleeces etc. Broken in and comfortable, waterproof walking boots are essential. Any 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.
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. We have also provided night vision goggles which can record, so you can monitor the area after dark, as well as camera traps which will be set up around the hide for your trip and any pictures / videos taken with these will be free for you to have and use.
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 Areoflot as a good airline for flights to Khabarovsk. One of the best websites to search for the best fares for these flights is www.odopo.co.uk; who are IATA accredited this is a link direct to their site. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
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 above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Visas and Health Information
All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for Russia. These are only obtainable in advance from your local embassy. The easiest way to find information is by visiting http://visitrussia.org.uk (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site). A tourist visa costs around £115 for a single entry visa which is valid for 30 days, however things change so please check out the website above for more information.
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Russia, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting Russia as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Reviews of this Holiday
Mr. Lindsay Farkas - Australia
Matthew Roper - Norwich
Ulrich Heinz - Switerland
Mr. Nicolas Huser - Switzerland
M. Baptise Bataille - Belguim
B.A. Mahipala - Sri Lanka
Kurt Bertels - South Africa
Ms. Michelle Liles - California, USA
Laurent Spriet - Belgium
Mr. Mark Coreth - UK
Mr. Hobbs - California
Mr. Fraser - London, UK
Mr. Francois Wurz - Monaco
Mr. Abilash Sekar - USA
Prof. Jens Krause - Berlin, Germany
Mr. Erik Op de Beeck - Vienna, Austria
Jan Fleischamann - Sweden
Mr. Durga - Bangalore, India
Ms. Margaret Powers - Texas, USA
Ms. Becca Murphy - USA