With long hours of daylight, custom built mammal watching hides and forests which harbour the largest populations of large mammals in Europe; Finland is the ultimate short wildlife watching holiday destination. This tour heads deep into the Kontiovaara Wilderness at the right time to find the glutton; otherwise known as the wolverine. This iconic and seldom seen mammal is found here in large numbers and they have learnt that the pro-mammal watching hides in the forests are a perfect place for a free meal, however later in the year the areas around here become dominated by brown bears. By coming at this time of year we arrive at the prime time for wolverine activity as well as hopefully getting a couple of visits from brown bears too. We average 2-4 wolverines per day and 1-3 brown bears per day. But the hides are just the tip of the iceberg here, we will spend the days searching for lekking capercaillies & black grouse, beavers, otters and reindeer. And you never know we may also spot a wolf or lynx as well. All in all this is a must for anyone with an interest in European mammals.
Average 2-4 Wolverines per day
2 Nights in Pro-Hides for Wolverines
Stay in the middle of true wilderness
Capercaillie & Black Grouse Lekking Site
Search for Beavers, Reindeer & More
Average 1-3 Brown Bears per day
Tour Dates: 4/5/2021 – 8/5/2021
Duration: 4 nights
Type / Focus: Wolverines
On arrival in Joensuu you will be met by your local guide and will be transferred to our wolverine site and accommodation, (Basic Wilderness Lodge – Keljanpuro Wilderness Lodge). The lodge is a refurbished log cabin set deep within the forest. There are 3 bedrooms all with shared facilities. Depending on the size of the group there is 1 room for 3 people, another room for 6-10 people and a large room for up to 17 people. You will have a briefing here about the wolverines and the area as well as the use of the hides here. The rest of the day can be used to spot some wildlife around the lodge (being wary that we are in bear country at all times) sometimes wolverines come right up to the lodge itself to take advantage of the bait here. We recommend a good nights sleep as the next couple of days will be long ones as we go in search of wildlife in Finlands wilderness areas.
As most of the wolverines do not visit the lodge and hide area until late afternoon we will have the days to spend looking for other wildlife nearby. This morning we will head to a black grouse lekking site in the early morning. Lekking is when males of a species gather together for competitive mating displays to attract females to mate. The black grouse have a very bold and beautiful display and watching the males strut their stuff in the morning light is a great way to start the day. Later in the day we will head out to a couple of areas where the local naturalists known ospreys sometimes nest. Hopefully we will find some of these magnificent fish eating raptors before we have to return to the lodge to get things ready for our first night in the pro-hide for a night spotting wolverines. The hides are located on the banks of the beautiful Uurolampi Pond and are around a 20 minute walk from the lodge. The hides are located in the perfect place for spotting the wolverines and bears as they come to the hides. The pro hides that we will be in have room for a maximum of 9 people and it is here that we will have dinner and sleep tonight, (Basic Hide Dormitory – Pro Hide). During April and May these hides average 2-4 wolverines per day as well as 1-3 brown bears. There is also the chance that golden eagles and white-tailed eagles will also pay a visit.
This morning you will return back to the lodge from the pro hide in time for breakfast, you will be left to rest for a couple of hours in the morning as most people are up almost all night in the hides and when you are ready we will head out to some nearby nature reserves. Here we will try to find mammal species such as forest reindeer, Eurasian otters, moose, pine martens, European roe deer, muskrat and Canadian beavers. The bird life is also wonderful here with species like black grouse, capercaillie, hazel grouse, willow grouse, osprey, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, black-throated dipper, whooper swan, three-toed woodpeckers and dozens others. As the afternoon draws on we will head back to the lodge and once again prepare for the night in the pro-hide (Basic Hide Dormitory – Pro Hide) and spend some more time observing wolverines and brown bears. Occasionally grey wolves or a northern lynx are also seen here but rarely.
Patvinsuo National Park
This morning after returning to the lodge, having breakfast and resting you will be taken to a couple of locations where there are beaver dams (they are usually in Patvinsuo National Park but the locations do change). After a few hours searching for beavers and other wildlife we will come back to the lodge and have dinner. After dinner you will leave the lodge and head to a capercaillie lekking site and your accommodation for the night, (Camping – Tent Hide).
Early this morning you will be in prime location for the stunning capercaillie lekking which occurs here from April – June. Then after breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in Joensuu 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 April and May 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 and regularly drop below freezing. Due to being so far north the nights are also very light for most of the night. Snow is possible during this time of year but it is more likely to be sunny than snowy.
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 local naturalist.
All our excursions including guided walks, wildlife watching trips, use of tent hides and pro hides 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 Joensuu 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 securely.
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.
Robert Dockerill, Sydney
Chris Scharf, California
Andy Skillen, Surrey
John Whittles, Herts
Christine Cheney, Hampshire
Andy Dobson, UK
Sara & Lawarence Wan, USA
Mr. Marc Begert, Switzerland
Justin Brown, USA
Mr. Thomas Lippert - Villnachern, Switzerland
Mr. Phillip Roberts, London
Chris Suffren - USA