In the 1940s the worlds largest species of cat was in a very perilous position and numbered les than 50 in the wild. However since then the populations of Siberian tigers in Far Eastern Russia have received considerable protection and their numbers are around 500 individuals. Despite this success they are still facing a huge number of threats and remain incredible difficult to see in the wild. As a result the Russian government have recently set up several new protected areas including the Durminskoye Tiger Reserve which was established in 2009. This tour focuses on this park which harbours a large number of tigers and with the help of the local anti-poaching patrols and their camera trap studies we will maximize our chances of spotting one of these incredible and elusive big cats in one of their last remaining strongholds.
Try to spot an elusive Siberian Tiger
Explore the new Durminskoye Reserve
Accompany anti-poaching patrols
One of the last strongholds for tigers
Traditional Russian saunas
Track tigers with big cat experts
Siberian Roe Deer
Stellers Sea Eagle
Tour Dates: 20/2/2018 – 5/3/2018
Duration: 13 nights
Type / Focus: Siberian Tigers
On your arrival at Khabarovsk airport you will be met by your zoologist escort and local guide and transferred to your accommodation, wooden cabin, in the reserve (2-3 hours).
For the next 11 full days you will walk, ski and explore this incredible reserve. You will have the help of the local expert guides including Alexander Balatov as you search for tigers. This is a very well hidden reserve and probably the best place in the world to see Siberian tigers in the wild. Durminskoye Reserve is prime Ussuri taiga habitat adjacent to foothills of the Sikhote-Alin mountain range. Regarding the tigers in the reserve there is a baby boom at the moment (2013) – recently one more female produced 2 cubs. So there are 6 tiger cubs now, all 3 females in the reserve have reproduced! There is enough food and space for them all that we expect this to form a very good and large population that will spread to other areas of the forest in the future. There are more than 5 adult tigers now on 20,000 hectares of land inside the reserve and we sleep inside the reserve in our accommodation, level – wooden cabins. As opposed to staying outside of the reserves as is the case in most other Russian reserves. Sightings here are mostly of the resident male (and father to all the cubs) as he patrols his territory every 10 days pr so and can be predicted with more accuracy (although we must stress he is a wild tiger and is not completely predicable). Photos with trail cams and video are 100% guaranteed and helping the work that Alexander and his team are doing here is very rewarding. We will arrive with specialist equipment, from camera traps and spotlights to increase our chances of seeing tigers when they are most active (after dark) and we also gain the help of the resident anti-poaching patrols that help to keep these tigers safe. Protected by WWF as part of their commitment to conservation Siberian tigers these ant-poaching rangers know the park and its wildlife better than anyone. We will accompany them as they work the park, tracking tigers along their preferred routes through the forest and also using camera traps to understand their movements, population size and behaviours. The park encourages people to visit the park and join up with the patrols; by helping here you will be directly contributing to the ongoing conservation of the tigers here. Because this park is so remote we will come equipped with a small team to help us on this expedition-style tour; we have a local translator to help us communicate with the rangers as well as a small team of camp cooks and assistants that will prepare our food whilst we are out searching for tigers. Whilst we cannot guarantee a sighting of a wild Siberian tiger we can assure you of seeing their tracks, scratch marks on trees as well as being a significant part of tiger conservation here. We will be arriving and tracking during the late winter and despite the freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall winter is the best time to try and track down and observe Siberian tigers; the snowfall makes tracking them easier as well as concentrating their prey in certain areas where they can still access the vegetation and find unfrozen water. Plus late winter is their breeding season so the tigers are more active as they pursue partners, they mate at this time of year so that they can time the birth of their cubs for the onset of spring and the birthing time for their prey species. The format of each day whilst we are staying in the park will be early starts where we help the patrols and also scout out potentially good areas for tigers, followed by a lunch break and some rest time during the middle of day, we will then head out in the afternoon until nightfall where we will retire to the base camp, level – log cabins; and maybe even a traditional Russian sauna before dinner. Of course this is one of the rarest and least encountered species in the entire world but by being here and tracking through the snow with expert guides you stand as good a chance as any of seeing the stunning and huge Siberian tiger. To help us achieve this ambitious aim we will head out in winter, this vastly helps in tracking tigers as their prints and scat are highly visible as well as being the season where they move around the most. This is the breeding season and also when they search far and wide for food as well as mates. In addition to tracking their prints and staking out carcasses that tigers may return to, you will have help in this mission. You will have an expert local guide, nature reserve rangers (who know and understand the tigers habits here) as well as our own big cat expert zoologist escort who has experience in tracking big cats on 4 continents. This reserve in winter can seem quite bleak and imposing but there is a wealth of life here. Whilst the brown and Asiatic black bears hibernate there are many species of deer which endure the harsh winter and as well as the threat from tigers the prey species here also have lynx and wolves to face. We spend more time in the park and on the search of tigers than anyone else and whilst we guarantee seeing a tiger we certainly give ourselves every possible chance during this unique Siberian tiger tour.
This morning you will have a last chance to spot a tiger before heading the short distance back to Khabarovsk. Then after checking into the accommodation, level – 3* hotel (Central Hotel), you will have lunch and then the rest of the day for some rest and relaxation.
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 a lot of snow on the ground and snow fall is common and heavy.
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 to be driven by a local guide for transfers when needed.
All our excursions including guided walks, vehicle safaris, hide use, camping fees and park entrance fees and anti-poaching patrol fees also included; we also include all fees for our camping team including cooks, assistants and translator.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or spotting scope 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. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4 people these do not stretch too far. We also provide a spot light for nocturnal viewing (this is subject to local condition when we arrive). Where camping all camping gear is included as well as camp cooks and assistants where needed.
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.
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.
Mr Spawls, Sun City
Patrick Stolz, Switzerland
Jerome Stockner, Seattle
Stacey Perna & Charlie Bettel, France
Jason Grubba, NSW
Graham & Julie Mitchell, UK
Ms. Sue Teece, Hampshire
M. Henri Batut, France
Stuart Hill, Bournemouth
Marc Berget, Switzerland
Dr. Martin Daniel, Switzerland
Natascha Daniel, Switzerland
Kim & Rob Voyle, Oregon
Rory Kinsella, Australia
Michel Reijnen, Holland
Mr. Ken Berry, London
Ms. Ilka Rauch, London
Matthew Hodgetts, Switzerland
Mark Coreth, UK
One of the best holidays ever! Another totally brilliant tour in every respect and a complete pleasure to be back at the base...it exceeded my expectations and seeing a tiger was my highlight!
Susan Teece, UK
Phil Darroch - London
Sophie Fernandes - Essex
Kathy Misunas - New York
Sarah Westphal - Flagstaff, Arizona
Ranjan Suwandarathne - Sri Lanka
Polly Clark - Helensburgh, Scotland
Justin Cote - Ontario, Canada
John Merjanian, USA
Ms. Lesley Cupitt, Queensland - Australia
Brett Murray, New Zealand
A. Murray, Aukland
Ms. Julija Grinberga, Latvia
Mr. Y. Bonneh, Israel
Allison Skidmore, California, USA
Adam Sandy, Canada (living in Sakhalin)
Mr. Op de Beeck, Belguim
Mr. Olivier Schneider, France
Ayesha Grewal, Delhi
Mrs. Powers, Texas, USA
Mr. Hirata Naoto, Tokyo, Japan