Brown Bear Viewing Tour (Bulgaria)

Departure Date: from 01-04-2017 to 31-10-2017 Status: Open for booking Price: 490 Duration: 5 days

The Brown Bear viewing is not just a touch to real nature but a lifetime experience! We offer you an exciting tour dedicated to observing wild Brown Bears in their hunting territories, without fences, without human interference and what is most important - in the heart of the most virgin area of the Rodopi Mountains…

Viewing Brown Bears is rather thrilling experience as there is no guarantee in nature what will happen and if being on the Bears track would be successful. However for this tour we use local rangers that are fully aware of the behaviour of the Brown Bears and the wildlife in their territory in general. We give 90% guarantee of observing wild Brown Bear if you come during the best period for that: April-May (after the winter hibernation) and September - the beginning of October (before the winter hibernation).
During summer the chance is smaller as food sources are abundant and bears are difficult to be attracted to certain areas appropriate for viewing from a short distance. And last but not least this tour gives 100% guarantee of watching the Balkans subspecies of the Chamois - the Balkan Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) as well as another hidden animal - the Capercaillie. Tracking displaying males of Capercaillie in April requires very early morning walks in the snow and keeping absolute silence by their displaying grounds. En-route we may see also Hazel Grouse, Wild Boar etc. Although we have encountered packs of wolves with our previous groups they still remain a matter of great luck.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1. Sofia - Rhodopi Mountains
Arrival at Sofia Airport and transfer to our guest house Rhodopi Mountains (about 2,5 hrs drive).

Days 2-3. Attempts for wildlife observation
The program includes morning hikes (attempts for watching Chamois and Deers) and attempts for watching Brown Bear. We use hides that are specially arranged for watching Brown Bears, which can accommodate up to 3 people (normally 2). This is where we spend few hours after sunset and before sunrise or a whole night waiting for the bear to appear, keeping silence all the time. If lucky we may enjoy a mother with cubs or solitary males and other nocturnal wildlife too. The bears are usually seen from 30-50 meters. However a close-up view is not excluded and this is really something that remains for life. Attempts for watching Balkan Chamois are also made until we see them. As the search of Brown Bear is done best at dusk or at dawn, daytime could be spent on many other activities depending on your wish (some of them subject to extra payment): - birdwatching (target species in the area are Black, White-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers, Nutcracker, Hazel Grouse or we can make sessions for listening Tengmalm's Owl or if lucky even Pygmy Owl; one-day trips along Maritsa River for Long-legged Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Roler, Masked Shrike, Black-headed Bunting, Woodchat Shrike, Calandra Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Golden Oriole etc.) (to be purchased and paid at least 2 weeks in advance; appr. 150 Euro/car); - hiking (Rodopi Mountains with their rounded hills and loads of trails are perfect for walking excursions) – no additional payment outside the fuel costs and entrance fees; - sightseeing (there are numerous cultural and historical sites in the area of the Rodopi Mountains that could be visited as daily trips – Plovdiv, Bachkovo Monastery, Shiroka Luka, Trigrad Gorge etc.) – no additional payment outside the fuel costs and entrance fees; - horseriding with local breed horses (to be paid additionally on the spot according to the standard pricelist of the lodge).

Day 4.
Rhodopi mountains - Plovdiv
Transfer to Plovdiv for last overnight in the Old City.

Day 5. Departure
Transfer to the airport for departure.


Included in the price:
►accommodation in guest houses,  rooms with en-suite facilities, ►all meals (breakfast, lunchpack and dinner)  on days 2 and 3, breakfast on days 4 and 5; use of all available hides ►all transfers within the area (by 4x4 vehicle) and outside incl. pick up and drop off at Sofia airport ►English-speaking guide and local ranger ►VAT and local taxes 

Not included: ►additional excursions during the days ►entrance fees and tips ►flight tickets ► drinks and meals, not mentioned in the program ►insurance ►other personal expenses.

Other expences: single room supplement: 70 EURO

Good to know: The best time for bear viewing is around full Moon (+/- 3 days).

Necessary equipment: Although night vision optics is available in the lodge it will be best if you manage to spot the animals using just the natural light (even through normal bins). Bringing binoculars is also recommended as some of the animals (e.g. Balkan Chamois, some birds) are seen from a long distance. Noiseless clothing is essential (no plastic jackets or pants). Please do consider the low temperatures at night while standing at one place in the hides for a long time and be prepared with warm clothes.

Links to additional information:   
http://birdwatchingbulgaria.com/ Birdwatching and birding holidays in Bulgaria