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Bear Observation

This tour is not available and is archived.
Easy - nothing more than normal walking while sight-seeing
Moderately Easy - 1-3 hours of physical activity daily
Moderate - 3-5 hours of physical activity daily
Challenging - 5-7 hours of challenging physical activity daily
Extreme - 7+ hours of challenging/extreme physical activity daily
Difficulty
Basic — most of nights in tents or rooms with shared WC, some nights in comfortable rooms.
Standard — most of nights in comfortable rooms, some nights in tents or rooms with shared WC.
Upgraded — all nights in comfortable rooms.
Comfort
Highlights
  • Wild animals observation in their natural habitat
  • Total change of scenery
  • Discovery of wild places of Lake Baikal
Tour Overview

This tour is an ideal opportunity to discover some hiding places of the Baikal wild nature. Our journey will take us to the Baikalo-Lensky nature reserve where, in total isolation, we are going to observe brown bear of taiga in the only company of forestry officers. Among others, we will pay a visit to Yura, the weather station worker on Ushkany Islands, who will take us to endemic freshwater seals of Lake Baikal.

Animal observation is organized in taiga where the forestry officers set up huts raised above the ground and put some bait by side: drilled iron barrels full of seal fat and skin. The smell of fat attract bears, and in the morning and evening they approach the bait to look for some food. As they do not manage to take it out of the barrel, they stay near bait for hours which makes it possible to take pictures of them nearby. Hunting is forbidden in the reserve, and animals are not afraid of people, that is why nothing can draw their attention from food. Quiet conversation and clicking of cameras do not make them run away and do not cause their aggression. However, to guarantee safety of our travellers, forestry officers are always armed and have smoke bombs.

We will also trek in taiga where it is likely to meet other wild animals: stag, roe deer, elk, hare, and marten. Along with Pokoyniki Cape and its surroundings, we will visit other picturesque places of the reserve - Bolshoy and Maly Solontsovy Capes, Zavorotnaya Bay. During a boat tour we will be able to see brown bears which, starving after winter, come out on pebble beaches to enjoy insects.

Tour programme
  • Day 1
    Meeting in the centre of Irkutsk city. Homestay check-in. Rest and lunch in homestay. In the afternoon city tour: historic centre, old churches, traditional wooden houses. Visit to the Decembrists museum. Dinner in homestay.
  • Day 2
    Morning departure to Krestovsky Cape. We will head north-east of Irkutsk through Russian and Buryat countryside. The landscape of wheat fields will change into Siberian taiga and then - steppe. We will stop at picturesque places several times for taking pictures and making offerings to the spirits of the places. On the way visit to the national Buryat museum. Lunch in a roadside cafe serving Buryat cuisine. Arrival to Krestovsky Cape, accommodation at local farm with cordial atmosphere. Walk in surroundings. Homestay overnight. Banya in the evening.
  • Day 3
    Drive in 4x4 to Zama from where boat embarkation and journey to forestry officers of the Baikalo-Lensky nature reserve on Pokoyny cape. Snow-covered tops of the Barguzinsky range will await for you. Homestay accommodation.
  • Day 4
    Early morning bear observation. If weather conditions permit, cruise to Ushkany Islands to observe freshwater seals of Lake Baikal. Discovery of small weather station and unique fauna. In the evening return to Pokoyny Cape.
  • Day 5
    At about 4.00 am bear observation starts. After breakfast departure by boat to Bolshoy Solontsovy cape, 18 km/11 mi north of Pokoyny. Navigation along the beautiful rocky shore. Trekking to the bottom of the Baikalsky ridge and its cascades. Return to Pokoyny in the evening.
  • Day 6
    From 4 am to 7 am bear observation. All-day trekking towards the source of the Lena. Crossing of Solntsepad pass (1240 m/4070 ft), wonderful view of Lake Baikal and the valley of the Lena river. Night in winter hut on the shore of beautiful small lake called emerald and located deep in taiga. This lake is abundant in fish: slug and grayling of the Lena river came to the lake by fault in the rock linking it with the river. In the evening fishing and dinner by bonfire.
  • Day 7
    Morning trek to the rapids of the Lena. Possible to see brown bear, elk, and stag (deer). Return to Pokoyny Cape. Bear observation with binoculars. Banya in the evening.
  • Day 8
    Before the dawn we will sail north, to Yelokhin Cape (71 km/44 mi), administrative frontier of the Irkutsk region and Buryatia. Today will be spent on discovering the west shore of Lake Baikal. Two hours of bear observation from the boat deck. Breakfast at Yelokhin Cape with forestry officers who will tell you about their activities in the reserve. Walk in taiga to discover mountain rivers and to fish Baikal grayling. On the way back to Pokoyny Cape we will stop at Zavorotny Cape to see the territory that once belonged to the geological society. At wish - hike up following a serpentine path to the abandoned microquartzite quarry located 2000 m/6560 ft above the sea level. Visit to Maly Solontsovy Cape, possible to fish dace. In the evening return to Pokoyny Cape.
  • Day 9
    Before the sun rises, we will take a boat to observe bear. Stop at mythical Ryty Cape. Crossing of the lake towards Olkhon Island. Disembarkation in Peschanaya Bay and discovery of the island by 4x4. Night in the capital of the island, the village of Khuzhir.
  • Day 10
    Drive to Irkutsk. Arrival in the city in the afternoon. Free time. Night in homestay.
  • Day 11
    Departure after breakfast. Airport transfer (not included). End of the programme.
                        Detailed description
                        New departures available soon
                        Price includes
                        • English-speaking guide
                        • Russian-speaking guide services
                        • Accommodation as per itinerary
                        • Transport as per itinerary
                        • Meals
                        • Excursions and visits as per itinerary
                        • Reserves and national parks entrance permissions
                        • Banya
                        • Letter of invitation
                        Price does not include
                        • Medical insurance
                        • Administrative registration
                        • Personal expenses and tips
                        • Visa fees and travel insurance
                        • Transfer from airport / railway station on first day
                        • Transfer to airport / railway station on last day
                        For more info, please download the detailed description of the trip.
                        Note

                        Supplement for the group of 2 persons 20070 RUB / person (approx. 480 EUR). The price does not include the entrance fee to Ushkany Islands to see seal colonies (1000-2000 RUB / person) Breakfast on Day 1 and lunch / dinner on Day 10 are not included.

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