FINLAND: Wolverines, Bears & Saimaa Ringed Seal 2019

Tour Dates: Saturday 25th May – Tuesday 28th / Wednesday 29th May 2019 (Joensuu to Joensuu)
Tour Price:
per person plus flight
Saimaa Ringed Seal Extension:
Thurs 7th – Fri 8th Add £250 to above price (transport, boat trip and overnight accommodation and breakfast only)
Estimated Flight Price:
London to Joensuu via Helsinki approx. £200 return

Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: Approx. £150 – £175 
Deposit: £300 per person
Minimum Number required for trip to run: 6 people
Maximum Group Size: 7 people
1st night Lieksa Hotel (and day time on day 2 to rest)  plus 2 nights in Wolverine/Bear Hide. Hotel beside Lake Saimaa on night 4 if doing the extension.

Key Mammals:
Wolverine and good chances of European Brown Bear and Eurasian Elk.
Plus Saimaa Ringed Seal for those doing the extension.

Key Birds: 
Red-breasted Flycatcher, Capercaillie, Black-throated Diver & possibly Great Grey Owl or Ural Owl

Conservation work that you will directly contribute to by joining this holiday:
By joining this tour you shall be supporting Finnature’s nest box scheme. We shall make a donation to support this project that helps create further nesting opportunities for many species of owl that we shall look for during our tour. More details can be found on our Conservation Projects page.

This tour is designed specifically to see Wolverine and to give some exceptional photographic opportunities. Regardless of whether you are a photographer or just happy watching the animals, the hides give you some fabulous and very close views of what is usually a particularly difficult mammal to see in the wild. The time of year is good for Wolverine activity  and although not the peak time for Brown Bear, there are still regular sightings during this period. See videos from our June 2016/2017 tours below.


Wolverine3DAY 1
Kontiovaara Region – Arrival to Joensuu
Joensuu airport is a wonderfully small, rural and quiet airport and just a short transfer of around 1.5 hours to the Wolverine hotspot! On arrival, we shall travel to the town of Lieksa and our hotel which shall be our base for the next three nights. IF flight times allow, we will venture out of a drive locally looking for Eurasian Elk. Overnight Lieksa Hotel

Wolverine1DAY 2
Patvinsuo NP & Wolverine Hide
We shall spend the morning with a local guide visiting the Patvinsuo National Park (45 minute drive). We shall take a short driving route with chances for Red-flanked Bluetail, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Black-throated Diver and outside possibilities of Owls dependent on the breeding season.

BearAfter lunch, we will take a short drive of around 30 minutes to Keljänpuro Lodge and 
our first evening in the Wolverine hides. All of the hides give excellent opportunities to watch wildlife from the comfort of log cabins and professional photography hides in a natural environment. Wolverines are fed throughout the year and are regular visitors. Wolverine2Brown Bear is also an occasional visitor at this time of year. If we are extremely lucky sometimes Wolves visit and Eurasian Lynx has even been seen and photographed here! Overnight Wolverine Hide 

Wolverine Hide
Following a full night in the hides, we return to our hotel in Lieksa for breakfast and take time to rest before meeting for lunch. We will then check out of our hotel and return to Keljänpuro Lodge where we can store our luggage somewhere safe before entering the hides for the final night. Once again, we shall be be on high alert for mammals as you just never know what may appear and when! Time to rest at Lieksa hotel during the morning and then Overnight in Wolverine Hide


Transfer to Joensu 
We shall leave the wolverine hides early in the morning and basic shower facilities and saunas will be available to use at the nearby Keljänpuro Lodge. We will then have breakfast at the lodge and depart for our transfer to Joensu airport to connect with flights back to UK.

Saimaa Ringed Seal Extension Days 4 & 5
Those joining the Saimaa Ringed Seal extension will continue the journey by road for approximately  two hours to Lake Saimaa where we will book into our accommodation and have lunch. We shall then take a late afternoon trip on the lake with a local guide to look for the beautiful but endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal. Find out more HERE
On day 5 we will return to Joensuu for a mid morning flight to connect with flights back to the UK.

The Wolverine Hide
We will spend two nights in the specially designed hides. We generally arrive in the hides from around 4pm and remain there until around 7am the following morning. There are a number of different hides based in different areas which overlook regular feeding areas for Wolverines. We shall visit a different hide on each of the two nights. The hides are specially designed for photographers complete with tripod head mount screws and cloth sleeves to push your camera lens through. Regardless of whether you interested in photography, the hides are also superb for viewing with very close views, though it is very important to be very quiet! All the hides cater for individuals, or small groups and all have long-drop toilets, beds and sleeping bags provided. A snack meal and hot drinks are also provided.

Wolverine-HideFor those wanting a little more comfort, there is also the option of visiting a larger hide with reclining seats and a special sound amplifying audio system with microphones amplifying any sounds created by the movement of animals. This hide is much larger, being around 50 square meters, and is located on a high slope with picturesque views to the close-by Uuronlampi pond surrounded by forest. This is less suitable for photography, but still very good for viewing animals and with a larger viewing area.



Leaders: Wise Birding Guide & Local Guides
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin en-suite rooms/Wolverine Hides, breakfast and evening meals only, all entrance fees, ground transport and services of leader
NOT Included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, drinks other than water, any airport/visa fees and items of a personal nature.
Accommodation: Medium quality Hotel with half-board from night 1 until lunchtime on day 3
Single Supplement: Approx. £99
Max. Group Size: 7
Transport: Minibus
Difficulty: This tour is very easy and involves very little walking. The walk to the Wolverine hides varies from 20 -100M through forest. Any walking in Patvinsuo National Park will be short distances not far from our vehicle.
Climate: Changeable weather from warm to hot and cool and wet!
Meeting Point: Joensuu airport, Finland
Tour End: Joensu airport, Finland
Suggested Airlines: Finnair
Note: This is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted in relation to arrival and departure times, weather conditions and other related factors.