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Finland Bear Cub Safari 2012

Deep in the forests of Finland, on the borders with Russia, brown bears roam. Slightly smaller than their Alaskan cousins, European Brown Bears are very shy and avoid human contact where possible. Have no fear though, we have friends in Finland who are experts and who have set up special feeding sites for the bears. They are in beautiful locations, in stunning forests or on the edge of beautiful woodland lakes.

This Finland Bear cub safari deliberately visits the best two centres for seeing young bear cubs with their mothers. Of course there is no guarantee that you will see cubs, but you have a great chance and you will certainly see lots of bears! The light at this time of the year lasts a long time, in fact in the forest it doesn't get dark and you will have the opportunity to photograph the bears throughout the night.

On previous tours we have used the public viewing hides, which are great but don't offer the kind of wilderness experience we want for you. So in 2012 we are going to do something very different and use the small "professional hides" that have been built especially for photographers to get much better access to the bears. We are also pioneering a safari style concept for the bear tours by visiting not one but two bear sites. This gives you a unique bear safari and the best chance to get some great pictures. Both locations give a very different experience; one specialises in families with cubs, the other has some beautiful lakeside locations and might give you wolves as a bonus!

The safari will be under the guidance of multi award winning professional wildlife photographer Andy Rouse, a name whose images speak for themselves. He will ensure that you are well prepared for your time in the hides and will give regular photographic briefings and tutorials to help you make the most from your trip. And that's not all, after the trip you will be given a link to upload your best three images for Andy to give a positive and educational critique. A brilliant package!


Here is a slideshow showing some of Andy's favourite images of Finnish bears. They were taken in the pro hides at one of the centres we will be visiting.

To use the slideshow first expand it to the largest size then use your keyboard cursors / mouse to scroll forward. Or you can press play and just sit back and enjoy!

Safari Details

Want to come and have a wonderful wilderness experience with us? Well our Finland Bear Cub Safari is unique as we visit two different centres and uses the best small professional hides. Here are the main details:
  • Hides - the hides are set up either in the forest, in a swamp, or by a large lake. Each gives a very different experience and set of possibilities for your photography. Each night you will be allocated a different hide, you may get lake, swamp or forest. There is no difference between them as the bears visit them all. The hides take a maximum of 2 photographers, they are small and offer a unique viewing angle on the bears. The bears are used to the hides and have no fear of them, which means that they will come very close! You will enter the hide at around 5pm each evening (well before the bears appear) and stay there until the next morning when you will be collected by a guide. Obviously the hides are small so you will need to be comfortable with staying in the hides for 12-14 hours at a time. There are no toilet facilities within the hides so you will be given some appropriate "containers"! You will also be given sleeping bags to take inside the hides with you and drinking water. You may not leave the hides at any time. It's a fun experience!
  • The Bears - the stars of the show can appear at any time after you enter the hide but they will usually turn up towards sunset and be present throughout the night and into the next morning. You should not expect constant activity, instead the bears will come and go as they please. You will see males, females and if you are lucky a family with adorable cubs. It is a very peaceful experience in beautiful surroundings.

  • Other Wildlife - at one of the locations you will have the chance of photographing wolves and wolverines. Whilst both of these animals are very shy, they do visit on a regular basis and there will be a good chance of seeing them.

  • Itinerary - on the first day we will arrive too late to use the hides so you will have dinner  then get a good night's sleep. On the first morning Andy will give you a thorough briefing and will cover all aspects of photography that you will need for the hid experience. The itinerary will then be the same for each day. You will spend the day at leisure, sometimes photographing wildlife in the area close to the lodge, other times editing and processing your pictures or just chilling out. Andy will be on hand for impromptu training as required. Then in late afternoon we will have dinner, before heading out for the hides around 5pm. On your return the next morning you will have breakfast and then have a much needed sleep! Then the cycle begins again. The only difference will be on the day where we transfer between the two centres, after a quick breakfast we will make our transfer and try to catch some sleep in the afternoon before getting into the hides again.

  • Fitness - you will need to be able to carry all of your own gear over rough terrain for upto 1 km. The hides are small and there may not be room to stand up so you must be free of any back problems that preclude you sitting still for long periods of time. You will find that since the evenings are very light you will stay awake for most of the night, hence after 5 nights you will be very tired indeed. Please don't think that this is an easy trip, it certainly is not, but the rewards are that you will have a wonderful experience, live the life of a professional photographer for a few days and get some great pictures too! The hides are actually quite homely!

  • Travel - we will take a scheduled flight from London to Helsinki and then an onwards connection to the north east of Finland. Our road transfers will be via minibus. All flights and transfers are included in the cost of this safari and are booked by our partner ATOL bonded tour operator Wildlife & Wilderness.

  • Camera Gear - after full payment you will be sent full details of the gear that you will need for this trip. Andy's pictures in the slideshow above were taken with lenses ranging from 17mm to 500mm. You will not need a tripod for the hides.

  • Tour participants - there will be 8 people per tour. You will be grouped in two's for your evenings in the bear hides so that you have someone to experience it with and we will rotate as necessary. Non photographers and long suffering other halves are very welcome!

  • Critiques - after the trip Andy will send you an upload link to upload your best three images from the trip, which he will then constructively and nicely critique for you.
Dates and Prices

We will be running two safaris back to back with the following dates:
  • June 16th to 22nd 2012
  • June 22nd to 28th 2012
The price for the Finland Bear Cub Safari 2012 will be £2375 per person which includes 5 nights in the professional bear hides, your international return air fare from London Heathrow to Finland, all meals at the lodges in Finland, all transfers, services of Andy Rouse as your guide and your post trip critique. The price does not include alcoholic drinks, tips and any items of a personal nature. A £1000 non-refundable deposit will be required to guarantee your place (see terms and conditions below) with the balance becoming due 90 days prior to departure. Once this final balance has been paid you will be sent full pre-departure information telling you everything that you need to take on the trip.

Your safari is arranged in partnership with ATOL bonded Wildlife & Wilderness, whom Andy has worked with many times in the past. All financial arrangements will be handled through Wildlife & Wilderness, whose bonding guarantees your peace of mind.

Booking your place

Demand for places is expected to be high and in order to maintain the social, fun atmosphere on all trips we do not operate a first come first served policy. Members of the Andy Rouse Explorers Club may just contact us immediately to reserve their places. For everyone else just contact us, telling us your preferred dates and a few paragraphs about yourself, your interests and reasons for coming on the trip. This policy ensures that we have a great group atmosphere with like minded people and is one reason why we have so many clients returning to our tours again and again. You will learn a lot and have a good time too! Those successful will be contacted by return. We look forward to welcoming you on this adventure.

Terms and Conditions

We all have our terms and conditions, here are ours:

  • Your deposit of £1000 deposit is totally non-refundable under any circumstances. Similarly once you have paid your final balance the total amount is nonrefundable under any circumstances. By paying your deposit you agree to these conditions.

  • In any dispute the decision of Andy Rouse Wildlife Photography Ltd and Wildlife & Wilderness will be final and no discussion will be entered into.

  • Prices are quoted on current rates from our ground agents and we reserve the right to apply a surcharge should an unexpected local rate increase occur including statutory increases beyond our control. We will of course try to avoid this at all costs. By committing to the trip and paying the deposit you agree to this surcharge if it is necessary. If you decide not to pay it and pull out then you will not be entitled to any refund.

  • The price of flights is subject to change at any time. At the time the tours have been announced we have very good rates for the next year but if you book closer to the time these rates may not be available and we reserve the right to levy a small surcharge on the included flight cost which will increase the price of the holiday. We will always endeavor to ensure that this does not happen and will advise accordingly on booking.
  • All information listed here is the copyright of Andy Rouse Wildlife Photography Ltd and may not be printed or distributed in any form without prior written consent from Andy Rouse or his representatives.

  • In order to cover yourself for an unfortunate change of personal circumstance or an unforeseen medical condition we strongly suggest that you take out sufficient travel insurance to cover this eventuality. In our experience this is vital.

  • You are responsible for your own personal medication and it is essential that you bring extra supplies with you. If you have a condition that may require medical intervention then this trip is not one for you as we are a long way from any kind of medical facility.

  • Wildlife is unpredictable in its nature and we are not able to guarantee any wildlife sightings.

  • A full set of terms and conditions will be sent out on booking.

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