LAND OF VOLCANOS AND BEARS
In the Russian far-east there’s a hidden land, full of wonders and mystery, rich with wildlife and primal landscapes - Welcome to Kamchatka!
Kamchatka was one of the last areas to be discovered at the end of the 17th century and remained untouched for a century since. In the majority of the 20th century it was a restricted militarized zone and opened up to the world only after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
These two facts have made Kamchatka an un-ruined paradise of primal nature and landscapes.
Our helicopter will airlift us between the locations, as there are no roads in this untouched land. Southern Kamchatka is home to the second-largest Sockeye Salmon spawning site, attracting countless bears in preparation to winter‘s hibernation.
LATITUDE: around 56° north
SIZE: 272,000 Km2 (105,000 mi2)
HUMAN POPULATION: 320,000
BEAR POPULATION: 14,000
TEMP. DURING STAY: +20°C / 68°F
Explorer's Elite provides premium amenities for adventure-seeking travelers. The all-inclusive accommodation covers a private chef for delicious meals. We strive to provide top comfort travel accommodations, including hotel stays where available, private MI-8 helicopter flights, upgraded tents and comfortable sleeping bags in the field, and a two day cruise aboard the Catamaran.
Our trips include top level expert guides, photography permits, and photography guidance. We provide special field equipment, such as fishing boots and walking sticks. Our interpreter and local professional guides are experts on the bears behaviors and Kamchatka's geography. They help us follow the wildlife activity while staying safe, giving us access to live-action nature shows, right before our eyes.
Team of Experts
This expedition is guided by renowned and award-winning wildlife photographer, Roie Galitz, and his team of professionals. While enjoying the journey you will learn more about this region and its incredible inhabitants, and experience a close up and intimate encounter with them, witnessing the best “nature film” you’ve ever seen.
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position
in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
- Bill Bryson
Brown Bear (Ursus Arctos)
The Brown Bears of Kamchatka are very similar to the Grizzly Bear, actually they are closely related. The bears we’ll see here won’t care about our presence since they are in a state of “hyper-paghia”, meaning they are always hungry. They must gain as much weight as possible before winter’s hibernation and that’s the reason they are here - for the Sockeye Salmon.
Lake Kuril, in southern Kamchatka, is the second largest Salmon spawning site in the world. Millions of these fish make their way upstream with only one drive, one purpose, and that is to procreate. This journey marks the end of their life cycle and once their goal is reached - they will finally die. The bears gather in the hundreds for this never-ending buffet.
Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
The Red Fox is abundant in Kamchatka, but also really elusive. They walk in the forest and sneaking up on small prey. Sometimes we see them, but sightings depend on luck.
Orcas (Killer Whales)
They are considered among one of the most intelligent species in the world. These Orcas feed on the abundant Salmons reach waters of Kamchatka’s fjords
Today we will gather up in the capital of Kamchatka, the largest city on the entire peninsula.
We will arrive by bus to Paratunka to equip and organize.
We'll have important briefings and get a good night's sleep.
We will fly in a MI-8 Russian helicopter to Kuril Lake - one of the highlights of our journey! It is one of the largest world salmon habitats, followed by large brown bears with cubs. We will photograph until sunset.
Day 3 and Day 4
Each day, after an early breakfast, we'll be on the lake shores, enjoying the best golden light.
During the day, we will be photographing the bears: mothers caring for their cubs, territorial fights, playing and hunting. Lunch will be served as a field picnic, and we will stay there until sunset.
At the the end of the day, we will head back to the camp for dinner and rest.
Wrapping up with Bears
We'll go out at sunrise for the some more shots with the bears, most likely, we'll go toward the river that departs from the camp to the sea for unique photographing with special angles.
At noon we'll fly back in our helicopter, and spend the night in Paratunka.
In the morning, we will reach the bay and our catamaran for a unique cruise.
We plan to photograph whales, seals and countless of water birds. With a draft of only 1.4 meters, we can get very close to the animals.
We will enjoy a delicious dinner and a good night's sleep in the catamaran in the bay, where we’ll witness the most beautiful sunset and an amazing starry sky.
Day 7Catamaran Sunrise
We will rise early with the sunrise to photograph seals and marine mammals’ in the bay.
During the day, we will start sailing back and search for puffins, whales and other unique animals.
Heading to Mutvosky
We are heading out of Our hotel in Paratunka and going south on our 6x6 Kamaz truck. 30 minutes later we will leave the asphalt road and head on the gravel road which later will get tougher and tougher. We will cross rivers, climb hills and you'll understand why we needed the 6x6 truck for this adventure. We will stop for some amazing viewpoints, and reach our destination in the afternoon - the footstep of Mutnovsky Volcano. With the help of our team, we will erect our camp for the night and our chef will prepare our dinner. Before sunset we will head for the waterfall for a great vista.
The way up Mutnovsky is around 2-4 hours by foot, and the way down is around an hour (with gravity being on our side). As a complex volcano, it's one of the most active volcanos in Kamchatka with its latest eruption recorded in 2000. Walking down the caldera of Mutnovsky you will walk around wild sulfur pits, bubbling mud pits and boiling water streams. If you decide not to ascend the volcano, we have other activities for you in the vicinity. After the climb, we will go to a snow cave, but only if conditions are safe for that, and head back to Paratunka, arriving in the afternoon.
Since the route depends on the weather, there can be unexpected changes. To ensure the best trip possible, we add a spare day in case of delays due to weather.
We will take advantage of this day to relax in the Geothermal pools and shop for souvenirs at the local markets. In the evening we will have a sumptuous meal.
During the day, we will drive you to the airport for your departure home, wherever home may be.
You’ll be richer in experience and wonderful images of nature’s rawest moments and finest landscape from the edge of the world
Private expedition to the untouched land of Kamchatka, where you'll find majestic bears hunting the millions of salmon on Lake Kuril. This adventure is offered at super comfort level.
Group Size: 10 people
Contact for rates
The total cost of the expedition per person is $10,800
The trip is for group with a minimum of 10 persons.
Cost depends on the date and duration of the expedition and additional amenities or optional upgrades can be adjusted and added. The expedition is fully customizable.
A 30% deposit is paid upon registration.
MI-8 helicopter Flights to Kuril Lake and back.
Two days cruise in Russkaya Bay, sleeping on board the Catamaran.
Special photography permits for Kuril Lake This includes all areas of the lake!
Lodging: hotels and upgraded tents.
Transfers throughout the journey.
At Kuril: double tents sleeping bags. In the camp there are regular toilets and a shower in a building with hot water and a bucket.
All meals during the journey are included
Special field equipment including fishing boots, walking sticks, sleeping bags and mattress.
A local pro guide certified to guide in Kamchatka
Interpreter and second guide for the logistics.
A special chef we’re flying in to the lake with us.
Flights and ground services before and after the expedition.
Health and baggage insurance (mandatory health insurance including medical evacuation)
Anything which is not mentioned under “Included” section.