Bulgaria hosts one of the most stable populations of the Brown Bear in Europe. About 900 animals inhabit the mountains in the central and southwestern parts of the country.
Day 1: The tour starts from Sofia at 14.00 h in the afternoon at the latest. The tour participants will be picked up either from Sofia Airport, as they are kindly requested to arrive there until 14.00 h (2 p.m.), or from their accommodation place within the city of Sofia, if they have arrived earlier. The transfer to the Devin part of the Western Rhodope Mountains, where the tour will be held, will take about 3 hours driving. We will be accommodated in a lodge in Devin area for four overnights. If we have checked-in before 16:00 h – we could go to one of the Bear observation hides, where we would stay until ~ 20:00 – 21.00 h. In case we have not been able to check-in before 16:00 h – we can do a walk in the vicinity of the accommodation place.
Days 2, 3 & 4: In these three days we will be walking in the Brown Bear habitats, looking at Bear tracks and markings and by a lucky chance see a bear in day time. The main approach for observing bears, however, is to stay in a hide in front of which we provide food and, if lucky, could watch bears from about 30-40 meters. We have to enter the hide about 4 hours before darkness (~ 16:00). We can stay in the hide as long as the tour participants would wish, as it is preferable to stay there until the morning in order to increase the chances to see Bears and other mammals. There is an illumination in front of the hides, which provides good view in the night. If the tour participants wish, they can spend all the 3 evenings / nights in the observation hides, regardless of whether they have seen bears in the previous days.
Another target mammal of this trip is the Balkan Chamois, which is comparatively easy to watch. While in the hides and/or during the walks in the area we will have chances to see the Wild Boar, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Gray Wolf, Red Fox, Badger, Red Squirrel, Stone Marten, Pine Marten.
The bird species likely to be seen during the trip include the Hazel Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Pygmy Owl, Wallcreeper, Spotted Nutcracker, White-throated Dipper, Crested Tit, Willow Tit, Firecrest & Goldcrest, Rock Bunting.
Day 5: Transfer back to Sofia for departure.
Chances of seeing a Brown Bear on this tour: 75 %