Wildlife Watching Festival

13–21 May 2017 in the Białowieża Forest

Hotel & food included

Pay just €650 for 9 days! This covers a comfortable hotel, food and transfer from/to Warsaw. You won’t find a better price!

Guided trips are optional

Join our guided trips, offered several times a day, or watch wildlife on your own. This way you compose your personal itinerary.

Wildlife photography

Apart from over a dozen different trips we offer three professional hides for bird and mammal closeup photography.

Affordable prices

Pay as little as €20 for a guided trip. Only debit or credit cards are accepted so no cash is needed.

Join our fanatic nature enthusiasts crew at the best time of the year. See the unscathed nature and plenty of wildlife at your own pace.

  • Spend quality time in real wilderness – Białowieża Forest and Biebrza Marshes
  • Join our trips for European Bison, Elks, Beavers and even Wolves
  • Watch the rich birdlife including 8 species of Woodpeckers, Pygmy Owl and a lot more!
  • Small groups, expert and friendly local guides
  • Professional photo hides set up for birds and mammals

IMPORTANT – read before booking!

Our main venue with the festival office is now all booked up. Therefore we have reserved more spaces at a nearby hotel. It is 750 m walk from the main venue (a nice walk through the 19th c. park). Take a look at a map on the right and click on the icons for description.

If you book now you will sleep and have breakfasts at the 2nd venue. You will have to walk to the main venue for dinners, festival office and joining the trips.

Let us know at info@wildpoland.com if anything is still unclear!

This is by far the most affordable and fun way to join wildlife watching trips. We will spend this week in the Białowieża Primeval Forest, in the far east of Poland, at the border with Belarus. This area holds the largest population of wild European Bison and we would love to show them to you during our dawn and dusk trips. It has also happened that we saw Wolves or Lynx on such trips before.

This is also the best time of the year for birdwatching and we will offer day trips for all the rare Woodpeckers, Collared and Red-breasted Flycatchers, Pygmy Owl, Thrush Nightingale as well as Barred, Icterine or River Warblers and even Great Snipe. In fact, over 150 bird species can be seen here in just 9 days!

Additionally, we will offer trips to the Siemianówka Reservoir and the famous Biebrza Marshes where Aquatic Warblers, Bluethroats, Citrine Wagtails, Marsh Terns, White-tailed and Greater Spotted Eagles can bee seen along with Elks and Beavers (seen well on all our previous trips!)

You will also get a chance to visit the Strict Protection Area of the Białowieża National Park for a few hours walk. We will have the permission to enter the core area of the forest, the Man and Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The pristine, natural forest of huge, centuries-old trees and home to the rarest Black, White-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers.

Furthermore, three different photography hides set out by a professional photographer for birds and mammals will be available to hire on a daily basis. Finally, we will also point out numerous options for self guided walks so you can see the forest at your own pace and have some private time.

Our experienced and enthusiastic nature guides will point out all the wildlife and wildflowers around as well as keep you informed about the region’s history and ethnic diversity. As usual, we will finish with a traditional Polish dinner with live music played by a local musician to add a unique and unforgettable taste to your wildlife holiday.

Outline itinerary

Day 1: Join us at Warsaw by 13:00 and transfer to the Białowieża Forest
Days 2–8: Wildlife watching trips in the Białowieża Forest, Siemianówka Lake and Biebrza Marshes – do it yourself or join our guided trips and photo hides
Day 9: transfer to Warsaw, arrive by 13:00, visit Warsaw Old Town

Food

HP: hearty Polish breakfasts and plentiful 3 course dinners

Accommodation

Quality family run guesthouse, comfortable twin rooms with private facilities.

The main price includes accommodation, food and transfer

Our lodge in the Białowieża Village

Our lodge in the Białowieża Village

The festival starts and ends in Warsaw. Participants arrive at Warsaw F. Chopin Airport Okecie (WAW) at their own expense. If you fly into Warszawa Modlin (WMI), you should account for ca. 2 hrs to get to WAW airport. We pick you up at Warsaw airport (WAW) or your hotel, no later than 13:00 and transfer to our guesthouse in Białowieża. If you arrive by train or a car – contact us for detailed directions.

The guesthouse is located just across the road from the 19th century park, that the Russian Tsars laid out around their enormous castle-like shooting lodge. The park is well preserved with beautiful trees, a river and ponds where Beavers live. Behind the park lies the Strict Protection Area of the National Park.

On the 9th day, we transfer you back to Warsaw. We plan to arrive by 13:00 and show you around the Warsaw Old Town. Basic participation costs include the transfer, accommodation and food only. If you feel like watching wildlife on your own – it’s all you pay for. You will even receive a detailed map of the area and suggestions for self guided walks to help your personal exploration.

Wildlife watching trips are optional; charged on the spot

Watching a wild herd of European Bison in the Białowieża Forest

Watching a wild herd of Bison

On the grounds of our guesthouse we will run the Festival’s Office where you will be able to find out and subscribe to our guided wildlife watching trips on a daily basis. We will offer at least 3–4 different trips each day according to current wildlife situation and weather. These trips include transportation, guiding and all entry fees.

Each day we will also offer several seats at professional photography hides for birds and mammals.

This way you compose your own itinerary on the spot and are charged for the trips or hides you choose, separately. Only debit or credit cards are accepted (Visa and MasterCard), so no cash is needed. All trips start and finish at the guesthouse.

A variety of reasonably priced trips will be offered

The trips will be priced according to their length and driving distance. A typical trip is 3-4 hrs long and costs PLN 160–240 (€40–60). There is no limit to the number of people taking part in a festival but our guided trips always run in small groups, 3–12 persons.

One of the hides with a drinking pool for birds

One of the hides with a drinking pool for birds

The costs of a single trip always include:

  • transport in a comfortable minibus
  • guiding by an English speaking passionate naturalist
  • all entrance fees and National Park tickets

Photography hides are prepared for 2 to 4 persons. Set out and maintained by a professional photographer so you will be thoroughly advised about best gear, time of day etc. Depending on a hide, one day entry costs PLN 400–500 per person (€90–120).

Recommend the festival and get free trips

If you recommend the festival to your friends and fellow birders we will offer 10% off each trip you take during the festival for each person that joins following your recommendation. In other words, if you book three other people together with you or if we get three bookings for the festival from people who mention your name, you will get 30% discount on all the trips you take with us. This means that 10 people get you all the trips for free! There are just three rules:

  1. You get 10% discount for each person who books into the full festival and mentions your name at the time of booking.
  2. The mentioned discount applies only to trips offered during this year’s festival.
  3. Maximum discount offered is 100% (so 11 and more people only give you 100% off)

Hope this sounds interesting. Looking forward to meeting you in May!

Below is a small selection of typical trips offered at this Festival. According to the current wildlife situation and your suggestions we may offer additional short trips, even for single species or a historical tour of wooden villages.

Our goal is to make the trips affordable to everyone and we will do the uttermost to keep the prices as low as possible.

Many trips will take place at dawn and dusk for best wildlife activity, leaving enough time in the day to rest.

Bison in the Białowieża Forest

Bison Safari, 2–3hrs

A short walk at dusk or dawn in search of wild European Bison. Other likely species include Wild Boar, Red Deer and even Corncrake or some of the Woodpeckers.

Białowieża Forest by Michael Eick

UNESCO Site, 4–7 hrs

A visit in the core area of the forest, the Strict Protection Area of the Białowieża National Park and a World Heritage Site. Pristine habitat and high chances of the rare Woodpeckers.

Three-toed Woodpecker in the Białowieża Forest, Poland

Woodpeckers, 4hrs

A drive around different forest habitats to find White-backed, Black, Three-toed, Middle-spotted and Grey-headed Woodpeckers.

Red-breasted Flycatcher in the Białowieża Forest

Flycatchers & Warblers, 4hrs

A drive around different forest habitats to find the Collared and Red-breasted Flycatchers as well as some of the rare Warblers like Savi’s, Great Reed or Icterine.

Pygmy Owl in the Białowieża Forest by Lionel Maumary

Pygmy Owl, 4hrs

A thrilling dawn or dusk trip trying to spot Europe’s smallest owl – the Pygmy Owl. This time of day is also best for general wildlife activity and we will visit some unscathed patches of the forest.

Racoon Dog in the Białowieża Forest

Forest at dusk, 4hrs

We will visit one of the pristine patches of the forest for a short walk and stay out late listening to the sounds of nature, watching birds, spotting Bison, Pygmy Owl or even Racoon Dogs.

Beaver seen on our boat trip in the Biebrza Marshes

Biebrza Marshes, 2 days, incl. hotel & food

Two days trip with an overnight stay at the famous Biebrza Marshes for Aquatic Warblers, Bluethroat, Greater Spotted Eagle and our flagship Beaver Boat trip and Elk Safari.

Great Snipe lekking by Yves Adams. Białowieża area

Great Snipe lek, 5hrs

This is an unforgettable evening trip to the marshland. Watch one of Europe’s rarest birds–Great Snipe at sunset and witness their remarkable lekking behaviour.

Citrine Wagtail in the Siemianówka Lake. Photo by Michael Eick

Siemianówka Lake, 8–10 hrs

A full day trip to the Siemianówka Reservoir where Black Storks, White-tailed Eagles, Citrine Wagtails and a good number of other birds, amphibians and reptiles can be seen.

Take advantage of every opportunity offered to you – no matter what time of day! You never know what you will see and experience. The best holiday I have ever had!!

 – Wendy Burnett, UK, 22 May 2016

Every effort is made to give the customer what he wants. The guides exceed all expectations!

 – Rob Burnett, UK, 22 May 2016

Nothing was too much trouble for any of the guides or hotel staff.

 – Kevin, UK, 22 May 2016

Experienced guiding, loose, friendly and funny atmosphere, natural surroundings. The forest is a stunning example of what nature would be like if it was healthy!

– Max Baumgarten, Germany – 22 May 2016

Excellent and knowledgable tour guides, excellent venues, great food. “Hearty meals” is correct!

– Randy Kursinsky, USA – 22 May 2016

I particularly liked the small, almost personal custom day trips. Flexible itinerary allowed birding, hide photography and personal exploration of Białowieża.

– Bruno, USA – 8 June 2016

Dear Tomasz and  Lukasz,

Once more, thank you very much for the nice stay I had in Poland. The fact that one is collected at and returned to the airport or the hotel makes it very easy and vital for the person, who lost his wallet and all his papers an hour after arrival. The trips to and from Bialowieza in itself were nice; I liked the stop at Brok on the Bug river, to see the river quietly flowing through the lowlands, while the birders had their fill of birds.

The hotel was a delight, the building, the atmosphere, the staff and Olimpia (the owner). I liked the fact that no staff would come to meddle in my room for the whole of my stay. The 19th century furniture, put at an angle in the great hall and even the velvety tablecloths spread at an angle on the tables was very special; the last time I saw such a classic set-up was ages ago. The food was very good and a super-idea to have the possibility to make yourself a “cuppa” at any time of the day. Sharing one big table with the whole of the group was very pleasant, getting to know each other and sharing experiences.

The concept of being able to choose the excursions on a daily basis is a great idea, because we all need time to be on our own and some are easier tired than others. The trip in the Strict Protection Area with Bogdan Jaroszewicz – what a pleasure to be guided by a wise man with such an enormous knowledge. I have acquired a total new vision on woodland.

The whole excursion to Biebrza was a delight, especially the stay at the agroturystyka where we arrived cold and hungry and the hot blackcurrant lemonade, spiced up with wodka, was lifesaving. The nice hosts, the hot stove, the glorious food and also the marsh birds, the peat-woodland made for a wonderful experience. I think the birders enjoyed it just as much as I did. You are brilliant guides; I very much enjoyed seeing the penduline tit and it’s nest.

The other Lukasz was a good guide in Warsaw, everything beautifully organised, the lunch in the restaurant of the Samson family, the walk through town, people seen off to the airport.

Thank you very much and I wish you all the best

 – Jaap Scheltus, Spain – 7 Aug 2016

100% Money Back Guarantee with Wild Poland

By booking, you will be asked to pay a small deposit to confirm your place. In a rare case that we have to cancel the departure because of insufficient number of participants, you will be refunded the full deposit amount. If your card is held in EUR or GBP small differences in the refunded amount may occur because of exchange rates.

We use PayPal processing for the transactions and charge in PLN. You can use a debit/credit card and don’t need to have a PayPal account for this.

Date Status Spaces Price Book
13 May – 21 May 2017

Guaranteed 

4 2850 PLN Book now

IMPORTANT – read before booking!

Our main venue with the festival office is now all booked up. Therefore we have reserved more spaces at a nearby hotel. It is 750 m walk from the main venue (a nice walk through the 19th c. park). Take a look at a map above and click on the icons for description.

If you book now you will sleep and have breakfasts at the 2nd venue. You will have to walk to the main venue for dinners, festival office and joining the trips.

Let us know at info@wildpoland.com if anything is still unclear!

Details

13–21 May 2017

9 days, 8 nights

Cost per person

PLN 2850 (ca. €650)
Deposit: PLN 800
Single room: PLN 650

Group size

3 – 12 participants on trips

Accommodation & food

hotels and HP food included

Transportation

included

Guiding

NOT included,
WILL be available optionally on the spot

Flights

NOT included

Downloads

Tour itinerary:
Festival outline › (pdf, 0.4 MB)

Previous reports:
May 2016 › (pdf, 2.2 MB)

Festival location

Anything still unclear?

 Some common questions answered

Can I join your trips without booking accommodation? (I will be in the area in these dates and have my own accommodation)

Yes, the Festival is open to other visitors who just ‘come by’ but priority is given to our customers. You will only be allowed to join a given guided trip when there are enough spaces available.

We think this is fair towards the participants who plan their holiday in advance.

Can I easily communicate in English?

Yes, the Festival language is English and all our guides speak it well. What we cannot guarantee, however, is that all the hotel staff are fluent. Therefore our staff will be there to assist you in a rare case that you may require help.

Can I pay with a credit card?

Yes, we accept VISA and MasterCard on the spot. In fact – we do not accept cash at all

Not all the hotels and bars accept cards, though, so you may wish to have some PLN in cash to pay for your drinks, souvenirs etc. There is a cash machine in the Białowieża Village.

Can I pay in EUR or GBP?

Yes, but we don’t accept cash. When you make a bank transfer to pay for the basic participation costs, we can accept EUR.

When you pay for the guided trips on the spot, we only accept card payments and charge in PLN.

I travel alone but wish to share a room. Is it possible?

Yes, you may opt for a shared room option but in case we do not find you a room mate of the same sex, you will be charged an additional single room supplement.

It is a common practice here that hotels charge more for a single room and unfortunately, we cannot avoid this.

How to join

There are many affordable options to get to Warsaw

By air

Ryanair offers flights from Brussels (BE), Stansted (GB), Dublin (IRL) Barcelona (E), Paris (F), Eindhoven (NL), Oslo (N) or Stockholm (S) on these dates. Prices start from €20!

By car

Białowieża is 8 hrs drive from Berlin, 13 hrs from Amsterdam or Copenhagen and 15 hrs from Zurich or Helsinki

By train

Journey from Berlin to Warsaw takes only 5 hrs and from Vienna – 8 hrs

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