This festival is timed for fantastic activity of bird rarities like Pygmy Owl, Hazel Grouse, White-backed, Three-toed or Grey-headed Woodpeckers, as well as Wolf tracking and mammal watching for Bison, Elks (Moose) and Beavers.
- Spend quality time in real wilderness – Białowieża Forest and Biebrza Marshes
- Join our trips for European Bison, Elks and Beavers
- See the rare Pygmy Owl and Hazel Grouse
- Watch up to 8 species of Woodpeckers
- Search for Tengmalm’s Owl, Wolf and Lynx at night
- Small groups, expert and friendly local guides
Join us for a week long adventure in some of the wildest areas: Primeval Białowieża Forest and vast Biebrza Marshes. Early spring all the Woodpeckers, Owls and Hazel Grouse just go mad. Wolves would have just mated and Lynx just start. Bison, Elks, Beavers and other large mammals become very active and easier to watch.
This festival is timed for fantastic activity of many rare species which are a lot more difficult to see later in the year. Did you know it is possible to see 8 species of Woodpeckers here? Seeing Pygmy Owl and Hazel Grouse is almost guaranteed and Tengmalm’s (Boreal) Owl – highly likely. But there is so much more! Larger Owls, Cranes, Eagles, Whooper and Tundra Swans, Otters, Martens or hundreds of amphibians on the move. If the weather is right, we may even witness a rare spectacle of Moor Frogs turning blue for a few days of spawn.
You will 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.
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 campfire to add a unique and unforgettable taste to your wildlife holiday.
This festival is timed for resident birds that are more difficult to see later in the season. Only the first few early migrants are here at this time. Please check our tables with bird arrival dates in NE Poland › for reference or drop us an e-mail if seeing some species is important to you.
Day 1: Join us in Warsaw by 13:00 and transfer to the Białowieża Forest
Days 2–7: Wildlife watching trips in the Białowieża Forest, Siemianówka Lake and Biebrza Marshes – do it yourself or join our guided trips
Day 8: transfer to Warsaw, finish by 14:00
HP: hearty Polish breakfasts and plentiful 3 course dinners
Comfortable family-run guesthouse, all rooms with ensuite facilities.
Children must be at least 15 years old to join this tour. If your children are younger, please contact us and we’ll see how we can help organise your trip.
Trips offered during this festival require basic fitness to walk 2–16 km at a moderate speed of 3–4 km/h.
The main price includes accommodation, HP food and transfer
The festival starts and ends in Warsaw. Participants arrive at Warsaw at their own expense, preferably the day before the festival (see a few hotel suggestions below ›). We meet at 13:00, 21 March downtown Warsaw in front of the Palace of Culture and Science and transfer to our lodge in Białowieża. If you arrive by train or a car – contact us for detailed directions.
The festival venue is located right in the centre of the Białowieża village, next to 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 Białowieża National Park.
On the 8th day, we transfer you back to Warsaw. We plan to arrive by lunch time and drop you off at the Palace of Culture and Science or Warsaw WAW Airport by 14:00. Basic participation costs include the transfer, accommodation, plentiful breakfasts and 3-course dinners. 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
On the grounds of our lodge 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.
This way you compose your own itinerary on the spot and are charged for the trips 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 lodge.
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 3-5 hrs long and costs PLN 150–250 (ca. €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.
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
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 Safari, 2–3hrs
A short walk at dusk or dawn in search of wild European Bison. Other likely species include Red and Roe Deer, Red Fox or some of the Woodpeckers.
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.
A drive around different forest habitats to find White-backed, Black, Three-toed, Middle-spotted or Grey-headed Woodpeckers. In fact all 8 resident woodpecker species are possible to see here at this time!
Dawn Patrol, 4hrs
A drive and/or a walk at the best time of day for large mammals at some of our favourite forest patches. This is the trip that each year brings us some Wolf and Lynx sightings. But there is so much more to see!
Pygmy Owl, 3hrs
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.
Boreal Forest experience, 4hrs
A fantastic early morning walk in a pristine coniferous forest for best chances to see the rare Black and Three-toed Woodpeckers, Hazel Grouse, Pygmy Owl and Nutcracker.
Forest at night, 4hrs
We will drive around the forest and take a few short walks searching for Tengmalm’s Owl, Wolves and Lynx. Other likely species include Bison, Pine or Beech Marten or Raccoon Dog.
Early Spring Amphibians, 4hrs
A visit at one or more flooded patches of the forest for a spectacle of spawning frogs and toads. It is early in the season but up to five different species can be seen if the conditions are good.
Biebrza Marshes, 2 days, incl. hotel & food
Two days trip with an overnight stay at the famous Biebrza Marshes for fantastic landscapes, hundreds of waterfowl, White-tailed Eagles and our flagship Beaver Boat trip and Elk Safari.
Siemianówka Lake, 8–10 hrs
A full day trip to the Siemianówka Reservoir where Storks, Cranes, White-tailed Eagles and a good number of other birds and amphibians can be seen.
Below is a playlist with a few videos and a small selection of photographs taken early spring during our trips in the Białowieża Forest and Biebrza Marshes to give you an idea of what it’s like here and what is possible to see.
For more videos please visit our youtube channel ›
Photos taken during our trips early spring:
It is a huge privilege just to walk in the forest. Any sightings of birds or mammals was, for me, just a bonus. The knowledge of the guides and the generosity with which they shared that knowledge was superb. A perfect mix, just want to say a huge thank you for a wonderful time.
– 2018 festival participant
I particularly liked the festival’s relaxed nature. Extensive choice of trips. Enthusiasm, commitment and knowledge of the guides – they got the right balance between skills, knowledge and fun.
– 2018 festival participant
Saw so much that I had never seen before
– 2018 festival participant
Flexibility and choice of expeditions, extensive knowledge of guides, small groups and very personal experience. Thanks a million for all your dedication, hard work, care, patience and attention to detail. I had the most unforgettable experience, nature in its pristine form… I cannot thank you enough.
– Lorna Mikhelson, UK, 23 May 2017
Excellent organisation, handing out self guided tours, room for requests, knowledgable guides in the most beautiful part of Europe! Thank you so much!
– Danielle, The Netherlands, 23 May 2017
– Sam Plompen, Belgium, 23 May 2017
What an amazing experience! I went there on my own and felt looked after every step of the way. There was such a variety of bird and mammal life to be seen and amongst all I saw were bison, elk, lynx and wolf!! The meals provided were hearty and delicious. The guides were fantastic, helpful and super knowledgeable. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it so peaceful and informative. I can’t praise this trip highly enough from accomodation, guides, BEAUTIFUL scenery and wonderful wildlife.
– Sailí Ní Dhroighneáin, Ireland, 23 May 2017
Complete flexibility to pick and choose daily itineraries to suit personal requirements. Enthusiastic and competent guides dedicated to providing the very best service.
– Maurice Wilby, UK, 23 May 2017
Wall-to-wall fantastic birding. The expertise of the guides was breath-taking and without exception they were endlessly patient, informative and helpful.
– Lindsey Williams, Ireland, 23 May 2017
Wild Poland guides did a fantastic job showing us the wonders of Białowieża Forest, tremendously organised with great humour and a friendly atmosphere.
– Kate Foster, UK, 23 May 2017
Guides were very knowledgable, could locate and point out dozens of things we would just have not seen. Although there is a bird & mammal emphasis on the trips the guides took time to see we were interested in plants and identified these when they could.
– Kevan Horne, UK, 23 May 2017
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
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By booking, you will be asked to pay a 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. We charge in PLN, so if your card is held in EUR or GBP small differences in the refunded amount may occur because of exchange rates.
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Could you pick me up at the hotel in the morning of day 1 in Warsaw?
No, we are sorry. We tried this in the previous years but it takes a few hours to pick everyone up and we would spend the whole day in the bus, arriving in Białowieża late evening.
Instead, we suggest that you book a hotel near the meeting point and either walk or take a taxi there in the morning. This way we minimise the time spent on the bus and should arrive at our lodge in Białowieża in the afternoon.
A few hotels within 5 minutes walk from the meeting point are suggested below.
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.