Wildlife Watching Festival
19–27 May 2018 in the Białowieża Forest
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
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 as well as Wolves and Lynx and we would love to show them to you during our dawn and dusk trips.
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.
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.
Day 1: Join us in Warsaw by 10:00 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 trip
Day 9: transfer to Warsaw, visit Warsaw Old Town, finish by 17:00
HP: hearty Polish breakfasts and plentiful 3 course dinners
Quality lodge, all rooms with ensuite facilities.
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, 18 May 2018 (see a few hotel suggestions below ›). We meet at 10:00 in the morning 19 May 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 lodge is located right in the centre of 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 lunch time, show you around the Warsaw Old Town and finish by 17:00. 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 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 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 3-4 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.
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 Wild Boar, Red Deer and even Corncrake 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 and Grey-headed Woodpeckers.
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, 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Below is a short video and a small selection of photographs taken late spring during our trips in Białowieża 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 ›
Taken during our trips:
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 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.
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|19 May – 27 May 2018||
|available||2850 PLN||Book now|
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 early 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.