Join our fanatic nature enthusiasts crew at the height of winter. See the unscathed nature and plenty of wildlife in the beautiful, snowy landscape. Listen to evening lectures by leading local researchers for an even greater insight.
- Spend quality time in real wilderness – Białowieża Forest and Biebrza Marshes
- Join our trips for European Bison, Elks and even Wolves, Lynx or Beavers
- Watch the winter birdlife including Hawfinch, Waxwing, White-tailed Eagles, Woodpeckers and more!
- Small groups, expert and friendly local guides
- Evening lectures on the Białowieża Forest and wildlife by leading scientists
Grey Wolf at wintertime by Grzegorz Leśniewski
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 day trips.
Winter is the best time of the year for mammal watching and furthermore, offers a fantastic snowy scenery. Of course we can’t guarantee weather but we have planned this festival at the most reliable time. Additionally, we will offer a two-day trip to the famous Biebrza Marshes to see Elks (Moose), (seen well on all our previous trips!) as well as Beavers and Otters (much more difficult).
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.
Although there are few birds around at that time, you will have a chance to get some great views of winter rarities like the mentioned woodpeckers but also a White-tailed Eagle, Rough-legged Buzzard, Great Grey Shrike, Hawfinch or Waxwing.
We have also asked leading local scientists to join us in the evenings and give in-depth lectures on the Białowieża Forest and its wildlife.
Finally, we will also point out several 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 around as well as keep you informed about the region’s history and ethnic diversity.
We will stay at a comfortable National Park lodge located right in the centre of the 19th century park. The restaurant offers quality, traditional Polish food and numerous craft drinks. As usual, we will finish with a traditional Polish campfire to add a unique and unforgettable taste to your wildlife holiday.
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 and Biebrza Marshes – do it yourself or join our guided trips and evening lectures
Day 8: transfer to Warsaw, finish by 14:00
HP: hearty Polish breakfasts and plentiful 3 course dinners
Comfortable National Park lodge, 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. We may walk on snow and icy tracks so bringing your own snow & ice cleats/crampons can be a good idea.
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, 17 Jan 2020 (see a few hotel suggestions below ›) or on an early flight 18th Jan. We meet 18 January 2020 at 13:00 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 lodge in Białowieża 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 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 3-4 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 and/or drive at dusk or dawn in search of wild European Bison. 100% success rate on our previous winter trips! Other likely species include Wild Boar, Red and Roe Deer, Red Fox or a Great Grey Shrike.
Wolf & Lynx Dawn and Dusk 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!
UNESCO Site, 4–7 hrs
A guided tour with the best local guides in the core area of the forest, the Strict Protection Area of the Białowieża National Park and a World Heritage Site. Pristine habitat and chances to see some of the rare Woodpeckers.
A drive around and short walks in various forest habitats to find as many different woodpeckers as possible. Likely species include Black, White-backed, Grey-headed, Three-toed, Great, Middle and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. Other resident birds also likely.
Wildlife tracking course, 4hrs
A slow walk at one or more sites deep in the Białowieża forest tracking mammals. Our guide will point out all that there is to see and explain the basics of reading animal tracks. It is unbelievable how much you can read from footprints!
Biebrza Marshes, 2 days, incl. hotel & food
Two days trip with an overnight stay at the famous Biebrza Marshes for an Elk (Moose) Safari plus chances of Beavers, Otters, American Minks, Red Foxes, White-tailed Eagles, Rough-legged Buzzards and more.
Evening lectures, 1-2 hrs, admission free
We have asked three leading local scientists to join us in the evenings and give lectures on the situation of the Białowieża Forest and its wildlife. Isn’t it a smart way to spend long winter evenings back at the lodge?
Below are a few short videos and a small selection of photographs taken at our previous winter trips in Białowieża and Biebrza 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 ›
An amazing trip, the guides are experts and have an infectious enthusiasm for wildlife and the forest!
– 2019 festival participant
The forest is so beautiful and we got lots of opportunity to explore it. We were lucky that it snowed and we saw the forest covered in white. Tour guides and staff friendly and made everyone feel welcome. Group got on well and there were lots of laughs and great conversations. Food delicious.
– 2019 festival participant
View of herd of bison coming from the forest was magnificent, we didn’t need to see wolves to be contented.
– 2019 festival participant
The whole festival had a lovely atmosphere and the passion of the guides and the other people in the group inspired me!
– 2019 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
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
The guide with excellent birding knowledge. The opportunity to see wild bison as well as rare woodpeckers in Białowieża forest. Good, traditional Polish food. Plus we got to see wolves!
– Thomas Hedmark, Sweden – 6 Jan 2017
The Białowieża Forest is a very special place and it was wonderful to see it in the depths of winter. Seeing the strictly protected area with an expert guide was a highlight of the trip, along with great views of the Bison.
– Matthew Craig, UK – 25 January 2016
I just want to say thank you for a terrific weekend and a unique experience. We have some lovely photos and great memories. Lukasz’s knowledge of animal tracks is very impressive and being shown several sets of wolf tracks was terrific! That last morning, seeing the wolf tracks and the bison again, we were going home on a high! Thanks again.
– Leslie Hitchen, Malvern, UK – 17 February 2015
I am just back from a wonderful winter wildlife watching holiday in remote North East Poland with naturalist Lukasz Mazurek, owner of Wild Poland.
We were based in two places: Bialowieza forest, one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, and the Biebrza marshes, one of the largest European wildlife refuges. These areas are the home of wild European bison, wolves, lynx, elk, beavers, wild boar, otters, eagles, to name just a few species.
We walked and drove on special routes through the forest and marshes designed with great insider knowledge by Lukasz. It was stunningly beautiful, and full of wildlife and their tracks in the snow. We did not see wolves or lynx (you would have to be insanely lucky), but pretty much everything else (e.g. bison, elk, otter, and white-tailed eagles from close-up), and we saw loads of fresh wolf tracks and followed them through the snowy landscape.
Lukasz is a superb naturalist and guide, always finding animals, birds and tracks, but also sharing his large knowledge and insight in the history, culture, and politics of the areas you are in. The week-long trip was very well organised (if you fly to Warsaw you are picked up there), we were a small group of 5 from different countries, and we had a lovely time. We stayed in two lovely Polish guesthouses, and ate brilliant food. I did not know Polish food was so good, and I am vegetarian too!
If you are looking for an authentic, richly rewarding (and affordable) wildlife holiday in a remote European region, you have found it. Check out the Wild Poland website for their wildlife trips at other times of the year too.
– Francoise, UK – 28 January 2014
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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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|18 Jan – 25 Jan 2020||available||3150 PLN||Book now|
Could you pick me up at the hotel or airport on 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 and at the airport, arriving in Białowieża late evening.
A single meeting point has worked really well last year.
How to get to the meeting point in Warsaw?
We meet at the centrally located 1950’s soviet landmark called a Palace of Culture and Science (Polish: Pałac Kultury i Nauki). You just can’t miss it.
It is ca. 30 mins drive from the WAW airport. A taxi takes you there for approx. PLN 40 (€10) while a 175 bus will do that for only PLN 4.40 (€1).
Once there, we will be waiting for you at the main entrance to the Palace which is at the eastern side facing Marszałkowska Street.
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.