Bear Watching - 1 Day

Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide

We offer the possibility to spend an unforgettable night in our Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide. The hide is situated in Alutaguse, which is a huge area covered with taiga forests and vast bogs in N-E of Estonia – home to about half of Estonia’s 800 brown bears.

The new hides have windows on both sides of the hide. Northern windows overlook a taiga forest and the most common mammals to see would be Raccoon Dogs and Brown Bears. Woodpeckers, Red Squirrels, Nuthatches, tits, and Jays visit the feeders.

Southern windows offer a view of a stream and a flooded meadow. Sometimes Elk, Wild Boar, and Roe Deer come to feed on the meadow and European Beavers or Otters can occasionally swim by. Ural Owl and Red Fox come here to hunt for mice and sometimes also Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, and bussards come by and look for prey. Rare visitors to the scenery include Wolf, Lynx, and Mink.

We have also made a list of species that have been seen or heard from the hide

In July 2021 we have special prices during the mid-week (Tuesday, Wednsday and Thursday) and during the whole month, every booking/family/group can have the whole hide for themselves!

July mid-week prices:

75€ adult
45€ child
175€ family
525€ whole hide (up to 9 persons)

  • In case you are not able to come due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, but already paid for the Brown Bear hide booking, we will refund you the whole sum.

Overview

The Brown Bear and wildlife watching hides are simple, comfortable and cosy. There are 2 hides, each one of them has room for 9 persons. Both hides have separated cabins with bunk beds and a dry toilet.  One cabin has room for 4 persons – 2 bunk beds/4 sleeping places in total. One bed is situated between the 2 cabins.

If the visitors wish, they can take pictures through the windows (without flash) and photographers are allowed to take photos through special photography holes.

Hides

There are 2 identical hides:

One hide has 2 private cabins (4 beds in both) and room up to 9 people. Hides have bunk beds, sleeping bags, pillows, viewing windows, photo holes, chairs, and a dry toilet.

Itinerary

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You’ll meet our guide at the given meeting point and walk with him/her to the hide. There you’ll stay for the night. The walk to the hide is about 1.5 km. If you have any questions, feel free to ask our guide. He/she will also make you a quick tour inside the hide, explaining what you should take notice of and how to act in the hide.

After arriving in the hide, you can first set up everything for the evening and night and then start calmly watching and waiting. The animals can appear on both sides of the hide, so you should keep an eye out for both sides. Usually, birds are the first ones who arrive. Often the most interesting period begins about an hour before the sunset, but at times, animals can appear much earlier. Every stay and experience is different. It’s possible to observe wildlife through the night because there are some faint lights under the forest canopy on one side of the hide.

Early morning after the sunrise is also an active time in nature. Sometimes the most interesting observations happen during the early hours and you should be espesically alert if the Brown Bears did not show themselves in the evening.

If no animals are around, you should leave the hide at 8 AM. The route back to the meeting point is the same one you took last evening.

Price includes:

  • Night in the Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide
  • Our guide taking you to the hide

Price Excludes

  • Transport to the meeting point
  • Food and drinks
What to wear?

Warm clothes and comfortable (preferably waterproof) footwear are necessary for the walk to hide. Warm clothes and indoor footwear/warms socks are strongly recommended to be worn in the hide.

What to take with you?

We suggest taking binoculars with you, as they help to spot wildlife from a distance and during the dark hours. We can also rent out binoculars for one night (8×56 Danubia Bussards – 5 €/night), which greatly improves sight in poor light conditions. You would also have to take your own food and water.

Things to do around the hide?

Here are some simple suggestions about places that you can visit when driving to Alutaguse or staying in the area.

Can I use camping stove inside the hide?

No. Open fire is not allowed inside the hide.

Will the guide stay in the hide with us for the night?

No. The guide will not stay with you in the hide for the night unless there is a mutual agreement. He/she will just take you to the hides and make a quick tour inside the hide, so you would know what to take notice of.

What kind of food should I take with me?

We suggest taking things which are easy to eat and do not take any preparations – premade sandwiches, fruit, chocolate. It’s better if the food or snacks are not packed in materials, which make a lot of noise when handled (such as some potato chip packages).

We send the exact meeting point after booking has been confirmed

Price and Booking

105 EUR per person

60 EUR per child (7-14 y.o)

235 EUR per family

700 EUR  group up to 9 persons

Extra services:

rent of binoculars which greatly improves sight in poor light conditions 8×56 Danubia Bussards – 5 €/night

Overall Trip Rating:
😀
4.67 stars - Based on 3 reviews
😀 Excellent
2
🙂 Very Good
1
😕 Average
0
🙁 Poor
0
😡 Terrible
0
  1. We saw what we came to see
    George 28/06/2013
    We found the starting point with no problems – I had downloaded it from your website to my phone before we left. Andres was waiting for us and so we knew we had arrived. The weather was not great as it was raining and the overcast sky made it a little too dark for photographs. It also made the mosquitoes particularly troublesome. However, we found the hides and once we had changed our wet clothes we settled in. We saw what we came to see. About 21.30h, a raccoon dog visited 4 or 5 times staying a few minutes each time (searching out the bait that had been left). The light was good enough for viewing through binoculars and we watched it for a about 30 minutes in total. That was really good as I didn’t expect to see a raccoon dog. Each time it visited, it took away some of the bait it could drag from where it was placed under the fallen tree. Had the light been better, it would have been easy to photograph. Even though the light was quite good for viewing but for photography – iso set to 2400 and with F4.5 lens – the resulting shutter speeds were still too slow. About 23.30 a large brown bear visited. We had a good view of the bear for about 1 hour. Even at this time of the day it was not very dark and so we could watch the bear easily (Even though it was too was too dark for photography – 1 s exposure times at ISO 3200). Again, it took the bait that was left (the bait the raccoon dog had left behind). Clearly the bear found no problem in moving the tree and revealing the bait. Again, the bear would take some bait and go and eat it a few meters away and then return. We also saw a fox 3 times and had a visit from a group of 3 wild boar – they looked young to me and were quite entertaining. Also seen, 3 visits from a fox, a small bat, and pair of woodpeckers. So, overall we were very satisfied. Clearly, if we want to see bears in daylight, we need to think more about the best time for a possible visit in the future.
  2. Watching time really was great!
    Dipl. Biol. Sebastian Rogahn
    from Germany
    12/05/2011
    he adult male (Brown Bear) came out at 21:03 PM and stayed there for almost half an hour! Before there only was one red fox, a goose hawk, ravens and one magpie.
  3. I was determined to see my fist brown bear.
    Ben Hoare from BBC Wildlife
    from United Kingdom
    03/05/2010
    I was determined to see my fist brown bear. Not least because bear tourism has become big business in Europe, with hides in Sweden and Finland offering success rates of higher than 90 percent. By now, our party had recorded bear prints, scats and claw marks raked across tree bark, and even the remains of a boar that had been stripped to the bone by these opportunist omnivores. So we were quietly confident of observing the real thing. Waiting for the bears to appear was nerve-racking. Two ravens and, bizarrely, a nuthatch of the ghosty northern race visited the site to pick at its flesh, while a pine marten zipped across the cleaning and vanished up a tree. And then, illuminated by the setting sun, a mother bear and her cub ambled into view.

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Bear Watching

Info

  • 105€ per person
     60€ per child
    235€ per family
    700€ group
  • May-October
  • By car from Tallinn or Tartu 1,5-2 hours
  • Easy walk 1,5 km to hide.
  • May, June, July and August 17:00 PM – 8:00 AM
    September and October 16:00 PM- 8:00 AM
  • About 15 hours
  • 5
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    Reserve of 1 available accommodations.

    Bear Watching Hide Cabin is available for selected dates.