Wild Finland Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Finland
Programmes:
Wildlife
Trip Code:
WBF
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

6 Days Flight Inclusive
6 Days Land only
Min age: 18

Trip Overview

As if impatient from the tortuously cold winter months, far Eastern Finland emerges from hibernation in full bloom, its fauna keen to redress the balance. Delve into the wilderness to unravel and illuminate its remarkable wildlife, watching eagerly from a hide for the arrival of Brown bears. Bears aren't the only highlight as we get to experience the Finnish wilderness of Oulanka National Park, with its whitewater rivers, spruce forest and scotch pine. Nature rafting and a husky walk are also part of the adventure.

At a Glance

  • 5 nights at Basecamp Oulanka 
  • Travel by private minibus, on foot and by raft 
  • Group normally 4 to 14 with local leader. Min age 18 yrs 
  • No experience necessary 

Trip Highlights

  • Two evenings spent in a hide observing Brown bears
  • Nature rafting, husky walk and follow the 'Little Bear' trail  
  • Soak up the tranqulity and stillness of Oulanka National Park in summer 
  • Bright nights with up to 22 hours of daylight 

Is This Trip for You?

This trip has been graded 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) with a safari rating of 3. 

It has been designed for those who want to be completely surrounded by the Finnish wilderness, whilst having the comfort of cosy Basecamp Oulanka to return to each evening. Due to our location not far from the Arctic circle, in the summer months there are long daylight hours, which can mean between 18-22 hours of daylight with just a short twilight period. This is ideal for bear viewing.

Please note that caution must be taken when walking to/from the bear hide and in the surrounding area. We will be accompanied by a bear guide and always walk in a group. It is important to follow the advice of your guide at all times. The age limit has been set to 18 because of this activity. Facilities in the hide are comfortable but relatively simple - for instance, there are only compost toilets in the bear hides. 

Basecamp provides all equipment needed for rafting such as over jackets/trousers, rubber boots and dry bags. No experience is necessary - all activities are suitable for beginners.  

The included walks all follow well marked trails but there are some steep sections in order to get the best views. Mosquito protection is recommended in Finland during the summer months. 

Baiting wildlife - an important issue in wildlife tourism

Baiting is a useful practice in attracting wildlife to aid sightings of certain animals in many areas around the world. It is also an approach that leads to much debate about the ethics in feeding wild animals. In some circumstances we are strongly against baiting, for example camps in Africa placing carrion to attract leopards purely for tourist sightings. However in Finland, and this particular area, we believe it is a practice that can lead to conservation benefits. Our belief is that this will help in protecting the wildlife from hunting which is wide spread in parts of Finland. Tourism is helping create enclaves where hunting is prohibited, and that growing income will hopefully lead to more protection in the future.

Tourism is more sustainable long term than hunting, and growing support locally to protect the wildlife is important in Exodus taking this stance. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
18
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
14

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Basecamp Oulanka
End City:
Basecamp Oulanka

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
Kuusamo
End City:
Kuusamo

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Basecamp Oulanka

    Land only clients should make their own way to Basecamp Oulanka this afternoon/evening. Set on the edge of the spectacular Oulanka National Park, Basecamp Oulanka is a complex of wooden buildings providing cosy accommodation in a stunning wilderness setting overlooking Juuma Lake - surround yourself completely in nature for the next five nights! After a warming dinner you'll have the chance to settle into your wilderness home in the forest. Take a late evening walk down to the lake and marvel at the stillness. During the summer months there can be between 18 - 22 hours of daylight which ensures a colourful sky with drawn out sunsets and sunrises merging together.

    Basecamp Oulanka 

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Wilderness skills walk in Oulanka N.P.; visit Brown bear hide.

    After a hearty breakfast in the main building, we leave for a short walk in Oulanka National Park. We'll likely visit the Old Mill which overlooks the Myllykoski rapids, where White throated dippers are often seen. Our guide will introduce us to some simple wilderness skills, such as how to make a fire, orienteer and basic first aid.

    Around 4pm, after we've had lunch at Basecamp, we set off towards the Russian border zone for a short walk to a comfortable bear hide, where we will spend the evening anticipating the arrival of Brown bears and hopefully watching lots of bear interaction! Brown bears are very active in this area and there are thought to be some 1,500 Brown bears in Finland's vast forests. After a long period of hibernation over winter, the bears emerge from their dens in spring, sometimes with cubs in tow. During the months of July and August the bears are very hungry and so typically become nightly visitors to the area where the hide is located as they are fed with carrion. As well as Brown bears (and hopefully cubs) there is a good possibility to see White-tailed eagle in this area.

    The hide is warm and comfortable, with large windows for excellent views and plenty of openings for camera lenses (ideal if you are a keen photographer). There is a kettle, compost toilet and around 10 beds with sleeping bags which you're welcome to use if you feel tired at any point. Depending on our sightings and the amount of daylight left we will leave the hide around 11pm or 12am, walking the short distance back to our vehicle. It is important when in the hide and walking to/from the hide to keep voices to a minimum and follow instructions from the guide - we always walk in a group to minimise the likelihood of encountering a bear.

    Basecamp Oulanka 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Husky walk through Riisitunturi National Park

    Today we visit Riisitunturi National Park, home to those iconic snow covered trees in winter. In summer the fells provide the groundwater to feed Lake Kitka and offer the perfect home for a variety of wildlife. On today's walk, we are joined by husky dogs. For this activity, you'll be harnessed in pairs to one husky who will 'lead' the walk at a reasonable pace (huskies are powerful dogs, hence why one dog is harnessed to two people). This wonderful dog breed makes an excellent companion for a hike through the wilderness! Huskies accompany us for the easiest part of the canyon trail, and after this, we complete some steeper sections of the walk by ourselves.

    Basecamp Oulanka 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Nature rafting on River Kitka near the Russian Border zone; guided walk through taiga forest to learn about the habitat of Brown bears; evening visit Brown bear hide.

    After getting fitted out with rafting gear at Basecamp Oulanka (available free of charge) we have a short walk to Jyrävä waterfall to begin our nature rafting excursion on River Kitka. Running through Oulanka National Park to the Russian Border zone, the river winds its way through taiga forest, with dramatic cliffs and wonderful views of scotch pine and spruce forest. Traveling by raft is the perfect way to soak up the tranquillity of nature and experience the best of Finland's wilderness. We pass over some gentle class I to II rapids as we float down the river, enjoying the sound of silence in the vast forest. At the Russian End we take a short walk to Vihvilänlamminkangas, the biggest elk destruction area in Europe which looks like a huge bonsai garden! Here we will learn about the importance of nature conservation, the old forest and its ecosystem, before a short transfer by road back to Basecamp Oulanka. This evening we have an early dinner and a second visit to the bear hide. Before entering the hide we meet a Brown bear expert who will guide a short walk through the habitat of Brown bear. On this walk we'll be looking for and interpreting signs of activity such as marks and scratchings on the trees, as well as any visible tracks on the ground. Following this we spend the evening in the hide to watch the forests come alive once more. 

    Basecamp Oulanka

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    Walk the famous Pieni Karhunkierros (Little Bear) Trail in Oulanka N.P.; optional evening visit to Brown bear hide

    Oulanka National Park is a vast boreal forest and one of its most scenic walking trails is the Pieni Kahrunkierros - the Little Bear Trail - a 12km loop through some of the most picturesque areas of the park. Setting off on foot from Basecamp we hike on good trails, crossing suspension bridges and passing some of the larger rapids and waterfalls, including the class VI Jyrävä waterfall. Between Oulanka in Finland and neighbouring Paanajärvi in Russia, some 136,000 hectares of taiga forest, lakes and rushing whitewater rivers are protected - one of the world's largest biomes. The flora in this area is very interesting with lichens, heather, wild cloudberries, blueberries and lingonberry bushes. This is a moderate grade walk and there are some steep sections in order to experience the best views.

    Back at Basecamp, it's possible to rest and enjoy a traditional sauna this evening or you may decide to join an optional excursion to return to the bear hide once more (at an additional cost of 150 EUR). For this excursion it is possible to use an alternative hide in the same area (perhaps if you are a photographer interested in getting a different angle for your photos). 

    Basecamp Oulanka

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    End Basecamp Oulanka

    This morning our adventure in the Finnish wilderness comes to an end and land only clients are free to make onward arrangements. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Basecamp Oulanka

Basecamp Oulanka is wilderness camp in a stunning location overlooking Juuma lake, on the edge of Oulanka National Park. It is a complex of wooden buildings providing comfortable and cosy accommodation. There are two wooden lodges providing sleeping accommodation and all rooms are fitted out with double or twin beds and en suite bathrooms. The main building provides a cosy lodge with huge windows framing the view of the lake. There is a large fire and a comfortable lounge seating area to relax in. All of our meals will be taken in this building. Also at Basecamp Oulanka there is a sauna. 

Please note that there are Exodus family groups at Basecamp during school holidays.

 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from 234,95 €

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners included 

The food at Basecamp is a delicious range of local produce (Finnish food) that is all prepared on site by the in house chef. Starters consist of a salad buffet with 3-4 different choices. The main courses consist of wild game such as elk, chicken and salmon. Vegetarian options are also available. Dessert consists of lingonberries, blueberries and cloudberries that have often been picked by the chef herself. These berries are served with a selection of quark kurd, cream, ice cream, cakes and pancakes. Lunch normally consists of a hot soup with elk, salmon or vegetarian option.

Transportation

A minibus is used for transfers.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Lapland is characterised by an arctic/continental climate that varies greatly throughout the year. Many people expect Lapland to be cold all year round, but in fact, temperatures can soar in summer as a result of influences from the North Atlantic Current which bring warm air to the region. While winters are icy and cold, summers are much warmer and milder. The average temperature is a pleasant 15°C while highs can hit 21°C on the hottest days. With very low levels of wind, conditions can feel very balmy in Lapland at this time. Unlike the chilly winter months, temperatures hardly ever drop below 13°C. Midnight Sun: from the end of May to the beginning of August you will find daylight for much of the day as the sun barely sets below the horizon.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 6 days 

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London
We normally use the scheduled services of Finnair (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 6 days starting and ending at Basecamp Oulanka

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in the afternoon/evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions, sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Basecamp Oulanka
Location end:
Basecamp Oulanka

What to Take

Essential Equipment

In addition to your 'normal' daily clothes, it is recommended to bring good hiking shoes,  swimsuit (for the sauna), gortex clothing for walking, lighter clothes for warmer days, camera, binoculars and an eye mask for sleeping. Clothes that allow your skin to be covered to prevent mosquito bites are ideal, and you may find a headnet useful. 

Equipment is provided for the rafting excursion, including: waterproof jacket and trousers, warm fleece layers, rubber boots, gloves and thick socks. 

Spring water is provided throughout and you can also drink directly from River Kitka on the rafting excursion - that's how clean the water here is! 

Practical Information

Passport

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Finland

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

We are advised that there is no risk of malaria on this trip.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Finland's Timezone:
Europe/Helsinki EET (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Finland's Electricity:

220-240V. European adapter required. 

Money

Finland's Currency

The national currency of Finland is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

ATM Availability

There are no ATMs available, however credit cards are accepted at our accommodation.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You should allow some Euros for drinks with meals and at the bar, but it is also possible to have a tab (associated to your room) and pay for your purchases at the end of the week using your credit or debit card. Please note only Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

If you want to join the optional bear hide excursion on the last night, it will cost EUR 150 per person. 

Tipping

Tipping is not common practice in Finland, but if you wanted to give something to show your appreciation of good customer service then around 5 EUR per day would be a reasonable amount. 

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus, we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

For every guest, travelling with Exodus Travels, who stays at Basecamp Oulanka, Exodus donates money to the WildOulanka Foundation towards the preservation of the local Taiga (forest). In 2018 this protected some 87 hectares of forest, contributing to the creation of a wildlife corridor across the Russian-Finnish border between two national parks. Careful management of the protected area has led to the reappearance of a number of species, including bears, which had not been seen here for some years. This amount of forest also equates to a carbon sink of 23,480 tons. 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.