Lake Baikal Photography Expedition has the well-deserved honour of highlighting Siberia’s most famous frozen landscapes. Summer sees the bulk of tourist activity in the area, but it’s in winter that the most devoted photographers make the pilgrimage, hoping to capture once-in-a-lifetime images of the natural world at its most powerful and surreal. READ MORE
Perhaps the most potent symbols of Kamchatka’s untamed nature are its towering volcanoes and its most famous furry resident, the mighty Kamchatka brown bear, ancestor of the Alaskan Kodiak bear and equally as imposing in size. These two iconic natural emblems are the main subjects of this tour, an adventure into the wilds of Russia’s Far East that’s equal parts thrilling and humbling. Including three nights staying in a forest cabin on Kuril Lake at the height of the bear’s salmon hunting season, this Kamchatka wildlife tour will get you closer than you ever imagined to the animal inhabitants of the peninsula.
- Kuril Lake during the summer salmon run is one of only a few places where visitors can observe hunting brown bears in their natural habitat at close proximity. To get the best chances of adrenaline-pumping close encounters and amazing photos ops, we’ll watch bears feed and frolick along the shore from a motorboat, as well as on-land from a special viewing platform overlooking prime fishing grounds.
- Take off in a Russian Mi-8 helicopter for a breathtaking flight to the Khodutka River hot springs, nestled in a forested valley where we’ll bathe, relax and camp for the evening. The largest collection of hot springs in Kamchatka, water temperatures in the various spring pools range from 40 and 60°C.
Travel to Wrangel Island, an area 140km off the northeast coast of Siberia that is separated from northern Alaska by the Chukchi Sea. For 10 frozen months of the year, this lonely wilderness is completely cut off from the outside world.
Reaching Wrangel and braving its polar climate is not for the faint of heart. Only the most dedicated nature lovers make the journey – but the rewards are without parallel. There is simply no better destination than to meet the wild denizens of the Arctic up-close, virtually undisturbed by human interference, and in numbers that will simply astound you.
On this 2 week Kamchatka tour designed especially for landscape, nature and wildlife photography enthusiasts, stay on the shores of the iconic Kurilskoye Lake and take part in some of the best brown bear photo opportunities anywhere in the world, as the bears gorge themselves during the annual salmon run. Hike to the summits of some of Kamchatka’s active volcanoes for thrilling shots of steaming vents, acid lakes, and smoking craters. Your aim – to return to “Earth” with images of alien landscapes and wild nature worthy of the pages of National Geographic. This tour will suit the professional and amateur photographers, active and adventurous travellers. No prior mountain climbing experience is required, but a decent level of fitness is strongly recommended.
- Brace yourself for a bone rattling journey on a Russian 6WD all-terrain vehicle on a road tracing the western coast of Kamchatka (complete with river crossing) to isolated Pauzhetka village. Pauzhhetka is a tiny settlement between the Sea of Okhost and Kuril Lake, surrounded on all sides by towering volcanoes
- Fly to Kurilskoye Lake via helicopter for a two day shooting and photo workshopping season among the brown bears who gather at the lake in large numbers during the salmon season To get the best chance of heart-stopping close encounters and amazing photos ops, we’ll watch the bears on land and on boat, staying overnight in log cabins close to the lake shore
- Russkaya Bay Cruise: Set sail from the capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and explore the wildlife rich waters of Russkaya Bay and the Starichkov Island seabird capital. Try your hand shooting marine mammals including whales and seals and enjoy a lunch of freshly caught seafood
- Embark on full day trek to the summit of Mutnovsky, a hike containing some of the of the scenically beautiful landscapes in Kamchatka. Feel as if you’re witnessing the earth’s creation as you gaze down from the rim of the crater upon glaciers and mineral lakes and the torches of sulphur spewing fumaroles far below
- Trek to the top of Mount Gorely (1,829m), one of the most active volcanoes in Russia. Enjoy a picnic lunch on a rock ledge just below the crater, with magnificent views of the vivid blue acidic lake below
Our Lake Baikal Ice Adventure tour takes place during late February and March. The beginning of spring in the Baikal region, at this time of year, the temperature climbs above zero, but the surface of the lake is still largely frozen, covered by solid winter ice so clear you can see rocks and other objects at the bottom of the lake as far as 40m below. During spring, Baikal receives few visitors compared to the summer high season, allowing you to feel an inspiring sense of isolation and communion with undisturbed nature during this handcrafted 6 day tour. Be amazed by the frozen beauty of the world’s oldest and deepest lake and experience real-life walking on water. We’ve included a few activities exclusive to the cooler months such as ice skating, ice rafting and ice golf to add a sprinkle of spills and thrills to this thoroughly enjoyable adventure.
- Embark on an over-ice expedition by 4WD to Olkhon Island, the largest of Lake Baikal’s islands and the centre of shamanic energy for the Buryat people. Spend two nights on the island and discover pristine beaches, craggy capes and untouched Siberian forests
- While on Olkhon Island, participate in a round of special activities for Baikal’s ‘ice travellers’. Take your pick from ice golf, tube riding or ice skating, or just head out on to the ice for a once-in-a-lifetime photoshoot!
- Visit Buguldeika on Olkhon Island, a small rural village amid spectacular natural surround including forested mountains and ancient caves in the valley of the Buguldeika River. Spend the night in a real hunters cabin hidden in the middle of the taiga
- Our over-ice driving 4WD expedition continues on to Peschanaya Bay, part of the Baikal National Park and widely considered to be the most beautiful sandy bay in all of Baikal
- Ice Rafting: Indulge in an amazing experience unique to Baikal – rafting down the Angara River near Listvyanka village on a raft made of solid ice cut from the surface of the lake, enjoy mulled wine, chocolate and cheese along the way