Brown Bear watching & photography in Sandviken

Brown Bears are just amazing! We love them. We care for them. We want to protect them. This is how we contribute.
— Sara, our bear guide in Sandviken
 
 
 

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Spend a night in a hide-out in a mossy wild pine forest where Brown Bears roam free. It's an incredibly special feeling to observe and photograph wildlife in complete silence, safely hidden away. You can see them, they probably don't even know you're there.

The hide has views in three directions and slots for your camera. In the evening, the forest comes alive, and bears and other wildlife may show up at any time. You're so close you can hear the bears gruntling and snuffling from the cabin. Often they come as close as just a few meters, and many other wild animals may pass by. Wolves, foxes, badgers, squirrels and a large variety of birds.

There are no guarantees in the wild of course, but we're very proud of our ninety percent success rate of seeing Brown bears up close!

Bears may come by late into the night after darkness has fallen. The hide has comfortable beds when it's time to get some sleep, and surely you will want to get up early to see the forest life waken from its slumber.

The plan

Watch and photograph Brown Bears in the wild. You spend the night in a small wooden cabin adapted for photographing bears and other wildlife. You can actually bring your children too!

Many people are afraid of bears. Our aim is to give our guests a better understanding and greater respect for bears. From this hide you can really study the bears and get a unique insight into their lives.

  • An incredible 90% success rate of seeing wild Brown Bears up close

  • One night in a safe and comfortable family-friendly cabin with viewing slots, chairs and beds

  • Excellent photo opportunities from the hide

  • Learn more about the Brown Bear from your experienced guide

Children welcome

While this hide is fully adapted to cater for photographers, we also welcome parents with children. But never at the same time. If you come without children you will not share the cabin with children of other families. Recommended minimum age is 5 years.

Day 1: Hidden visitor in bear country

Arrive in Kungsberg in the afternoon and meet up with your guide Sara. She is a nature enthusiast and an experienced wildlife photographer. Sara is happy to show photos of her bear encounters in the surrounding forests. She will also tell you about bears, wolves, owls and other wild animals that you have a chance to see. After some practical details of how to act and behave in the cabin to increase your chances of seeing bears, it's time to head to the hide-out!

Sara brings you along in her car for a short ride into the wild forest where the Brown Bears roam. A gentle fifteen minute walk along a forest trail takes you to the wooden cabin on a small hill. The cabin is built for bear viewing, and this is where you will spend the night. Sara will make sure you're settled in nicely, and then leave you in the hide for a peaceful yet exciting evening, night and morning of observing wildlife up close.

As dusk falls you make yourself ready with your camera in one of the camera slots. It's a very meditative and serene experience to simply wait in silence, peering out from the windows facing three directions for any sign of wildlife. Sometimes you see a bear after just an hour of waiting, but other times you may have to wait all night and just get a glimpse of something that may have been a bear. On most of the evenings however, bears will appear while there is still enough light to see and photograph them.

Remember that the bears are wild and shy so you need to be quiet not to scare them away. Although bears do show up most of the nights, there is no guarantee. These are wild animals.

You're in the middle of a wild beautiful pine forest. Soft green moss covers the ground and large boulders left from the last ice age are dotted across the surrounding landscape. Many wild animals live here and you are also likely to spot foxes toptoe past, badgers and squirrels, if lucky even wolves! The diversity of birds is amazing. You will probably be accompanied by Great spotted woodpeckers, Grey-headed woodpeckers and Jays while looking out for the bears. Buzzards and Goshawks often visit too. Black woodpecker, Siberian Jay, Great tit, Blue tit, Nuthatch, Tree creeper, Chaffinch, Brambling, Robin and Willow tit are also frequent.

During the dark of the night you may want to get some sleep in one of the beds.

Note that animals sometimes show up when it is too dark for photography or even in complete darkness. If you come during June, July or first half of August, the hours of daylight are longer. Around midsummer the sun stays up almost until midnight, and rises again just a couple of hours later.

Dinner is not included in this experience. We recommend ordering from us in advance, or you can bring a packed evening meal and drink.

Day 2: Morning watching

Wake up and spend the early morning hours quietly observing any movements in the forest glade. It's lovely watching the forest come alive again, and hopefully more bears will visit. As the morning turns into day, Sara will return and bring you back to her house where breakfast awaits. If you are tired after a long night with little sleep you are welcome to take a nap in one of the guest bedrooms in her house.

Species that can be seen

This is based on the seasons 2018 & 2019.

  • The two last season has been fantastic with bears almost every night.

  • Almost always: common jay, chaffinch, great spotted woodpecker, squirrel

  • Often: badger, fox, willow tit, bullfinch, blue tit, great tit

  • Sometimes: black woodpecker, grey-headed woodpecker, crossbill, treecreeper, brambling, buzzards, goshawks, sparrow hawk, raven, great tit, crow, magpie, robin, thrust.

  • Rarely: golden eagle, sea eagle, wolf, pine marten

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • One night in brown bear watching cabin. You will be guided to and from the hide but spend the night in the hide on your own.

  • Breakfast

WHAT TO BRING?

  • Binoculars

  • Your own packed evening meal, snacks and drinks. You can choose to add this at an extra cost

  • Do not bring rustling packaging. Repack such things in boxes

  • No strong perfumes / detergents or other strong scents

  • We provide blankets and pillows in the hide

>> See our full packing list here

WHEN CAN WE DO THIS?

Any day during 10 May – 10 September, except Mondays.

Pre-season Bear watching 20 April - 9 May: The bears show up around the hide from the end of March. As the ground may be snow covered during this time of year and it might not be possible to drive on the road, we may have to walk 2 km through the forest to get to the hide. Therefore you must be in good physical conditions and we don’t allow children under 15 years. We also meet up one hour earlier during this period.

We also offer Buzzard watching from the same hide later in the season.

WHEN IS BEST?

The best light conditions is May, June, July and first half of August.

ACCOMMODATION

Basic beds in a small cabin, maximum 4 persons. The hide is built of solid wood with chairs, windows and camera slots suitable for photography, beds with sleeping bags, pillows and blankets. A toilet is provided in a separate room inside the cabin. If you need some rest after the long night in the hide you are welcome to rest in one of the beds at Sara's house.

STARTING TIMES

Meet up with Sara at 2 or 3 pm depending on season. You are ready to leave at around 10 am the following day. Please make sure that you arrive on time as we are not be able to wait for you if you are late.

LOCATION & HOW TO GET THERE

Address: Kungsbergsvägen 60, 811 95 Järbo

WGS 84: 60° 45′ 54.03″ N, 16° 28′ 44.94″ E

WGS 84 decimal: 60.76501, 16.47915

Link to Google Maps

Travel by train: You can take a train to Sandviken (2 hours from Stockholm) and then book a taxi (approximately 850 SEK per car one way) by contacting www.taxi107000.com, phone: +46-26-274000, email: info@taxi107000.com. Purchase your train tickets online at www.sj.se.

Travel by car: Sara's house is located in the village Kungsberg near Sandviken, a 30 minutes drive North of Sandviken, a 2 hours drive from Stockholm, or a 2,5 hours drive North of Skinnskatteberg.

FOR WHO?

You must be able to walk on a trail for 15 minutes in the forest. Walking level is easy. Note that you have to be quiet during the whole stay in the cabin, from early evening until the next morning. No talking, just whispering.

WHAT TO BRING?

  • Water proof clothing and boots for the walk to and from the hide.

  • Your own packed evening meal, snacks and drinks. In the next step of the booking process you have the chance to book a packed meal for the time in the hide at 175 SEK per person. Pasta salad, sandwich, fruit, tea/coffee and lemonade.

  • Do not bring rustling packaging. Repack such things in boxes.

  • No strong perfumes / detergents or other strong scents.

BOOKINGS & CANCELLATIONS

Our booking procedure is simple. Just fill in the booking form at this page. When you make a booking for this tour our team will manually review the booking to make sure that we still have availability. If everything is okay we will send you a confirmation by email within 24 hours. Until your booking is confirmed no payment or charges will be applied, and credit card details are held for security purposes only.

  • Cancellations can be made at no cost up to 7 days from the time of booking until 14 days prior to the start of the tour. We will provide a 100% refund.

  • Cancellations between 8 days from the time of booking and 46 days prior to the start of the tour will be charged at 25% of the booking’s total amount.

  • Cancellations between 45 days and 15 days prior to the start of the tour will be charged at 75% of the booking’s total amount.

  • Cancellations within 14 days prior to the start of the tour will be charged at 100% of the booking’s total amount.