Wild life watching

BEAR WATCHING IN SLOVENIA – weekend getaway

Duration

3 days

Suitable for

families with older children, couples, individuals, small groups

Season

April to October

Physical difficulty

Medium

The possibility of meeting

bear, wolf, lynx, deer, badger, forest birds, owl, water birds

wildlife watching kocevje

The Bear Watching in Slovenia – Weekend getaway tour is designed for all nature and animal lovers. The tree days are packed with educational forest walks, wildlife watching, delicious home-made food and photo opportunities of a lifetime.

 

Slovenia is one of the few European countries where three large carnivores can be spotted in their natural habitat, i.e. the brown bear, grey wolf and lynx. The brown bear population in the country currently stands at 400 to 500 individuals with most residing in the Kočevski Rog, a densely forested karstic plateau extending over the Kočevje highlands. Bear watching from a hide built especially for photo hunting is combined with experiences in learning about bears and other wildlife. Guiding is provided by professional wildlife watching guides.

Understanding the environment is crucial for a responsible visit, which is also the main objective of the tour. Too much human contact with wild animals can cause many adverse consequences for wildlife, which is why this program is developed according to sustainable tourism standards, providing controlled and properly guided observation of wild animals with a minimal impact on the environment.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bear watching from a special hideout
  • Learning interesting facts about wild animals
  • Following animal footprints
  • Amazing photography opportunities
  • Virgin forests of Kočevsko
Photo credit: Marjan Artnak

Gallery

Itinerary

DAY 01

ARRIVAL TO KOČEVJE

The wildlife watching adventure starts in the town of Kočevje at the heart of the Kočevsko region. Accommodation is provided in Hostel Bearlog, situated in the city center. The hostel offers shared and private rooms that are named after trees and animals, taking the guests to a parallel forest world. Time permitting, one can rent a bike and explore some of the 475 kilometers of bicycle trails in Kočevsko before the first overnight.


DAY 02

THE VIRGIN FORESTS OF KOČEVSKO

After delicious breakfast prepared from locally grown organic products, an experienced and specialized guide presents the entire program and explains everything the group members need to know before entering the bear land. Next, the road leads deep into the wild forests eventually crossing the first wildlife footprints. This is the perfect place to stop and explore the wilderness of Kočevsko forests. One can find many different footprints of wild animals, each one with different interpretation and story. The guide shows how to follow animal footprints in their natural environment and provides lots of interesting information.

The hike involves a stop on a forest meadow, where it is time to rest, enjoy the peace of the forest and get some fresh energy with a forest picnic consisting of local products. The guide takes care of all photo enthusiasts by showing hidden corners of the mystical forestwhere best photos can be taken.

The forest expedition of the day comes to an end after a late lunch in a nearby lodge, which is also a great restaurant. Upon the return to Kočevje, a plaster casting workshop is organized. Cast your own bear, wolf or lynx footprint and take it home as a souvenir! When the workshop ends, there is still some time left to enjoy a relaxing evening and explore the town before the second overnight in the lovely Bearlog hostel.


DAY 03

BEAR WATCHING

On the second day, the hike starts by climbing to the highest spot of the tour, Mt. Rog (1.099 m) with a lookout tower at the top. The next location is a large, now abandoned Roška žaga sawmill, that was the largest and most modern sawmill in Slovenia long before the WWI.

The highlight of the day is Rajhenavski Rog Virgin Forest. The virgin or primeval forest is a forest that has attained great age without any disturbance by humans, meaning no trees have been cut or sawn down and only nature was setting its laws for centuries. In 1892, the forest became the first natural area in Slovenia to receive official protection.  The group follows the signs of presence of wild animals. With some luck, some of them might even be seen (a squirrel, a deer, a badger, a fox, a weasel, an owl and other birds).

Before the delightful home-made lunch in a nearby tourist farm, the group meets “Her Majesty – The Queen of Rog”. The queen is in fact the mightiest European silver fir tree (Abies alba) in the region, which germinated around year 1500 and is about 50 meters high.

The next location of the tour is the “Bear Room”, a place dedicated to learning about bears and bear-related topics. The guide presents bear’s main features, its habitat, the importance of bear population management, measures for species preservation, and didactic aids and tools for population sampling. Learning about proper behaviour when in brown bear watching hide assures for a pleasant as well as environmentally and resident-friendly experience.

Equipped with all necessary information, the group is ready for a hunter guided bear watching at the special observatory. Observation takes place in a hideout located few meters above the ground to ensure safety. The best time for bear watching is late in the afternoon, just before dusk. Visitors should silently wait for the furry creature to pass by. Since bears follow more or less the same routine every day, the probability of spotting a bear is highHowever, we do not want to interfere in bears behavior, so we do not influence their lives in any way. We have to know that nature is unpredictable and that’s the beauty of it.

The day is finished with a light dinner and an evening full of sharing impressions.


DAY 04

DEPARTURE DAY

After a tasty local breakfast in the Bearlog hostel, the wildlife watching tour is complete and it is time for departure.


Dates

  • May 15 – 18, 2020
  • May 29 – June 1, 2020
  • June 12 – 15, 2020
  • June 26 – 29, 2020
  • July 10 – 13, 2020
  • July 24 – 27, 2020
  • August 7 – 10, 2020
  • August 21 – 24, 2020
  • September 4 – 7, 2020

*In season, tour can be organised on any date. Please contact us for individual offer.

PRICE for guided BEAR WATCHING IN SLOVENIA – WEEKEND GETAWAY tour includes:

  • Qualified and experienced guide for the duration of the tour
  • All transfers around Kočevsko regionwithin the program
  • A plaster casting workshop
  • A forest picnic and lunch (DAY 2)
  • Lunch package for the trekking, lunch and late dinner (DAY 3)
  • Bear watching with a local hunter
  • 3-night accommodation with breakfasts in Hostel Bearlog in Kočevje

Rates are per person, based on double occupancy and a minimum of 4 participants. For other options please contact us for the offer.

Would you like to customize this tour?

Are you worried you are not prepared enough physically? Would you like to select a different starting or ending point, or perhaps have a day off before, after or during the tour?

Send an e-mail to [email protected].

Logistics

LOGISTICS

The Bear watching in Slovenia weekend getaway starts and ends at the town of Kočevje, located in the southern part of Slovenia.

GETTING THERE

There are 3 international airports (Ljubljana, Zagreb and Trieste) within a 2-3 hour driving distance from Kočevje. Transfers can be arranged from any of these airports or other locations in Slovenia upon request.

If traveling by car, the easiest access to Kočevje is from Ljubljana. Leave the Ljubljana highway ring at the Škofljica exit and drive in the direction of Kočevje. The scenic drive should take about an hour.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • According to terms and conditions, a minimum of 4 people is required to guarantee tour departure
  • One guided group can include a maximum of 8 people
  • Before starting the adventure, the guide provides all necessary information
  • Each morning, the guide supplies detailed information about the daily schedule
  • Minimum required age for bear watching is 10 years
  • In case of extremely bad weather conditions bear observation might be cancelled. In this case the clients are entitled to a refund.

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