21-26 Jun 2018
Dates
Tavascan
Location
7 nights, 6 days
Duration
14+
Age

A wildlife holiday in the Spanish Pyrenees tracking the brown bear

INCLUDED 4 days of guided bear tracking
3 nights camping
2 nights hotel half board
All meals in the mountains
NOT INCLUDED Flights
Personal camping kit
Personal Insurance
OPTIONS Airport transfer

This bear tracking wildlife holiday in the Spanish Pyrenees is a unique experience that should be on the bucket list of any nature and wildlife lover. It’s wild, it’s beautiful and it’s very special.

There’s no better way to learn about a wild animal than from people who are passionate about that animal and who spend their lives studying it, monitoring it and analysing its movements.

On this wildlife holiday in the Pyrenees you’ll spend 4 days with the professionals, camping in the mountains, where you’ll learn about the brown bear’s territory, its behaviour and the tracking techniques used to monitor its movements.

The guide who leads this wildlife adventure has a special license to take people up into the bear’s mountain environment. A condition of this wildlife holiday is that you listen to and follow any instructions you are given. It’s imperative that the animal’s routine is not disturbed

What can I expect on this bear tracking adventure?

The Parc Naturel Alt Pirineu is in the Catalan Pyrenees, a rugged, wild and mountainous area and the perfect environment for the brown bear.

The local tracking teams here have spent many years observing the small population of brown bears in this area of which there are currently 37. They are familiar with its habitat and behaviour thanks to the use of movement activated cameras that are installed at strategic points in their territory.

You’ll be taken by 4×4 to a drop off point in the mountains from where you’ll hike to the base camp which will be at around 2000m alt. The base camp for this bear tracking wildlife holiday is carefully chosen so as to give you the best views of the area in which the bears are known to be active but without giving them a hint of your presence.

What will I learn?

Your guides will teach you how to track the brown bear, including identifying their pawprints in mud, looking for bear poo and searching for their fur left behind on their favourite rubbing trees.

You’ll learn how to assess the freshness of the tracks, work out how long it has been since the bear passed through and also the direction in which it was moving. Your guides will examine the infra red cameras with you each morning. Can you imagine the excitement when you see a bear captured on the screen?!

Every day, using telescopes and binoculars, you’ll scan the mountain slopes and hillsides for a glimpse of the bears.

You’ll undertake fresh searches for tracks and indications of their presence and may move with the camp to different sectors in order to cover a larger area. This will also give you the opportunity to better appreciate the Natural Park and the other wildlife such as wild boar, chamois and red deer that live in the mountain environment.

What’s the best time of year to see the brown bear?

The springtime mating season (May and June) is the best time of year to stand a chance of seeing the brown bear. The autumn in late September and October is the next best time when the bears are preparing for winter.

The brown bear in the Pyrenees is the least photographed bear in the world, due both to its small numbers and also the vast and wild territory that it inhabits. However, the team leading your adventure have photographed it more times than anybody else! If you are very lucky you may have the opportunity to photograph it too.

What other wildlife will I see on this wildlife holiday?

In addition to the brown bear, this rugged mountain environment is also home to chamois, wild boar, red deer, the rare bearded vulture and also eagles. It’s an area rich with wildlife providing an unforgettable experience for anybody that appreciates the unspoiled mountain environment.

1

Arrival

If you’ve booked an airport transfer you’ll be collected from either Toulouse or Barcelona from agreed flights and transferred to your 3* overnight hotel in the mountains of the Spanish Pyrenees. There, you’ll meet your guides who will present the plan for your wildlife holiday to you. After a late evening meal you’ll retire to bed.
2

Day 1 - Head to the hills

After breakfast you’ll be taken by 4×4 to a drop off point in the mountains from where you’ll have a good hike to the site of the base camp at 2000m alt. You’ll enjoy your first meal in the mountains prepared by the expedition chef. Then, as the sun starts to go down you’ll pick up your binoculars and try to get your first glimpse of the bear. You’re sure to see other wildlife too!
3

Days 2, 3 and 4

The bears are at their most active very early in the morning and late in the evening, so that’s the time when you’ll be glued to your binoculars!  During the rest of the day there will be different kind of activities such as looking for tracks of the bears with the guides, birdwatching, and identifying bird calls with our guides and even some photography lessons with the adventure photographer.
In the evening of your final day you’ll return back down to the valley for a good meal and a comfortable bed in the hotel.
4

Day 5

After breakfast you’ll say your goodbyes before leaving either for more adventures or for your transfer back to the airport for your flight home.
A brown bear in the rhododendrons
Guide's briefing on a bear tracking wildlife holiday
Checking the map on a Pyrenees bear tracking wildlife holiday
Scanning for bears on a bear tracking wildlife holiday
Tracking a brown bear in the snow
Tracking bears in the snow
Mountain camp for the wildlife tracking holiday
Young bear captured on video on wildlife holiday
Night time at the wildlife tracking camp
Watching for bears on a Pyrenees wildlife holiday
Hiking up to camp to track bears
Dusk in the Pyrenees mountains
A brown bear in the rhododendrons
Brown bear emerging from the rhodos
Tracking the brown bears in the Spanish Pyrenees
Descending from the mountain bear camp
Dusk on the wildlife holiday
The wild and rugged environment of a wildlife holiday
See red deer stags on a Pyrenees wildlife holiday
You may see a bearded vulture on a Pyrenees wildlife holiday
The Lammergeier in the Pyrenees
A chamois seen on a Pyrenees wildlife holiday
Chamois with Pyrenees mountain backdrop
A lone chamois on a Pyrenees wildlife holiday