WILDLIFE TOUR CANADA – GREAT BEAR LODGE
Travel to see BC’s grizzly bears on one of the best wildlife adventures on earth, according to National Geographic.
The Great Bear Lodge is the ideal base for photography and wildlife viewing tours, nestled at the mouth of a pristine salmon river. Wilderness-gourmet meals await you upon your return from the two guided viewing sessions per day. With a maximum of only sixteen guests, you are assured of a personalized wilderness adventure in this very special area.
While powerful imagery of magnificent grizzly bears is what brings people to us, most leave with a greater understanding of the complex ecosystem which supports the great bear.
The Great Bear Rainforest is home to a significant concentration of coastal grizzly bears. During the late summer and early autumn, bears are drawn to the many salmon spawning streams feeding into the coastal inlets. While the local bear population reaches its peak in the autumn, during the spring and summer, bears feed on sedges, succulents and grasses that make up the dense bio-mass of the river estuary. These ongoing sources of high quality food are why coastal grizzlies or brown bears are larger than inland grizzlies.
In between bear viewing sessions, you will be able to join a guided activity such as an interpretive walk or a boat excursion, or you may choose to relax with a book from the extensive natural history library.
USD per Person
THIS IS A CUSTOMIZABLE ITINERARY FOR GROUPS OF ALL SIZES.
DATES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.
Travel locally to one of the most remote, spectacular places in our own backyard! Head to Port Hardy to depart on a grizzly bear viewing adventure in a beautiful river valley on the central coast of British Columbia, for one of the best experiences on earth. Known as the Great Bear Rainforest, this area is one of the best places in the world to observe grizzly bears and many other forms of wildlife including black bears, wolves and bald eagles. We are privileged to operate on the traditional lands of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation.
Summer (June 30 to August 19): As the berries begin to ripen in late spring, the grizzlies begin their summer pattern of moving between the estuary, the river and the scattered berry patches. We can have some great bear viewing in summer, but the bear sighting frequency is less than in the other seasons and there is a possibility that you may not see a bear. Summer is also great time for other animals, such as the harbor seals with their pups or the mergansers who may have a dozen or more ducklings with them. This is the best time of the year for fine weather. It is also a great time to combine a visit at our lodge with whale watching or kayaking tours provided by other operators in nearby Johnstone Strait.
Autumn (August 20 to October 19): The salmon move into the river during August, setting the stage for a feast for the grizzlies and other forest animals and birds. The salmon run peaks in September and continues into October. During the early part of the autumn season, in late August, the bears are very energetic as they are hungry and chase every fish. October is a wonderful time to see the bears, when they are at their fattest and most relaxed before hibernating. Each bear will use its own fishing technique to catch the salmon, from chasing them through the water to carefully feeling for them under the riverbank. At this time we generally view the bears from specially-constructed viewing blinds built along the river. The blinds have enough room to allow each person to set up a camera tripod in front of them. At times we will view bears from boats if they are in the lower river.
Day 1 – Your Adventure Begins
Departing from Port Hardy in the afternoon, you will leave behind the noise of modern life for a remote wilderness. Transportation is by seaplane. Journeying to our site is a spectacular adventure in itself, traveling over the breathtaking scenery of the central coast and over the rich waters of Queen Charlotte Strait, the home of orca, gray and humpback whales.
Upon your arrival at the lodge, your hosts will be on the dock to welcome you to your wilderness retreat. Settle into your private room at the lodge, before joining the group for your first wildlife viewing session. We have a range of different viewing sites, and will choose one according to where the bears have been most active. Estuary sites are reached by boat, while river sites are reached by a wilderness track. The viewing blinds on the river have been constructed with the photographer in mind, and are optimal and comfortable places from which to view bears.
There is nothing quite like seeing your first grizzly emerge from the forest.
Returning to the lodge that evening, you will be treated to a wilderness-gourmet meal. Our biologist will present slides and videos, explaining the interaction of the grizzly bear with this unique ecology.
Day 2 – Bear Viewing
In the morning, you will be on the trail of the grizzly bear again after some good coffee and breakfast. A typical viewing session lasts three hours.
After a morning of adventure, you will return to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax. Spend the early afternoon exploring the surrounding area with the guide. A popular activity is the interpretive rainforest walk, examining bear sign and the general ecology of the area. In mid-afternoon you will venture out to see the bears before relaxing in the lodge for dinner. On clear nights, the stars are amazing.
Day 3 – Bear Viewing
As your stay at the lodge continues, you begin to settle into the natural rhythm of the valley. The bears are generally most active in the early morning and late afternoon hours, which is why we focus our viewing sessions on these times. Over the course of your stay we will take you a variety of sites, depending on the bear activity.
For the afternoon recreation today we may take a boat excursion to explore the glacier-carved inlet. Or you may prefer to relax and enjoy the view from the lodge. The Great Bear Rainforest is home to many animals, including grey wolves, otters, black bears, mink and bald eagles. One of our favorite dishes is marinated salmon baked on a cedar plank.
Day 4 – Bear Viewing
After your parting session with the bears, lunch and an afternoon activity, you will be returned to Port Hardy by floatplane in the afternoon sometime between 4pm and 6pm.
Get To Know The Lodge
The Great Bear Lodge has been chosen by Destination Canada as a Canadian Signature Experience, providing a unique connection with the geography, wildlife, culture and people of Canada.
The lodge is located 50 air miles from Port Hardy, British Columbia. The fully self-contained floating lodge is situated at an outstanding wildlife viewing location. This is a place of spectacular beauty where one can still find the silence and solitude of another era. The BBC used the lodge as their base while filming for the series “Secrets of Our Living Planet”.
The charming floating lodge has eight bedrooms. The common area is a comfortable place for relaxing and listening to natural history presentations from our wildlife biologists. Completely upgraded in 2014, each bedroom now has an ensuite bathroom with a shower. The wind and solar powered lodge is in keeping with our commitment to low-impact ecotourism. Natural wood decks surround the lodge, a perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the beauty of the scenery.
Dining in the wilderness
Wilderness-gourmet meals await you at the lodge on your return. We use the freshest possible local ingredients, and all organic food when it is available. A typical dinner might feature freshly caught salmon roasted on a cedar plane with a marinade of maple syrup, mustard seeds, and balsamic vinegar. We are happy to cater for all dietary restrictions and preferences.
Conservation Licensing Fee
The Conservation Licensing Fee contributes to conservation and research to ensure viable grizzly bear populations into the future. As of 2018, the BC government banned all grizzly bear hunting in the province. That is wonderful news! We’ve been working to make that happen for a long time, so are very excited that grizzlies are now protected across the entire province. With the grizzly bear hunt being closed, the ecotourism industry now has a responsibility to ensure that bear research and management are adequately funded, as the government and researchers will no longer be receiving revenue from bear hunting fees.
PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change. Although we always do our best to stick to the itinerary, due to the ever-changing nature of Morocco, activities, hotels, and visits are subject to change due to forces beyond our control.
FLIGHTS: Please do not purchase your flights until this tour is confirmed.
PASSPORTS: Must be valid for at least 6 months upon return date to your home country. Proper documentation is the responsibility of each traveller.
VISAS: (responsibility of the traveller)
Cancellation, Travel, Flight, and Health insurance are required and are the responsibility of the participant to research and secure the appropriate coverage. Click HERE for a Travel Insurance Quote or please email [email protected] for a quote.
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Ultimately, we want you to have peace of mind when you come with us. And we’ll do everything we can to secure that. We fully understand that these are uncertain times that we are living in and the picture is constantly and rapidly changing. Please note that you can make a risk-free deposit with us that is fully refundable in most cases (minus the transaction fee of 5%) up to 30 days before departure or postpone at any time for free.
Since most of our trips are custom designed, we’re assessing the options and taking into account where we need to leave things open, remain flexible, or perhaps put two solutions in place. Our partners around the globe are also fully aware of the situation which is why having long-standing business relationships built on trust really works for all sides, just as we saw in early 2020 when we had to postpone/rebook/cancel hundreds of trips.
Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding our Covid-19 policies.
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