Brown Bears of Katmai

The last best place on Earth

Overview

Katmai National Park is one of North America’s great wildlife viewing areas. It’s here that from August through into early September the many species of salmon make their final, momentous journey home to spawn. Waiting for them are one of the world’s biggest predators – brown bears. They come from far and wide to fish and play in the teeming rivers. For this short time, they lower their territorial guard to share the land with other bears and seemingly they extend this courtesy to humans. From the pools and waterfalls, where they fish for their fatty feasts, to quiet bends in the river where mothers bring their cubs to play and learn, to the wide open vista of Hallo Bay, where even the great bears are dwarfed by the surrounding mountain peaks, we will have an opportunity to photograph this incredible creatures in complete isolation and with nothing between us and the bears except fresh air.

Highlights

  • Wild and remote, this is the last best place on Earth
  • Lose yourself in solitude – there’s no one else here
  • Will you see bears? Yes, we guarantee it – lots of them
  • Will you see cubs? Almost certainly, as well as sub-adults and big males
  • Are you safe? Definitely, the bears welcome their human visitors
  • This is a place to immerse yourself in nature and the wilderness experience
  • With a variety of different bays and harbours, there’s plenty of diversity
  • Potential whale watching opportunities
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£6,595

per person

Location:
Alaska
Date:
09-16 Aug, 2019
Duration:
9-days
Leader:
Chris Weston
Group Size:
8
Room type:
Basic
Book now Gift options available > All of our safaris and workshops may be given as a gift to a loved one, friend or colleague. When purchased as a gift, we will send you a personalized electronic Gift Certificate and we promised to keep your surprise a secret!.

Walking with bears

“In the past 10 years I have made nine trips to the Katmai Peninsula to photograph brown bears. It’s the location I’ve been to the most and the place I most look forward to going to.” Chris Weston, professional wildlife photographer.

Our journey begins from the staging point of Homer, Alaska, from where we catch our floatplane, which will fly us to the peninsula and our ship. We have six full days to explore the Alaskan coastline, on foot amongst bears. From the lush, wide open bays to hidden inlets, each destination provides a different aspect on the bears and, during the course of the adventure, we can expect to see bears of all shapes and sizes. We’ll see mothers with cubs-of-the-year, frolicking yearlings, mischievous adolescents and huge dominant males.

The action will be constant. Bears are solitary by nature, but once a year, in Katmai, they drop their territorial instincts and, for just a few weeks, gather to feast on the abundant salmon that overflow the rivers and inlets and waterfalls. The photographic opportunities during this time are unparalleled, as the bears adopt various “fishing” techniques to catch the salmon. Sparring sub-adults create a must-see side show and mothers with cubs are always close by, sometimes leaving their cubs in our protection as they go off in search of a fish supper.

We can expect to see large numbers of bears and we’ll get closer to them than you have ever imagined possible. This is one trip where you’ll need your wide-angle lenses as much as your super-zooms. Truly this is an amazing adventure where you will experience being a part of the action rather than an armchair observer. This is wildlife photography at its very best!

Is This Adventure For You?

This safari is perfect for anyone with an interest in observing and photographing bears. If you are not a photographer but enjoy being out in the wilderness and don’t mind spending all day watching bears then that’s okay too. We’ll be heading off the beaten track so you do need an adventurous spirit. The boat is not a luxury accommodation. Simple and functional are the terms to remember. It does, however, provide for excellent access to the remote areas of Katmai. Typically, we attract an international clientele of all age groups. There is some walking involved during this safari, a normal level of fitness is required. We will be walking on wet and muddy grounds. Expect to be in the complete wilderness. Early starts are the norm.

Itinerary

1 dayHomer, Alaska

On arrival into Homer, transfer to our hotel. After a Welcome Meeting there is a group dinner in Homer (not included in the tour fee).

2 dayKatmai peninsula (B / L / D)

This morning, we fly to the Katmai peninsula, a flight of around 45-60 minutes. After settling on board, in the afternoon we have our first chance to see bears.

3-7 daysDays 3 to 7: Katmai Peninsula (B / L / D)

Over the course of the next six days, we explore the Katmai Peninsula photographing bears. Each morning, after breakfast, we transfer from the boat to the mainland in a skiff. Bears are always close by, fishing for salmon, play-fighting, or simply enjoying the day. We sail between locations, giving you the chance to enjoy different encounters and environments, with the bears sometimes coming to within just a few feet of you and your camera. We stay out until dusk, when the bears finally head for their beds, and return to the boat of a home-cooked dinner and a chance to unwind.

8 dayKatmai Peninsula to Homer (B)

We have a final day to photograph the bears. In the late afternoon, we fly back to Homer.

9 dayHomer

Transfer to Homer airport.

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