Travel made in august 2022
Duration : 1 day
Welcome to Kuhmo province !!
Today Myoxybubble offers you the possibility of living a surreal adventure. Indeed, I will reveal to you the existence of a little known place in Finland and which allows the observation and photography of bears in a nature reserve.
Believe me or not, you don’t necessarily have to travel all the way to Canada to come across bears in the wild! Do not hesitate any longer and take the road to the border separating Finland from Russia to live this incredible and highly recommended experience!
You can click on all the photos in this article in order to view them in large format
Meet the Finnish bears !
On the road
Be careful, this adventure is worth it all the same! You will have to drive 6h from Konnevesi to Kuhmo or 6h30 from the capital Helsinki to pretend to live such an adventure! The road leading to the Martinselkonen reserve is a straight line crossing a huge pine forest. It’s not uncommon to come across reindeer on your way.
We had the chance to come across two types of reindeer including a white reindeer.
This species is much rarer than the brown reindeer.
There was a magical Christmas air, but without the snow! I confess that I was amazed as a child. Be careful, the road is long (and straight) so plan to fill up with gas before you leave.
Indeed, gas pumps are rare.
The center and the observation hut
Professional photographers or amateurs will live an unforgettable and atypical experience. I advise you to have several spare batteries for your camera and several memory cards. I assure you, you’ll be strafe the bears all evening! Indeed, it is not every day that you will have the opportunity to see grizzly bears or cubs in a nature reserve. You will sleep in the middle of the forest in a photo booth surrounded by an electric fence for your safety.
Possibility of spending a night alone or as a couple in the photo booths located in the middle of the forest.
The bears, which will be numerous, will barely pass 50cm from your hut. I guarantee you big chills!
Does this experience appeal to you? Let’s go ! Book your place on the Martinselkonen wilderness Center website.
Several options are available to you:
- you can either spend the night there in the middle of the forest and be on the lookout for the slightest noise.
- or live this adventure just for a night tour from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The Martinselkonen center allows all budgets to live this unreal experience.
I had an incredible chance because I made my reservation for the observation and the photography of the bears on a whim at the last moment. Having taken my plane tickets to Finland at the last minute, I had to book for August 13, 2022, which was the last day of the season!
Once your reservation has been made, a meeting point will be set at the “martinselkonen wild center”. Its address is 131 Pirttivaarantie, 89920 Suomussalmi. Plan your arrival at the center for 3-3:30 p.m. at the latest. The departure will be at 4 p.m. precisely. You will board a van and drive about ten minutes to get to the starting point of a short hike. The wilderness adventure will begin with a walk of approximately 1.5km to your cabin.
At any time, you will be able to come across bears on your way.
In case of encounter with the king of the forest, you will have to follow the instructions of your expert guide and follow him! Arrival at your hut around 4:30 p.m., you will be locked in without being able to leave until the next morning at 6:45 a.m. The cabins are equipped with openings allowing you to pass the lens of your camera for your shots.
They are equipped for your comfort with a bucket toilet, a bunk bed, a duvet and a chair. Your guide’s phone number will be displayed in case there is a problem. Don’t worry, he lives not far from you. In case of an emergency, you just have to bang hard in the cabin to prevent it.
As far as survival is concerned, Martinselkonen offers you a supplement to prepare a bag with your survival ration for the night. For each person, the snack will consist of two sandwiches, a bottle of water, a boiling water thermostat with sachets of tea or coffee, sugar and small cakes for breakfast.
Please note that bear watching is only possible from April to mid-August. Bear season begins in the spring of April when the bears awaken from hibernation and continues until mid-August. At the beginning of the season, you will have a better chance of seeing adult bears. The advantage is that in general at this time the site is snowy. The cubs accompanied by their mother begin to be visible rather in June.
In general, in January during their hibernation, the mother bear gives birth to one, two or three magnificent cubs.
In the bear, gestation lasts around 220 days but the embryo begins to develop only in the fall. We had the chance to witness the mating of a grizzly bear with a female bear during our expedition! Impressive ! Breeding takes place mainly from May to August.
If you’re lucky, you might see wolverines and wolves. Unfortunately for me, I missed the arrival of wolverines around 6am! I was awake but taking notes for my blog at the time.
This experience was very exciting, impressive and fun for me and my son! We thought we were real budding explorers! That evening, we were lucky enough to see about twenty bears and cubs playing, rolling on the ground, climbing trees, scratching, walking, running or eating. A feast for the eyes !
The next morning, at dawn, the show was not over because we had the chance to see them again around 4:30 am.
The day before, for the attracted, I do not hide from you that the guides scatter some large carcasses of spoiled meat. Bears are omnivores, they feed mainly on plants such as mushrooms, bark, berries, roots or leaves. In the photo below we can see the cubs scratching the inside of a tree trunk to catch insects.
The bear is an impressive and majestic beast, endowed with dense fur colored with a more or less dark brown. He looks like a big teddy bear!
Standing on its two hind legs, the bear can reach up to 2 meters!
I let you admire the life of bears in their natural environment through this short video!
If you too dream of going on an adventure in the footsteps of brown bears in Finland, do not hesitate to book your excursion with Martinselkonen!
If you want to discover even more activities and places to visit in Finland, we invite you to click on the banner below:
I hope you enjoyed this adventure with me. I’ll give you an appointment soon for a new Myoxybubble destination!
Do not hesitate to leave your comments on this article and to share your own experiences (the form is a little further down).
Need advice to organize your trip? Contact me !
For a road trip, we obviously advise you to rent a vehicle.
We went through the Alamo rental company for our rental and everything went well.
The Finnish road network is equipped with an impressive number of radars, almost every km, including on isolated and little frequented roads.
In addition, the amount of the fines is proportional to the income of the person in violation. We therefore advise you to use the cruise control if your vehicle is equipped with it.
You have to pay attention to radars but also to wild animals, especially reindeer which can cross the road.
Other than that, the roads are in excellent condition and Finns drive carefully.
The currency is of course the euro.
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
Do not forget to check that your passport or identity document is still valid. No visa required.
There is no need for special vaccines.
For electrical outlets, they are identical to those in France.
Don’t forget the mosquito repellent.