Bulgarian mountains with their beautiful nature. Possibilities to see Balkan Brown bear, Wild boar, Red deer, Roe deer, sousliks, Chamois, eagles, falcons, Wallcreeper. Bulgarian Black sea coast and Danube river valley. Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous duck and Pygmy cormorant, Levant sparrow hawk, Long legged buzzard, Pied wheatear, Clandra lark, Rock nuthatch, Black stork.
Day 1: Our tour begins with a transfer from Sofia to the Balkan Range, and an accommodation for four nights at a local small hotel. A spectacular view of the majestic Balkan Range from there. Herds of horses, cattle, sheep and goats often come to graze in the meadows around. We'll have an early dinner at about 6 o'clock p.m. because by 7 o'clock p.m. at the latest we have be at specially secured observation hides. We'll get there on 4WD special vehicles (jeeps) driven by our local guides.
Our company especially provides for this service to help most of the tourists get along with the difficulties a hike in high mountain areas pose. The first lucky tourists will have the chance to see the brown masters of the forests at twilight. Bears are most active when the skies are clear and the moon is full. That is why we have chosen this time of the year for watching bears. We hope we will have a fair weather during our tour. There are other mammals like Row Deer, Wild Boar and Red Deer that can be seen from the hides. With some luck we may even see wolves that use to come quite near but very rarely dare face man (and hardly ever come out into the open).
Our guides will take us back to the hotel by 9 or 10 o'clock p.m. The bravest ones of us may, if they wish so, stay in the hides alone all the night through. In the morning guides will take them back to the hotel. The odds that all tourists will see a bear at some time in this short 4-day stay are less than 1:1. However the last group that visited these exiting observations was very lucky, for anyone who wished to see the bears did so and some of the group saw them more than once. We hope that in the future the 50% chances to see the bears will increase considerably. A lunch at a roadside small restaurant for tod. Includes: (D).
Day 2: On the following morning, after the breakfast we start our bird-watching in the surrounding area. The open areas in the foothills of the Balkan range and the closeness of the forest allows for spotting some very interesting birds like Syrian, Great Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Middle Spotted, Green, Grey-headed, Black and, with some more luck, the White-backed Woodpeckers. Packed lunch. Night at the Forestry hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: The program is the same as on the 2nd day. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: We visit a mountain pass. Possibilities for Water pipit, Golden eagle, Shore lark. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Transfer from the Balkan to Rodopi mountain. We'll have many stops on the way there to watch birds. On this day it's likely to see Golden Oriole, Roller, Bee-eater, Rock Bunting, Water Pipit, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, etc. The hotel is at 1500 m above sea level and is surrounded by beautiful primeval coniferous forests. There is a breathtaking view of the pine clad mountains from the hotel. This is the sight we hope you'll never forget from your stay in the Rodopi Mountains. It is likely to see the birds of the high mountains like Nutcracker, Crossbill, Pallid Swi. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: After an early breakfast we'll pack up and head for a magnificent gorge. This area is part of the Rodopi Mountains but is something quite different form the rounded hills covered with coniferous forests around our hotel. The first thing that impresses the visitor are the huge cliffs towering above and the deep rocky valley, where the meandering the local river can hardly be seen. Strange trees of a local subspecies of Black Pine (Pinus nigra) grow right out of the rocks where there is no soil for their roots.
All the time while we are there we cannot help but stand in awe before the nature's grandeur. Unfortunately, this is only a poor and sketchy description of this extraordinary place with its caverns and the rumble of its waterfalls. One can hardly imagine the gorge beauty if one does not see it with one's own eyes. This exceptionally beautiful area is 1200 m above sea level. It is approximately an hour drive from the hotel in Pamporovo. Welcome to the Land of the Wallcreeper. This is simply the best and the most accessible place in Europe or maybe in the world to see this marvellous bird which reminds an enormous butterfly in flight.
It is here where after a short and easy walk along the road for about 2 km that we hope to see this wonderful bird. After lunch we will travel to the next main stop in our program, along a not very long but "slow" road because we are in the Rodopi Mountains. You will notice with amazement how kilometer after kilometer the mountain changes, the coniferous forests are replaced by mixed ones and afterwards by pure deciduous stands, and the trees become smaller and stunted. Then come the shrubs followed by bare rocky hills and finally the huge basalt cliffs. The world of the large birds of prey lies before us. Night at the local hot. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: After breakfast we drive a narrow mountain road, along the path rocky hills alternate with huge cliffs and scrub. We reach a crater of an ancient extinct volcano and everywhere basalt stones are scattered about the place. Basalt cliffs, outlining the rim of the crater, fall away abruptly towards it from a height of 200 m and more. It is on these cliffs where Black Storks and Vultures build their nests. This is also the place where the birds of prey are regularly fed and where they themselves find enough food on the surrounding hills. This food comes from the numerous herds of domestic and wild animals that graze in the area.
There is a huge reservoir where cliffs descend right into the blue waters thus providing safe nesting grounds for many birds of prey, Herons and Black Storks as well as a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles which inhabits the area. This is the best place to observe birds of prey in Europe - one can see almost all European raptors like Golden, Imperial, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Long-legged Buzzard, Black ,Egyptian and Griffon Vultures and many other small birds, like Pallid Swift, Rock Nuthatch , Rock and Blue Rock Thrushes , Roller, Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Lesser Grey and Woodchat Shrikes, Somber Tit, Cirl, Black-headed and Ortolan Buntings, Barred, Subalpine, Sardinian and Orphean Warblers. Packed lunch. Night at the local hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Again a long but necessary transfer, this time to the lowland of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. We will spend 2 nights at the local hotel, which is situated very close to the beach. This is the most important place for large and small migrating birds from the huge region of Central and Eastern Europe during the spring and autumn migration. During the transfer we shall have plenty of time for stops along the way to look for such specialties like Masked Shrike, Olive-tree Warbler, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Montagu's Harrier. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: We'll spend the whole day in the area around the local lakes, with extensive reed-beds on their lakesides. There are flooded meadows, marshes, low hills, and oak forests in the surrounding countryside. These diverse habitats make the region one of the best in Europe for wetland and other species of birds. We can expect to see Pygmy Cormorant, Night, Squacco, Purple, and Grey Herons, Little and Great White Egrets, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis, White Pelican, Slender-billed, Mediterranean and Little Gulls, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Somber Tit, Grey-headed and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, White-tailed Sea Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: A transfer to the next main spot, along the sea coast, follows. The next three nights we will stay in hotel, situated in the real nature, on a hill just above the sea. Two nice wooded valleys can also be seen from the hotel. Very good opportunities to watch Golden Oriole, Bee-eater, Roller, Syrian Woodpecker, Hobby, Levant Sparrowhawk. During the transfer we will stop at an oak forest, where we will concentrate on the Great, Middle, Lesser Spotted, Grey-headed, Green, and Black Woodpeckers, if we have some more luck, we could also see the rare White-backed Woodpecker and Short-toed Treecreeper. Lunch at the local forest restaurant. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: A visit to the Steppe Nature Reserve. This is a coastal headland with its white and reddish-brown limestone cliffs falling precipitously away into the depths of the surrounding sea from a height of over 200 m. Inland, the sky above the rolling steppe is dotted with the slow-flapping Calandra and Short-toed Larks. The habitat also suits the Isabeline and Pied Wheatears and Stone Curlew. Everywhere around us, perched on small shrubs the Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrikes, Black-headed and Corn Buntings can be seen. Also here one can sometimes see the Rose-coloured Starlings during their periodic invasions from Asia. After the packed lunch a visit to a nice lake follows. It's a very important wetland area for breeding and migrating birds with its extensive reed-beds and open water areas. Our main interest will be to spot the Paddyfield Warbler, Collared Pratincole, Spotted and Little Crakes, Pygmy Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Ferruginous Duck, Little and Great Bitterns, Gull-billed and Caspian Terns, Bearded Tit, Red-footed Falcon, Levant Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard. Packed lunch. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Driving inland today, we'll cross the Dobrudza steppes to reach the famous Danube river. The Danube river lakes and marshlands with extensive reed-beds give ideal shelter for the breeding of the globally threatened with extinction Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous duck and Pygmy cormorant as well as for a number of rare and endangered on a local or regional level birds like Red-necked and Black-necked Grebes, Purple, Squacco and Night Herons, Marsh harrier, Penduline tit. In the broad-leaved forests around the lake also breed the Lesser Spotted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawks, Goshawks. The Ruddy Shellduck breeds, too in the banks of the little dry valleys in the area. In the afternoon we will visit the Danube river proper. Birds likely to be seen there: Dalmatian Pelicans, Herons, Woodpeckers. Accommodation at small hotel, situated close to Danube river. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: We drive along the Danube river and arrive at another interesting marshland. Initially it was a typical Danube riverside marsh, turned into a fish farm during the communist regime, and turned again into a marshland nowadays. Good opportunities for spotting Whiskered Tern, Red-necked, Black-necked, Little and Great Crested Grebes, Pygmy Cormorant. In the afternoon we reach again the Balkan range , where we'll spend our last night in hotel, built in the traditional Bulgarian architectural style. The restaurant at the hotel offers Bulgarian national dishes and drinks. At the open-air museum those interested can have a look at our old Bulgarian crafts and buy some typical Bulgarian souvenirs. Here we'll have one of the last opportunities in this trip to watch Dipper, Somber Tit, and more Woodpecker. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14: Driving further west we reach Sofia where our tour will be over. For those who have a late afternoon or evening flight or will fly home the next day a visit to a mountain, close to Sofia may be arranged. There we can finish our tour with watching Nutcracker, Crossbill, Coal Tit and, if we have indeed a good luck, also the Alpine Accentor. Includes: (B).
All the prices are in US dollars. Every tourist can pay in any currency he declares to do so.
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