** Expedition Now Closed**
Explore the enchanting country of Bulgaria!
Welcome to Bulgaria, a hidden gem nestled in south-eastern Europe. Let us take you on a journey through some captivating facts about this remarkable country that will undoubtedly ignite your wanderlust.
Did you know that Bulgaria boasts one of the richest biodiversity’s among all European nations? Over 35% of its land is enveloped in lush forests, providing a haven for an astonishing array of 41,493 species of animals and plants. From majestic brown bears and elusive wolves to graceful chamois and a myriad of bird species, Bulgaria’s wildlife is a nature lover’s paradise.
One of Bulgaria’s crowning jewels is the Rodopi Mountains, home to our extraordinary expedition course. These rugged peaks reach heights of up to 2,000 meters and are cloaked in a magnificent blend of coniferous and deciduous forests, exuding an enchanting “old world” charm. Crystal-clear mountain streams meander through verdant valleys, nourishing rivers teeming with crayfish, fish, and even playful otters. Nature’s splendour knows no bounds here.
Your adventure begins in Sofia, the vibrant capital of Bulgaria, where you’ll be captivated by a seamless fusion of cultural traditions and architectural wonders influenced by ancient Thracian, Slavic, Bulgar, and Eastern Orthodox Church heritage. Immerse yourself in the local atmosphere as you traverse bustling streets, savour delectable cuisine, and encounter warm-hearted locals. While Bulgarian is the primary language spoken, fear not, as you’ll find a diverse blend of languages including Turkish, Romani, and a growing number of English speakers.
When it comes to practicalities, the Bulgarian Lev (BGN) is the local currency, and upon arrival at Sofia International Airport, you’ll find convenient currency exchange facilities. While major establishments accept credit cards, it’s advisable to have some cash on hand for smaller businesses, such as charming shops, cosy cafes, taxis, and gratuities. Remember, it’s always wise to bring multiple payment options for maximum convenience.
For our expedition, the breath-taking Kozi Rog lodge will be your home base. Sprawling across 9,370 hectares of private, protected wilderness, this sanctuary within the Izvora Estate offers comfortable accommodations for up to 12 people. As you venture to the lodge’s feeding station, prepare to be awe-struck by the sight of bears, deer, and boar in their natural habitat, thriving in an undisturbed environment that’s closely monitored by dedicated rangers. Witnessing these magnificent creatures up close is an experience you’ll treasure forever.
Whether you’re landing at Sofia Airport or need a pre-expedition hotel in the city, transportation options abound. Taxis are safe and reliable, and you can easily hail them from the street or use reputable taxi companies and mobile apps for pick-up services. And fear not, as Sofia itself is an incredibly safe city for tourists, with low crime rates and friendly locals always willing to lend a helping hand.
As you journey from Sofia to the picturesque town of Devin, nestled in the Vacha River valley, you’ll be greeted by a refreshing climate. Mild winters and cool summers, adorned with an abundance of sunny days, create an idyllic atmosphere. The air is crisp, the temperatures range from 4 to 33 °C, and Devin is sheltered from harsh winds by surrounding ridges. Nature’s embrace is ever-present here.
Bulgaria welcomes travellers with open arms, offering tap water that is safe to drink and delightful culinary delights from hotels and restaurants. Stay connected with ease through public Wi-Fi routers, hotspot options, or SIM and eSIM cards from local cellular operators. And while Bulgaria has made great strides in promoting LGBTQ+ rights, it’s important to note that conservative attitudes may still persist. Nevertheless, this welcoming nation is eager to embrace diversity and provide a safe haven for all visitors.
We can’t wait to embark on this unforgettable journey with you! Remember, in case of emergencies, dial 112, and Bulgaria operates on GMT+2 time zone. Most countries enjoy visa-free travel for up to 90 days, but for specific visa requirements, please check www.doyouneedvisa.com to ensure a seamless entry.
Pack your bags, open your heart to adventure, and let Bulgaria’s enchanting landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality create memories that will last a lifetime. We can’t wait to welcome you to this magical corner of the world!
Wild Rodopi is an independent non-governmental organization (NGO) that conducts wildlife research and ethnoecological conservation projects in the Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains. As well as biological recording and monitoring the exceptionally rich flora and fauna of the Mountains, they also work for the preservation of rural heritage in the region, acknowledging the crucial role that local customs, non-intensive agriculture, and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) have played in helping to shape the Rodopi Mountains into one of the most important havens for biodiversity in Europe.
The Founder and Research Director of NGO ‘Wild Rodopi’, Julian Perry.
Julian is a member of the International Association for Bear Research and Management and is undertaking a long-term study into the ecology and behaviour of brown bears in the Rodopi Mountains using a combination of camera trapping, traditional non-invasive sign surveys and tracking methods, as well as ethnoecological fieldwork. Julian is also interested in the ecology and coexistence of the other mammals inhabiting the Rodopi Mountains and other members of the carnivore guild and their prey. He also undertakes herpetological and ornithological surveys, as well as monitoring the altitudinal distribution of butterflies and orchids in the Rodopi Mountains in response to climate change.
NGO ‘Wild Rodopi’ are committed to the conservation of brown bears and brown bear habitats in the Rodopi Mountains and are undertaking long-term research into brown bear ecology and behaviour. By utilising a phenomenological bear-focused approach, combining careful observation, traditional non-invasive tracking, camera trapping and ethnoecological methods, NGO ‘Wild Rodopi’ is attempting to gather important new insights into the ethology of the brown bears in the Rodopi Mountains, and their day-to-day interactions with both the humans and other wildlife species with which they share the mountains.
All Conservation Field Safety Expeditions (CSFE) work in a realistic field study environment where we employ our time studying the local fauna with some key species relevant to the environment and employ conservation skills in a real time study. All information recorded during our expeditions is made available to our conservation partners at the end of the trip.
Whilst conducting this research, we learn and put into practice field safety skills and procedures, again, relevant to the environment.
On day one you will be met at the Sofia International Airport arrivals hall and transported to the expedition location by minibus and 4×4. On arrival at the lodge, we will get acquainted and settle into our rooms and enjoy an evening meal. Stops will be made en-route for refreshments and toilet breaks.
Day 2 – 8 will be spent training and putting into practice the many aspects of conservation and field safety.
Conservation Skills and Techniques.
On the final day, we will pack up and depart in time for your flights home or to book into your accommodation.
Detailed itineraries are available on request and you will receive a full program on arrival.
For the expedition we will be based at the Kozi Rog Lodge, (above) an old established hunting lodge in the centre of pristine mountain forests. The accommodation is “old world” tranquil and the perfect quiet and secluded location for our training. Whether in a shared room or single/double room the beds are comfortable, and the only sound is that of the forest. The dining room is like that of a small family home, and you can either eat in here or take your meal out onto the large spacious grassed area and picnic tables outside. There is also an area where you can relax in front of the open fire and go over your notes of the day. Some theory lessons will be taught here before going outside and putting them into practice.
Meals are traditional Bulgarian fare utilising locally grown fruit and vegetables as well as meat and fish. All diets can be catered for.
Next Course Dates: TBA
Single Room Supplement: $240.00 (USD)
Nb. US dollar/Sterling exchange rates (where applicable) will be at standard rate on the day of any bank transfer. All monetary dealings will be in US Dollars.
Please note: 10% of your expedition cost will be requested on agreeing with and signing our terms and conditions which include our cancellation policies.
These terms and conditions are sent to potential expedition members after your initial expression of interest via the booking form.
The Price Includes:
The Price Excludes:
Full terms and conditions will be emailed on your initial expression of interest via the booking form.