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** 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.

Itinerary Over-View

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.

Bulgaria Over-View

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.

Expedition Skills

  • Know before you go – expedition planning.
  • Medical planning.
  • Risk assessments.
  • Crisis management.
  • Communications – types and use.
  • Minimalizing environmental impact.
  • Expedition Evacuation procedures.
  • Health and safety in the field.
  • Setting your camp and camp craft skills.
  • Clothing and protection.
  • Navigation with map, compass, and GPS.
  • The use of optics and cameras.
  • Why and how things are seen.
  • Observation hides and their construction.
  • Tracking and observation skills.
  • Medical self-help and self-aid.

Conservation Skills and Techniques.

  • Quantitative versus Qualitative research.
  • Keeping records and journals.
  • Camera trapping.
  • Transect and quadrant sampling

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. 

Dates: CLOSED 
Next Course Dates: TBA

Price: 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:

  1. All transportation from expedition pick-up – to post expedition drop-off at designated meeting point.
  2. All meals.
  3. All lodgings.
  4. All camping equipment where stated in the itinerary.

The Price Excludes:

  1. Alcoholic beverages.
  2. Flights.
  3. Laundry.
  4. Tips to local guides.
  5. Personal travel insurance.

Full terms and conditions will be emailed on your initial expression of interest via the booking form.

Frequently Asked Question

Bulgaria Specific

What travel documents are required for Bulgaria?

What vaccines/ health documents do I need?

  • Be up to date on all your routine vaccinations and please talk to your doctor about other health needs for your trip. 

Which airport do I fly into?

  • Sofia International Airport

What type of gear and clothing should I pack?

  • A detailed packing list will be provided on registration of interest.

What are the physical requirements?

  • The fitness level of this course is Medium. You should be physically fit enough to hike for part of the day on uneven trails up and down mountains carrying a small day sack. 

What is the time zone?

  • Bulgaria is on GMT+2.

What type of electronic plug do they use in Bulgaria?

  • There are two plug types. Type C, which has two round pins and Type F, which has two round pins and two earth clips on the side. 

What is the voltage of the electronic plugs?

  • The standard voltage is 230 V. The frequency is 50 Hz. 


How do I book a course?

  • To reserve a place on a course all you need to do is book via our ‘booking form’ or contact us via our contact page. On receipt of this, we will acknowledge you and hold you a place. This will be done on a ‘first come basis’ We will then send you details of how to pay your deposit and all supporting information for the course. 

Will I receive an invoice and receipt for my records?

  • Yes. Once we receive your expression of interest, we will send you our terms and conditions or you can download them from the website. These need to be agreed and signed and we will then invoice you the first payment.

How can I pay for my course?

  • Deposits and fees can be paid into our US account, our UK account or into our secure paypal account. Funds can be paid directly or by any of the following means:
  • Worldremit,   Western union  or  paypal

Will I need travel insurance?

  • Travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover any potential medical, emergencies, missed flights or lost luggage. 

What is the age limit?

  • 18 or 16 If accompanied by an adult.

Can this count towards university credits?

  • Each course will have a detailed itinerary of lessons and experiences included. If you are a college student, you can submit that to your advisor and talk to your administration department to ask about college credits, such as an internship or lab credits. Every university is different. 

Will I share a room with someone, or can I room alone?

  • Hotel bookings and tents will be set up to pair up same genders unless otherwise requested. If you would like your own room or tent, please inform us so that we may make those arrangements for you. If you are attending with your spouse or partner, we will keep you paired together. For single occupancy, you will have to pay a single occupancy supplement.

What if I have a dietary requirement?

  • Please inform us of any allergies or preferences on your application so that we can be sure to arrange for those needs with our in-country partners.

Are flights and airport transfers included in the price?

  • No. Travelling to the country of the course and getting to your hotel is your responsibility. We will be responsible for all travel from the initial meeting to the end drop off. Please see the individual itinerary for details of these.

Is there a waiting list for courses?

  • No, but this will be subject to availability. If you are interested in a particular course, please submit an expression of interest via our contact page and we will advise. 

Can I cancel my trip and get a refund?

  • Yes, subject to our Terms and Conditions which you will be required to read and acknowledge as acceptance of your booking.

Why do the courses have different prices?

  • We work with our partners to try to keep the prices down as much as possible for your affordability. Course prices are based on the costs for us to cover stipends for partner personnel, logistics and permits in accordance to the current rate, which differs in each location. 

Will there be Wi-Fi on the trip?

  • Wi-Fi will be available within the cities and most main towns of locations. If a course has days in a more remote field station or field camp location, Wi-Fi may be unavailable, but if we can, we will endeavor to provide it. 

How do you handle Covid-19?

  • Covid-19 policies will be followed based on the country of the course. Many countries may still require proof of vaccination status to enter, please double check those requirements before you travel. Masks are optional but recommended if a participant has a cough. If a participant becomes ill with Covid-19 symptoms, we will test for positivity and arrange for the participant to be removed from the group and follow quarantine requirements for that country. 

What do I do if a link on the website isn’t working?

  • Oh no! We’re sorry if something on the website is acting glitchy. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to let us know so that we can it fixed right away!