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Watching brown bears in Slovenia


Frostfire
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Frostfire

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A short trip report of a trip we made not particularly recently. However, seeing that there are not many European based trip reports, and many Europe-based Safari Talkers, I hope this might be of interest! 

 

In July 2021 with travel still limited, we decided on a whim to drive to Slovenia and try our luck at spotting some brown bears. Apparently, the Notrnjskja region holds a very rich density of brown bears. Previously we had tried to see them in Hälsingland (Sweden), but they eluded us as wolverines had frightened them of (great wolverine views though). This time round we were more successful!

 

We spent four days in Markovec with Miha Mlakar. He has created multiple photography hides specifically for bear viewing. Around two o'clock in the afternoon he would drive us close to one of the hides. Depending on the hide, the car drive from the accommodation would be 10-20 minutes, which would be followed by a short walk through the forrest to the hide, where we would be locked in. The hides themselves were set up well for photography, including comfy chairs. There were no ablution facilities in the hide, so I didn't bring my usual flask of tea. Each time we had a hide to ourselves, with other guests occupying their own hides. Miha would return at sunset, giving us 5 to 6 hours in the hide. By the time we arrived back at the accommodation dinner would be waiting for us. Hearty meals, good food and great company with everybody comparing their afternoon bear hide experiences. During the day there were options to spend time in a bird hide located on the property of the accommodation.

 

Each day we saw multiple bears. Most days they appeared after an hour or 2-3 in the hide and they would then hang about for at least 45 minutes. The bears came within a short range of the hides, sometimes at only around 10 meters away. In total we saw 10 different bears over the four days, including multiple mothers with larger cubs. When there were no bears about, we were entertained by the birds (particularly woodpeckers) and small wildlife, which was too quick for my camera skills to catch. If you are wanting to see wild brown bears in Europe, we can definitely recommend the Notrjnjskja region of Slovenia! 

 

All photo's made with a Canon DSLR camera and a 70-300mm lens. I don't edit any of my photo's, but I hope they give you an idea of what we saw. 

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Welcome Frostfire and thanks for posting this report and your wonderful photos.

 

Its good to know that such an accessible site for brown bears is available.

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Atravelynn

Thanks for this fascinating info.  I must say I cannot feel sorry for you missing the brown bears in Hälsingland because wolverines came into view to frighten them off.  Wow!

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Lovely photos. I am on the mailing list of the Slovenian bears company, every time they send an email it makes me want to go visit! It's nice to get a first hand account that confirms they do a good job. 

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8 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

Thanks for this fascinating info.  I must say I cannot feel sorry for you missing the brown bears in Hälsingland because wolverines came into view to frighten them off.  Wow!

 

@Atravelynn, no we weren't very sorry either! At the time we weren't even aware that wolverines might be an option there! It did teach us to always plan more days than you think at a location and led us to wonderful sightings in Slovenia.

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