I have still not given up hope to return to Africa in July this year. However, “hope for the best, plan for the worst”, as one of my favorite novel character has a habit to say, and so I started to looking for an alternative / substitute destination, closer to home and less risky when it comes to travel restrictions, quarantines and the likes, and Finland came up as an option.
The general idea: fly to Helsinki, rent a car and drive up north towards towards the Russian border, in the hopes of finding predators like bears, wolves and the elusive wolverine. On our way up we might want to include some detours if the landscape is worth looking at. We are, however, not interested in birding, cultural sightings or water based activities like boat cruises.
So far I have, through trip reports right here at mammalwatching.org, identified half a dozen or so outfits that basically offer the same deal, for more or less the same rates: spend the nights in hides and hope that predators will show up in front of your lenses (yes, I know they are baited and no, I don’t have a problem with that).
Ideally we would rent our own cottage / hut / room somewhere close to a bigger village and from there visit 3 or 4 different locations (over the span of maybe 8 nights in total). I have not checked all the locations of the companies / hides I found, but it seems that for example Lentiira and Kuhmo are relatively close to each other, so at this early stage of planning I guess my initial questions are
Is there a big disadvantage when not staying at the accommodation that the operators of the hides offer?
Do you think it’s possible to decide on a day to day basis which particular hide to visit, without any reservation? (I find it hard to believe that in July 2020 all of them will be solidly booked out)
I’ve seen bears and wolves before, but no wolverine. Is there any operator / hide / location that has a solid reputation when it comes to spotting these animals (like Marrick in South Africa has for aardvark, black footed cats, etc)?