Volunteering with bears in Romania

“Work with bears in Romania's largest bear sanctuary - a haven for captured and abused bears who can now spend their days recuperating in this incredible haven at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains.”

Highlights

Volunteering at Romania's largest bear sanctuary | Preparing food & monitoring wellbeing | Helping out with sanctuary tours | Living in medieval city of Brasov | Daytrip to Dracula's castle | Welcome meal on arrival | Optional: walking in the nearby Carpathian Mountains

Description of Volunteering with bears in Romania

Many people's love affair with bears starts with their first teddy, and lasts a life time. As one of the world's favourite creatures, it comes as a great surprise that these mighty creatures are often mistreated, hunted and imprisoned for capital gain. You will be helping to protect and care for bears that have been victim of this sad abuse in the beautiful setting of the Romanian mountains.

For years bears in Romania have been trophy-hunted, forced to dance in the streets and trapped in cages outside restaurants. Kept in cruelly cramped conditions and regularly abused by their owners, these bears are now being rescued and brought to Romania's largest bear sanctuary, just outside Brasov.

You will be helping out at this bear sanctuary, working to provide the haven for the bears that they so need. Volunteers have been helping at the bear sanctuary ever since its creation in 2006. The sanctuary is now home to 84 bears, with over 20 more bears due to be rescued over the coming months. This is a safe haven for them, with densely forested enclosures with pools and plenty of food.

Helping alongside the full time members of the sanctuary staff, you will become part of this ongoing rescue story to bring more bears to safety. Your days will be spent around the sanctuary, ensuring the best rehabilitation and care possible for these bears. This ranges from preparing their food to monitoring their wellbeing to simply enjoying watching their capers. Helping out with sanctuary tours is an important part of the role, to share with people the importance of animal welfare and conservation.

You will live in the centre of the medieval city of Brasov in a warm and comfortable flat that we will rent for you and our other volunteers. The flat is just a few minutes walk from the centre of the city, with all of its lovely restaurants, bars and cafes.

Romania is often described by our volunters as the "hidden gem" of Eastern Europe, and there is plenty to do in your free time. The Carpathian Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop to all that you do, with plenty of great walks as well as the famous Dracula's Castle just up the road. We arrange two day trips out and around the local area at weekends so that you can really immerse yourself in local life and culture.

Day-by-day itinerary

Arrival:Arrival day to Bucharest airport is a Friday. You will be collected from the airport and taken on the 3 hour drive up to Brasov. A welcome dinner awaits!
Weekend 1:On Saturday and Sunday you will be shown around the local area and helped to settle in to your new home. We arrange a weekend trip as well to see Dracula's Castle and to the mountains for a traditional Romanian meal
Weekdays:From Monday - Friday you will be working up at the bear sanctuary. Enjoy!
Weekends:Take some downtime to relax, unwind and explore this beautiful area.
Last day:The end date of your trip is a Friday when you will be taken back to Bucharest for your onwards flight. This is the same whether you are staying 1 week or 12!

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

Flexible departures available throughout the year, minimum stay 1 week
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Volunteer travel - what's it all about

Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world.
Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Volunteering with bears in Romania

Environment

Our placements are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this challenge – a sense of achievement, broader horizons and some wonderful memories. But we make sure that local people, the environment and wildlife benefit too.

Supporting local wildlife- it almost goes without explanation to state how strongly this project supports local wildlife. The staff at the sanctuary can very rarely say no to animals that need to be taken care of, and as such you will find some very happy dogs can also call the sanctuary home. The educational emphasis on the sanctuary is important, as it helps children from this area of the world to understand the importance of caring for wildlife and in particular the bears.

Environment - Our company takes an environmentally responsible attitude towards recycling and reusing of waste products. We also offset carbon emissions in our office (gas, electricity, business mileage) and encourage all participants to offset their flight emissions via a carbon offset scheme run in conjunction with Tree Aid. We also offer the option of travelling there by train to cut down on carbon emissions. Our volunteers are given a pre-departure briefing where they are encouraged to minimise waste and to live in a way that will not have a detrimental effect on the country. This extends to not wasting water or electricity.

Community

Our placements are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this challenge – a sense of achievement, broader horizons and some wonderful memories. But we make sure that local people, the environment and wildlife benefit too.

Meeting local needs - The whole project is geared towards helping the local community. Romania is not wealthy and institutions like the bear sanctuary rely on volunteers. We have been running programmes in this area since 1999 and have long-standing relationships with local people. This means we have a good idea of where help is needed, and can ensure volunteers make a real contribution.

The project also helps the local economy. Our participants spend money on food and leisure; we pay rent and employ a local Romanian as our representative. In addition, we donate money regularly to the various projects in response to their needs.

Cultural sensitivity - Our pre-departure briefing includes a special session entitled ‘Responsible Tourism’ where we discuss cultural differences and sensitivities as well as advising volunteers on appropriate conduct. People a briefed on what is considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and dressing. It is encouraged that all volunteers learn some Romanian prior to departure, and they get a helping hand whilst out there as well.

Reviews of Volunteering with bears in Romania

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2016 by

This experience was 11 out of 10...the trip of a lifetime. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 May 2016 by

This really is the most memorable holiday I've had in many years Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Oct 2016 by

The most amazing experience. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole two weeks and wished I had booked to stay there longer. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Jul 2016 by

The bear sanctuary is in the most beautiful of places, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Apr 2016 by

I enjoyed seeing the bears and watching them in their natural environment. I also learned a lot about them and their plight. Awesome I want to go back. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Oct 2015 by

Absolutely amazing - so good I will definitely return in 2 - 3 years time Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Oct 2015 by

Absolutely amazing. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend. I have actually recommended it to everybody who'll listen. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Nov 2015 by

It is a beautiful peaceful place and watching all the bears eating, splashing about in their pools, climbing trees and just enjoying their surroundings was a fantastic experience Read full review

Reviewed on 23 Jun 2015 by

Excellent....Yes - money definitely went into the local economy and I hope my efforts helped in some small way towards bear rescue Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Sep 2014 by

Bears! Bears ! Bears!......absolutely amazing to spend time with these wonderful creatures. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Sep 2014 by

I have volunteered with other organisations in conservation and animal welfare and found in comparison the co-ordination for this was exemplary, the time working was balanced by time I had to wander the sanctuary or explore the surrounding area. Highly recommended! Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Sep 2014 by

Amazing! I was taking a year's sabbatical and this trip was the top of my list. It didn't disappoint and should be on every animal lover's 'bucket list'. I went for 6 weeks, returned for another 6 weeks the following year and fully intend to go back as soon as I can! Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Oct 2014 by

It was an amazing experience, I will never forget all of those bears and the valuable work of the staff at the sanctuary and the organisations funding it. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2014 by

The holiday was excellent. I had a chance to contribute my time and money to animals that deserve a better future then their past. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Sep 2014 by

Being able to see the bears was great, as I had never seen real bears before and it was great to see their behaviour. Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Nov 2013 by

Fantastic and didn't want to leave. Definitely would like to go back again and stay longer! Everyone was wonderful...top would be watching the bears play in the water, eat, and just enjoying the fact that they now lead a happy life thanks to those that have rescued them and look after them. Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Jan 2013 by

Everything. I loved every moment of it! As an animal lover, just being able to see so many bears interacting with each other and living freely in such a fantastic sanctuary was an experience I won't ever forget! Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Nov 2013 by

A really unique experience! Romania is a beautiful country and it was great to be able to spend several weeks there and get to know one part of it. Read full review

Reviewed on 31 May 2013 by

Really enjoyable, if you're an animal/nature lover you'll love it. :) Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Feb 2013 by

I absolutely loved my trip to Romania. This hidden gem of Europe has it all, beautiful mountainous countryside, historical buildings and friendly locals. Escaping to the tranquil bear mountain everyday to hang out with our four legged friends (bears and the dogs) was a pleasure. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Jan 2013 by

I had a wonderful time...Simply hanging out with the bears everyday was an incredible experience/privilege. Watching them play and forage as happy, free bears is indescribable. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Jan 2013 by

I felt the holiday was wonderful....it was wonderful to be able to spend time just watching the bears in a natural environment. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Aug 2012 by

Every day was even more exciting than the last, because each day meant something new to learn and love. But I must say, getting to sit in silence with the bears on a daily basis is not just a memory I will cherish forever, it was an honour. Bears. Bears. Bears. Bears. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Apr 2012 by

The bears! What more memorable a thing could have happened?! It was great, seeing the bears everyday, just watching them in a natural state, interacting with one another, and taking photos of them. It was brilliant. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Nov 2011 by

Living in beautiful Brasov, watching the bears every day...Had a great time - 2 weeks perfect amount of time. Will miss the bears and the staff. Thanks. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Nov 2011 by

Meeting the bears was the most exciting part...A great experience meeting and working with majestic animals in some beautiful countryside. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2011 by

Getting to spend time every day with 58 bears was just incredible, to watch how they behave, how intelligent they are and how like humans in their expressions and actions. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2010 by

Romania is a beautiful spectacular country, so from the moment I was travelling from Bucharest to Brasov I knew that I had come to a really excellent destination. I was very impressed by the people who run the sanctuary on a daily basis particularly Laci & Emi and Mateusz our driver! Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Apr 2008 by

I had the most amazing 3 months. I love the bears, I met some wonderful, kind, funny people, I stayed in a beautiful city, I tried some great food and wine. Basically, I loved it! Read full review

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