Ukraine tour, Discover Chernobyl
Prices based on 2 adults sharing.
Single supplement available.
Mimimum age 18.
Description of Ukraine tour, Discover Chernobyl
The Chernobyl disaster of 1986, when a nuclear reactor exploded causing many deaths and the total evacuation of the nearby town of Pripyat, remains a haunting reminder of the potential for catastrophe in nuclear energy. For many years afterwards an Exclusion Zone around the reactor extended for 30km in all directions, but it is now possible to visit many areas including Pripyat, the Red Forest, the Chernobyl docks and even the protective shell over the damaged reactor. This five-day Ukraine tour offers the chance to explore these sites with an expert guide, and to stay overnight at a hotel in Chernobyl itself.
As part of a small group, you will begin the tour in Kiev where you will learn about the causes and effects of the disaster at the Chernobyl Museum. You’ll also visit several historic sites around the Ukrainian capital including the Lavra Reserve, where you will see the famous ‘Monastery of the Caves’.
Chernobyl is a two-hour drive from Kiev. Almost the entire population of the Exclusion Zone was removed, leaving Pripyat a ghost town, but a handful of people chose to remain. There may be an opportunity during the tour to meet some of these residents and hear their stories.
The Red Forest was badly contaminated during the disaster, and the name comes from the colour of the trees killed by radiation. Wildlife nevertheless returned in the years following the clean-up operation, and as you explore with a guide, you will learn about the astonishing biodiversity here.
Sleeping in a basic but comfortable hotel with shared bathrooms, you will be able to venture out early the next day to maximise your time in the area, visiting more key sites around Pripyat that will certainly make for a moving experience.
This trip should not be seen as ‘disaster tourism’, but as a pressing reminder ofthe need for nuclear safety, and an opportunity to provide much-needed funds and companionship to the ‘self-settlers’ that choose to live here in near-isolation.
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3 Reviews of Ukraine tour, Discover Chernobyl
PlanetThe accident at Chernobyl was the result of a flawed Soviet reactor that was being operated by inadequately trained staff. Ukraine's isolation during the Cold War meant that their safety culture was lacking and this was a major contributing factor in the accident.
About 200000 people, known as liquidators, from throughout the Soviet Union were involved in the clean up during the year after the disaster. They all received high doses of radiation. In the years that followed many more liquidators were onsite but the radiation levels were far lower.
In 2010 Belarus announced that it was to settle back thousands of people into the 'contaminated areas' and by 2011 Chernobyl was declared safe enough to be recognised as a tourist attraction. Interestingly in 2015 a major scientific study found that the mammal population in the Exclusion Zone was thriving, despite land contamination, which was contrary to what experts had believed would be the case. The Przewalski's horse was close to extinction, but in areas around Chernobyl their population is increasing. Moose, deer, beavers, owls, brown bear, lynx and wolves have also all been spotted and appear to be prospering.
In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.
As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. Cool Earth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in
PeopleLearning about the country we are travelling to is really important on our trips and Ukraine is a country filled with history. One of the reasons we prefer to use local Tour Leaders is so they can give a real insight into the local culture; anything from learning about the education system, to making sure we don’t fall foul of any taboos.
Secondly it is our policy to generate business and employment opportunities in the countries we travel to by employing local people. All our Tour Leaders in Ukraine are locals and we’ve personally trained them all too so they are comfortable in their work and you get great service. As well as respecting local people, we also like to be an economic benefit to them. We do this by using locally owned hotels, spreading our business to a variety of local restaurants (which is a great way to sample delicious Ukrainian food) and employing local guides where we can.
After the invasion of Crimea and the Ukrainian revolution in 2014, tourism to Ukraine was hit hard and is only now starting to recover; obviously our priority is always the safety of our groups and that is why we always follow UK foreign Office Travel Advice and are in constant contact with our local suppliers to ensure we know what conditions are like on the ground.
However we also strongly believe that is important that we continue to send groups to Ukraine to help support the local businesses and our local Tour Leaders. Ukraine is a fabulous country and the capital city, Kiev, is full of history, stunning architecture, mouth-watering food, and it’s affordable with cost of public transport, food and drinks being some of the lowest in Europe. We will also visit the unique site of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and now is the time to go. It’s been over 30 years since the accident and with each passing year the site further decays and eventually it will become inaccessible. Also tourism is only now beginning to pick up again so it’s still relatively quiet here so you can avoid the crowds, especially if you visit in autumn and winter, which is also a great time for photography as you can get a clearer view of the ruins when the leaves aren’t on the trees. In Chernobyl our groups visit the self-settlers that live alone inside the Exclusion Zone which helps to give them companionship and much needed food supplies.
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