Romania wildlife holiday, bear watching and tracking

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

This trip can be tailor made between April to September to suit you
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Romania wildlife holiday, bear watching and tracking

Environment

We travel in very small groups to minimize the impact of our activities on the wildlife we watch and their environments. Our days are planned carefully to minimize travel while maximizing the chance to see wildlife.
We work with local wildlife researchers to assess the impact of wildlife-related tourism activities on the environment.
We encourage our guests to follow our lead and reduce the amount of litter they produce and to not leave any marks in the areas we visit.
Our office waste paper is reused wherever possible. We have reduced the amount of paperwork generated by our office by switching to online newsletters, booking confirmations etc. We use recycled products wherever possible.
We stay in locally-owned accommodation that use mainly home grown produce, thus contributing to reducing food miles and supporting the local community.
As members of the Association of Ecotourism in Romania we also contribute to the development of responsible travel and nature conservation in Romania.

Community

We collaborate exclusively with local people and locally owned businesses that employ local people for all the services we provide, thus all the revenues from our tours “stay” locally.
Working with local small-size businesses gives them a fair chance of doing business in a world dominated by big hotels and impersonal services. It also improves our guests’ access to the local culture through their hospitable hosts.
One important characteristic of our tours is authenticity. We have managed to find local collaborators that share our aim of preserving the local values in terms of customs, culture, food etc.
The size of our groups is very small, with a very small impact on the local culture. Our groups average six guests, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two guests. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social impact.
On most of the areas we travel to we take the time to visit some of the local traditional craftsmen. This gives our guests the chance to experience first-hand some of the local traditions and, at the same time, provides revenues and emphasis on the importance to preserve these great traditions for the local craftsmen.

2 Reviews of Romania wildlife holiday, bear watching and tracking

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 03 Jun 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Being able to take my 7yo to watch bears in their natural habitat (and in so doing making his dreams come true)

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do it! But remember nature doesn't stand on ceremony, you can't predict what will happen (in our case whether the bears would turn up - happily they did!)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, very much so. Eco-tourism isn't cheap, but it's quite simply the best way to see animals behaving as they normally do. And you can learn from people who
have dedicated their lives to conversation, protection and development. And it makes you feel good about yourself too.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A wonderful experience for me and created memories for my 7yo son that he'll carry with him forever.

Reviewed on 06 Jul 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The evening we sat on a hilltop in the sunshine and watched several bears doing their thing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


See below.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


To some extent.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A bit of a curate's egg. Overall we had a lovely time. The guide (Alex) was great. Very knowledgeable - and good company once we got to know him better. We liked him a lot. Our holiday operators were really helpful - and nothing was too much trouble. And the scenery is spectacular - once you get to it.

But that's the rub. We were based in Zarnesti, which is 40 minutes from Brasov - and has nothing going on. The owner of the pensione, is lovely and her cooking is very good - but going out in the evening or eating anywhere else are not viable options without your own transport. That would be ok if the pensione had been in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the forest, but Zarnesti is just a big, anonymous and not very lovely town (a bit like basing yourself in Slough for a visit to London). More importantly, it's at least 40 minutes from all the locations where we went to see the bears etc - which is a big chunk of time when you consider you are spending an hour or so (at least) in the car twice a day.

So, if we had known then what we know now, we would have made sure we were either based in a remote location closer to the wildlife (which would have been our preferred option) OR in Brasov itself. It would have been good to have those options explained to us.

Last thing - and I realise this is sounding a bit like a moan, but if no-one tells you, how will you know - having now spent some time in Romania, I think the holiday was somewhat overpriced. I absolutely don't mind taking a fair fee for sorting everything out for us (we travel a lot - and I've never mentioned this issue to any agent we've used previously) but I reckon the mark up on this trip was somewhere between 35% and 45%, which feels a bit too much. By all means tell me if I am wrong.

I'd like to explain the star rating below:

Five stars for the guiding - once we got into the forest.
Four stars for the help when we were there.
Three stars for the pensione overall - but five stars for our host.
Three stars (somewhat generously - but in case my maths is up the spout) for value for money; two if my maths is right.
One star for the location.

So, three stars overall.

I'm very happy to speak to anyone about this if you would like more feedback. I think you could get this trip just right with a few tweaks. But it's not there yet, in my view.

Jon



Read the operator's response here:

Dear Jon
Thank you for joining us on this trip and for your review.

For this particular trip we use only eco-certified accommodation out of a great number of hotels and guesthouses available in the general area where the researchers do their activity, Zarnesti, the town where you were based, being located somehow centrally. Of course it is possible to locate our guests anywhere, but that would lack the “impact on the local community”, or be not very environmental friendly, which are key aspects for a Responsible Travel trip…

Zarnesti is indeed not the most touristic town in the world (although it is the main gateway into Piatra Craiului National Park). Especially because of its poor economic development, any guest's presence there brings real benefits to the local community (not only the guesthouse owner, but many other local people, too). This aspect should be very important to a responsible traveler (we’re not referring here to the "common tourist" interested only in his/her personal comfort). As for “going out in the evening” – when do you have time to do that during this trip? And we always offer some meals out during daytime when we are visiting the local castles and churches...

As you know, the exact places for wildlife watching are chosen every day by the researcher who accompanies the guests, based on the latest movements of the target species and other factors they keep track of. Unfortunately during your trip you had to be in the car much more than we would have liked, but it was just to maximize your chances to see bears (plus the other species you’ve seen). If you had also hiked during daytime as we proposed - all those activities would have taken place close to the guesthouse.

As for the costs - the bases are wrong/incomplete, can't comment on the math itself.

Thanking you again for your input on the local community and environment,
Simona

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