Swans and bisons in Altai
Two-days’ trip from Barnaul
February 13-14 *
other dates on request
Maximum 6 person
Minimum 4 person
Our two-day tour provides an unique opportunity to look at the swans wintering on an ice-free lake during the most beautiful sunset and sunrise hours. Swans arrive every autumn in the Sovetsky District of the Altai Territory on a small lake Svetloye from the Salekhard tundra and stay here until March. Their number of birds is growing every year. Last year there were more than 1000 of them, plus almost 2000 ducks! In winter, the birds are fed by employees of the Swan Reserve, so they are already accustomed to people, and they can be observed and photographed from a very close distance. And in the morning, with the first rays of the sun, the lake is more beautiful than ever – creeping fog, frost on the trees and snow-white birds. In addition, there are almost no other tourists and photographers early in the morning.
But this is only one part of our journey. On the second day we go to the bisons! In the wild, bisons were exterminated all over the world at the beginning of the 20th century; their population was preserved only in nature parks and reserves. One of such places is in our Altai, in the village of Cherga. For almost 50 years, a herd of purebred Belovezhskiy bison has been living in a “semi-free” environment on an area of about 400 hectares. In winter, they can always be seen at close range, as the herd moves to feeding places.
We will go to the bisons via the little-known among tourists, but at the same time very picturesque road “Altayskoe-Cherga”. It was here that the Chuisky tract passed in the late 19th – early 20th centuries, and all expeditions of Altai scientists and researchers (including N. Roerich) entered the mountains this way. Of course, we will make stops in the most beautiful places
We meet at the Centralnaya Hotel at 8.45 and start our trip at 9.00.
First, we go to Molodezhny village and get acquainted with the Biysk swans. On the Biya embankment, we will spend about an hour and then move to the observation point, from where a view of the confluence of Biya and Katun opens. After taking photos, we will stop for lunch. After that we are heading to the Swan Reserve on Lake Svetloye.
We will devote 1.5-2 hours to observing the swans on the lake, wait until the sun sets to take photos in the evening light (let’s hope it will be a sunny day). In addition, in the evening many birds return from their daytime “expeditions” to the surrounding fields, and it is very funny to watch them landing on the water. Around 17.00-18.00 we will go to the hotel in the village Sovetskoye. After dinner you will have free time.
We will have breakfast at 7.00, pack our stuff and go to the lake to catch the first rays of the sun, fog over the water and frost on the trees. We photograph swans for 1-1.5 hours and then continue our journey!
Now we are heading deep into the mountains, watching how the landscape changes – the steppe is replaced by hills, the foothills are turning into narrow mountain valleys.
On the way, we will make a stop at the picturesque Komarsky pass, from where views of the spurs of the Seminsky and Cherginsky ridges open. In Cherga we will have lunch in a small cafe and move to the bison farm, it is already on the modern Chuisky tract.
We will see the bison up close, but only through the fence. The fence mesh is quite large, so you can take great photos without any problems. Moreover, bisons can even be fed with carrots. It is very touching to see how these huge, severe animals gently take the carrot from your hands.
We start our way home from the bison nursery. But we will definitely make several stops in picturesque places, including the beautiful winter Katun.
We will have dinner in Biysk and return to Barnaul at about 21.00.
We travel in a comfortable 8-seater minibus Mercedes Benz Vito. On the lake there is always the opportunity to return to the car, warm up and drink hot tea or coffee. To do this, we have thermoses and a gas stove with a kettle.
Lunches and dinners are in the cafe and in the hotel.
Sanitary stops will also be made along the way.
For feeding swans on Biya, you can take oats, wheat or peas. On the lake, oats can be purchased from the staff of the reserve (50 rubles). In the bison farm, you can buy carrots for feeding bison (100 rubles).
Fee and payment
Price: 7800 rubles per person. Prepayment after booking: 2000 rubles.
- Transport delivery
- Accommodation in a hotel (2-3 bed rooms)
- Meals (dinner on the 1st day, breakfast on the 2nd day)
- Entrance ticket to the swan sanctuary and bison nursery
- Hot tea / instant coffee on the lake
- Meals in the cafes on the way (lunch on the 1st day, lunch and dinner on the 2nd day
- Food for birds and bisons
- Personal expenses and souvenirs
* For a group of 4 (or more) people, individual dates are possible.
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Swans and bisons in Altai