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Join conservationist Mark Carwardine and Wildlife Worldwide founder Chris Breen for our 2018 Festival of Bears at Knight Inlet Lodge to see the grizzly bears of the Great Bear Rainforest at prime time.

British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is a convoluted maze of fjords and estuaries dotted with islands covered with lush, temperate coastal forest of western hemlock and red cedar, overlooked by towering mountains. This vast wilderness is home to 10,000 year old native cultures, and is alive with bears, wolves, eagles, ravens and salmon. Within this forest significant populations of brown (or grizzly) and black bears are supported by the abundant food provided by the annual salmon run. 

You will be accompanied by award-winning photographer, broadcaster, writer, conservationist and zoologist Mark Carwardine, together with Wildlife Worldwide founder Chris Breen, on an exclusive experience for which we take over the entire lodge. In addition to twice daily bear-watching activities, there are opportunities to see humpback and orca whales, bald eagles, and even - with luck - wolves in this enchanting wilderness setting.  

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Fly to Vancouver

    Fly to Vancouver, arriving the same evening, and transfer on foot to our overnight accommodation at the airport.

    Accommodation: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Airport

  2. Day 2: Fly to Campbell River; free to explore

    This morning we make our way to Vancouver Airport South Terminal by airport shuttle bus to take a flight to Campbell River on Vancouver Island, just north of the entrance to Desolation Sound. On arrival at Campbell River airport, after collecting our baggage we transfer to a hotel in the centre of town. The rest of the day is free to relax and explore the surroundings.

    Accommodation: Comfort Inn & Suites, 1-night

  3. Days 3-7 : Floatplane to Knight Inlet Lodge; five days of bear watching

    After breakfast we make our way to Campbell River’s floatplane dock for the 80-kilometre hop north across the Johnstone Strait to Glendale Cove, where we put down beside Knight Inlet Lodge. On arrival we are met by lodge staff and have plenty of time to settle in before lunch and an introductory briefing. We spend five nights at Knight Inlet Lodge during which time we enjoy the hospitality, friendliness and local knowledge of the staff – all of whom know the area intimately. 

    The programme includes daily bear-watching trips in the Great Bear Rainforest plus a variety of other excursions designed to show off the wildlife and natural beauty of the surrounding area. There will, of course, be ample opportunity to develop our wildlife photography skills, and during the festival Mark Carwardine will not only be available to assist at all levels, but will run digital photographic workshops for whoever is interested. 

    Accommodation: Knight Inlet Lodge, 5-nights

  4. Day 8: Floatplane to Campbell River, then fly to Vancouver & depart

    After a final breakfast at the lodge we take a floatplane back to Campbell River in time to connect with a flight Vancouver and an onward overnight flight to the UK. 

  5. Day 9: Arrive UK

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 9 days from £6,495 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 8 days from £5,465 pp
  • Single supplement: From £1,950
  • Group size: 26
  • Departures:
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Return flights between Vancouver & Campbell River
    • 1 night hotel at Vancouver Airport (including breakfast)
    • 1 night hotel in Campbell River (including breakfast)
    • 5 nights at Knight Inlet Lodge (full board including wine at dinner)
    • Transfers
    • Daily bear viewing excursions with specialist guides
    • Guide services of Mark Carwardine while at lodge
    • Photographic workshops and lectures
    • Evening talks & slideshows
    • Conservation fund contribution
  • Activities available:
    • Boat trip
    • Photography
    • Walking

Expert leaders

Mark Carwardine

Photo of Mark Carwardine

Mark is an award-winning writer, magazine columnist, widely published photographer, consultant, broadcaster and lecturer.

With Stephen Fry he co-presented Last Chance to See, a BBC TV series about endangered species which was broadcast in autumn 2009. He also presented the weekly half-hour programme, Nature, on BBC Radio 4 for many years.

Mark has written more than 50 books – including the best-selling field guide to whales, dolphins and porpoises ever published. He has also penned monthly columns in BBC Wildlife and Wanderlust magazines for many years. Mark has an extensive collection of wildlife, nature and environment photographs taken on all seven continents and in more than a hundred countries – which are sold around the world. And for many years Mark was the Chairman of the Judging Panel for the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.

Chris Breen

Photo of Chris Breen

Chris studied Geographical Sciences in Plymouth, however his first encounter with the wider world was in 1983, when he headed off to Zambia.

Under the tutelage of the late Norman Carr, the pioneer of walking safaris, he worked as a wildlife guide and managed a wilderness camp. On his return to the UK, he had a spell at a major tour operator before setting up Wildlife Worldwide in 1992.

Since then he has travelled the world in search of first-class wildlife experiences. He devised the Festival of Wildlife concept, which has spawned the Festival of Bears and the Festival of Whales that now both operate on an annual basis. An ardent conservationist, Chris has co-led each of these since their inception. He dedicates several weeks each year to communicating his irrepressible passion for nature to those who travel with him.  

Featured locations:

Glendale Cove, Knight Inlet

This untouched wilderness offers unrivalled opportunities to watch and photograph some of North America's most notable wildlife, including massive brown bears, soaring bald eagles and large pods of orcas. Situated 70 kilometres north of Campbell River, Glendale Cove is accessible by floatplane.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, brown bear, humpback whale, orca, pine marten
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Wildlife festivals, Mark Carwardine wildlife holidays, Whale watching, Bear watching

The Great Bear Rainforest

The area’s mountains, valleys and forests, extending up much of BC’s coastline, offer sanctuary to large numbers of grizzlies and black bear. No other mainland location offers such intimate wildlife encounters amidst breathtaking natural splendour. You can watch bears on foot or while drifting downriver.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, brown bear, humpback whale, spirit bear, grey wolf
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Wildlife festivals, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Mark Carwardine wildlife holidays, Bear watching

Campbell River

Nestled on the east coast of central Vancouver Island, the small settlement of Campbell River is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World" and more recently as a hub for adventure and eco-tourism. Surrounded by streams and lush green forests, it serves as a gateway to some of the island's bear watching lodges.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Excellent for: Activity & adventure

Vancouver

British Columbia’s largest city stands in a fine coastal setting, against a backdrop of lofty tree-covered peaks - a great starting point to any wildlife holiday in the province. There is plenty to see in this lively, multi-cultural city, such as exploring Stanley Park on foot or by bike.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Excellent for: Activity & adventure, City stopover, History & culture
Featured accommodation:

Comfort Inn & Suites

Located right on the waterfront in downtown Campbell River, this hotel offers unparalleled comfort in distinctive West Coast-style, with stunning ocean views and a complimentary hot breakfast. It makes an ideal base for discovering the hidden treasures of northern Vancouver Island.

Knight Inlet Lodge

Some 60 kilometres inland along the largest fjord on the British Columbia coast, Knight Inlet Lodge is tucked into Glendale Cove. Situated in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, this floating lodge offers boat trips to explore the hidden coves of the inlet, allowing you to view bears at eye-level.