CDN $11950 (about USD $9850 or £7050 using May 2021 exchange rates)
All-inclusive price includes: Canadian GST (sales tax), all transport, meals, and accommodation after arrival in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Note that this tour also runs in 2023 and that additional grizzly bear safaris to the northern Yukon are available for 2022 to 2026 - see my schedule for details
Above: a little rough-housing in the Taku River
Join me, Murray Rudd, in a remote corner of northern British Columbia for an amazing grizzly bear photo safari!
Photograph adult and young grizzly bears (brown bears) in a remote wilderness camp located in the Taku Wilderness.
The T'a ish Adventure camp is 1/2 hour by helicopter from the northern British Columbia village of Atlin; access to Atlin is by road from Whitehorse, Yukon, our meeting place for this one-of-a-kind photography tour.
Our trip is in run conjunction with Nakina Adventures, who developed the T'a ish camp and bear viewing business.
This Taku wilderness safari is limited to a maximum of 8 guests (if you have a slightly larger group who all want to book together, it is possible to accommodate 10-12 guests).
Below: we always have a local guide, shotgun in hand, with us when we are on the river banks photographing bears
This safari is meant for adventurous photographers who want a profound and personal wilderness experience.
We will capture images that reflect the up-close and very personal encounters we have with these amazingly intelligent bears.
In addition to the grizzly bears, we may also see wolves, moose, and eagles.
Physically, this is a relatively easy trip with walking on forest paths of distances up to half a kilometer to shoot locations.
Above: this safari offers opportunities to see and photograph grizzlies at close range
Below: very close range!
Our overall schedule is built around a core shooting schedule that includes 6 full days and 2 half-days at T'a ish camp.
Day 1 (Saturday 23 July 2022)
Arrive Whitehorse International Airport (airport code YXY); overnight at the Coast High Country Inn (single)
Day 2 (Sunday 24 July 2022)
After an early breakfast, we will be off in a shuttle for the 90-minute drive south to Atlin, BC. From Atlin, we then fly out to T'a ish camp by helicopter (1/2 hour) and be ready to start our photo shoots after lunch. Accommodation at T'a ish is in shared room that can be set up for either twin or double sharing. Each room has its own washroom, and there are laundry facilities at camp too!
Day 3 (Monday 25 July 2022) to Day 8 (Saturday 30 July 2022)
All day photography on the shores of the Taku River; overnight at T'a ish camp (shared room)
Day 9 (Sunday 31 July 2022)
After our final morning photo session, we wait for the chopper to arrive and whisk us back to Atlin; from there, we retrace our drive from Whitehorse, enjoy a final dinner together, and overnight at the Coast High Country Inn (single)
Day 10 (Monday 01 August 2022)
Depart Whitehorse for national and international connecting flights
Above: it's not only the grizzly bears that get the salmon!
Below: besides the salmon in the river, grizzlies also enjoy foraging for berries
Once you arrive at the Whitehorse hotel on July 23rd, all food, accommodation, tour expenses, guiding, and Canadian sales taxes are covered - this is truly a fully all-inclusive tour
Transfers to/from Whitehorse airport to hotel
Hotel accommodation on Days 1 and 9 (Coast High Country Inn standard room, single accommodation)
All meals starting with dinner on Day 1 and ending with farewell dinner on Day 9
Round-trip van shuttle, Whitehorse-Atlin
Group helicopter flight from Atlin to the remote T'a ish camp
All meals and accommodation (shared rooms) at T'a ish camp
All guiding fees
All Canadian sales tax
Canadian tourist visa, if needed
Travel and evacuation insurance
Airfare to get to Whitehorse
Tips and gratuities
Personal gifts and spending
Above: our ride landing at T'a ish camp
Below: our experiences with the grizzlies are 'unfiltered' (no hides, no baiting - we are out with the bears in their world)
You will receive a recommended kit list from me prior to departure. We will have some weight limits on the chopper flight, so you have to be selective in the camera kit you bring (see FAQ). In brief, you should bring:
– two camera bodies –
– a tripod and head –
– wide-angle, mid-range, and telephoto lenses –
– a laptop computer or tablet, charging and storage devices –
– warm clothing
Above: grizzly bear fishing action can get frenetic!
Above: grizzly cubs and yearlings are commonly seen at T'a ish camp
Below: we may also see eagles, moose, and wolves
How safe is this trip?
This safari has a number of risk factors. First, and probably foremost, is that we are flying in helicopters in Canada's north. Weather conditions in this part of the world can be challenging but northern pilots are famous for the flying skills. Summer weather also tends to be stable, making flying relatively routine at this time of year.
At T'a ish camp, we are out on trails and on river shores in very close (5-m, 15- to 20-ft) proximity to one of the world's greatest predators. Fortunately their favorite food is salmon eggs and berries are also abundant, so they should be healthy, happy, and fat bears at this time of year. Still, they are potentially dangerous and we always have a local guide with us who carries a shotgun and is always watching our local environment (bears can be amazingly quiet coming out of dense bush). In all the time that photographers have been visiting T'a ish camp it has never been necessary to shoot a bear. Because of the protocol in place to manage human-bear interactions (e.g., using only specific viewing sites where the bears know they may see humans, by avoiding quick movements and loud talking, and by being extremely clean at our viewing sites), grizzly bears are essentially indifferent to photographers in their presence. Humans are not viewed as competition for salmon, nor as a threat, so we aren't really worthy of any effort whatsoever by the bears! They have better things to do!!
Above: each bear has a personality and they are extremely intelligent and curious
Below: a helicopter approaches, ready to shuttle guests back out the Atlin at the end of the week
What kind of camera(s) should I bring?
Bring a camera(s) that you are comfortable with, that is reliable, and that can fire quick bursts for bear fishing action. This trip is also suitable for photographers shooting video. In my view reliability is the most important factor to consider. The last thing one would ever want was a camera malfunction on a trip like this. Personally, I stick with DLSRs for this reason (I bring a Canon 1DX ii as my primary body, with a second DLSR as back-up). Bringing a mirrorless and DLSR would also be a good combination.
You should consider three lens options: a medium to long telephoto; a mid-range zoom or portrait lens; and a wide angle. I have found that almost all my best grizzly bear images were shot between 200-mm and 500-mm range. Bears behave differently each year, however, so in some years a longer lens could be useful. Personally, my plan for the this safari will be to bring one camera with a 300-mm f/2.8 (and 1.4X extender), and a second camera with a 35- to 105-mm zoom.
Also bring a sturdy tripod and head. Even if you prefer to shoot hand-held action shots, the tripod can be useful just as a place to keep your camera handy (we will be sitting on a river bank for extended periods of time).
What clothing should I bring?
Expect autumn-like conditions this far north. Bring multiple layers, durable pants (e.g., soft-shell), a warm jacket, hat, and some fingerless gloves. Bring waterproof outerwear in case it rains or gets really cold. Each room has a small fireplace that keeps sleeping conditions warm at night.
How much stuff can I bring?
We need to exercise common sense with regards to the helicopter flight as well as it also brings in fuel, food, and other things needed for camp operations. Technically we will be on a weight limit so you should only count on camera kit plus clothing. Basically think of one camera backpack fully loaded and one moderate size duffel bag.
What is the food like?
We have an excellent chef at camp do all the cooking. The food is hearty and delicious, and both vegetarian and vegan options are available if you let me know ahead of time they are required (I am vegetarian).
Do we have internet access?
After we leave Atlin, we have no internet or cellular connections. The T'a ish camp has satellite internet connection for emergencies only, and I always carry a Garmin Inreach satellite communication system. If you are not bringing your own Inreach or equivalent, I can provide my contact information for you to use as a point of contact for urgent text messages to/from home .
What are accommodations like?
In Whitehorse, we stay in comfortable hotels and have single accommodations. At T'a ish camp, we share either rooms or small cabins, each with its own washroom.
Can I bring a non-photographer partner?
Yes, however the rate for a non-photographer is the same as for a photographer for this safari.
How much does it cost to get to Whitehorse?
If you book your travel early, airfare can be very reasonable to Whitehorse. For example, Los Angeles and Toronto return tickets to Whitehorse can be in the USD $500 range when booked sufficiently in advance; late bookings will be substantially more expensive. Whitehorse is serviced by Air Canada, WestJet, and Air North. For most people arriving from a distance, I strongly recommend booking with Air Canada: if you encounter delays on your trip, the odds are much higher with Air Canada that they will be able to reroute and still get you to Whitehorse more or less on time.
What happens if I have a medical emergency while we are at T'a ish camp?
Should we have a medical emergency at camp, the only evacuation option is helicopter. That means that you should have travel insurance that includes helicopter evacuation charges. Helicopters cannot fly in all weather conditions, so it is also possible that a medical evacuation could take some time. Our local guides are trained in first aid and I am a trained Wilderness First Responder - our training is, however, meant to help stabilize people sick or injured in remote locations, not to provide ongoing medical care or advice.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes. Besides providing you with compensation if you need to cancel your trip prior to departure, good travel insurance will help you if you have problems on your way to Whitehorse or on the safari. I suggest that you consider both policies with Global Rescue to cover evacuation expenses and a policy for adventure medical travel treatment.
When are payments due?
The initial payment of CAD $1000 secures your space for the safari and is applied to your 50% deposit. The balance of your 50% deposit is due 12 months prior to departure, by midnight Atlantic time on July 23, 2021. Your final balance is due 6 months prior to departure, by midnight Atlantic time on January 23, 2022.
What happens if I need to cancel?
If you need to cancel up to 12 midnight Atlantic time on January 23, 2022, I will provide a full refund less your CAD $1000 deposit. There are no refunds after 23 January 2022. I strongly advise that you arrange travel insurance at the time of your booking to ensure that you are able to get compensation in the event of health or family emergencies. I know things happen in life and that this is a very expensive safari, so should you need to cancel late I will certainly make every effort to fill your spot with another photographer. If I can fill your spot, I will refund all payments made less the CAD $1000 reservation fee.
Do I need to pay Canadian sales tax?
Yes. However, the Canadian sales tax is already build into the price of the safari, so the price you see is the total amount of what you need to pay. If comparing safari prices with other tour operators, please keep in mind that there are no other extra charges once you reach Whitehorse, either for sales tax, or for food and accommodations.
How do I pay?
You can transfer your payments directly to my bank account. You can pay by credit card if you wish, but there would be a 9.5% surcharge on the safari price to cover online credit card booking fees.
Does the trip need a minimum number of people to guarantee it runs?
Yes. I need 4 photographers to run this trip. If we have a minimum of 4 photographers booked but are short of 8, T'a ish Adventures retains the right to add their own guests, up to a total of 8 photographers. If we have less than four bookings and the trip is cancelled, you will receive a full refund of all monies you have paid, including your CAD $1000 reservation fee.
What happens if Tendrel Images cancels the trip?
If for any reason I need to cancel the safari, you will receive a full refund of all monies you have paid, including your CAD $1000 deposit.