Birdwatching Tours in Bulgaria
Situated in Durankulak, Bulgaria, Branta Tours designs and manages professional guided trips to observe flora and wildlife in the most important hotspots for birding in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Belarus, the Urals, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia and Azerbaijan. In 2010, Branta was voted as the Number One tour operator providing its clients with high quality service and holidays by the readers of Birdwatch magazine.
With the Danube River to its north, the stunning Black Sea to its east and the Balkan mountains running through the country from east to west, Bulgaria encompasses a wide variety of habitats for wildlife. Sitting at the intersection of north and the south, east and west, Bulgaria offers the longest bird species checklist of any European country, making it among the most thrilling birding locations in the region. It is the ancestral home of Orpheus and Spartacus and is rich in early Slavic literature. It also encompasses Musala, the highest peak in the Balkans.
The Black Sea coast of Bulgaria is home to an exceptional bird population all year round, including up to 20,000 Red-breasted Geese in the winter and a variety of breeding specialities from Eastern Europe. It is also an excellent vantage point to witness the spring and fall migrations.
All of our trips are based at Branta Birding Lodge, where your hosts, Tatyana and Pavel Simeonov, will be pleased to provide you with a customised schedule. This is the perfect place to start for birdwatchers, photographers and nature enthusiasts who want to stay in a welcoming environment and take in the birds around Lake Durankulak and its surroundings. It provides exceptional chances for birdwatching, covering a range of excursions from the wetlands of Bulgaria and Romania to steep-sided gorges and along the coastline. The Durankulak Lake Protected Area is among the world’s most significant habitats for the critically endangered Red-breasted Goose as well as many other ducks, waders and breeding passerines, including the Paddyfield Warbler.
While many of our regularly planned birdwatching trips are intended for professional birders, we also provide nature excursions and wildlife vacations for enthusiasts. On the majority of our trips we also focus on marine life, dragonflies, reptiles and other unique species.
Our special offer: two to five day overnight trips staying at the exclusive lakeside accommodations at Branta Birding Lodge.
Pavel Simeonov is a leading naturalist and ornithologist in Bulgaria, as well as a Swarovski Recommended Bird Guide, and has led countless excursions in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Romania. Most of our trips are led by him personally and his keen eye for detail and expertise in the field guarantee a rewarding experience from beginning to end. Pavel is proficient in English, Russian, French and Bulgarian, and he can offer a lot of background information on both cultural and wildlife issues. He is the founder of the non-profit Le Balkan-Bulgaria and a qualified specialist on international environmental and biodiversity conservation programmes. He is also an extremely accomplished pianist.
Tatyana Simeonova is the owner and manager of the Branta Tours Birdwatching Company. She has a great deal of experience in this area thanks to her interactions with fellow experts from the Council of Europe and their collaborative work on the grounds of the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve in Belarus – where she was as a tour leader, interpreter and in charge of international communications for more than ten years – as well as Les Vosges du Nord National Park in France and the Peak District National Park in the UK. She has also visited several national parks in the USA with the aim of studying their ecotourism development models. She assisted in developing programmes on wildlife tourism for the Pripiatsky National Park and Belovezhskaya Pushcha Biosphere Reserve in Belarus.
Tisho Russinov is one of the leading ichthyologists at the Bulgarian National Natural History Museum and also an avid birder, as well as being one of our most knowledgeable experts on dragonflies. He has participated in a number of biodiversity conservation initiatives in Bulgaria, including the creation of the Natura-2000 network. Tisho is fluent in Russian, English and Bulgarian, and conducts the majority of our wildlife trips around the former Soviet bloc, including Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia.
Jeko Spiridonov is our head guide and one of the top Bulgarian birders. Having extensive experience in the field of conservation biology, he is the head of the Branta Tours Mountain Program and the president of the Wilderness Fund. He has held high positions in governmental and international nature conservation bodies, including having been vice-chairman and chairman of the Steering Committee of the Bern Convention. He is actively involved in biological and ecological scientific studies, biodiversity inventories and monitoring, establishment of ecological networks, and development of nature conservation legislation.
Nature conservation is the second field of our activity. The internationally prestigious company Swarovski Optik has been our essential sponsor supporting the flourishing of the Dalmatian Pelican breeding colony in Bulgaria.
Branta-Tours is also involved in another significant project, concerning the First successful satellite tracking of Red-breasted Geese. To learn more about the plight of this critically endangered species and its urgent conservation needs, see pages 34-40 .
Branta Birding Lodge & Consarvation Centre, overlooking Durankulak Lake and Black Sea, is located just 3 miles from the Romanian border and ideally situated for visiting many top birding locations and important sites of archaeological interest.
It is a 2-storey building, of a total built-up area of 532 m2, in the traditional Bulgarian architectural style. Provides five double/twin en suite rooms, three single en suite rooms, two en suite apartments with two double/twin rooms each, refreshment room (bar) and kitchen. All rooms are equipped with double glazed mosquito screened windows, air-conditioning, central heating, mini bar and TV.
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