10 day safari

Prices from


Excluding international flights

Tour Highlights

  • Chance to see both Brown and Black bears
  • Private boat safaris at Zeballos
  • Great tour for sea otters and humpbacks
  • Enjoy the scenic beauty of Vancouver Island

Sea Otters and Bears of Vancouver Island

You can’t beat Vancouver Island for that beautiful combination of wildlife diversity and value for money. This Canada wildlife holiday takes you away from some of the larger towns and focuses on smaller communities and small group or private wildlife activities. The focus out of Campbell River will be a small boat grizzly bear safari to the spectacular inlets on the main BC coast, where brown bears will be feasting on the annual salmon run. This is also a good area for Orcas and Whales and because there is a maximum of 6 people permitted in the boat, your expert naturalist will be able to provide you with superb interpretation. It is always interesting to swtich from one coast to another and you will not be disappointed with the drive to Zeballos. A stay here is more like visiting a family, where all your meals are included and late in September/early October, there is the chance to see black bears fishing for salmon right from the lodges deck. You will also go out on private boat safaris looking for black bears and humpbacks.

When to Go:
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Best time to visit -


Safari Style -

Bespoke Wildlife



On arrival at Vancouver international airport simply walk across to the free shuttle bus for the Pacific Gateway Hotel

Accommodation : Pacific Gateway Hotel



Pick up your car rental from the airport and drive 45 minutes to the BC ferries terminal at Tsawwassen. Catch a late morning ferry (the crossing takes around 2 hours!) to Nanaimo and then drive 3-4 hours north and then west to the beautiful coastal community of Zeballos, where you will overnight at a ‘River Facing Lodge’ (all meals included). The seond part of this car journey hugs the shore line of the very beautiful Nimpkish Lake, which at 40km long is one of the largest lakes on the island.

Accommodation : Zeballos riverside lodge



Because all your wildlife activities are private, there is the inherent flexible for your wildlife guide to tailor the length and direction of your boat safari to your requirements. Because Zeballos is one of the best place on the entire island to see Sea Otters, there is normally a focus on this species as well as the black bears; which can even be seen fishing directly from the lodge. The boat safaris normally last around 5-6 hours.

Accommodation : Zeballos riverside lodge

Best places to see Sea Otters on Vancouver Island



The waters around Zeballos are home to several different marine species, but it is the Humpbacks that can often produce the most theatre and if this is animal also on your wish list, then your guide and boatman may take you in a different direction to observe these beautiful giants of the ocean.

Accommodation : Zeballos riverside lodge



Your accommodation has such a stunning location that it would be a real shame to rush off to the next destination without some time to simply enjoy the wilderness that surrounds you. The added bonus of this ‘relaxing’ day, is you may be running to get your camera as black bears can often be seen fishing for salmon right from the lodges wrap around deck. So, sit back and enjoy having the best seats in town to observe how black bears profit from the salmon run.

Accommodation : Zeballos riverside lodge



Sadly, it is time to leave the untouched beauty of Zeballos and drive back across the spine of the island to Campbell River. There are a huge number of activities possible from this vibrant seaside community; including bear and whale watching tours, fishing and even snorkelling with salmon. We choose some funcky accommodation a little outside of town to provide you with a more peaceful and scenic setting.

Accommodation : Oyster Bay Resort



Wildlife Trails have been working with small group wildlife operators since 2003; when our very own Canadian Operations Manager, James Manson, was living on the island. So all our partners are hand picked and we select them based on their ethics, intimate wildlife knowledge and small group size – the feedback about these companies from our clients has been first class. Today, you will enjoy a full day boat safari out to one of the inlets off the main BC coastline and visit a series of viewing stands to watch grizzly bears fishing for salmon. This is very much a full day boat safari including a packed lunch and you will share this very special experience with a maximum of 4/5 other guests.

Accommodation : Oyster Bay Resort



Sadly, you have come to the end of your bear watching tour on Vancouver Island and will drive 2 hours south to Nanaimo to catch the ferry back to the mainland.

Pricing Info & Dates

Costs £3500 based on two people sharing and not including flights. Valid for travel from May to September 2024


  • £100 donation to the Rainforest conservation foundation
  • Car rental for a mid-size vehicle + 2 drivers
  • All meals and beer and wine at Zeballos
  • All activities and accommodation as stated


  • Visa costs for travel to Canada
  • Ferry charges for vehicle and passangers
  • Meals at Campbell River
  • Gratuaties for your expert guides

Tour Route Map


Our Clients Say About Us

Fantastic Canadian adventure

We had a two week holiday on Vancouver Island.. we went on a whale watching tour and saw Orcas, Humpbacks, Dahl porpoises, white striped Dolphins, seals and Sea lions. We then did a Grizzly bear r and saw lots of Grizzlies as well as loads of Black Bears. The highlight of the holiday was a three day kayaking trip which was fantastic. Kayaking with Orcas and Humpback whales was incredible Our holiday was completely organised by Wildlife Trails, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.. everything was planned to perfection and they made the entire holiday exactly what we asked for

ByChris and John
Fantastic tailored holiday to North America the itinerary and arrangements were first class

Our slightly unusual request was to cover certain National Parks in the US and then visit British Columbia with the focus on Whales and Bears all within a restricted time slot and to ensure both ents an teenage girls could be entertained on the way. Our experiences will give us life long memories we will treasure, we enjoyed every aspect o the trip and saw amazing wildlife, the experiences surpassed our expectations. Wildlife Trails were fantastic in ensuring our arrangements and itinerary fitted perfectly with our requirements and the logistic went completely smoothly. Allan was flexible with us changing our mind on a few major thing before we finalised the tour and helpful in ensuring we had everything we needed both before and during our trip. THe service was first class.

ByPaul and Sally
Fantastic Polar Bear trip

Allan Blanchard from Wildlife Trails organised a holiday for myself and a friend to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to see Polars Bears. All the flights connections were spot on, arrived at Winnipeg per itinerary, had a night in the hotel there, all good, got to the railway station in good time to get the 2day trip to Churchill. The train was very comfortable, food fairly good, enjoyed the experience very much. Got a taxi to the blue sky B&B, where we had 7 nights, had been there before 3yrs ago, everything was excellent, food and accomodation very high standard, and Jennifor and Gerald really looked after us very well. Had 2 great day trips on the Tundra Buggy, where we saw 45 bears, mum and cubs, bears play fighting, some up really close to the buggy. Had a good tour with North star, managed to see polar bears up very close to the bus, and we also had 2 and half days with Nature 1st, who took us all around the churchill area to try and spot bears which we were very successful with about 8 bears in total. People/drivers all excellent, very knowledgeable, and we had a great time with all the people involved in our holiday. Everything went very well, Wildlife trails did a fanastic holiday for us, and we were lucky to see a total of 62 bears, including a bear lift from the polar bear jail of a mum and 2yrs old cub. it was great. thank you to all concerned for giving me and my friend such a fanastic time Have been with Allan and Kirsty Blanchard for many years, as they do all my wildlife holidays of which there as been many. Every time it is always great, arrangements as they should be, people who should be meeting me are always there so although I travel alone quite a bit, I feel very safe with Allan and Wildlife Trails organising the trip as things are all in place and I have no need to worry about anything First Class Tour Operator.

ByAnnie and Viv
Bear and whale watching in British Columbia

Fantastic bear and whale watching experience in the Great Best Rainforest and on Vancouver Island. Different locations, tour operators and accommodation types, all of them great in their own ht, the most impressive being the "Great Bear Chalet" in the BellaCoola valley. We saw plenty of grizzly and black bears, orcas and humpback whales Very pleasant experience, Allan did everything possible to make this combination of different tour components fit our limited timeframe - and our bucket of extra wishes! Very much looking forward to planning the next trip with "Wildlife Trails"

Everything I could have hoped for

I specifically wanted to see Polar bears with plenty of photo opportunities. I had a 4 night stay in the Frontiers North Tundra Buggy Lodge, with 5 eight hour Tundra Buggy trips. I also stayed in nipeg for a couple of nights before and after. The Tundra Buggy people were first class, with driver and guide being very knowledgeable, food was good, both in the Lodge and on board the Buggy. I was a little apprehensive about the long bunk room with 20 people but the inner and outer curtains provided good privacy and also sound deadening. Highly recommended. You have much more time in the area where the bears congregate that if you have a day trip for Churchill (which takes 2 hours each way to get to the area). In Winnipeg I stayed at Inn at the Forks - a good hotel in a lovely area. Also highly recommended. Everything was arrange with detailed consultation and consideration of what I wanted. I had used Wildlife Trails twice before and have always found them excellent.