Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, curves for nearly 400 miles through south-eastern Siberia, north of the Mongolian border. It lies in a cleft where Asia is literally splitting apart, the beginnings of a future ocean.
Surrounded by mile-high snowcapped mountains, Lake Baikal offers vistas of unmatched beauty. The mountains are a haven for wildlife, and the small villages are still outposts of tranquillity and self-reliance in the remote Siberian taiga, as the forest is called.
Large expanses of open water and wonderful banks and shoreline, where rocks make way to forests, are always attractive for travelers as well as wildlife, especially birds. On the lake you can find a great diversity of waterfowl, which can be a great spectacle, even for experienced birders. Rocky banks are inhabited by Swifts, Hoopoe and shorebirds. This is a kingdom of mountain taiga forests; cedar, spruce and pine form largely unbroken cover. There are a lot of mosses, lichens, ferns and fungi here too.
The avifauna consists of typical taiga species. You can find here different Owls, Falcons, Thrushes, Nightingales and also Booted Eagle & Daurian Jackdaw. In the high mountain forests and on the alpine meadows it’s possible to observe Redstarts and Accentors. On the south of the region there is steppe zone, large feather-grass and bush grasslands are the most common flora here. These exceptional habitats consist of steppe lakes which are the breeding sites and migration stops of great number of waterfowl and other birds including such rare ones as Swan Goose and White-naped Crane.
Mammals, big and small, roam the taiga and grasslands as well. Brown bear, wolves, fox and wolverine are the predatory species. Moose, deer, sable, martin, squirrel, chipmunk, marmot and vole of various species make up the prey. The endangered Baikal Seal basks on the shoreline, teeming with life.
The people here are hardy and their culture rich in history. We will explore their cities and villages and enjoy their company as we learn about their way of life.
Don’t miss this epic adventure!