Discover the surprising wildlife of the Southern Carpathians. Camp under the stars in this magical Romanian landscape.
Located in the 52.000 hectare Tarcu Mountains Natura 2000 site in the Southern Carpathians, the Bison Hillock is home to an ambitious project aimed to rewild the European bison and conserve this remaining wilderness stronghold in Romania.
You will spend four nights in a comfortable bed in Bison Hillock’s tented camp, the local guesthouse or Rusca cabin, accompanied by traditional and locally sourced meals. In the tented camp, dinner around the campfire under the stars is a magical way to finish the day.
The days are spent tracking and trailing wildlife with an emphasis on trailing European bison. The area is also home to wolves, lynx, wild boars and bears, among many others species and all offer great learning and tracking exposure.
Day 1: Welcome. Arrive in Armenis and meet at the Visiting Centre. Drive to basecamp and luggage drop. Short area exploring activity. Lunch in camp. Bison tracking activity. Dinner in camp
Day 2: Wildlife tracking. Early wake up before sunset to watch wildlife on a meadow with a snack. Return to camp for late breakfast 10-11:00. Wildlife tracking. Lunch. Visit the rewilding zone. Back to the village and onto the guesthouse or wilderness cabin for dinner.
Day 3: Breakfast in guesthouse or wilderness cabin. Activity with locals or leisure time. Depart to Rusca for lunch. Chamoix trail in the afternoon. Early dinner. Bear hide visit in the evening.
Day 4: Breakfast and departure.
-One extra night in guesthouse before or after (dinner and breakfast included).
-One extra day (explore deeper in the bison hillock and spend the night in our light camp or just beneath the stars, further away from human activity)
The cost includes: All meals, accomodation, all guided activities and local transport included.
The cost does not include: Alcoholic beverages. Flights, transfers from the airport, anything not mentioned.
What to bring: We recommend you to dress in layers, ideally in neutral colors to blend with the surrounding. Hiking shoes, sun hat, water bottle, daypack, long pants, hat and wool gloves, jacket, raincoat or poncho, sun protection cream, non smelling mosquito/tick repellent and camp shoes (sandals). Binoculars, personal toiletries/medicines and a sense of adventure!
Rewilding Europe Levy: 5% of your booking sum goes to the local Rewilding Europe organization.
Bringing bison back: The European bison (or wisent) disappeared from Romania about 200 years ago. Since 2013, Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania have been working together in the Southern Carpathians rewilding area to reintroduce this iconic species. The first two bison releases took place in 2014 and 2015. The total number of bison in the area, taking into account deaths and births, was 30 by the end of 2017.
Growing community-based enterprises: The economic focus of rewilding efforts in the Tarçu Mountains involves supporting local enterprises and the development of a nature-based economy, with jobs and revenue connected to wild nature.
Supporting future nature entrepreneurs: In and around the Southern Carpathians rewilding area the ongoing bison reintroduction is already having a significant economic and social impact. A refurbished visitor centre in Armeniş now educates people on bison ecology and trophic chains and sells locally produced handicrafts and souvenirs. A refurbished wilderness cabin near Armeniş opened in 2017, with another cabin, two wildlife hides and a larger “hillock retreat” in the village of Plopu all in progress.
Matei was born in Armeniș and grew up around the Bison Hillock area in Romania. Matei’s guiding career started when he began working for the Bison Reintroduction Project initiated by WWF Romania and Rewilding Europe in 2014, when the first group of bison were brought into this area to give them the chance to roam free again.
The hope was to develop a network of community beneficial tourism businesses to support conservation and allow a new economic stream into the area.
As the vice-president of a local association AMZA, which was created to help people develop through eco-tourism, Matei has taken on a multifaceted role in developing tourism experiences around the free-roaming bison.
As part of the community development plan, Matei assisted in promoting the local food and traditions with the aim to increase the living standards in the village through small enterprise support and development, centred around bison conservation and reintroduction.
With a firm stance and belief that the community plays a vital role in the success of the bison reintroduction, Matei is constantly looking for new ways to assist the community, all while maintaining his critical role as a bison ranger and hosting guest experiences.
'It's great to be part of such a great and ambitious project as the bison reintroduction and also to be able to help your community to grow in the right direction with conservation.'
Matei Adryan Miculescu
Bison ranger & guide