This exciting trip to the very heart of the Ussurian taiga will not leave cold even the most experienced travellers.
The Ussurian taiga is the unique natural symbiosis of a real Siberian taiga with its severe climate and a subtropical forest with its warmth and humidity. In the Ice Age glaciation did not cover the Southern part of Far East thus making this region so exceptional. No Russian forests can stand any competition by the variety of species with the Ussurian taiga: the Korean pine, the Amur cork tree, the Manchurian ash tree, the Mongolian oak - about 200 species of trees and bushes... There is also a plenty of herbs, mosses, lichens, mushrooms - up to 500 species in total.
Being a visitor of our countre lodge you may get closer to local flora diversity. You will see with your own eyes as typical North trees, cedar and larch-tree are vined with the representatives of South flora - grape, schizandra and actinidia. Next to these you can see the Pubescent (white) birch, the Rockbirch, the Black birch and, finally, the Siberian yellow birch, which is the tallest of all and grows up to 30 meters, about 1 meter in diameter. You can also learn about the Japanese yew and the Manchurian walnut which nuts resemble walnuts but have a thicker shell. We also have the Amur cork tree (the "Barhatnaya" hill was named for the Russian name of this plant). Having a walk around the forest you can wrap arms around an aspen which is said to have healing effect, or hug an oak which fills you with energy. Ashtrees and silver maples, mountain Ashes and giant Lindens can be found here as well. Along the hillslope there are сentury-old cedars thick enough for two people's hugs.
Our taiga is a natural garden as well. In the surrounding areas you can find and even try out Amur grapes, hawthorn, honeysuckle, raspberry, cowberry, cranberry, bog blueberry and other berries some of which are unique. Bracken and wild leek are extremely rich in vitamins – local people save these for winter to eat them for the whole cold season.
The Ussurian taiga is a magic field that gathered so many plants widely used in medicine such as ginseng, eleuterococcus, spikenard, acanthopanax, Chinese schizandra, shelf fungus. All of them (excluding ginseng) grow in the surroundings of the country lodge “Kiya”. You also can try your luck to find ginseng in “Durminsky” nature reserve.
Animal life of the Ussurian taiga is also famous for its diversity. Brown and Himalayan bears, sables, Siberian striped weasels, chipmunks and Siberian flying squirrels are constant inhabitants of the Ussurian taiga. However, such representatives of South-Eastern Asia as the yellow-throated marten, tigers and boars are often seen here as well. Along the “Barhatnaya” hillslope you can meet the roe deer, Manchurian deer, boars and even the Amur tiger’s tracks are found.
In summer numerous birds build their nests at the lakeside. These are starlings, orioles, hoopoes, azure-winged magpies, cuckoos, thrushes, nightingales, swallows, wagtails, cranes, oriental white storks, herons and wild ducks. Above mentioned birds fly to tropical regions and get changed with Northern birds and other famous species such as sparrows, titmouse, woodpeckers, magpies and crows, owls, jay birds, crossbills, waxwings with their pretty crests and nuthatches – the only type of birds capable to move along tree trunks with their heads down. Some of the local animals hibernate in winter. These are hedgehogs, different bats, Brown and Himalayan bears, badgers, raccoon dogs. Along the “Barhatnaya” hillslope and “Khor” riverbank you can see numerous tracks of these animals and imagine their habitat area.
Insect life is rich as well. Subtropical representatives are often quite large and colorful. For instance, one of the biggest butterflies called blue-green machaon Maacu - and a giant bug - Callipogon relictus, which body length exceeds 10 centimeters, live in the surroundings of our tourist camp.
There are also several species of snakes around including one of the biggest Russian ones - Amur Rat Snake (about 2 meters long). The whip snake called Syoma is now about 1.5 meters long and it really enjoys sunbathing. It has been living at the tourist camp for a while.
We will be glad to tell you more about the wonderful nature of the Far East - a picture is worth a thousand words! Forest paths full of turns and twists are preparing to reveal the secrets of the Ussurian taiga!
How bizarre it is for the one not accustomed to this nature to see such a mixture of North and South... Fir trees vined with grapes are especially fascinating as well as cork trees and hazel-wood growing next to cedars and silver firs.