On the night of the Chernobyl disaster, the wind was blowing north and carried huge amounts of radioactive fallout into Belarus. 70% of the radioactive particles emitted by the plant during the accident ended up in Belarus, contaminating almost a quarter of the country’s territory, and the consequences were just as brutal as in Ukraine and other countries. Birth defects, skyrocketing cancer rates and other radiation linked horrors affected Belarus as profoundly as any other country.
The fallout in Belarus was so bad that between 1985 and 2000, life expectancy in the Belarussian region of Gomel, a heavily affected area, dropped by five years. As a result, in the early years of Belarussian independence, the government invested over 20% of the national budget to tackle the problems left after the disaster.
Last year, the Belarussian sector of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was opened to the public and YPT were one of the first to start leading adventurous travellers inside. The Belarussian sector presents an experience of Chernobyl completely different than the Ukrainian sector. It’s almost entirely empty, packed full of wildlife that are a lot more visible due to lack of tourists, and is virtually untouched and untampered with compared to places like Pripyat.
As well as a number of group tours throughout the year, we offer private tours to the Belarussian sector of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Below is a sample itinerary and prices of our independent tours that can be arranged almost every day of the year according to the schedule of the Belarussian authorities:
- Arrival in Minsk at your own leisure and meet up with your local, English speaking guide who will be accompanying you on the trip as a fixer and translator.
- Time to grab some snacks and supplies before boarding the refurbished Soviet-era night train to Gomel.
- Overnight on the train.
- On arrival in Gomel, we will transfer to the Belorussian Exclusion Zone and after clearing the checkpoints with our permits we will enter the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve, where we will enter the scientist’s research centre and learn about the real consequences of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, you will be amazed by nature diversity caused by the absence of human intervention and will be able to examine the radiation background with an accompanying expert guide.
- The main objective of our trip is to get acquainted with the activities of the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve, to learn about radiation contamination issues with the scientific staff of the reserve, as well as to monitor the flora and fauna of the territories where human activity was almost completely terminated.
- You will be surprised how quickly nature has recovered: for 30 years of human absence, the reserve’s territory was inhabited by the Przhevalsky horse, and the number of bison here is one of the highest in Belarus. Thanks to the ban on hunting in the exclusion zone, the number of wolves and other wild animals has also recovered.
- Our route is built due to the lowest dosimeter indicators, which makes our stay at the territory of the reserve safe. We will visit the villages inhabited by those brave enough to return to the Exclusion Zone and live full time, the Pripyat river, whose shores are still littered with abandoned boats, Soviet relics, eerie abandoned cemeteries and Soviet industrial buildings.
- We’ll visit former Soviet political propaganda centres full of Soviet relics and posters.
- You will have the chance to visit many of the 96 abandoned Belorussian villages in the zone. Before the disaster, over 22,000 people lived throughout these settlements.
- We’ll have the chance to climb a Soviet watchtower and get a birds-eye view of the exclusion zone. On a clear day from here, you can see Pripyat and the new dome over Reactor 4 inside the territory of Ukraine.
- After exploring the zone and clearing radiation control, we’ll transfer back to Gomel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
- We’ll then head to the train station for the night train back to Minsk.
- *Option available to spend the night in a hotel in Gomel and take the morning train back to Minsk the next day. This is 30 Euro extra per person*
- Overnight on the train.
- Morning arrival in Minsk and end of the tour.
- Onward travel or tour extras can be arranged.
Inclusions / Exclusions
- Return train to Gomel from Minsk
- Dinner and lunch in the exclusion zone
- Entry zone permits and insurance
- Exclusion zone guide and local guide and translator from Minsk
- Personal expenses such as drinks, snacks, souvenirs, etc
- Return travel to Minsk
- Accommodation in Minsk
- Belarussian travel insurance which is bought at the border and costs around 1 Euro per day in the country.
- 1 Person – 645 Euro
- 2 Person – 495 Euro per person
- 3 Person – 445 Euro per person
- 4 Person – 400 Euro per person
- 5 Person – 345 Euro per person
- 6 Person – 300 Euro per person
- 7 Person – 250 Euro per person
- 8 Person – 200 Euro per person