Land adventures in Antarctica
How can you make your journey even more high-octane? Perhaps by scaling Antarctica’s highest peak or even skiing down the glaciers. How about camping overnight at the South Pole? We have developed extraordinary adventures that tackle Antarctica by land, flying to the continent as opposed to journeying by boat. Here are a few to whet your appetite:
A journey to Antarctica is one of life’s great adventures and one that so few have been lucky enough to take. Travel magazines talk breathlessly about ‘bucket list trips’ and ‘once-in-a-lifetime journeys’, but the truth is that when those privileged few return from the White Continent, they are often planning their second or third journey. This is a place that grabs you and urges you to return and explore further.
How can you make your return journey even more high-octane? Perhaps by scaling Antarctica’s highest peak, or even skiing down the glaciers. How about camping overnight at the South Pole or trekking along a majestic frozen lake? We have developed extraordinary adventures that tackle Antarctica by land, flying to the continent as opposed to journeying by boat. Here are a few to whet your appetite:
Climbing Mount Vinson
Mount Vinson is the highest mountain in Antarctica and one of the coveted Seven Summits (in good company with Kilimanjaro and Everest). Now you can climb its majestic, snow-covered peaks that stand guard over vast glaciers below. It is difficult to comprehend the panoramic, otherworldly beauty that awaits climbers at the top. Scaling this massif is certainly a thrilling experience, but one that is only recommended for experienced climbers. We can also arrange exhilarating expeditions to Mount Sidley, Antarctica’s highest volcano.
Walking among the emperor penguins
Imagine standing among more than 6,000 emperor penguins and their young chicks. Both are totally unafraid of humans and will come within a few metres of you, immersing you in the noise, commotion and the sheer beauty of it all. Due to the penguins’ remote habitat, this is one of the greatest and least-seen wildlife events on the planet. At night, camp nearby and wake up to the sounds of these incredible animals. For keen wildlife photographers, this may be the ultimate experience.
Stay overnight at the South Pole
It is now possible to fly direct to the South Pole and camp nearby. History comes alive as you stand at the Pole, the ultimate goal of polar explorers, Amundsen and Scott. It is incredibly special to feel that spirit of determination and discovery that has inspired a century of Antarctic exploration and scientific research.
Bespoke activities at your pace
On each day of your land-based adventure in Antarctica, we can arrange excursions and activities for you to choose from. They can be easy and relaxing, or adrenaline-charged, it’s entirely up to you. You can go on gentle treks to a series of ice tunnels or venture further towards the coast – to where giant ice waves rise up from the ground and are frozen in surreal formations. From relaxed picnics to visiting one of the local science bases, your experience can be tailored to your exact specifications.
Where you will stay: the camps
For a short window between November and January it is possible to reach a region known as Queen Maud’s Land by plane from Cape Town. Touching down on the ice runaway at Wolf’s Fang gives you access to three distinct camps. Wolf’s Fang itself, reminiscent of the golden age of polar exploration, consists of just six, well heated, ensuite and spacious tents. The nearby ice bar and dining room are the perfect spots to relive your daily adventures with fellow ice lovers.
Not far away, on the shores of the freshwater Schirmacher Oasis, is Wichaway Camp, made up of six state-of-the-art heated sleeping pods designed for two people. Cosy but spacious, they even contain a writing desk for journaling your adventures. The rest of the camp comprises three centralised pods that make up the reception, lounge and dining room. While the exterior is made from innovative materials, the interior has a bygone feel – if it were not for the endless sheets of ice and snow, you could be staying at an African safari camp.
The newest addition is the futuristic Echo Camp, which may well lead a few conspiracy theorists to believe that aliens have populated Antarctica! The stunning Sky Pods sit like pebbles on the snow in a mountainous landscape that was described by a retired astronaut as “the most beautiful I have seen across Earth, Venus and Mars.”
Another great option is a camp just one kilometre from the geographic South Pole marker and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Follow the flagged route marks along the path between the camp and the Pole, and in just a few steps, you can walk around the world (as the Pole is where all 360 lines of longitude meet). The tents themselves are designed for mountaineering and, while unheated, they come with state-of-the-art polar-rated bedding, so guests will keep perfectly warm. That said, weather at the bottom of the world can vary dramatically, so an adventurous spirit and a willingness to forgo creature comforts is essential.