Luxury Land Expedition to Antarctica (Seventh Continent & White Desert) to meet Emperor Penguins and visit the Geographical South Pole.
Travel to the only COVID Free Continent! But this is not the reason why I am writing this Blog and suggesting once in a lifetime trip experience for the select few to Antarctica, The White Desert and the Seventh Continent.
This experience goes beyond COVID in 2021, 2022, 2023 and beyond. This is the only Luxury Expedition to see Emperor Penguins and also visit the Geographic South Pole in Antarctica.
It cannot get better than this and it comes at a whooping price tag of US$ 92500 per person twin sharing. But read-on and you will start to see the value in this price when you compare it with the experience, and what you achieve, which is not just memorable, but a legacy that stays with your lifetime. The journey is Transformational and that’s a guarantee.
What’s special about Emperor Penguins?
Emperor penguins are the largest, boldest and most well-dressed of all penguin species. They’re impressively huge, reaching heights of around 4 feet and weighing up to 100 pounds. This leaves them towering over other penguins.
They also have the most picturesque markings – in addition to the expected penguin tuxedo, they also have bright yellow and orange plumage along their heads, necks and chests.
It is important to note that it is very difficult to see them on a cruise. Infact only a few select Cruise voyages try to reach the location colony of the Emperor Penguins each year, but sadly with not much success. Attempts to reach Snow Hill Island during the cruise voyages of 2012 – 17 did not have great statistics. Only in 2013 and November 2017 and November 2018 conditions were favorable to land by helicopter on Snow Hill Island and to visit the emperor penguin rookery.
The trip which I am proposing here is a luxury land based expedition, using a private jet Gulfstream G550 from Cape Town, South Africa, flying directly into Antarctica using a private air-strip at Wolf’s Fang Runway. This trip changes the entire perspective and approach to exploring Antarctica and presents you with an opportunity to visit the Atka Bay Colony of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica, which hosts almost 24000 of them, and till date no trip has been cancelled or unsuccessful to visit the Penguin colony.
All this is achieved in no more than 08 days, so it’s quick but experiential and takes you to the heart of the continent and sites which are life-changing.
What else besides the Emperor Penguins?
Then it’s on to the southernmost point on earth – the South Pole!
The South Pole, the bottom of the earth and the holy grail of early explorers. At the designated marker there is no more east, south or west on the planet, only north, and you will be able to walk around the world in just a few paces!
Even now, reaching the southernmost point on earth is a feat that very few people have achieved. During the seven-hour internal flight within Antarctica on board the Basler BT-67 aircraft, we visit the South Pole, where you will have lots of time for photos and a chance to stamp your passport before flying back to 83º South Camp to rest and overnight on the plateau.
What else we do after meeting the Emperor Penguins and visiting the Geographic South Pole?
With up to only 12 clients on each trip and professional polar explorers as your guides, the day’s itineraries are tailored to each individual. Make your choice from gentle treks and picnics overlooking the ice waves, to more adrenaline-fuelled activities.
Your choice list includes below activities, depending on time of the year (between November and January) and of-course weather dependent:
- Ice Tunnels
- Ice climbing
- Glacier Hikes
- Rock Climbing
- Science base visits (stations)
- Fat biking
- Ski doo adventures
- Blue river exploring
- Nunatak Summits
- Polar Talks
With all of this, you would have conquered the World and the experience is beyond any Luxury, it’s truly Transformational.
It comes as an achievement which affects you deeply, helps you to appreciate nature, it’s fauna, and at the same time makes you proud to travel responsibly with an expedition company White Desert Antarctica which is carbon neutral certified, members and on executive board of IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) and follow strict environmental safety measures .
They minimise impact by following below 4 Key Steps:
– They mitigate all emissions generated by their flights and activities through fully accredited carbon offset schemes. Having been CarbonNeutral® since 2007, this commitment has always been a core tenet of White Desert Antarctica.
Environmentally conscious supply chain
– They are working to eliminate single-use plastics, and all other waste is shipped back to South Africa for recycling or responsible disposal. All soaps, detergents and cleaning agents are biodegradable.
Pioneering renewables in Antarctica
– Partnering with California-based Arctica Solar, they use solar air heaters to warm their accommodation pods. This cutting-edge technology enables them to minimise their dependency on fossil fuel.
– Their goal is to build a corps of Antarctic Ambassadors. Together with their guests, they work closely with a number of scientific research centres to collect data for fields including Emperor Penguin research.
“No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”DAVID ATTENBOROUGH
Where do we Stay?
Whichaway Camp (70º 45’ 49” S 11º 36’ 59” E), the only Luxury Expedition Camp in Antarctica, is unique and the perfect place from which to base your adventure.
There are seven state-of-the-art sleeping pods that are heated and designed for two people in each. At just over 6m (20ft) in diameter, they are also spacious with a writing desk, wash area and toilet.
The rest of the camp comprises a shower pod, kitchen and three centralised pods that make up the reception, lounge and dining room. While the exterior is made from cutting edge materials, the interior has an old-world feel with rich textures. Here you can relax and enjoy the food from the award-winning chef.
How do we Travel and What is the itinerary?
Day 1: You fly to Antarctica (Wolf’s Fang Runway) from Cape Town, South Africa (5 hours) on-board Gulfstream G550 Private Jet and cross thousands of icebergs as you pass over the Southern Ocean.
Overnight Whichaway Camp.
Day 2: Settle into White Desert’s ‘Whichaway Camp’ and do as much or as little as you like this day.
Try the listed activities on offering.
Overnight Whichway Camp.
Day 3: We fly 2 hours using DC-3 Basler across Antarctica, providing immense views of the high Polar Plateau, before landing at the emperor penguin colony.
Overnight Whichaway Camp.
Day 4: We spend the day exploring the ice waves beneath our camp, delving into the series of ice tunnels that are as surreal as they are beautiful.
Overnight Whichway Camp.
Day 5: We will leave early in the morning in the DC-3 Basler plane. We will fly for 5 hrs across stunning mountain ranges before landing at 83º South to refuel. You will have a chance to walk around the high Polar Plateau before continuing on to the pole.
Later we fly another 2 hrs to reach the South Pole. At the South Pole you will have lots of time for photos and a chance to stamp your passport before flying back to 83º South Camp to overnight on the plateau.
Overnight 83º South Camp. Join the select few who have ever spent a night in the beauty of the high polar plateau. You will be well looked after as we experience camping in one of the wildest places on earth.
Day 6: After a night spent camping, you will be given a hearty breakfast before boarding the plane once again for the flight back to Whichaway Camp.
Overnight Whichaway Camp.
Day 7: Today you indulge in an adventurous hike along a winding cliff face affords guests a breath-taking aerial view of the extraordinary sea waves – ice that has been folded over millennia by constant pressure from the ocean.
Overnight Whichaway Camp.
Day 8: The flight out of Antarctica will be the last of your enduring Antarctic memories before you delve back into the vibrant energy of Africa.
Overnight in Cape Town (Own Arrangements).
- Minimum age for the expedition is 12 yrs and maximum age is 80 yrs.
- Before you take the trip, and in initial stages of planning, you have to get a medical form filled from your Doctor which will be further validated for approval or rejection (as the case may-be) by qualified doctors on White Desert’s Team. Fitness is an important criteria for guest safety on this trip.
- During your trip to the South Pole, you will be exposed to high altitudes in remote locations for an extended period of time. Whilst you will be accompanied by a doctor for the duration of the excursion, such locations can make treatment complex and descent to sea level will be protracted.
- Each participant is responsible for any medical expenses and should be covered by their own sickness and accident insurance. Evacuation and repatriation insurance should be no less than 300,000 Euros.
- Expect very little wifi and network connection, surely not for heavy downloads. But otherwise the Camp is well connected with the mainland to run a smooth operation.
- Satellite Phones can be arranged at additional cost.
- The maximum camp capacity is 14 guests, but White Desert prefers to keep the limit to 12 guests. They also offering single occupancy at additional supplement or try to pair you up (same sex) with another solo guest.
- Each accommodation pod has ensuite toilet, but no shower. The camp offers separate communal pod with three showers for use by the guests.
- The pods are heated by solar energy.
- You are guaranteed world class guides during the expedition.
- They use 4×4 arctic trucks to drive you around on your activity days during the trip.
- One night overnight camp stay when you visit Geographical South Pole is basic, not heated, but well insulated.
- During your trip you get an opportunity to visit and tour Science base stations of various countries on the continent.
- The trip involves a huge logistic backing of almost 80 personnel through the season spanning over 3 months.
- You have option of flying on your own private jet and White Desert will handle all permissions and logistics since they exclusively run the Wolf’s Fang Runway in Antarctica. Private Jet options can be G550, Falcon7X, Global 6000 and up for this expedition to fly to Antarctica.
- Wolf’s Gang Runway have fire fighting capabilities, 24 hrs weather forecasting, 24/7 satellite communication and full time medical team on site.
- The sun never goes down, so it’s 24×7 daylight.
- The weather is not extreme as one would expect, it’s actually mild compared to other regions which record more extreme temperatures during winters. Nov-Jan is actually austral summers in Antarctica and temperatures around the Camp area ranges from zero to -15 celcius and south pole to -30 celcius.
- White Desert will offer use of heavy duty polar clothing by Canada Goose with insulated boots, full polar suit during the expedition.
- White Desert will also guide you with necessary clothing purchase, and can even pre-purchase for you through their gear partners based out of Cape Town. It is therefore suggested that you arrive atleast 2 days in advance, since a day before your expedition, you need to get a safety briefing and introductions related to the trip.
- They normally start every year with their expedition trips on 18 Nov and end by end of January. They run 2 trips in November covering just the Emperor Penguins, and 8 trips which cover both Emperor Penguins and the South Pole.
- If you prefer to visit just for the Emperor Penguins, as youor trip preference or highlight, then the best time will be November, since the chics are young and still on their parents feet. Later in December and January the chics are big enough to walk the “Happy Feet”.
- Bookings are already open for season 2021 and 2022. It is advisable to book atleast an year in advance due to limited departures and high demand.
- If you book well in advance, you also have the option of booking the entire camp, all 7 accommodation pods and seats on the private jet for your own group of family and friends.
How can we book this trip?
You have option of booking it directly with White Desert Antarctica or use their booking partner in India Experiential Travel Journeys Pvt. Ltd. who will guide and hand-hold you through the entire planning process.
– Amit Kalsi, Private Travel Designer