Until space tourism becomes a thing, Antarctica remains the final frontier. There was a time when the only way to visit Antarctica was by ship from Ushuaia in Argentina, travelling through the notoriously rough seas of the Drake Passage. Although this is still very much an option, it is increasingly possible to bypass the crossing and even, in some instances, bypass the coast as well en route to the holy grail of the pole itself.
Exploring the white wilderness of the South Pole comes with its challenges but luckily, we work with a select group of intrepid operators who are inventing ever more adventurous ways to explore the continent’s colossal coastal ice flows, huge mountain ranges, seemingly endless hinterland and, of course, the South Pole itself. As you’d imagine, travelling in such a potentially inhospitable destination requires unparalleled logistics, so the experiences we offer don’t come cheap – something to think about when planning a trip to this frozen-white-world. Rest assured, though – bangs for your buck don’t come much bigger than in Antarctica. If you fancy a trip to the final frontier on Earth, read on to find out our three of our favourite ways to explore this icy world…
Take to the Water
A great way to explore the white wilderness is by boat. The Hebridean Sky is one of the finest small expedition ships in Antarctica, if not anywhere, home to a lounge, library, dining room and experts aboard to give talks on polar wildlife and the Antarctic ecosystem. Guests fly in from Chile to join the ship on the voyage to Antarctica and the chance to see giant fjords, vast icebergs, penguin colonies, seals and whales. The ship’s zodiac boats mean passengers can make landfall on the white continent itself and additional activities include kayaking or snowshoeing trips, and treks to photogenic vantage points.
Skiing in the South Pole
This is one for the real adventurers among you, discovering the South Pole as the first explorers did; on skis. It’s only just over a century since Norwegian Roald Amundsen set foot at the South Pole, and now you can follow in his footsteps. Fly to the 89th degree south, from where you ski 60 nautical miles (or the ‘last degree’) to the Pole, camping en route and pulling your own equipment in paulks, as the original explorers did. This is quite possibly the ultimate tick in a box, and knowing you’ve had to work so hard to get there makes the sense of achievement all the greater.
Penguins and Polar Mountains
If you are looking for a polar adventure that combines animal sightings, adventure and luxury accommodation, this is the perfect Antarctic adventure. Starting and finishing in Cape Town, you could combine this polar adventure with a safari before a direct flight to Antarctica, travelling to a surprisingly luxurious camp, complete with state-of-the-art pod accommodation. Enjoy gourmet cuisine and activities such as ice tunnel treks, polar picnics and even kite-skiing, all with expert field guides. Then fly on to visit a famous emperor penguin colony where you can get right up alongside some 6,000 birds and their chicks. When you’ve filled your camera’s memory card(s), head off for walks or climbs in the dramatic landscape.