Monthly Archives: August 2015

Uncover the Galapagos with your little explorers!

Sometimes you want to treat your family to an experience that they will never forget, away from the bustling crowds of the obvious touristic cities and back into the heart of nature. If you are currently trying to find the perfect destination for your own little explorers, why not take them to a destination where nature is right under their noses, on a Galapagos family cruise?

Ecuador’s spectacular Galapagos islands offer a seemingly primordial environment, where humans can interact with a whole host of inhabitants including rare birds, iguanas, giant tortoises and sea lions. The islands are extraordinarily well preserved and the animals that live there show no fear of people, making it the ideal place to teach your family about the importance of nature and conservation.

With itineraries that are designed for fulfilling exploration of some of the best wildlife regions on the islands, you can rest safe in the knowledge that the Galapagos experts are leading you through locations that your family will be talking about for the rest of their lives.

Although many may not consider the Galapagos islands to be a family friendly destination, our especially designed cruises here at Wildfoot Travel have been tailor made to ensure that family members of all ages can take part in some truly once-in-a-lifetime activities. Along with the on-board entertainment, the tours of the Galapagos encompass all manner of fun-filled activities.

There really isn’t anything like leaving the beaten path and enjoying the peace and quiet of an island paradise, with activities like snorkelling, kayaking or simply paddling in the pristine waters adding an extra layer of family fun!

When you consider just how few opportunities most of us have to see animals such as giant tortoises and sea lions in their natural habitats, a Galapagos family cruise is the perfect way to create these memories and experiences for your little ones. As you walk among the colonies of birds and animals, you will be able to explore a world that is in stark contrast to the busy cities and modern holiday destinations that many of us have become accustomed to – and jaded by.

Why not try something a little different on your next break and revel a once-in-a-lifetime trip with your family to the islands that really do showcase the best of the natural world?

Understanding Earth’s extreme climates – Antarctica

If you are considering exploring some of the Earth’s most beautiful, yet remote places, it is important to understand just what is in store for you once you get there. One of the most vital elements to consider is the climate and for those wanting to explore the stunning continent of Antarctica, the weather really does play an important part.

Antarctic holidays are becoming increasingly popular with those looking to try something different on their next break. As the coldest of the Earth’s continents, the area has witnessed the lowest natural temperature ever recorded, -89.2°C. If you are currently planning a trip to Antarctica, here are the key points that you need to know about the often extreme climate.

The continent itself is basically a frozen desert, offering very little precipitation, with less than 10cm of rain recorded at the South Pole per year. Once you reach Antarctica, the atmosphere can be a little daunting to first time visitors, with prolonged periods of constant darkness contrasted with similar length periods of constant sunshine. It is no surprise that visitors to the area claim that they are often confused as to what time it actually is!

One important thing to consider for your trip is the risk of sunburn. This may seem unlikely in Antarctica of all places, but the snow surface is prone to reflecting all of the ultraviolet light that falls upon it, something that you should bear in mind when packing your essentials. Temperatures in Antarctica tend to reach a minimum of −80 °C during the winter and a maximum of 15 °C in the coastal areas during the summer months.

The exact time of year when you are on the continent will dictate the conditions that you experience, the eastern side of Antarctica typically being colder than the west due to the higher elevations. The centre of the continent is cold and dry, due to the main extreme weather fronts not spreading into this area. By contrast, the outer edges of Antarctica are prone to strong winds that often blow at storm force.

If you are planning a trip to Antarctica, we highly recommend that you choose an experienced tour company to help guide you around these often unpredictable landscapes. Here at WILDFOOT, we work with the leading operators to create for you the true holiday of a lifetime in this most extreme and remote corner of the globe.

Explore the Arctic your way with our cruise ships

If you are looking to explore the spectacular surroundings of the Arctic, what better way to take in the sights than via our dedicated Arctic cruise ships? A cruise is the best way to uncover what the Arctic has to offer, and whether you are planning a luxury excursion or want to make sure that your trip is packed full of adventure, it is easy to find the right cruise operator for you. We’ve taken a look at some of the best Arctic cruise operators available via WILDFOOT, each one offering a bespoke service that gives you the complete holiday experience.

Aurora is an Australian cruise operator that offers a wide range of exciting itineraries for those wanting to explore the Arctic. The majority of its Arctic adventures start in Scotland, sailing via Norway to Spitsbergen. The trip then takes visitors around the exciting regions of Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland.

If you are looking for an action packed break, we definitely recommend Aurora. The company’s itineraries include scuba diving, climbing and kayaking to name just a few activities, making them ideal for an adrenaline-packed break in one of the most extraordinary landscapes. This operator also offers trips to Alaska, including one to the heart of Alaska’s Inside Passage, a truly unforgettable experience for any adventurer.

Those looking for luxury on their break will appreciate Hapag Lloyd, a German cruise operator offering five-star service. You will continue to receive the full expedition experience as you sail, including the only full crossing of the Northeast Passage from Alaska to Norway, literally taking you over the top of the world. If you want to explore the Arctic in style, this is the one for you.

Oceanwide sails two large Arctic cruise ships around the region, offering a fantastic range of activities. This Dutch company prides itself on its varied itineraries, with a selection of adventure options including skiing, mountaineering and a ‘Basecamp’ option on some of its departures. This is another great choice for those looking for action and adventure.

Whichever operator you choose, you should make sure you don’t miss a second of your trip. With some of the world’s most exciting landscapes at your disposal, a journey to – and around – the Arctic is truly the trip of a lifetime.

Embark on the Falklands tour of your dreams

The Falkland Islands offer some of the most fascinating examples of wildlife and nature that the world has to offer, as well as a considerable number of glorious white beaches. They are home to a wide range of penguins and birds, in addition to more than two-thirds of all of the black-browed albatross in the world.

The islands attract people from every continent and appeal to casual fans of wildlife, as well as those with a passionate interest in rare animals such as the Falklands flightless steamer duck. The best places to spot wildlife in the Falklands rarely become over-populated with humans, which gives visitors the chance to see some of the most fascinating species on the globe up close. WILDFOOT creates first-class Falkland Island tours.

Volunteer Point is one of the best places to spot penguins, especially the hundreds of king penguins, whilst embarking on boat trips to West Point Island to see the nesting black-browed albatrosses and rockhopper penguins is a popular activity. Discerning food lovers are catered for wonderfully by the fresh fish, meat and vegetables that the islands are famous for. The Falklands are also the home of the world’s most southerly cathedral.

Here at WILDFOOT, we can help if you are interested in embarking on the Falklands trip of a lifetime. We can assist you whether you would prefer to stay for 7, 10, 14 or 18 nights. Opt for our 14 day tour and you will be able to stay at locations as iconic as Carcass, Pebble and Sea Lion Islands and Stanley, to name but a few. The Falklands Islands are synonymous with epic scenery, clear blue skies, glorious stretches of white sand and some of the most remarkable wildlife that you will find in any country.

You can contact us at any time to take advantage of our vast expertise and find out more about what your tour will be like. If you have ever dreamed of spending time among some of the most delightful and intriguing species in the world, we can make this a reality. Your fare will include various flights and accommodation. We have unrivalled first-hand knowledge of the Falklands archipelago and can’t wait to pass on our expertise to you, so why not make an enquiry today?

5 Galapagos activities that you can’t miss

The Galapagos Islands… legendarily remote, famed for their plentiful endemic species that had scarcely encountered human beings prior to Charles Darwin’s visit in 1835. Today, the isles remain a grand frontier of nature, with a meagre 26,000 human population across their 8,000 square kilometres.

However, paradoxically, this is not a corner of the globe with a lack of things to do. Indeed, here are just five of our favourite Galapagos multi activities here at Wildfoot Travel.

  1. Snorkelling

The Galapagos beg to be discovered underwater, a whole new world opening up when the visitor dons the snorkel and flippers that can be rented nearby.

Whether you dive beneath the surface while on board a cruise or on a day boat excursion, you can expect to see little less than the greatest feast of marine life able to be experienced on planet Earth, encompassing turtles, sealions, marine iguanas, parrotfish, puffers and sharks.

  1. Kayaking

If you want to be there on the water surface near one of the islands as rays and turtles break cover and in order to get the best vantage point for spotting cliff-nesting birds, you really can’t beat kayaking, which is often available from our cruises at no additional cost.

  1. Walking

Even those who stick to dry land, however, are in the perfect position to get up-close and personal with rare and mysterious birds, trees, cactus and plants. Walks are possible on both the populated and uninhabited islands, although any on the latter must be in the company of an official guide.

  1. Cycling

Fans of Galapagos multi adventures can scarcely miss the opportunity to rent a bicycle and ride to the lava tunnels and giant tortoise reserve in the highlands, or take on one of the many other cycling trails around the island of Santa Cruz.

  1. Sailing

There is a real sense of adventure to sailing around the Galapagos, with yachts and sailing boats able to be chartered for a day or longer. However, with visitors not being permitted to land on any of the inhabited islands or even many parts of the main islands without an official guide in attendance, you will also need to plan your journeys carefully in advance.

Visit the section of the Wildfoot Travel site that is dedicated to Galapagos multi activities to discover the full range of activities that we have available on our trips to this truly remarkable area of the Pacific Ocean.

Rub shoulders with reindeer in Spitsbergen

Spitsbergen is one of the most interesting destinations in the northern hemisphere. It is part of Svalbard and is its only permanently-populated island. Svalbard belongs to northern Norway, with Spitsbergen being the 36th-largest island in the world. It also borders the Arctic Ocean, as well as the Norweigan and Greenland Seas. Here at WILDFOOT, we can assist if you have ever considered Arctic cruises in Spitsbergen.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Spitsbergen was a whaling base before it became a hotbed for coal mining. It is now heavily associated with both tourism and research, with residents and visitors travelling from settlement to settlement via boats, aircraft and snowmobiles. It is home to a vast range of seabirds as well as reindeer, Polar bears and marine mammals. Spitsbergen is also where you can find six national parks, and is loved for its mainly untouched character.

The island also features various mountains, fjords and glaciers. So wild and remote is this part of the Arctic, that there are 3,000 polar bears roaming around Spitsbergen. As there are no roads connecting the settlements, Spitsbergen is also necessarily home to around 4,000 snowmobiles. There are no sunrises for four months, between October and March, and when the sun finally does resurface, its return is marked by Solfestuka, a weeklong celebration that consists of parties, exhibitions and music.

Longyearbyen is one of the busiest parts of the region, a place where reindeer rub shoulders with humans on a regular basis. Spitsbergen is also known as the home of the world’s most northernmost gourmet restaurant, which has more than 20,000 bottles of wine and has received the equivalent of the Michelin star for the quality of its cuisine.

Here at WILDFOOT, we’re waiting to hear from you if you’re interested in exploring Spitsbergen. We offer a range of unique packages that allow you to experience the glory of Spitsbergen and see it with your own eyes. Our team members are experts when it comes to what the region has to offer and are keen to help you to plan the perfect expedition to Spitsbergen.

We can even take you around Spitsbergen by sailing ship, so why not enquire today about what might just be a journey never to be forgotten?

Join us at The Rutland Birdfair – Friday 21st to Sunday 24th August 2015

Wildfoot (born from Antarctica Bound and Arctic Bound) are delighted to once again be attending and exhibiting at the world famous Rutland Birdfair this year.

You can find us in Marquee 2, stand 1 – our usual spot.

Every year we meet wonderful people who have the same passion for birding and wildlife as we do and it gives us great pleasure to be involved in what is commonly known as “The Birdwatcher’s Glastonbury”!

It gives us even greater pleasure to announce that this year we are even more involved than usual. Alongside our usual mix of special offers available exclusively to Birdfair attendees, including an introduction to our new regions – Galapagos & Ecuador, Costa Rica and Brazilian Pantanal in South America and Botswana, Namibia and Zambia in Africa – we are also holding a free to enter prize draw giving attendees the chance to win the latest Opticron Discovery binoculars!

This year we are also sponsoring (along with our special expedition Partners, Zegrahm) a lecture which will take place Friday 21st August at 2.30pm in Lecture Marquee 2. The talk will be provided by wildlife expert and renowned author Mark Brazil and will cover Mark’s extensive knowledge and experience of the intriguing and wonderful wildlife of South Georgia – an area particularly close to our hearts. Click here to read more about Mark Brazil and what to expect from his talk.

The biggest news, however, is that our partner Zegrahm Expeditions have donated one of this year’s top auction items. On offer to the lucky bidder this year is an incredible 16 day expedition for 2 people to Patagonia, the Falkland Islands and Cape Horn, worth over £13,000!

Antarctica Bound are the official UK partners for Zegrahm Expeditions and we are delighted to be able to represent them at the Birdfair with this fantastic auction piece.

About Rutland Birdfair

Due to our close working relationship with Tim Appleton, co-founder of Birdfair, Antarctica and Arctic Bound have been attending the Birdfair for many years and have found it to be a calendar highlight each year.

birdfair2

Tim has worked tirelessly throughout his career in nature conservation raising awareness and vital funds for conservation projects throughout the globe. To read more about Tim and the vital work he carries out click here.

Jointly organised by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust and the RSPB, one of the most important elements of Birdfair is the large sums of money that is raised each year in order to fund these vital conservation projects, the majority of which comes from the regular Birdfair Auction. This year all funds raised from the auction will go towards helping to stop millions of birds being illegally slaughtered in the Eastern Mediterranean – a subject which is of particular concern right now.

If you would like to attend this wonderful 3 day event you can obtain tickets from the Birdfair official website or if you would like any further information on what to expect then please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to chat.

At the Birdfair you can find us in Marquee 2, stand 1.