South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula Penguin Safari 16 daysAboard: Ocean Diamond
Penguins, penguins and more penguins! Join us for this special voyage to the wildlife paradise of South Georgia and simply breathtaking Antarctic Peninsula in search of as many wildlife sightings as possible. Sailing from Ushuaia we will head straight to South Georgia to discover an exceptionally scenic land which is home to millions of penguins, an abundance of other birdlife, various seal species and only a handful of humans. One of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, this is truly a nature lover’s paradise and we will enjoy every minute here revelling in up-close wildlife encounters. Yet South Georgia is not only for the wildlife enthusiasts amongst us, there are plenty of other fascinating aspects to the island including its rich history in relation to Antarctic exploration and its unique geological makeup. Alongside our team of experts we will learn all there is to know about the island, including making a visit to the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton to learn about his legendary explorations.
If that wasn’t enough adventure for one trip we will then head far south to enjoy 3 days of thrilling exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula in search of even more up-close wildlife encounters. Surrounded by towering icebergs in a wintry wilderness you will soon discover why this remarkable part of the world has enchanted explorers for so long. As we enjoy Zodiac cruises through the ice-strewn waters surrounded by incomparable landscapes at every turn, and step foot on the 7th continent, we will be on a constant look out for the wealth of penguins who make these wild and isolated lands their home.
- Experience Antarctica and the wildlife paradise of South Georgia in one fantastic itinerary
- Amazing wildlife, including millions of penguins, myriad birds and whales
- Spectacular scenery
- Exciting zodiac landings and excursions
- Kayaking & stand-up paddle-boarding options available
- Full board accommodation including all meals, snacks & soft drinks on board ship
- Beer and wine during dinner
- All zodiac excursions and landings
- Programme of expert lectures and presentations
- Loan of waterproof boots
- Expedition parka
- All service and port charges
- Emergency evacuation insurance to max. US$100,000pp
- One night's pre-departure hotel accommodation
So much to experience
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Your adventure begins in Ushuaia, where after having arrived independently you can join a group transfer to a downtown hotel for your included overnight stay before enjoying some time to explore the southernmost city in the world. Thanks to its unique location at the bottom of the world, Ushuaia has enjoyed a tourism boost in recent years but has managed to retain the easy-going charm that it is famed for. Surrounded by the spectacular landscape of the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia is an enchanting place to explore and we recommend enjoying some of the area’s local wines, sampling some of the local restaurant’s famous barbeques or taking an excursion into the National Park.
Overnight hotel stay with breakfast included.
Ushuaia - Embark
After a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast you will have time for some more exploration of Ushuaia in the morning before joining your group transfer to the port where your polar expedition ship awaits you. Embarkation will begin in the late afternoon and after meeting your expedition team and settling into your comfortable cabin, you can spend some time exploring your new surroundings and watching from deck as we sail through the scenic and historic Beagle Channel and set course for South Georgia.
As we make our way east towards South Georgia we recommend spending some time on deck looking for the multitude of seabirds that often follow in the ship’s wake. You may also be lucky enough to spot a whale or 2 bobbing in the waters below. Your informative and entertaining programme of lectures and presentations delivered by your expert expedition team will begin, covering everything from the flora and fauna you will encounter on your voyage, to the history of Polar exploration. There will also be bio-environmental briefings for your time in South Georgia and briefings for use of the Zodiac boats for cruises and shore landings.
Welcome to the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, where millions of penguins, abundant birdlife, regular sightings of whales and other marine mammals, spectacular scenery and a rich history combine to make one of the world’s most surprising and enchanting destinations. We will spend two full days here exploring all that the area has to offer, with the prominent focus being on the astounding array of wildlife and the island’s historical associations.
One of the many places we expect to visit includes Grytviken, an area of significant historical interest and the final resting place of the legendary explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Here we can spend some time learning about Polar expeditions of the past, paying our respects at Shackleton’s grave, visiting a research station, abandoned whale station and beautiful church, and soaking up the mystical surroundings.
Although South Georgia’s rich history is a huge draw for visitors to this mostly uninhabited island, the abundance of wildlife on display is South Georgia’s crowning glory and the locations we will visit have been selected to provide you with unforgettable up-close wildlife encounters. From Salisbury Plain, home of one of the largest king penguin rookeries on the island, to Gold Harbour where the hanging Bertrab Glacier provides a spectacular backdrop to a hive of activity of king and gentoo penguins squabbling with rowdy elephant and fur seals for prime position along the beaches, this wildlife wonderland will not disappoint.
We recommend arriving here with as much space on your camera as possible as the photographic opportunities are simply endless. The unique Drygalski Fjord with its dramatic peaks rising from the sea is an unforgettable sight, whilst the tens of thousands of breeding pairs of penguins in St Andrew’s Bay is a wildlife spectacle to behold. Throughout your time here your experienced expedition team will offer insights into not only the island’s history and wildlife, but also to the area’s unique geological features which play such an important role in the breeding and survival of the different bird and animal species.
It’s time for our next adventure as we wave goodbye to the king penguins and leave South Georgia in our wake to sail south towards the pristine wilderness of Antarctica, where even more exciting wildlife and scenic opportunities await. These days at sea can be spent attending some of the informative and entertaining talks on all things Antarctica, relaxing with a book from the library, collating the countless pictures you will have no doubt captured during your time in South Georgia, or out on deck looking out for the first of many iceberg sightings. As we approach the Peninsula there will be briefings on what to expect over the course of the next few days.
South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
After the anticipation of the last two days, your first sight of land in Antarctica will not disappoint, and you will begin to appreciate exactly why these remarkable lands have long captivated the attentions of explorers and intrepid adventurers. A land of extremes, Antarctica is likely to arise almost every type of emotion in you, from the feeling of total isolation amongst the startling imposing landscapes of mountains and icebergs, to the exhilaration of watching the comical antics of the abundance of chinstrap, adelie and gentoo penguins.
As with all Antarctica expeditions our exact itinerary over the course of the next few days will be flexible and dependent upon weather and ice conditions, with your captain and experienced crew deciding each day on the best course for unrivalled wildlife, scenery and adventure experiences. Each expedition to Antarctica is different and you can be guaranteed of multiple unique, once in a lifetime moments that will live long in the memory.
Exploring each day by Zodiac boat you will discover multiple bays, channels and landing sites on a constant lookout for wildlife sightings including humpback and minke whales, various southern seal species and, of course, bustling penguin rookeries. One of our favourite places for spotting penguins includes Danco Island where we can enjoy a short hike to visit a large penguin colony which resides high up on a ridge that affords spectacular views of the surrounding pristine landscape. Other sites we expect to visit include Neko Harbour, the Melchior Islands, Port Lockroy and Cuverville Island to name just a few.
There will ample opportunities for enjoyable hikes and walks throughout our time in Antarctica and the majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula’s mountains will enchant as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering you 360° views of your surroundings.
Throughout your time here you can enjoy walks along the beaches alongside the penguins, thrilling Zodiac cruises through the crackling sea ice, navigating through mazes of towering icebergs of all shapes and sizes, experience the awesome sights and sounds of calving glaciers including those in Neko Harbour, and fully immerse yourself in all that this wonderful continent has to offer. For the more adventurous we highly recommend a Polar Plunge in the frigid Antarctic waters and there are exciting kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding options available too. Please note that these optional activities must be booked in advance.
After your thrilling Antarctic exploration, the end of our adventure is approaching and it’s time to head back towards South America as we sail across the famous Drake Passage towards Ushuaia. Over the course of these 2 days there may potentially be some rough waters, but your polar expedition ship has been designed to navigate these waters with ease. We hope for a smooth sailing that will allow us to spend some time on deck looking for our final seabird and whale sightings. This is also a great chance to spend some time collating all of the many pictures you will have taken and sharing tales of your adventures with your fellow passengers.
After having sailed through the Beagle Channel overnight you will arrive back into the port of Ushuaia in the early morning, where you will bid a fond farewell to your expedition team and disembark to join your group transfer to the airport for your homeward flights, or to a downtown location should you wish to spend more time in this charming city at the bottom of the world.
A view from Above
Ocean Diamond is a high quality expedition ship, designed more like a super-yacht. All cabins and suites have exterior views, flat-screen TVs, DVDs and private facilities. Amenities include a wellness, yoga and massage option, well-stocked library, photography programme, bar with optional beverage package, observation lounge, dining room, theatre-style auditorium and clinic. Options also include camping, kayaking, snowshoeing, skiing and mountaineering on many expeditions. Ocean Diamond also supports the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute and makes a contribution on behalf of all passengers.
we work hard to earn passionate reviews from our clients.
Now that I am back from my odyssey voyage, I thought I would let you know that after all that planning it really did exceed my expectations – we managed landings everywhere even on Tristan da Cuhna and had great bird sightings. The guides all knew what they were talking about too and made sure I got some great photos – still sorting them all out! Thanks for everything and see you at Birdfair!Dave Martin
I want to thank you for all you did to make my recent Falklands trip run so smoothly and comfortably. Thank you for all your help over the diet too.Dr Lorna Mairs
Just a quick note to express my sincere thanks to you and all your staff for making this an epic adventure of immense proportions. Everything went smoothly, pickups, hotels and most of all the expedition itself. Truly a mind blowing experience unlike any I have ever taken.Mr J Borg, Malta
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