(Antarctica Camp, South Pole)
This luxury adventure allows you to experience the hidden interior of Antarctica in 8 days and including a South Pole flight expedition!
Departing Cape Town by five hour flight over the iceberg filled Southern Ocean. Watch the African sky turn from night to day as you pass the polar circle into 24hrs continuous daylight. After landing on the runway you will be driven in specially modified 4x4s to Kensington Antarctica camp, perched near the lip of a 200 ft ice cliff and looking out to the distant sea. The camp is totally unique and overlooks some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. It is powered by solar energy and run according to strict ecological guidelines. With only twelve guests at a time, there is plenty of exposure to the five veteran Polar explorer guides who will teach kite skiing, ice climbing, and ice cave exploration. You will take a flight by DC3 to visit the largest Emperor Penguin colony not only that but with this tour you will get to fly to the geographic South Pole as part of the Jetset experience. All this in the comfort of our insulated canvas chalets with soft warm beds, a gourmet chef from South Africa serving three full meals per day, and drinks looking over the endless ice. This is a rare combination of extreme adventure in luxurious style.
Departures (from Cape Town):
- 17 Dec 2010 (G4 flight, Kensington Antarctica Camp),
- 3 Jan 2011 (IL-76 flight, Oasis guesthouse)
Note: flights and itinerary are subject to weather conditions and may be shifted by a day or two. Guests must be available in Cape Town one day prior to departure for a trip briefing, to meet their guides and fellow travelers, as well as a welcome cocktail party.
This afternoon you will be collected from your hotel for a pre-departure briefing session before heading out on this adventure through Antarctica. During this informative session you'll be given the specific details regarding your expedition including flight details, what to pack, specifics regarding the items within safety kit and the logistical aspects of your journey. This is the perfect opportunity to ask any questions you may have from how to wash yourself and keep clean in Antarctica to the day to day activities you'll take part in at your various camps. Upon completion of the briefing, you'll be invited to a cocktail party along with the other travellers you will be journeying with.
A transfer between your hotel and the airport is provided for today accompanied by Antarctica team experts.
Sit back and relax during this 5 hour flight across the Southern Ocean towards Droning Maud Land, where your skilled ice-pilot will land upon a well maintained ice runway. The choice of aircraft is dependent on the weather conditions and logistics of the landing location. Your skilled and experienced ice-pilot with make appropriate choice between the aircrafts available in there fleet including the Illuyshin-IL76, Falcon 900, or a Gulfstream IV.
Your overnight flight concludes in the early afternoon hours as your skilled ice-pilot lands the aircraft on a well maintained ice runway at a Russian research station. You'll now experience the effects of full time daylight as you've arrived within Antarctica. You will meet your expert guides here at the airstrip before boarding a specialized 4x4 vehicle for a transfer to your camp.
Kensington Antarctica is the only luxury camp based in the interior of Antarctica. Old world luxury is mixed with modern technology to create 7 heated sleeping domes with two fluffy soft beds. The dining area, lounge, library and kitchen are spread across three huge dome tents that are 9 meters in diameter. With only 12 clients at a time, you will be amongst the very few to experience the interior of Antarctica. In the 24hrs of continuous daylight and with genuine polar explorers as your personal guides, each day is tailored to suit each person at camp. Trek down to the surreal ice waves, ride a specialized 4x4 across the endless ice, visit research stations, and camp out on the sea ice overnight like a polar explorer. If you’re looking for more adventure, our guides can lead you up unclimbed mountains or teach you kite-skiing across the infinite horizons of ice. The camp is run on extremely strict environmental protocols.
Set out this afternoon on a trekking adventure that explores the many natural ice waves and formations only an hour and a half away from camp. Marvel at these colossal ice structures that seamlessly stretch skyward creating an epic horizon of glistening towers. Your expert guide will help you to navigate past the many ice caves that sit below these monolithic ice structures, and through the networking maze of interlocking ice waves surrounded by crystal clear blue lakes. Admire the sheer beauty and rich blue hues that iridescently shine off these natural wonders, almost as if you arrived at "Superman's Fortress of Solitude." Your guide will take you to a high plateau point for a picturesque picnic overlooking the Antarctica coastal area. You'll trek back towards camp for relaxing evening where you'll have the opportunity to reflect on the natural beauty you've witness today.
It is an early start as we drive up to the ice runway and board a ski-equipped Bassler plane to fly 2 hours across Antarctica to an immense Emperor Penguin colony. The flight itself is spectacular, crossing a multitude of unexplored mountain peaks and catching views of the infinite high polar plateau, before circling down to land at the site of the penguins.
With over 6,000 breeding pairs and their chicks, the colony is vast. We are the only tourists to ever go there and you will have the entire day to watch these awesome animals in their natural habitat. Encircled by towering icebergs, the penguins are completely unafraid of humans and often come up very close to you, whilst their fluffy chicks are equally inquisitive. So few people ever visit such a vibrant colony at this stage of the penguin’s complicated breeding cycle and it is truly awe-inspiring to see it. They really are the real life stars of "March of the Penguins"!
At camp, our guides offer a range of activities to choose. We do photography workshops using the ice grottos as fascinating backdrops to the images. There is rock climbing on offer, scaling challenging routes on the northern side of the nearby nunatak mountain. There is also a medium difficulty trek to the high point of the Oasis, which offers 360-degree views and a chance to take in the space and serenity which Antarctica offers in abundance.
The highlight of your journey is a flight to the Geographic South Pole. After breakfast there will be a weather forecast check along the route to the Pole. If
weather service gives a “green light” you will load on the plane and the adventure will begin. The flight will be in a modified DC3 Basler with spartan seats but good views. The distance to the South Pole from Antarctica Camp is about 2,140 km. You will be flying over the mountains of Queen Maud
Land and then above the Antarctic Plateau so prepare your camera for the stunning views!
At 83 degrees South there will be a landing for refueling high on the Antarctic plateau. The altitude is 2,500 meters above sea level, but air is less dense so it will feel like 3,000 meters elevation. Refueling will take about 40 min and you will have time to get out of the plane and stretch your legs. It is still 800 km (or 3 hours flight) to the Pole. From the air you'll get an appreciation for the immense scale and beauty of Antarctica.
Seven hour flight across 2,100km to the South Pole.
At the South Pole you will land on a runway of the American Amundsen-Scott research station. The station takes its name from the first explorers to reach the South Pole: Norwegian Roald Amundsen and British Capt. Robert Scott. On arrival you will complete a Round-the-World trip, walking around a symbolic pole at the Earth's axis, to celebrate your achievement.
Note: South Pole Station lives on NZ time which is 13 hours ahead of GMT (Antarctic Camp time) and visitors are only allowd during their "daytime". For you, this will be a 10-11 pm arrival. The group will be met by a NSF (National Science Foundation) representative and taken on a guided tour of the station. There is a souvenir shop at the station and a post office where you can send postcards and buy patches, sweaters, T-shirts, glasses, stamps and other souvenirs. The shop only accepts USD. Expect to stay at the South Pole about 2-3 hours. After that the group will fly about 10 min to a South Pole fuel cache and camp for a good night sleep.
The rough camp is near the Amundsen-Scott South Pole research station. You will be comfortable and well looked after as we experience camping in one of the wildest places on earth! As you look out of your tent window, you will be able to truly identify with the early explorers such as Scott and Shackleton as they raced to reach this hallowed place. This camp overnight is with sleeping bags and specialist tents, dinner and breakfast will be provided.
Seven hour flight from the South Pole to Whichaway camp.
After a good sleep and breakfast the plane will return back to 83 S for refueling, and continuing on to Antarctica Camp. In the evening you will return to the camp where you can relax and share the stories of your trip, drinking tea or tasty South African wine in the mess tent with your new friends.
Enjoy a last breakfast and pack up your gear for a morning transfer back to the airstrip and the private jet. Take a last few photos before saying goodbye to the majesty of this seventh continent. Savor the return crossing above a multitude of icebergs and open ocean. You will always have a lasting memory of Antarctica that will remain with you for the rest of your days.
Five hour flight across the Southern Ocean to Cape Town. The choice of plane varies according to the weather and logistics. We use an Illuyshin-IL76, Falcon 900, or a Gulfstream IV.
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