7 recommended wildlife locations. The species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula is the most accessible part of the great white continent with some of its best wildlife and scenery. Ice-choked waterways, sculpted ice bergs, imposing glaciers and rugged mountains provide the back drop to an area where there are more whales and dolphins than anywhere else on earth

  • Ideal for viewing: Elephant seal, Hourglass dolphin, Humpback whale, Minke whale, Orca
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Birdwatching, Penguin watching

Lemaire Channel

The Lemaire Channel is an 11km strait off Antarctica leading to a jigsaw of jewel like islands. Filled with ice-bergs and hemmed in by steep glacial cliffs, the passage is not only extremely scenic, but the protected waters are usually as still as a lake, creating wonderful reflections of the surrounding landscape.

  • Ideal for viewing: Adélie penguin, Hourglass dolphin, Humpback whale, Macaroni penguin, Orca
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Birdwatching, Penguin watching

Paradise Harbour

Paradise Harbour is surrounded by heavily glaciated mountains and ice cliffs, which protect and shield this part of the bay and reflect in the ice-cold waters. With a mind-boggling array of ice-bergs, these are a highlight, enhancing the wildlife viewing experience which includes whales and abundant birdlife.

  • Ideal for viewing: Adélie penguin, Gentoo penguin, Hourglass dolphin, Humpback whale, Orca
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Birdwatching, Penguin watching

Ross Sea

If you long to see emperor penguins, the largest species of penguin, which is rarely found outside the High Antarctic, then this is the area to view them. The Ross Sea is also home to the Adélie penguin, and marine mammals include the Antarctic minke whale, killer whale, Weddell seal, and crabeater seal.

  • Ideal for viewing: Adélie penguin, Antarctic petrel, Crabeater seal, Emperor penguin, Snow petrel
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Birdwatching, Penguin watching

South Georgia

South Georgia is a remote, rugged and hauntingly beautiful sub-Antarctic island. Its scenery ranges from impressive mountains and mighty glaciers to deep fjords and low-lying grassland. Renowned as an excellent destination for birdwatchers, it has more wildlife than virtually anywhere else on the planet.

  • Ideal for viewing: Wandering albatross, Elephant seal, King penguin, Macaroni penguin, Sperm whale
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Birdwatching, Penguin watching

South Shetland Islands

The South Shetland Islands are a group of Antarctic islands, north of the Antarctic Peninsula. Totaling over 3600 sqkm, between 80 and 90 percent of the land area is permanently glaciated and the highest point is 2300m. Yet, despite the harsh conditions the islands do support vegetation upon which its wildlife feeds.

  • Ideal for viewing: Adélie penguin, Elephant seal, Chinstrap penguin, Gentoo penguin, Southern right whale
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Birdwatching, Penguin watching

Weddell Sea

The remote eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the white continents hidden gems. A deeply incised, 2,000-kilometre wide bay, the upwelling of cold water provides food for any creature hardy enough to withstand the intense cold. It is also famed for its huge ice shelves and flat-topped icebergs.

  • Ideal for viewing: Elephant seal, Humpback whale, Leopard seal, Weddell seal, Orca
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Birdwatching, Penguin watching

12 recommended trips. All our trip ideas are offered to inspire you, but our strength is in tailoring your itinerary.

Weddell Sea Fly-Sail

Enjoy an exciting voyage to the Weddell Sea’s wild isolation, and the contrasting Antarctic Peninsula with glaciers, islands and waterways alive with seals, penguins and whales,

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 11 days

Antarctic Odyssey Fly-Sail

This comprehensive itinerary retraces Shackleton’s voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia, and ends in the Falkland Islands. Antarctica’s scenery and ice are matched by the wildlife on South Georgia.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 18 days

Emperor Penguins of the Weddell Sea

This voyage to the Weddell Sea offers a unique highlight - three days are reserved to visit, by helicopter, an emperor penguin colony, situated south of Snow Hill Island.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 11 days

Ross Sea & Grand Southern Antarctica

Starting from Ushuaia and ending in New Zealand, this voyage takes you across the Ross Sea, where around one third of the world’s population of emperor penguins breeds.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 32 days

Polar Circle Fly-Sail

This itinerary is the quickest way to get as far south as possible and cross the Antarctic Circle.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 9 days

Weddell Sea Explorer

Take a trip to follow in the wake (and footsteps) of Sir Ernest Shackleton and travel to one of Antarctica's hidden gems.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 12 days

Classic Antarctic Fly-Sail

Take the easiest way to Antarctica and fly from Punta Arenas in southern Chile, to save time and enjoy an aerial view of the Drake Passage.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 7 days

Great Antarctic Voyage

The ultimate Antarctic experience marries the phenomenal wildlife of the sub-Antarctic islands of the Falklands and South Georgia to the pristine beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 19 to 20 days

Crossing the Polar Circle

The aim of this voyage is to reach as far south as weather and ice conditions will permit, and cross the Antarctic Circle, a feat that only a few will ever accomplish.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 12 to 13 days

Classic Antarctica

An incredible voyage visiting prime wildlife sites along the Antarctic Peninsula and in the nearby South Shetland islands. The perfect introduction to the Antarctic!

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 10 to 11 days

South Georgia

Embark on a superb voyage to South Georgia, the remotest and wildest of the United Kingdom's Overseas Territories.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 18 to 20 days

Antarctic Express Fly-Sail

If time is precious, this is the best way to visit the Antarctic in the shortest possible time without missing out on the thrill of getting there, and at a remarkable price.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 5 days

When to go

The season to visit is the austral summer, running from October to March. Once the pack ice starts to melt, summer arrives quickly, reaching its pinnacle in December and January.

Seasons

  • Spring

    Nov to Dec: Spring fever brings explosive growth.
  • Summer

    Jan to Feb: The warmest months when wildlife activity is at its peak.
  • Autumn

    Mar to Mar: Dark nights return as the sun sinks below the southern horizon.
  • Winter

    Apr to Oct: Winter sets in with a vengeance for the long dark haul…

Wildlife events

  • Oct: Pack ice starts to melt – the first whales arrive.
  • Oct to Apr: Wildflowers bloom in Falklands and South Georgia.
  • Oct to Nov: Penguin and seabird courtship is at its height.
  • Nov to Dec: Penguin chicks hatch (Falklands first, then Antarctic).
  • Jan to Feb: Peak time for whale sightings.
  • Jan to Feb: Fur seals visible on Antarctic Peninsula.

7 recommended wildlife cruise vessels.

Akademik Ioffe

Designed originally for polar research, the Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. There are public spaces suitable for small group sessions or briefings for all passengers.

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Designed and built as a scientific research vessel in Finland, the m/v Akademik Sergey Vavilov is an ice-strengthened vessel which has been recently refitted and refurbished.

Ocean Nova

Ocean Nova is an extremely comfortable and well-equipped Polar expedition vessel, that was originally built to navigate around Greenland, and is one of the leading vessels classified to operate in ice-filled waters.

Ortelius

The ice-strengthened Ortelius is an excellent vessel for Polar expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic, providing possibilities to travel to remote locations such as the Ross Sea and Franz Josef Land.

Plancius

The Plancius accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in cabins ranging from triple to superior, all with outside view and private facilities.

Polar Pioneer

Small and manoeuvrable, the Polar Pioneer is an ice-strengthened vessel, capable of venturing into remote corners of the world that many larger ships cannot reach.

Ushuaia

The Ushuaia is an ice-strengthened vessel specially refurbished for Antarctic expedition voyages. She boasts 41 cabins and suites for a total of 84 passengers, and a fantastic observation lounge.

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