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Flowing between Kiev Peninsula and the mainland’s Graham Land and the 3,000 metre cliffs of Booth Channel, the Lemaire Channel is one of Antarctica’s top destinations.

Just 1,600 metres wide at its narrowest point, the Channel is an 11 kilometre strait off Antarctica leading to a jigsaw of jewel like islands, and passing through it makes for an unforgettable journey, upon which orca or humpback whales may be seen.

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.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Adélie penguin, hourglass dolphin, humpback whale, macaroni penguin, orca, crabeater seal, Antarctic minke whale

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Classic Antarctica

This voyage is a perfect introduction to the Antarctic, visiting prime wildlife sites along the Peninsula and in the nearby South Shetland islands. Encounter huge rookeries of gentoo, chinstrap and Adelie penguins, beaches adorned with wallowing elephant seals, and whales and dolphins along the way.

  • When to go: Nov-Mar
  • Duration exc. flights: 10-11 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £4,590 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Classic Antarctic Fly-Sail

This trip takes the easiest way to Antarctica and flies from Punta Arenas in southern Chile, to save time and enjoy an aerial view of the Drake Passage. This active adventure involves daily landings by Zodiac inflatable, and with ever-changing ice and weather conditions, each voyage is unique.

  • When to go: Nov-Mar
  • Duration exc. flights: 7-11 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £10,245 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

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. En route you will navigate awe-inspiring waterways, littered with giant icebergs, whilst being followed by an array of seabirds and several whale species.

  • When to go: Nov-Mar
  • Duration exc. flights: 12-14 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £7,085 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Polar Circle Fly-Sail

Flying to the South Shetlands over Cape Horn and avoiding the rough waters of the Drake Passage, this itinerary offers the easiest way to travel to Antarctica. Sailing down the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, the voyage passes spectacular icebergs in the company of sea birds, penguins, seals and whales.

  • When to go: Nov-Mar
  • Duration exc. flights: 9-11 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £8,760 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Ross Sea & Grand Southern Antarctica

Travelling from Ushuaia to New Zealand, this voyage takes you across the Ross Sea, where around one third of the world’s emperor penguins breeds. Landings are made by Zodiac inflatable or helicopter, and other wildlife highlights include elephant seals, Adélie and gentoo penguins, and orca and minke whales.

  • When to go: Feb-Mar
  • Duration exc. flights: 32 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £25,500 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Recommended cruise vessels:

Akademik Ioffe

Designed originally for polar research, the Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. Carrying around 100 passengers, facilities include a fitness room, massage room, sauna and plunge pool. Kayaking, camping, hiking, snowshoeing and skiing are available on most voyages.

Ocean Nova

An extremely comfortable and well-equipped Polar expedition vessel, Ocean Nova is one of the leading vessels classified to operate in ice-filled waters. Accommodating around 60 passengers, cabins are outside facing and there is an excellent glass-enclosed forward observation lounge on the top deck.

Ortelius

The ice-strengthened Ortelius is an excellent vessel for expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic. With the highest ice-class notation, it offers possibilities to travel to remote locations such as the Ross Sea and Franz Josef Land. Flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities.

Plancius

The Plancius accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in cabins ranging from triple to superior, all with outside view and private facilities. She offers a range of itineraries in Antarctica and the Arctic, and the large open deck spaces offer excellent opportunities to watch wildlife.

Ushuaia

The Ushuaia is an ice-strengthened vessel specially refurbished for Antarctic expedition voyages. She boasts 46 cabins and suites for a total of 88 passengers, and has a fantastic observation lounge designed to maximise wildlife viewing. A fleet of Zodiac inflatables is used for shore landings.